Nursing is one of the most popular professions in the healthcare industry and offers several great benefits. In particular, becoming a nurse will allow you to save lives and have a positive impact on others. For that reason, many people consider nursing to be an extremely rewarding career that offers long-term job satisfaction and a sense of purpose. There is also an increasing demand for skilled nurses, which means you are likely to have excellent job security and career advancement. Along with this, nurses often enjoy multiple job perks such as well-paid overtime, travel opportunities, and competitive retirement schemes. All that being said, nursing can be hugely demanding, and you have to be prepared to work hard. If you are considering becoming a qualified nurse, then here are eight tips for a successful nursing career:
1. Complete nursing placements
As mentioned, nursing is a demanding field, and you will most likely be required to work long shifts, including unsociable hours. Being a nurse can also be emotionally draining and distressing at times; seeing patients die or having to inform a patient’s loved ones of their passing are two such examples. With that in mind, you must be truly passionate about healthcare and prepared to work hard and commit yourself to a successful career in nursing. One of the best ways to check that you would enjoy working as a nurse is by completing nursing placements. This will give you the chance to gain valuable work experience and develop connections with people in the industry. You can also use placements to help you decide which area of nursing you would like to specialize in. Completing a variety of nursing placements will also enhance your resume and give you a competitive edge over your peers when applying for nursing roles. Ideally, you should try to build some clinical experience before attending nursing school. According to advice on nursejournal.org, you can gain nursing experience by taking advantage of internships, finding a mentor, or volunteering within healthcare organizations.
2. Gain the necessary qualifications
To become a registered nurse, you must typically complete an accredited nursing program and pass the NCLEX-RN examination. This exam tests the competency of student nurses and checks that they are prepared to practice in a clinical setting. You must then obtain a state license before being able to practice nursing. You can choose to complete various accredited nursing programs, including bachelor degrees and online nursing diploma programs. Make sure you research the various options and choose the best qualification route for you. Keep in mind that training to become a registered nurse can take up to four years and involves intensive training. You must, therefore, be prepared to invest the necessary time and effort to achieve licensure.
3. Develop your skills and knowledge
Registered nurses are not required to complete additional qualifications, although this can be a great way to develop your skills and broaden your career opportunities. For instance, earning a specialist certification can increase your earning potential and give you a competitive advantage within the nursing field. Some of the most popular nursing specialisms include midwifery, critical care, cardiac care, and gynecology. Registered nurses can also enhance their career prospects by completing higher qualifications, such as a Ph.D. in nursing. This qualification will develop your nursing skills and prepare you for leadership roles within the nursing sector. Fortunately, many educational establishments now offer convenient online courses that you can fit alongside your work and personal commitments. The learning is fully flexible, which allows you to learn at your own pace and choose a study schedule that suits you.
4. Provide quality patient care
Many patients feel stress and anxiety when attending hospital for medical treatment and procedures. Nurses should focus on patient care and be available to provide comfort and reassurance to their patients. One of the benefits of nursing is that nurses get to spend a lot of time with their patients. This allows them to build meaningful relationships and provide valuable support to their patients and their families. A good nurse should focus on providing every patient with the highest level of care possible. This should involve listening to their patients, responding to their physical and emotional needs, and going above and beyond to ensure that their patients are safe and comfortable. Nurses should also take the time to build rapport and trust with each of their patients and demonstrate an empathetic and compassionate attitude at all times. Nurses can show that they care by providing patients with individualized care, making eye contact with patients, and listening attentively without interrupting. A good nurse should have a genuine interest in their patients and strive to provide the best level of care possible.
5. Continue your learning
The healthcare industry is constantly evolving due to advancements in medical technology and processes. Continuing education is, therefore, an essential factor in a successful nursing career. Nurses must commit to lifelong learning and be proactive when it comes to their professional development. Nurses can refer to medical journals and online resources to learn about new medical technologies and techniques and update their expertise. Registered nurses should also make an effort to develop their communication skills and learn to engage with people in the most effective way possible. Enhancing your communication skills will help to ensure patient safety and improve your standards of care.
6. Maintain a work-life balance
Nursing is a demanding career that can expose you to extremely stressful and upsetting situations. Too much stress can cause burnout and lead to various medical issues such as high blood pressure and an increased risk of strokes. High levels of stress can also damage your emotional health and cause mental health problems such as depression and anxiety. With that in mind, you must make an effort to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Make sure that you enjoy hobbies and activities outside of work and schedule downtime to relax and unwind. It is also important to stay connected with your loved ones and make an effort to socialize with your family and friends when you are not working. Remember that your loved ones can provide a fantastic support network when you are feeling stressed or down. Maintaining a work life balance for nurses can be a challenge. However, it is essential to your overall health and wellbeing, so you must assess your current lifestyle and make changes if you are not currently investing enough time into self-care and your life outside of work.
7. Practice self-care
Along with maintaining a healthy work-life balance, nurses must also practice self-care and look after their emotional wellbeing. Often, nurses spend so much of their time looking after others that they forget to take care of themselves. Neglecting self-care can be extremely harmful in the long-run and have serious consequences on your physical, mental, and emotional health. Here are some useful suggestions to help you practice self-care and feel your best:
- Prepare healthy meals and snacks to take into work and avoid reaching for junk food like donuts and biscuits. You should also ensure that your diet includes at least five portions of fruit and vegetables every day.
- Make sure you drink the recommended amount of water each day.
- Try to get at least seven hours of quality sleep each night.
- Follow an exercise routine and be as active as possible outside of work.
- Treat yourself to relaxing activities such as soaking in a hot bubble bath, listening to calming music, or booking an indulgent spa experience.
- Try meditating in the mornings or before bed to alleviate feelings of stress.
8. Use technology to your advantage
Nurses have a huge selection of technology at their disposal that can help them complete their work tasks more efficiently. For instance, nurses can use modern technology to automate various healthcare tasks such as scheduling patient appointments, ordering medication and supplies, and conducting medical research. This helps take some of the pressure off of nursing staff and gives them additional time to focus on core tasks. Medical technology has also transformed patient care, and a recent survey found that 82 percent of professional nurses feel that technology impacts patient care in a positive way. Nurses can use technology to automate medication and IV pumps, monitor patients remotely via portable monitors, and track patient vital signs using wearable devices such as wristbands.
Many nurses enjoy a long and satisfying career and get a great sense of pride from helping others and having a positive impact on society. However, if you are considering going into nursing, then you must acknowledge that the role can be stressful and demanding at times. Nurses are often required to work long and irregular hours and have to be prepared to dedicate themselves to their careers. For many nurses, the sacrifices are worth it, and the nursing field can offer a diverse variety of exciting and rewarding job roles. Use the above tips to help you achieve success and excel in your nursing career.