Do you want to become a nurse? It’s a fantastic career choice! Here are some tips that will help you establish a long career in healthcare.
A career as a nursing professional will allow you to fulfill your potential and realize your ambitions. Being able to make a difference in the lives of patients and their families, as well as being able to build a career that has longevity, is something that is not always possible in other industries.
When it comes to building a career as a nursing professional, there are lots of things you will need to think about and take into consideration. Weighing up what you want to achieve and considering what is important to you will help you make an informed decision. So, what should you start thinking about and why?
Becoming a Healthcare Professional
Firstly, you have to decide why you want to become a healthcare professional or nursing professional, to be more specific. Do you have life experiences that have pushed you in this direction, or are you leaving a career looking for change and growth? What drives you and your change, and where does your motivation come from?
When you become a healthcare professional, you have to know what motivates you to get out of bed each day. Some days, you may be faced with a number of challenges and obstacles, and to overcome this, you have to be passionate about what you do and why.
So, take time to establish why you want to become a healthcare professional and think about what you want to achieve as a nursing professional; then, this way, you will always have direction and guidance.
Choosing a Suitable Role
There are lots of roles within nursing that you can choose from, and you may find that some are more hands-on than others. Deciding and choosing which role is right for you is essential for your personal development – and for future growth too.
When it comes to choosing a suitable role, you need to look at the roles on offer, and you have to look at what you can bring to the role. For any role in nursing, you need to have dedication and motivation. When selecting the most suitable role, think about your vision of what nursing means to you, and think about your future as well.
For example, if you want to work with children and young people, then would a career in pediatrics be suitable, and would you like to take your career to leadership levels? Getting the right role for you from the outset will take time, and it will take research, so do not rush the process – instead, take time to weigh up your options.
Being Empathetic and Caring
All roles within nursing and healthcare require you to be empathetic and caring. You will be dealing with a lot of emotions and feelings on a daily basis, and it is important that you remain empathetic and caring – even in the most stressful situations. If you struggle to empathize with others, including your work colleagues and the patients that you treat, then you may struggle to build bonds and working relationships.
Your colleagues need you to be caring and empathetic, and your patients expect this from you. These are two soft skills that are crucial for any healthcare role, and they are something that you will need to be prepared to develop (if you do not possess them already).
Using Your Skills and Attributes
You have a lot of skills and attributes to offer and give to a nursing role, and it is important that you establish what they are. When you know what you have to offer, you can then start focusing on the job at hand.
If you do not know what you can bring to a role in terms of skills and attributes, then you may not establish a successful career simply by being frustrated at the lack of change and progress. Knowing what potential you have is important for your development and personal growth.
So, what skills do you have to offer to a new nursing role? Can you work effectively in teams? Are you brilliant at communication, or are you excellent at problem-solving? There are lots of skills and attributes that you already possess that can be advantageous to your healthcare career, so take time out to see what you have and see what can be improved upon, and then you can start moving forwards.
Education, Training and Development Will Be Essential
Getting established in the career or role of your choice requires dedication and motivation, but it may also require you to focus on your education and development. For example, to become a nurse, you must get your bachelor’s degree or else you will not be allowed to practice.
How far you want to advance your education and training will depend on several factors. For example, where do you see your career going, and what role would you ultimately see yourself in? Learning to embrace education, training, and development is crucial.
If you are pushing away or even against education, then you will find that you will never unlock your potential, and this will ultimately have a knock-on effect on your career or role. Seeing education and training as a fundamental part of your nursing and healthcare career is a mindset that you must adopt.
Building Your Experience
Experience will prove valuable to your nursing career, and the more experience you can gain, the better your rate of success will be. Experience can emotionally and physically prepare you for what nursing and healthcare look like and what it involves, and this is important.
Education and training can teach you a lot, but the awareness and knowledge that you gain from experience will always prove invaluable. When you are building your experience, look at the different settings within which you can work and look at taking on voluntary roles (in addition to paid roles). Experience will strengthen career prospects, and it will help you develop as a professional.
Establishing Strengths and Weaknesses
All healthcare professionals have strengths and weaknesses – sometimes they are in equal balance, and other times they are unfairly balanced. Establishing what your strengths and weaknesses are and where they lie will help you build a sustainable and long-lasting career in nursing.
So, let’s dive straight in – are you punctual and highly organized, or is this an area that requires improvement? Do you thrive in a team environment, or are you more productive when working by yourself? When you focus on strengths and weaknesses, you focus on development, and this is key for and healthcare career.
Creating a Career Plan
To establish the career that you want as a nursing professional, you need to have a career plan to work towards. A career plan will give you an outline that you can follow, and it will give you objectives and targets which you can work towards.
If you are sure and certain about where you see your career going in the future, you need to create a career plan to ensure that you realize your potential. Within a career plan, you will lay out what you will need to focus on and when. For example, if you are aiming to be a registered and qualified nurse, you will need to focus on gaining a bachelor’s degree and on getting licensed – within 4-5 years.
When you break down larger goals and objectives into smaller segments, they feel less overwhelming. When something is less overwhelming, your chances of success are greater.
What Does a Great Nursing Professional Look Like?
To build a career that lasts, you must consider what a great nurse looks like. When you have something to mold yourself upon, you get the focus and direction.
So what does a great nurse look like, and what do they embody? Great nurses are empathetic, and they are caring. They are also good listeners and great at communication (at all levels). Attention to detail, organization and time management are key qualities that all great nurses will share.
Aiming for perfection in your career is not going to be beneficial; however, aiming to be the greatest you can be will ensure that you get what you need out of your career, and it will also ensure patients get the best.
Making an Impact and Difference on the Lives of Patients
As a nursing professional, you need to have goals and visions to succeed, and one of these should always focus on impacting patients’ lives. Without goals and visions, you will lack direction.
When you set goals around making an impact (and on having an impact), you can then be sure that everything you do within your career remains patient-focused and patient-oriented. When you can have an impact and make a difference in patients’ lives, you feel fulfillment. This fulfillment, together with drive, passion, and dedication, will keep you going and striving to be the best nursing professional you can be.