Do you have aspirations of becoming a nurse? Nursing is an extremely popular profession, and it is easy to see why. Nurses play a pivotal role in the healthcare system and save lives and improve patient outcomes while also providing critical support to patients and their loved ones. Aspiring Nurses are often referred to as the glue in the healthcare system, and it is an incredibly rewarding career to follow with the potential to climb to senior positions. Nursing is also a highly demanding and competitive profession, though, so it is important to be aware of a few tips which will hopefully help you to succeed and stand out.
Find A Mentor
One of the best things that you can do in the early stages of your career is to find a mentor. Nursing can be a tricky profession to settle into, and people often make the same mistakes, but when you have someone with experience looking out for you, it can help you avoid common mistakes, receive support, and give you confidence.
Develop Your Soft Skills
Soft skills are needed in practically any job, but they are of particular importance in nursing. This is because you need to be an excellent communicator, manage your workload, work independently and as part of a team, and have high self-confidence. This means that you need to take a long hard look in the mirror to see if any soft skills could be improved and then find ways to turn these into strengths.
Be A People Person
Leading on from this, as a nurse, you need to be able to form a strong connection with everyone that you encounter, and this is why nurses are often called the glue. You need to be able to work well alongside doctors, your fellow nurses, and other healthcare professionals, but you must also support and empathize with your patients and their loved ones. While being a people person is more of a personality trait, it is still something that you can improve with effort and by making sure that you look after your own wellbeing (more on this to come).
Go the Extra Mile
The nurses that stand out and progress their career are the ones that are always willing to go the extra mile. Nursing is a demanding profession. Often, there is always more to be done, whether this is sitting with a patient after your shift has ended, helping out a co-worker, or putting yourself forward for new responsibilities and opportunities.
Take an Accelerated Nursing Program
A BSN is an excellent qualification for an aspiring nurses as it will provide you with more opportunities than someone with an associate degree or diploma. These courses usually take four years, but accelerated nursing programs online can speed this process up and allows you to complete coursework entirely online, which is combined with clinical and lab experiences. Earning this degree will help you stand out, teach you key nursing skills, and put you on a more fulfilling career path.
In addition to earning qualifications, you also need to make an effort to stay current as nursing is a field that is always changing and developing. Staying aware of the latest trends, technologies, issues, debates, and challenges will help you to improve your own performance as well as show your commitment to the profession. A good way to do this is by reading respected magazines, listening to podcasts, joining online communities, and attending nursing events (also a good way to network)
Be A Team Player with Leadership Skills
Nursing is a competitive field, but there is also a strong bond found between nurses because they understand how challenging the work can be. This is why you should always be a team player and do what you can to support your fellow nurses as you would hope to be treated. Additionally, if you can demonstrate leadership skills while you do this, then it should help you to stand out from the crowd and show your potential.
Develop Thick Skin
Many new aspiring nurses struggle to succeed in this profession even if they excelled in their studies because they do not have thick skin. As a nurse, you need to understand that you will be shouted at by colleagues, patients, and patients’ loved ones, you will see lots of disturbing and disgusting things and be dealing with death regularly. This can take its toll, but if you can develop a thick skin, then this can be much easier to manage. The key is being able to maintain a sense of humor, being able to separate your home and professional life, and having people that you can go to for support. As you go through your training, you will learn to develop your own coping mechanism for getting through these more challenging days.
Separate Home & Work
Leading on from this, you also need to be able to separate your home and work life to not interfere with one another. This is challenging with nursing due to what you will see and experience each day but creating clear divisions between the two and making the most of your free time is vital.
Look After Your Wellbeing
Similarly, you need to look after your own wellbeing, which is something that many nurses neglect when first starting out. It is hard when you are on your feet all day and working long antisocial hours but maintaining a healthy diet and getting as much sleep as possible is important. You also need to use your time off effectively, including rest, hobbies, and spending time with loved ones.
Hopefully, these tips will help give any aspiring nurses a few ideas for how they can hit the ground running and stand out from the crowd at the start of their career. Nursing is a profession, unlike any other and incredibly rewarding, but it does also have its own unique challenges, and it takes many a while to settle into the role.