Nursing is one of the most fulfilling career options available for those who want to find a place in the medical world. As a nurse, you work intimately with patients in providing care and carrying out doctors’ orders to get people healthy and on their feet again. There are, naturally, many challenges in this industry, and it is best to be aware of these before going down the path.
- Following Orders
Nurses need to understand, first of all, that they are not directly in charge of patient care. That responsibility lies with the doctors–they are the ones who call the shots and accept responsibility for the consequences, whether good or bad. You may be required to do things that go against your personal judgments or beliefs, and you will have to accept that this is the doctor’s call. Be sure that you are okay with following orders as a nurse.
- Critical Thinking
Now, as much as it is important to be able to follow orders, there may come times when critical thinking is required. Doctors need something more than blind unthinking soldiers backing them up in the hospitals. If good minds weren’t required for nursing, then you wouldn’t need to go to school to prepare for your career. If you come across instructions that are obviously wrong or could potentially harm a patient, be sure to question things. Everyone makes mistakes, doctors included, and a simple misprint of instructions could have catastrophic results for a patient’s health and safety.
- A Changing Industry
Understand that you are coming into an industry that is changing its face as we speak. In recent years the responsibilities of nurses have changed significantly, and they continue to do so. The emergence of nurse practitioners has brought about a specialized group of nurses who operate in a position somewhere between that of a doctor and a nurse. This is expected to gain momentum in the years to come, so be prepared to adapt to a changing industry and take on responsibilities that you may not have thought of before.
- Emotional Strain
Nursing is not an easy job, and in fact it is one of the most difficult professions one could choose. Among the many stresses that nurses face on a regular basis are exceedingly long hours, hectic work environments, and at times–death. Make no mistake about it. As much as doctors and nurses can do to help, they can’t save everyone. This is one of the most difficult things for newcomers in healthcare to deal with. Don’t let it push you away, but be prepared to deal with it.
- Perpetual Learning
Education doesn’t end when you graduate from school. You may have obtained a nursing masters degree online, but it’s not over yet–you didn’t really think it would be that easy, did you? Learning is a lifelong process for nurses and all other professionals in the healthcare industry. As new technologies, medications, and methodologies arise, be prepared to continue your learning and expand your set of skills.