If you think you want to become a nurse, there are many different things to consider. The job itself is incredibly rewarding, and is well worth the effort you need to put in, but that effort does need to be thought about; not everyone has the skills and personality to enjoy being a nursing and to do well, even though everyone has the chance to study to become one if they want to.
Reasons to become a nurse are many, and range from there being a shortage of nurses which means jobs are plentiful, to wanting to help people in the best way (and nursing is a great example of how to do that). However, before you can be a nurse in a hospital or clinic helping people and enjoying your work, you need to be a student nurse. The road to becoming a nurse begins with applying to study to become one, and there is a lot to learn and a lot to do in the intervening years.
As well as learning the techniques and medication information that nurses must know and be highly competent in, there are other skills that student nurses either already need to have, or they need to concentrate on gaining while they study. With that in mind, here are some of the most important to help you make the right choice when deciding whether being a student nurse (and a working nurse) is a good option for you.
1. Apply Real Life Situations
You might not think that experience will be of much use to you when you start to study to become a nurse. After all, this is all new to you, and whether you have just finished high school and moved straight into studying for your nursing qualifications, or you have worked elsewhere and then decided that nursing is actually your calling, you won’t have actually been a nurse before.
However, it would be a mistake to think like this. Everyone has life experiences they can draw on when they are studying, and nursing students are no exception. It might be that you spent time in hospital, or visited a sick relative or friend in one. It might be that you know a nurse and have discussed nursing with them. This can all be useful when it comes to your learning, and applying this real-life experience to what you are being taught can help you make sense of it.
Of course, the experience you have might not even be related to nursing or even healthcare at all.
Experience comes from all kinds of things, and it’s often surprising how it can fit in with learning new information. Perhaps you have experience in taking care of small children in your own life; that will give you understanding and patience. Maybe you love to do crafts and have artistic hobbies; that will potentially give you something to talk about with those you are nursing, and it might also give you a different perspective on things in general.
Taking any experience you have had and applying it to nursing is something all nursing students should do, whether that experience is medical or something entirely different. In this way, you can become a more rounded nurse, and you can always be sure to find solutions because you reach further than your learning would usually take you.
2. Critical Thinking
Nurses must have quick reactions and be able to put their knowledge and experience to good use as soon as they know what a patient needs. However, although working fast can be crucial at times, this is not the same as rushing; a nurse who rushes will make mistakes and potentially put patients’ lives at risk.
Therefore, nursing students need to learn how to perform critical thinking. This is a trait that will help them greatly in their studies, but that will also ensure they do well when they are working as well.
Critical thinking means observing what is happening around you, and then making a decision based on that information and any other knowledge you might have about the situation. This might sound as though it would take a long time and potentially be problematic if you are a nurse, but the fact is that, much like any skill, the more you do it, the quicker and more accurate you will become. This is why it’s such a good trait to start training for when you are a student; by the time you graduate and are ready to become a fully-fledged nurse, your critical thinking skills will be much better, and the more use you give them, the better they will be, even in the most pressurized of situations.
One of the most important traits any student nurse can have is that of confidence. When you are studying something as complex and crucial as nursing, it’s easy to feel as though you don’t have the knowledge you need, or that your peers are more equipped to do the work than you are. This will reduce your confidence levels even more, and so the cycle continues.
However, you must not think like this. You must focus on your own work and see that you do have knowledge and skills, and you are working hard to get where you want to go. This can be easier if you take an online course, such as studying for online nursing from University of Indianapolis; the reason for this is that a University of Indianapolis degree allows you to work at your own pace and in a space that you feel comfortable in, without anyone around you. In this way, you truly can focus on what you’re doing and not think about anyone else.
The more hard work you put in, the more confidence you’ll have in what you can achieve. By the time you graduate and can start looking for nursing jobs, you’ll feel much more ready to begin if you have improved your confidence levels while you’re studying.
4. Relation-Based Care
Perhaps you’ve never heard of relation-based care before, but there’s no doubt you will have heard of the bedside manner, and this is essentially what relation-based care means. In order to be a good nurse, you don’t just have to have all the technical and medical know-how; you also need to be able to care for patients on a more human level. This is a skill that student nurses must have if they are going to progress. Plus, if you find it hard to communicate with people like this, you won’t enjoy all aspects of nursing, and it might be that you should find a different way to help people.
Having a good bedside manner is what sets great nurses apart from all the rest.
It can make such a difference to a patient’s recovery that it really can’t be understated; the more positive someone is when they are healing, the more quickly the healing process takes place. This has been scientifically proven, and it is due to the different hormones that positive and negative experiences produce.
As well as all this, good relation-based care means that patient safety is improved, and patient satisfaction is at a high level. On a personal front, if you know you can connect with your patients and give them the best care, this will improve your confidence in your nursing abilities, which we’ve seen is crucial both as a student nurse and a qualified one.
If you are good with people and you like to put them at ease, you already have the makings of someone with a good bedside manner. However, even if you don’t have this skill when you start training, it is something that you can learn – just make sure you’re aware that this is important and take the steps you need to become more competent in this area.
It might sound strange to suggest that those who are studying to become nurses need to have leadership skills, but the truth is that being a good leader doesn’t mean you have to be working in a leadership type role, and it doesn’t mean you have to have seniority over anyone else. Student nurses who have leadership capabilities can use those skills to ensure they learn as much as they can and help others along the way.
Although there are certainly leadership positions that nurses can aspire to, even those who have freshly graduated and have taken on their very first nursing role will need to lead at some point. As a nurse, you have a lot of autonomy, and although there will always be people there to guide you, especially at the start of your career, being able to think for yourself and lead, even if you’re the only one on your team, is crucial. This trait added to confidence and critical thinking will help you become an extraordinary nurse who excels in their studies and their work. You might even go on to become a mentor yourself, imparting your knowledge and experience to the next generation of nurses.