Nurses are the superstars of the healthcare industry. You're probably used to hearing about doctors, but any doctor worth his or her salt will tell you that nurses really run the show. It's a tough and sometimes thankless career that is nevertheless rewarding — but do you have what it takes?
Do You Respect the Human Body?
Image via Flickr by University of Salford Press Office
To become a nurse, you have to respect the human body — all aspects of it. You'll have to deal with all types of bodily fluids, from taking blood to changing bed pans, not to mention dealing with accidents from patients in various states of illness, shock, or fear. If you enjoyed biology or anatomy and physiology, that's a start. If you're sure that you have a strong stomach, that's even better.
Do you like analyzing and fixing? Doctors are arguably the fixers, but nurses get the first look. They spend more time with the patients, asking questions about where it hurts and how it feels. Without nurses who ask probing questions, doctors don't know where to start.
Are You Interested in Exploring?
Even if you love obstetrics, the ER, or the dialysis unit, you'll find that you have to switch around, especially in your early days. You have to do a rotation so you can familiarize yourself if you have to lend a hand in the ICU or the hospital's nursing home at a moment's notice.
You may also get the chance to really travel. Traveling nurses make a lot of money, as you can see by reading up on information about their normal pay rate and salary at travelnursing.org. If you like the idea of exploring new places, you can choose to travel within your state or you can pick up and move to a new place.
Can You Spot a Liar?
Image via Flickr by Thompson Rivers University
Nurses are lie detectors. Next to people in criminal justice fields, nurses are more skilled at spotting lies than anyone. Your instincts will get sharper over time, but if you already have a strong gut feeling that helps you pick out the ticks and twitches of a liar, you'll make a great nurse.
People lie when they come into a hospital or doctor's office. They don't necessarily mean to, but no one wants to admit that they have a drinking problem, that they smoke two packs a day, or that they don't exercise. You have to spot the untruths, especially if you work in an office or decide you want to become a school nurse.
Are You a People Person?
Nurses are friendly; it's a requirement. You have to act kindly toward your patients, even the ones you suspect of faking. No matter how unpleasant a patient or the family, your kindness and professionalism can never waver. It's hard, but you'll get used to it quickly.
Fortunately, nursing is a great career for making friends. You meet new people every day and you quickly become familiar with your team. You're together all the time, you work together seamlessly, and this traditionally leads to close friendships outside of work as well.
Nursing is an exciting, interesting career that really makes a difference. Do you think you have what it takes?