Choosing the right career for you can seem difficult, especially if you’re just starting college and have your entire life ahead of you. Like with any important decision, you want your choice to be the right one, allowing you to feel confident as you choose your field of study and begin your career after graduation. If you spend four or more years in school studying one thing only to find that you don’t enjoy it when you get into the job market, you may feel like your options are limited, which is why it’s so important to spend time thinking about your options and goals in life. Nursing can be a great career choice if you enjoy helping others and want to study medicine.
Unfortunately, there’s no way to truly know if nursing is right for you until you start your career. However, there are questions you can ask yourself to help you determine if it’s something you’ll enjoy in the future. To help you decide whether nursing is the right career for you, we’ve put together questions to ask yourself before you make any major decisions.
Do you enjoy helping others?
Nursing is a career that’s all about caring for and helping others. If you’re the type of person that enjoys helping others, nursing might be the right career for you. Many people know from a young age that they want jobs where they can help others feel better by helping them.
Of course, there are other ways to improve others’ lives. For example, individuals who enjoy working with children can also become teachers. That being said, these are two very different careers, so you’ll have to be someone who can help patients trust them and serve as someone they can talk to when they’re not feeling well.
Can you handle stress?
Nurses have to deal with a lot of stress, both physically and emotionally. Not only does nursing require you to stay on your feet and alert for many hours, but it can also be stressful because of the work schedule. Depending on the type of nurse you become, you might have nursing shifts all night long. Then, you might nap at work just to wake up in the morning for another shift. Of course, lack of sleep can add more stress to an already stressful job. This is especially true when you’re responsible for the health and wellness of other human beings.
Nurses are always moving, so you’ll be on your feet and moving around most of the day. If you’re not ready for a physically demanding career that may require you to lose sleep some nights, becoming a nurse might not be for you. That being said, some nurses have more stressful jobs than others. For example, an ER nurse likely works multiple shifts on the same day dealing with life-threatening illnesses and accidents, while a dental nurse may have a regular nine-to-five job cleaning teeth and processing x-rays.
Do you want a regular schedule?
Many nurses don’t have regular work schedules because they are scheduled to work in shifts. This shift in lifestyle may be difficult for some people who like to plan their lives around work. You could get called into work at any point or asked to work for longer hours when a hospital is short-staffed. Adjusting to a changing work schedule is difficult. So if you want to be a nurse, you may have to choose a specialization in which you can choose to work a regular nine-to-five job without having to worry about a change in your sleeping schedule.
Of course, there are some benefits to irregular shifts at work. For example, if you’re a parent and your spouse works during the day and you work nights, you won’t ever have to pay for child care. However, it can make it difficult to have a social life. This is especially true if you work long hours and have to sleep through the day if you want to be alert for your next shift.
Do you handle stressful situations well?
We’ve already asked if you can handle stress, but how you handle those situations is also important. Stress is a part of every job, but nurses can be more stressed because they’re directly responsible for patients, including medications and providing potentially life-saving care. Nurses must be able to handle these types of stressful situations. You’ll see people at their worst and have to deal with frustrated and angry patients from time to time. Consider how you handle stress in your personal and professional background first to see if this is the right role for you.
Additionally, you’ll have to worry about other types of stress like cleaning up vomit or bathing patients who can’t take care of themselves. Of course, there are many rewards to being a nurse. This includes the ability to get to know patients on a more personal level. But that also means spending time with people going through things that can cause you stress.
Will it allow me to reach my life goals?
You work because you have life goals that require money. After all, everyone has to eat. However, while nursing can be rewarding, it must provide you with the opportunities you need to succeed in life. Since nurses are needed everywhere around the world, you can find a job in virtually any city. However, you should also find a career that’s able to support you financially.
Of course, some nurses get paid more than others. The more education you have, the more you can make, especially if you specialize in something. However, that doesn’t mean that every nurse is paid well. You’ll need to weigh the pros and cons to determine if long hours with a lack of sleep are worth your nurse’s salary.
Should you become a nurse?
Only you can tell yourself whether or not you want to become a nurse. Even the educational process can be taxing. But if you’re committed to helping others and finding a rewarding career, you can find ways to get through school and difficult work schedules. If you’re unsure whether nursing is right for you, talk to real nurses next time you’re at the doctor’s office. Ask them questions about their job to help determine if it’s the right career for you.