Nursing can be a great career choice, especially for those who feel like they can care for others. The thing about a career in nursing is that it can be a very long road to travel, especially if you are looking to transition from a residential nurse to a nurse practitioner. But how can you know whether this is the right career for you? What does it take to become a nurse practitioner?
A lot of people envision themselves in different careers, but if you envision yourself as a nurse practitioner, you should search within yourself to decide if this is the best career for you. Can you see yourself sitting beside a patient at the time of illness, comforting them and telling them that everything will be fine? Can you see yourself being able to handle loss? If the answer to both of these questions is yes, you have just taken the first step to becoming a nurse practitioner.
Empathy and sympathy are just two of the qualities you need to become a nurse practitioner. If you decide to take this career path, then you ought to also be flexible. Nurses work very long hours and sometimes go above and beyond what you might expect from a usual shift. The type of flexibility needed goes beyond time because the medical field is always changing and therefore, you have to have the ability to change as it changes. Laws and workflows change, practices change and within your career so many other things, some that we cannot foresee right now, will change. Are you able and willing to take your career in stride and change as your field changes?
In addition, new medical studies are released all the time. Information that was the standard just a few months ago might not be a few weeks from now. You have to have the ability to stay informed and up to date on the latest happenings in the medical world to become an effective nurse practitioner.
The Learning Never Ends
It does not matter how you became a nurse; the learning never ends. If you decide to upgrade from an RN to nurse practitioner online, it might take a few years of learning. But, on the job, you will always be learning new things. Do keep in mind that most nurse practitioners have been practicing for about 10 years on average. In that time, they have likely seen the medical world change a few times over and they may have had to learn new ways of doing things.
You Will Need to Be Patient
This not only applies to learning, but also your job. Being a nurse often requires that you roll with the unexpected. For example, patients can and do refuse their medication. Family members yell at anyone in their vicinity when they don’t see the results they want. Being patient in this context means slowing down and taking the time to find solutions to any issues that may crop up on the job. Besides patients and their families giving you a hard time, sometimes management does it too. They may leave a whole floor for you to work on which is a huge undertaking. You might need to learn to take things one at a time and be patient when things are not working as you expect.
Keep Key Concepts in Mind
There are various key concepts that are taught in nursing school. These concepts have come to be known as the 5 c’s. They are:
- Competence – You must be able to demonstrate your competence at all times. Patients will rely on you for their safety and well being. You must be able to hold yourself to a higher standard. The way to do this is to keep learning and staying up to date on the latest nursing practices.
- Conscience – You must have morals that you are willing to uphold. Ethics are one of the most important concepts in the medical world and besides upholding these ethics, you ought to also be empathetic towards others.
- Commitment – Nursing goes beyond the job you will be doing; it has to be who you are and become throughout your career. You must have an inbuilt commitment to become a nurse. Nursing is a commitment to take care of others when they are at their lowest, going above and beyond to do for others things that they cannot do for themselves.
- Compassion – Understanding, consideration and empathy. These qualities are a necessity if you would like to become a nurse. You must be able to demonstrate them in order to build relationships between you and your patients. These three qualities have been shown to improve patients’ medical compliance and can help foster better medical outcomes.
- Confidence – Nurses, RNs and nurse practitioners must demonstrate confidence at all times. Confidence lets patients know that you know what you are doing and can therefore care for them competently and safely. Nurses who do not demonstrate confidence cause unnecessary concern. Even if you might not know everything on the first day, you likely never will as medicine is always changing, you must exude confidence.
A lot of people do not understand just how humble medical practitioners are. Being humble means you understand that there is always something new around the corner, that you will always be learning and that you might not know everything. When you are humble, you allow yourself to learn and get better. This kind of self-improvement is a requirement in any medical field. Humility also means that you hold yourself to a higher standard in the knowledge that others need you and their lives might be in your hands.
One of the fascinating things about humility is that once everything is in the background, it allows us to connect to others at a deeper level. This type of connection helps forge trust and relationships that form the backbone of the medical field.
Becoming a nurse is a highly personal decision. Before taking this path, there has to be a lot of reflection and soul searching. Nursing can be very challenging, but it can also be very rewarding, especially if you feel that this is what you were called to do.