Questions to ask yourself before going to nursing school

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Some people discover early on what they want to do with their lives. For others, it takes some soul searching to figure out how to make a living. Whichever category you fit into, it’s a good idea to consider what motivates you towards a certain career.

When it comes to a career in medicine, such as being a nurse, it takes a certain type of person to do well and enjoy the job. The work can be rewarding, but it’s not for everyone.

You don’t want to spend the time and money to become a nurse, only to find out it is not the right career for you. Before applying to nursing school, it is a good idea to ask yourself some of the following questions to determine if nursing is a good fit.

What do you want in a career?

There are lots of things to consider when choosing a career. Not everyone wants the same things out of a job. Some people want opportunities to be creative while others have a strong desire to help people. It is also helpful to consider if you are willing to work hours outside a traditional nine to five job. Nurses often work overnight and during weekends. Think about what matters most to you, and figure out if a nursing career will provide you with what you are looking for regarding a career.

Do you enjoy working with others?

In many areas of nursing, you provide direct patient care. Even in jobs where you are not providing bedside care, you still work in close collaboration with other healthcare professionals. It’s helpful to be the type of person who likes people. If you’re not a people person, you may still enjoy a career in nursing, but you should think about what specialty may work best for your personality.

What types of patients do you want to care for?

If you’ve decided nursing sounds like a good career fit, think about what patient population you would prefer to work with. For example, some people enjoy working with children or the elderly. Maybe you have a particular interest in caring for people with critical illnesses or treating babies. Determining what population you would enjoy caring for may help lead you towards a particular specialty.

Do you think you can handle patients dying?

Although working as a nurse can be very rewarding, it can also sometimes involve witnessing tragic situations. Unfortunately, not all patients survive. You will have tough days as a nurse. Think about how you deal with difficult times. Do you think you can handle the emotional aspects of dealing with sickness and death on a regular basis?

Can you work well during stressful times?

Nurses deal with emergencies and life-threatening situations, and their, workloads can increase very quickly. The job can become stressful at times. If you’re someone who copes well with stress and can still be efficient under pressure, you will do well as a nurse. But if you get easily frazzled and cannot handle change well, you may want to think twice about becoming a nurse.

Are you a team player?

The medical field comprises a large variety of technicians, doctors, therapists, social workers and managers. Nurses who are successful and enjoy their job work well with others. Team players have to be able to lend a helping hand when needed. They also know when to seek help. Good communication and listening skills also are necessary to be a team player. Consider your past experiences, such as jobs you held and school projects you worked on to determine if you are a team player.

Do you consider yourself a problem solver?

It’s common for nurses to encounter various challenges on the job. For example, you may have a patient who is difficult to deal with or several patients needing care at the same time. Nurses should be able to figure out a way to handle different situations as they develop. Although problem-solving skills can develop while you are in nursing school, it comes easier to some people.

Are you easily offended?

Not every patient will be kind and polite. During your career, you may come in contact with patients who are unfriendly, rude or hostile. Being easily offended can make working as a nurse difficult. Nurses who do not take things personally will usually have an easier time dealing with difficult patients. Additionally, situations can get stressful quickly. It is not uncommon for other medical professionals to be abrupt with each other during tense times. If you’re someone who can let things roll off your back, nursing may be a good fit.

What are you long-term career goals?

There are a lot of options when it comes to nursing. If you’re interested in direct patient care, there are several specialties to choose from including working in the intensive care unit, pediatrics, surgery and labor and delivery. But there are also other opportunities in nursing, such as case management, public health, and forensic nursing. Nursing is a field that can offer several different paths. When considering becoming a nurse, think about what your short and long-term goals are. Will earning a nursing degree help you achieve your goals?

What type of degree do you want?

If you have decided nursing is a good fit, you need to consider what kind of degree you want before applying to nursing school. To become a registered nurse, you must earn at least an associate degree, which takes about two years of full-time schooling. Four-year bachelor’s degree programs are also an option to become a nurse. Depending on your career goals, you may want to choose a four-year program over an associate degree. If you’re interested in working in education or administration, a master’s degree in nursing may be your best bet.

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Gap Medics provides year-round hospital work experience for people aged 16 and over. Our shadowing placements offer a unique insight into the work of doctors, nurses, midwives, dentists and physician assistants – helping students to focus their career aspirations before embarking upon medical training.

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