Think back to your last vacation. Was it fun? Did you relax? Was it everything that you hoped it would be? If that answer is yes—chances are that it was the result of CAREFUL PLANNING. The mechanics of planning to pursue a career are similar to planning a vacation.
The first step in planning a vacation is choosing your destination. Your career destination is the profession you choose. In recent years, Gallup polls have consistently found that nursing is the profession that is most trusted by the general public. Perhaps that fact has sparked your interest in the nursing field. That makes perfect sense. Nursing can be a stimulating and personally satisfying career. At the same time, just as you read the fine print in the travel brochures, make sure that you know what is truly involved with a nursing career.
Take this 10 question true/false quiz to help determine how accurate your own perception of nursing is:
- I will make a lucrative salary as a nurse.
- It is easy to find a job as a nurse.
- Patients will always be grateful and positive to me.
- If I do well in my nursing class work, I will do well in my clinical rotation.
- If I am organized, I can always plan and predict my workday as a nurse.
- I like people, so I will like working with all of my patients.
- I will have nursing aides who handle all of the “messy” parts of nursing.
- I would prefer to be a physician but becoming a nurse is much easier.
- I am going to become a nurse anesthetist or nurse midwife following nursing school.
- I can keep my full-time job because my classes are on weekends and evenings.
In my book, Fast Facts for the Student Nurse, I share over 30 years of experience teaching in the classroom and at the clinical sites at two, three, four, RN-BSN, and online schools of nursing. Throughout the book the reader can find pages capturing thoughts and reflections “In Student Nurses’ Own Words . . .” A sampling of the actual reflections of some of my former students follows:
“Keep a positive attitude and take the initiative to learn (it took me a while to get this one . . . ). Don’t procrastinate with assignments. Understand that they help you formulate your thought process and allow the instructor to show you better ways to care for your clients. Clients (patients) are real people, just like me.”
“Rely on your fellow students. We helped each other and learned from each other. Take advantage of experience by asking questions of your instructor and the nurses who work at the clinical site. Even the bad ones can teach you how not to communicate! The reality of the nursing world is high patient-to – nurse ratios. I was not prepared for how physical nursing really is.”
“There really isn’t a balance – it’s either all school or not. I spent weekends doing homework, but I did make sure to do one social event each week. Eat a good dinner and keep a regular bedtime. Do homework in a comfortable place – even outside if the weather allows.” [ For more discussion on taking care of yourself as a nursing student, see Chapter 12 titled “You are Your Own Patient.”
This is just a brief preview from my book. If you are considering a career in nursing, I encourage you to take a look, or consider it as a gift for someone who is now (or will someday be) in nursing school
For the answers to the quiz above, see Chapter 2 of Fast Facts for the Student Nurse.