Tips for Starting Your Nursing Career

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Guest Article by Julia Merrill of Befriend your doc.org

Tips for Starting Your Nursing Career

If you’re looking for a career that requires nerve, knowledge, and plenty of compassion, nursing might be right for you. The medical field always needs nurses, so you’ll be in high demand. Right now, however, getting started can look a little different than it would have last year. Telehealth and virtual degree programs both need the kind of skills you can learn at Work At Home Mania. Whether you’re studying and working virtually or meeting patients in person, however, nursing allows you to make a difference every single day. Here’s a look at how to dive in:

Getting Your Degree

The first step on the path to a nursing career is getting a degree. You’ll need different levels of education depending on what specialty you want to pursue (more on this later). Right now, it may make the most sense to apply for an online nursing program.

Online degree programs come with a ton of advantages. You can easily fit your studies into your current schedule, so you don’t have to quit your job to pursue your degree. Plus, an online program saves you money on commuting, babysitting, parking costs and more. Check out our tips on working from home to learn some techniques for knocking out remote school work effectively.

Consider Specialties

We tend to picture nurses working in hospitals, but that’s just one place nursing might take you. You can find work in a variety of specialties and fields, from emergency medicine to working as a school nurse. You can get a sense of where you’d thrive by looking at your current skills and interests.

For example, if you’re really interested in working with pregnant people and babies, you can consider becoming a nurse-midwife. This specialty can handle every aspect of a non-complicated pregnancy and birth, and much of a complicated one. This is one of many fields that offer a chance to take a more direct role in your patient’s care. Look into the different nurse specialties to see what interests you.

Fostering Communication Skills

In many settings, nurses spend way more one-on-one time with patients than doctors do. As a result, they’re often the front line for noticing a change in condition or catching a problem early. One of the best ways to ensure you thrive in this part of the job is to focus on fostering great communication skills.

Practice active listening when you’re working with a patient. Learn to pay close attention both to what’s being said, and how the patient is saying it. This can help you catch subtle signs of slurred speech, or even just notice if a patient is feeling tired or down. These little details can clue you in to medical emergencies, reactions to medications, and mood disorders such as depression. Good communication can be a life-saving skill for nurses.

Avoiding Burnout

Nursing is hard work, and it can take a while to get into the swing of things. However, you should try not to let the challenges you face in the early days turn you off from the career. Nurses adjust, and you’ll be able to figure out your flow. Plus, there are more and less demanding fields within nursing. Working in a hospital is always going to be more high-stress and challenging than working in private practice, for example. If one environment isn’t working for you, don’t be afraid to seek another.

Moreover, no matter what your environment, it’s vital to give yourself plenty of self-care and relaxation in your free time. A good work-life balance is extremely important in demanding jobs such as those in the medical field. Make sure to find hobbies and activities that help you unwind and relax while you’re off the clock. This will help you avoid burnout.

Think nursing might be for you? Take time to talk to current nurses, research different specialties and think about how it will fit into your life overall before you dive in. Once you’ve done the leg work, you’ll be ready to pursue the career you’ve been waiting for!