You’ve probably heard that the nursing profession is both rewarding and challenging. If you’re a med student in the planning phase and making a career choice, this piece is for you. Like many, you’re probably wondering why you should become a medical professional or, more specifically, a nurse. While there are many good reasons to practice nursing––from helping patients to a positive career outlook––the best reason is that you’re cut out for the work and like it.
That’s why, before we even go into all the convincing reasons why to be a nurse, we’ll explain the traits it takes to become a great one. Remember that if this career isn’t for you, there are many others out there, including in the healthcare field, which can be a perfect fit. Take it from us: The secret to a successful career is working in something you’re passionate about and well suited for.
Top 4 qualities of a great nurse
We all have strengths and weaknesses (which we prefer to call areas of opportunity). If some of the items on the following list are skills you’re already a natural at, you’re off to a great start. And, if others aren’t your strong suit but you’re set on becoming a nurse, you have an opportunity to grow. Here are the top four skills you should possess to become an excellent nurse:
- Great communication skills: Nurses communicate with many people at work and must be able to manage nuanced conversations. They should be able to communicate clearly and empathetically with patients and their families. They must also be able to advocate for patients before the rest of the care team and share updates on patient conditions with other medical professionals like specialists and physicians. Doing so requires knowledge of scientific terms. Nurses should be able to break down complex concepts and also talk about them in a high-level way.
- Excellent problem-solving skills: Every patient presents a case to solve. Nurses, alongside doctors and other team members, have to assess conditions and create patient care plans. In high-stress work environments like the emergency room (ER) or intensive care unit (ICU), nurses must be able to think on their feet and act quickly in rapidly changing situations.
- Commitment: People describe nursing work as difficult because it takes a toll on the mind and body. Nurses deal with emotionally charged situations and work long hours, making them feel overwhelmed and exhausted at times. Burnout and compassion fatigue are common, and nurses must not only be committed to their work to succeed but also to self-care and their mental wellness.
- Empathetic: As nurses are mostly the first point of contact for a patient’s family to seek updates on the patient’s health, they must have an empathetic approach and attitude. Since both the patient and their family are dealing with a lot of stress due to the situation, it becomes the nurse’s unsaid responsibility to make them feel better and create a positive environment.
Why choose nursing?
If you think you check off all the boxes to succeed in a nursing career, you’re not only about to start a job that suits you but also rewards you. Here are seven reasons why:
- No two days are the same: Healthcare environments are in constant flux, with new admissions and cases. The day-to-day work is exciting and varied. And, when nurses want a change of pace, there are plenty of different medical settings they can try, ranging from private practices to schools. They can even work from home in a telehealth career or away from home as an on-the-go travel nurse. This means that nurses can experience a range of environments and meet countless patients and peers, starting during their clinical practice in nursing school.
- The career is fulfilling: Nurses see patients through their healing process. They improve patients’ quality of life and even save their lives. Patients (and their loved ones) are often grateful to nurses and express it. These medical professionals have a unique opportunity to provide bedside care and form bonds with the individuals they treat, feeling comforted and satisfied at the end of the day.
- The career outlook is excellent: The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 9% increase in nursing jobs, which means there’ll always be work opportunities for nurses. This makes sense because patients will always need care. And, if you’re flexible on where you live, you can find work at understaffed hospitals in other states. You can even consider travel nursing, which will not only enable you to travel as a nurse but also provide care in remote areas. These roles tend to pay well and come with perks like subsidized housing to thank you for filling a gap in the healthcare system.
- The salary is great: On average, registered nurses (RNs) earn around $75,000 annually, and there are plenty of opportunities for advancement and even higher salaries. For example, healthcare nurse practitioners and other advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) often earn in the six-figure range, with anesthesiology nurses earning around $200,000.
- You never stop learning: And you never should. Your nursing education doesn’t stop after you earn your Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or even your Master of Science in Nursing (MSN). Being a healthcare provider of any kind requires life-long learning. You have to stay up on the latest research, trends in the medical field, and technological advancements. Knowledge helps you grow both on a personal and professional level. And, if you ask us, learning just feels good. There’s almost always an opportunity for you to go back to school if you want to learn even more. There are nursing degrees up to the doctorate level and plenty of continuing education courses.
- Scheduling is flexible: We said nurses work long hours; we just didn’t say when. Nurses have the flexibility to work night shifts or weekends. So, if you wish to maintain a work-life balance, meaning earning and spending time with your little ones, you can totally take up a night shift. Nurses who prefer a shorter shift can seek a 9-5 at a private practice or an even shorter shift (and summers off) at school. For those who can’t work full-time, there are plenty of part-time in-person and telemedicine job opportunities. You can always work from home and provide consultations to your patients.
- There are so many ways to specialize: With more than 100 nursing specialties, there’s something for everyone. So it’s not just about figuring out whether nursing is for you, but it’s also about finding the area of medicine that interests you the most, which can be anything like cardiology, critical care or pediatrics. All you’ll need is a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree, and a specialization course to pursue the job of your dreams.
“Why I chose nursing as a profession” is something you’ll likely never have to think about when you feel passionate about a career. That’s amazing in and of itself, to say the least. We know exactly how that goes because we feel the same sort of passion about making premium scrubs and supporting the healthcare community. We’re here to cheer on hardworking healthcare professionals every step of the way. Never forget, you’re real heroes!