Healthcare workers, and especially nurses, have always played a vital role in society, but never more so than today. Nurses have acted as the unsung heroes of the pandemic, saving lives and offering comfort throughout these dark days.
With so many people needing help, it should come as no surprise that plenty of former patients and family members have wound up forming connections with their nurses and wondering whether they, too, could be helping other people during this unprecedented time of need. Before applying to Nursing School, read on to find out what it takes to be a nurse and ensure this career path will be a good fit.
1. Compassion for Others
It’s common to hear nursing students cite a desire to help others as one of their key motivating factors, but it really goes beyond that. Nurses maintain not just an abstract desire to help but deep compassion for others, whether they’re patients or family members of those receiving care. Many of the skills required to become a great nurse can be learned, but compassion comes first on this list because it is largely an inherent trait.
2. Communication Skills
In most settings, nurses are expected to act as something of a bridge between patients and other healthcare providers, so good communication skills are crucial. On the one hand, nurses need to be able to communicate a patient’s status, including all kinds of relevant clinical information, to doctors and other care team members, filtering and condensing it to save them time. On the other, they must be able to explain sometimes complex medical conditions and procedures to patients in terms that are easy to understand.
3. A Love of Learning
The healthcare field is constantly changing, and like doctors, nurses are expected to stay up to date on the newest care trends, whether that means pursuing an advanced degree or simply attending ongoing training seminars. Nurses play a very hands-on role in providing patient care. As standards, technology, and expectations change, these healthcare professionals can expect to adapt to new roles, as well.
4. Ability to Work with Others
Although a nurse’s patients should always be the top priority, it’s also important that every nurse on a floor be able to work as part of a team. Experienced nurses don’t just provide care for patients. They also mentor newer hires, act as liaisons between doctors and other members of the healthcare team, and advocate for patients during hospital stays. The ability to work well with others can be seen as a key factor in determining whether someone will make a good nurse.
The Next Step
For those who are already sure that a career in nursing is the right path forward, the next steps are relatively simple, though not always easy. Start looking into nursing schools and filling out applications for an associate’s or bachelor’s degree program. Just like other healthcare providers, nurses must obtain a specialized education before they can start working with patients, so be prepared to spend some time in the classroom.