Why Do You Want to Be a Nurse?

Why are you exploring the nursing profession? The most frequent answer to that question is “to help people,” which I’m quite sure also tells much of the story about why you became a paramedic. There’s always more to it than that, but the basic reason revolves around helping people.  Other reasons for exploring nursing probably involve making more money, working in a safer environment, having more knowledge and responsibilities as well as more opportunities for advancement and leadership.

All of those are quite true. They also come with greater sacrifices and expectations. It’s very important to understand this point before you jump into a nursing program. First there’s a long, challenging and time-consuming learning process. You have to be good at math and science. That includes algebra, statistics, chemistry and anatomy and physiology.  You have to be able to read at a tenth-grade level at the least, and be fluent in the language of the nursing program. In the U.S. that means English, both spoken and written language. Being bilingual is a plus!

Art and Science of Nursing

Nursing is an art as well as a science that requires strong critical thinking skills, the ability to make decisions on the fly and know when and how to delegate and supervise. You also need to be flexible and able to change directions and tasks on a dime and not collapse into total disarray. Nursing also works best in an atmosphere of team work devoid of bullying, resentments and jealousies. Team players will survive longer and advance further. They also make better managers and leaders.

Nursing skills take time to learn and hone. Sharing tips and techniques is encouraged and in the best of environments it’s mandatory. Nursing is a life-long learning experience and this concept should be embraced and welcomed by all.

Patient education is a huge part of what nurses do every day no matter where they work. Nurses pledge to do no harm with the Nightingale Pledge and must always be cognizant of the need to research what they don’t know and seek out colleagues who are more qualified to teach a subject.

Wide Variety of Opportunities

The beauty of becoming a nurse is the wide variety of opportunities available. Opportunities abound from the bedside to research to being nurse educators. Advanced education may be required, but experience counts too and for the willing, the opportunities are there to be taken.

With a looming threat of a mass exodus of baby boomers who will finally retire, nursing will provide long term employment for huge numbers of candidates for many years to come. That being said, new grads can struggle to find a job, but there are always openings to be had if the nurses are willing to relocate for a year or two. With experience and seniority, opportunities open up almost anywhere you want to live.  Your experience as a paramedic will also help to meet the needs of employers and offer you an advantage over a new nurse with little to no experience in the medical field.

The BSN Will Eventually Become Mandatory

One thing to keep under consideration is that the nursing field is moving more to a professional standard and one of these days a BSN (Bachelors of Science degree in nursing) will become the norm for entry level nurses. It has been a discussion for years, but it’s moving closer to becoming a reality. Studies have proven that mortality rates decrease when patients are cared for by BSN prepared nurses so the evidence fully supports moving in that direction. Go ahead and get an Associate degree (ADN) and then stay in school while you work as an RN. Get as much education as you can afford. Prepare for the best opportunities for a happy and successful career.

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