Are you thinking about applying for a nursing program sometime in the near future? If so, you may want to perform a self-assessment before you pursue a nursing degree any further. Ask yourself this. “Am I prepared to handle all the tasks, pleasant and unpleasant, that nurses must put up with?”
During my time working closely with nurses in a hospital, I’ve discovered there are many things nurses must do that are disgusting, distressing, and outright unpleasant. If you aren’t the kind of person who can handle these kinds of situations you may want to explore other career fields.
Here are 6 questions you should ask before you apply to a nursing program.
Self experience. I worked in a hospital as a phlebotomist. I worked closely with the nurses and saw first hand what they had to do on a daily basis.
Do I like people?
This one might seem like a no brainer, but as a phlebotomist I’ve worked with a few nurses who seemed to have little compassion for the patients they were working with. If don’t like working with people, do not apply for a nursing program because you aren’t going to make a very happy nurse. In fact, if you don’t like people, I suggest avoiding the medical field altogether.
Can I deal with difficult people?
If you decided you do like working with people, you need to take that question one step farther. If you become a nurse, you will work with difficult people. While the majority of patients who enter a hospital are nice and easy to deal with, you will meet a fair share of people who make your job a hassle.
Some people are very negative. Some people will argue with you when you try to give them their treatment. Some people have even gone as far as ripping out IV’s and threatening their healthcare providers. Sometimes even the doctors in charge of the patients can make your job a headache. If you can’t put up with the occasional person that drives you up a wall, you shouldn’t become a nurse. But it you feel you can handle these difficult people, go ahead and apply for a nursing program.
Can I do unpleasant things to people? Can I handle the unpleasant things I will have to do?
As a nurse you will stick people with needles to draw blood. You will start IV’s to give people fluids. You will put nasogastric tubes down people’s noses. You will give throat swabs and nasal swabs, causing the patient discomfort. You will have to change dirty briefs. You will have to clean up vomit, feces, urine, and wound drainage. You will have to collect samples of said vomit, feces, urine, and wound drainage. You will clean out gaping wounds. If doing these things grosses you out, do not apply for a nursing program.
Can I pay close attention to detail and can I multitask?
People are depending on you to give them the right medications and correct treatments. Most nurses keep track of multiple patients during a shift. If you give the wrong medications to the wrong patient, the result can be deadly. If you don’t feel you can keep patients and medications straight, becoming a nurse may not be right for you. Attention to detail is very important because patients will be depending on you to give them the correct treatments.
Can I handle working 12 hour shifts?
A lot of hospitals and other nursing facilities have their nurses work 12 hour shifts. Some people love them, some people do not like working that long. It depends on your stamina and your ability to repeat doing the same things for half a day straight. Remember, while the 4 days off you will get are nice, you must earn those days off.
Can I cope with death?
While not all fields of nursing put up with dying patients on a daily basis, many do. If you work in a nursing home, hospice, the emergency room, the ICU, and even a regular hospital floor, you will almost certainly have patients die while you’re on staff. During the year I worked as a phlebotomist at a hospital I witnessed several people die, and not all of them were elderly patients. In healthcare, people will die. If you can’t cope with death very well, you probably shouldn’t apply for a nursing program.
Remember, nurses can make or break a patient’s experience at a hospital or other healthcare facility. If you can do your job well you will become an excellent nurse, a nurse a patient will enjoy having. If you feel you can be that kind of nurse you should apply for a nursing program. Patients will very much appreciate the great work you will do for them.
Self-experience. I worked in a hospital as a phlebotomist. I worked closely with the nursing staff on a daily basis.