Nursing is a noble profession. For as long as there have been sick people in the world, there has been a need for caring, compassionate nurses to take care of them. With today’s technology, medical science and nursing has made great advances. The medical field overall has progressed and as a result nurses have far more options to choose from when it comes to nursing practice. Nurses are no longer limited to working solely in a hospital setting or a doctor’s office. Many nurses have advanced degrees and can be found employed in a vast variety of specialty areas. Nursing Schools.Net cites at least 84 different areas in which a nurse can be employed.
If you are a nurse or involved in the medical profession it is not uncommon that your child may want to follow in your footsteps. If you are not involved in nursing you can still teach your child how to prepare for this profession. Some children may tell you at an early age that they want to be a nurse. Other children may not make this decision until they are in high school or even later. Whenever they talk about it, however, you need to listen and help them as much as you can as a parent to prepare for this important and exciting career. Here are ten things you can teach your child about nursing.
1. Teach them the importance of education. Be sure your child is in a curriculum that is geared towards advanced education. College preparatory courses in high school should include courses in science, biology and advanced mathematics such as algebra, English and physics. Your child will also need classes in chemistry, psychology and microbiology.
2. Have your child talk to other nurses. This is one of the best ways for them to get a sense of whether or not this will be a good career choice for them. A nurse can share the pros and cons of the profession in the specialty area where she works and answer questions your child might have.
3. Have them examine their motives for wanting to become a nurse. Your child needs to be realistic about any profession that involves itself so intimately in the lives of others. Although nursing can be a fairly stable, well-paying career, your child needs to look beyond the financial benefits of nursing. There must be an underlying heart for wanting to help others and to improve the lives of others.
4. Have your child research what a nurse’s duties consist of. A nurse has an abundance of job duties and not all are glamorous. For example, emptying bedpans or changing a dressing on an infected wound might not appeal to your child. For certain, the nursing profession is not boring. Essentially, a good nurse is a care provider, one who desires to achieve the comfort of her patient. A nurse’s duties are aimed to heal and help minimize the spread of disease. A nurse cares for not only the patient’s physical needs but their emotional needs as well and in some cases even their spiritual needs. A nurse’s education and experience helps her with no only the hands-on part of patient care but also prepares them to be a support for the patient and their family.
5. If your child is unsure whether or not they really want to be a nurse, they may choose to start with a Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) course or an LPN course. CNA courses are usually short, most being about three to six months in length. Once certification is obtained they can gain some hands-on experience in working directly with patiens so they can see if this career field will be a good fit for them. Some school systems actually offer your child an opportunity to take the CNA course while in high school with various work-study programs. You can check with your local school system to see if they have such a program available.
The most basic level of nursing itself is probably the Licensed Practical Nurse (also known as the Licensed Vocational Nurse or LVN in some states). To be an LPN your child will need at least 12-18 months of training after high school. Many LPNs work at this basic level of nursing while they continue their education to become a Registered Nurse.
6. Become-A-Nurse-Now.com lists compassion, patience and confidence as three specific character traits for being a nurse. A nurse also must be able to carry out the doctors’ orders and be organized, efficient and dependable. Be aware that not all children will grow up to be a nurse. Each child has his own gifts and abilities. As you observe your child as he grows you will see the character traits he possesses. Allow you child to be what he is meant to be. If you push him to become a nurse (and unfortunately, many parents do this unwittingly), your child may be unhappy in the profession. It is important to guide and encourage your child in their choice of a career but be sure they choose nursing because they desire it.
7. Your child should plan to do general hospital nursing before they branch out to a specialty area of nursing. Most employers will require that they have at least a year or two of basic hospital nursing experience before they can progress beyond this foundational level. General nursing practice must come before the specific.
8. Teach your child that nursing is not a gravy job. Although today’s nurses can make a good salary, it is not a passive job. There are times when long hours will be expected. Regardless of what area of nursing they work in, their work will be physically and mentally demanding. When dealing with the lives of others, the nurse should be self-sacrificing, always desiring to do what is best for the needs of the patient. A good nurse puts their own personal needs as secondary when they are caring for their patients. Work hours may require late evenings or even midnight shifts.
9. Teach your child that their career choice as a nurse will help reduce the nursing shortage. Nursing Advocacy.org discusses many reasons for the existent shortage of nurses. Many employers now offer flexible hours for nurses to help keep positions filled. This is beneficial as it allows the nurse to attend school school or care for their family in addition to fulfilling their role as a nurse. If your child chooses to be a nurse, regardless of the specialty area she chooses, she will be helping to fill an important need.
10. Teach your child that being a nurse is what they are, not what they do. In most cases, nursing is a calling. They will always be a nurse whether they are actively employed as one or not. They will always be driven to help relieve the suffering of others whenever or wherever they see the need.
City Town Info Career Search: “How to become a registered nurse”
Nursing Schools.Net: “Nursing profiles”
The Center for Nursing Advocacy: “What is the nursing shortage and why does it exist?”