10 Things You Should Know Before Becoming a Nurse

Having a career in nursing is very rewarding.  When you have made a difference in someone’s life there is nothing like it.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects employment in nursing will increase 26 percent between 2010 and 2020, this is faster than the average for all other classifications.


Before you sign up for your online MSN program, you need a clear picture of what to expect as it helps with your focus during your studies.  Here are 10 things you should know before becoming a nurse.

1.  Nursing is tough and demanding work.  When you first get started you are not likely going to start in your preferred specialization.  Long 12 hours shifts are normal.  If you live in an area that has a lot of snow, when everyone else is getting a snow day, you have to be at work.

2.  Ask any experienced nurse and they will tell you that they have experienced it all.  They have been thrown up on, cleaned up soiled bedding and patients, been spit on, even struck by patients.

3.  Having a caring nature is important, but not as important as critical thinking and good communication skills.  You must be able to understand drug treatments, interactions, and dosages.  You must also be able to understand non-verbal communication as clearly as written and verbal.

4.  Though there are negatives, the rewards are priceless.  There are those patients who you will have cared for and comforted during a long stay at a hospital, battling cancer.  There will also be however, the indigent who haven’t bathed in weeks, the drug addicts who are difficult to handle either because they are high or because they are detoxing.

5.  No matter the specialty, there will be stress.  Even in pediatrics, you will have moments that you will wonder why you ever went into nursing.  Imagine for a moment that you are treating a child with a broken arm that they got “falling down the stairs” that you know is a victim of child abuse, and standing in front of you is the abuser.  You know it in your gut, but you must treat the patient and communicate with the abuser with the same consideration that you would any other patient’s family member.

6.  If you don’t like the sight of blood, vomit, etc. don’t worry, you will develop a high tolerance, but if you can’t handle stress and long hours, no matter how much you want to help people this may not be the career for you.

7.  A good support system is important such as the American Nursing Association.  Developing good relationships with those you work alongside is important.  You will need support and you must be able to work with others in difficult situations.

8.  Understanding the care patients may require, but also being able to balance care with costs is part of the critical thinking mentioned before.

9.  Ongoing education will make all the difference in your career as a nurse.  You must stay abreast of the most current treatments, advancements on medicines and drug protocols, as well as staying on the forefront of medical technology.

10.  The rewards are worth the long and stressful work.  Being there for people during difficult and often painful times is rewarding.  Caring for those that need your skills and knowledge is priceless.

No matter the specialty, becoming a nurse is difficult.  However, with the right knowledge and understanding of this challenging and rewarding career you can experience the benefits and satisfaction of knowing you are doing something vital for others.