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How to become a good nurse?

#job #career

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Dan’s Answer

My advice to you is to find a job where you can work with people that need help in a nursing capacity.

This way you can see if you like this type of work and it will provide you the experience you need to be in the field. Maybe starting with volunteering, or an internship would be a good idea.

Nursing also has a lot of different levels that each have specific educational requirements you would want to take into consideration as well.

The career outlook for nurses is very good - They are in demand and they are paid well! Good luck!
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Tonya’s Answer

Great question Ngan.

There are three (3) elements to becoming a good nurse, and I will take it a step further to say, becoming a great nurse. The three (3) elements are caring, science, and life-long learning for self and to improve the health and wellness of others.

First, I want to define the word you used “becoming” because it means so much to your question. The word becoming means to be “suitable” and the verb is become with one meaning as “…change or development.” (Merriam-Webster, 2021). A nurse develops into a good and great nurse. As a result this takes time and is ongoing.

Before nursing school volunteering in healthcare settings where nurses work can introduce your mind to the what, how, why, when, who, and the where of nurses. For example what nurses know (knowledge), why we do what we do (rationale of actions, critical thinking, and teaching), and how we think and work as a member of the healthcare team (takes a team to care for patients/community). Then, yes the academic training. Remember, we are taking care of the lives of people/loved ones, and the community. As a result, there is hard work to acquire the knowledge nurses use in thinking and actions. Then after graduating from an accredited nursing school (American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 2021; Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (2021), pass the NCLEX nursing licensure exam (National Council of State Boards of Nursing, Inc. , 2021), and applying for a license in the state(s) the nurse would like to work, the three aspects I mentioned will remain.

*The caring element. When nurses care for others no matter where the patient/community is at their point of life, patients/communities know and can be inspired / motivated to improve their health, talk to the nurse about their health concerns, and change to healthy behaviors. The caring is putting others first to achieve their best health/wellness results. We also need to care for each other as nurses, and the future generation of nurses and healthcare professionals. This is one reason why I enjoy CareerVillage.org and my work as a nurse in different roles. We can also be great because nurses need to care for themselves. If nurses care for themselves, they will have the mind and energy to care for others.

*The science. As a nurse we are responsible to update our knowledge on a regular bases, in what is the latest in care for the patient including treatments/interventions, new diagnoses, wellness, world influences on health and wellness, how to communicate effectively, and how to work with teams. We need to know how medications work or do not work on different patients, what is best for one patient may not work as well for another patient. The science we use comes from research, what is the best evidence, and to understand why we do what we do, not just because that is how we have always done it.

*The life-long learning. Nurses need to read research, journal articles, attend classes/conferences, return to school for another degree, achieve certifications, learn from nursing organizations, and learn from each other and others in specialties (e.g. business field, human resources). If we stop learning, we can cause harm in not using the latest information to care for patients/community/ourselves and work with others.

Maintaining the three (3) elements with the focus on providing the best care for the patient/community, our colleagues, and ourselves, you can develop into a great nurse.

References:

*Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (2021). Search ACEN Accredited Nursing Programs.
http://www.acenursing.com/accreditedprograms/programsearch.htm

*American Association of Colleges of Nursing (2021). Find Accredited Programs. https://www.aacnnursing.org/CCNE-Accreditation/Overview-of-Accreditation/Find-Accredited-Programs

*Become (2021). Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/become

*Becoming (2021). Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/becoming#synonyms

*Gallup (2020). Nurses Continue to Rate Highest in Honesty, Ethics. https://news.gallup.com/poll/274673/nurses-continue-rate-highest-honesty-ethics.aspx

*National Council of State Boards of Nursing, Inc. (2021). https://www.ncsbn.org/nclex.htm
Thank you comment icon Hi Tonya - your advice is very insightful. Thank you for sharing your experience! Sheila Jordan
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Michelle’s Answer

Being a good nurse requires an extensive knowledge base, good organizational/prioritization skills and compassion/empathy. Many people say they become a nurse because they “want to help people.” In order to do this effectively, dedication to your studies is imperative.

A good knowledge of physiology/pathophysiology is required. These courses would be a required part of your nursing education. This will enable you to identify clinical issues and react to them appropriately. It will help you to better see the “big picture.” For example, knowledge of laboratory results can have an impact on what you monitor your patients for. Pharmacology knowledge (also part of nursing school) is also important so that you can safely administer medications and then monitor patients after passing their medications. In addition, new medications are often coming out, so it is absolutely necessary to remain updated on medications throughout your career.

Nurses have to be good at prioritizing tasks and time management. This often means finding ways to combine tasks. For example, education can be done with a patient while you have his/her attention during a dressing change (assuming it is one that is not traumatic for the patient, otherwise that would not be appropriate. This is just an example).

Nurses are often taking care of people who are going through a difficult time. This can mean interacting with patients and family members who are having various emotions or ways of dealing with what is going on. The patient may be having a difficult time with the “loss of control” over things. Sometimes the “difficult” patients need someone who is willing to provide empathy and listen.

Volunteering can provide exposure to people of various ages and backgrounds. This may help you to better empathize with people as a nurse and understand the challenges that may be faced after hospital discharge.

Good luck! Nursing is a challenging but very rewarding career.
Thank you comment icon Thank you Michelle, RN for sharing the many sides of nursing. Tonya Lawrence, PhD, MSN, RN, CNM
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