Does one absolutely need to be good under pressure and stress to be a pediatric nurse? If so, is it possible to improve how you handle pressure?
I am absolutely in love with working with children, as I have a part time job after school at an elementary school. I know that this is what I should do with my life. But, I have always been set on nursing and I am also totally in love with that. Pediatric nursing seems like the absolute perfect job for me and I feel so much excitement for this career. But, I am not very good under stressful situations and I can't handle gross things all that well. Should I consider another career path? Or is it possible for me to improve both of these obstacles?
I will be honest with you--when I started, I had an intense sympathetic gag reflex. What that means is that if I saw someone else gagging or throwing up, it would make *me* want to gag and throw up! Needless to say, I had some great mentors who showed me how to control these feelings. I even remember a nursing student who came through when I was a Pediatric Resident--this very nice young man wanted to work with kids, but had never held a baby before. So, we sat him down in the middle of the newborn nursery and had him hold and feed a baby for the first time!
As for the stressful situations, I'm sure you are thinking of codes or rapid responses--the things on TV that show emergencies and the nurses and doctors working at high speed to try and save someone's life. I can guarantee you that no one is born "good" in those stressful situations--they make everyone freeze up or want to run away or do something else equally unhelpful. This is a situation that you need training to manage. Training that your nursing program will give you! My nurses, my physician colleagues, and I have to re-certify in life-saving techniques every 2 years. The education is continuous!
So rest assured that by the time your patients are turning to you in their most stressful moments, you will be well-trained and part of a team that will be taking care of them. The most important first step is that YOU want to be there to do this job. Everything else will be learned.
You mentioned that you don’t handle gross things very well. As a nurse it’s impossible to avoid gross things. But I will tell you, nursing school helped me overcome my dislike of gross things. When you understand how the human body works, why the gross things are there, and how to deal with them it makes a big difference in what you can tolerate. That being said, every nurse has something that they can’t deal with. For me it’s surgery. I cannot watch any kind of surgery or intervention under anesthesia. It makes me feel faint and I have to get out of the room. So I work in an area of nursing that I don’t have to deal with surgery or anesthesia, and I love being a nurse! So, I’ve used a lot of words to tell you this one thing: find what you’re good at and enjoy doing, and pursue that as a career path. The field of nursing is huge! Nurses have a lot of choices in what aspect of nursing they want to do. If you try something and find that it’s not a good fit for you, there’s always something else to try.