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What are some things I should know about becoming a Registered Nurse?

how are typical days in this career path?
what are some emotional things i should know and prepare for?

+25 Karma if successful
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Subject: Career question for you

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Kathy’s Answer

Becoming a Registered Nurse (RN) involves important considerations. Here are some key points to know:

1. Education and Licensure: Obtain a nursing degree (usually a Bachelor of Science in Nursing) and pass the national licensing exam to become a registered nurse.

2. Diverse Roles: RNs work in various healthcare settings, including hospitals, clinics, schools, and home healthcare. They provide direct patient care, administer medications, assist in surgeries, educate patients, and more.

3. Continuous Learning: Nursing is a dynamic field, requiring ongoing learning and professional development to stay updated with advancements and maintain licensure.

4. Demand and Job Outlook: RNs are in high demand due to a growing aging population and healthcare needs. The job outlook is generally favorable, with ample opportunities for specialization and career advancement.

Regarding a typical day as an RN, it can vary depending on the setting and specialization. Common activities include assessing patients, administering medications, collaborating with healthcare teams, documenting patient information, and providing emotional support.

Emotionally, nursing can be rewarding but also challenging. Some aspects to prepare for include witnessing patients' pain, dealing with loss or difficult situations, managing stress and long working hours, and maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Self-care and seeking support from colleagues and mentors are crucial for emotional well-being.

Remember, nursing is a fulfilling profession that allows you to make a positive impact on people's lives.
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Dr. Wendy’s Answer

Nathan
Becoming a Registered Nurse (RN) is an exciting career choice that requires dedication, compassion, and a commitment to providing quality healthcare. Here are some important things you should know about pursuing a career as an RN:

1. Education and Licensure: To become an RN, you'll typically need to complete a nursing program. There are different educational paths you can take, such as a diploma program, an associate degree in nursing (ADN), or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). After completing your program, you'll need to pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to obtain your nursing license.

2. Job Responsibilities: As an RN, your responsibilities may include providing direct patient care, administering medications, monitoring patient vital signs, assisting with diagnostic tests, collaborating with other healthcare professionals, educating patients and their families, and coordinating patient care.

3. Specialization Options: Nursing offers a wide range of specialization options, such as pediatric nursing, critical care nursing, psychiatric nursing, geriatric nursing, and many more.. You can choose to specialize in a particular area based on your interests and career goals. I currently work as a professor at a school of Nursing and have a career in clinical informatics that includes analyzing data and coding.

4. Continuous Learning: Nursing is a dynamic field, and it's essential to stay updated with advancements and new practices. Continuing education and professional development are crucial to enhance your knowledge and skills as an RN. Many nurses pursue advanced degrees, such as a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) or Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (Ph.D), to expand their career opportunities.

5. Work Settings: RNs can work in various healthcare settings, including hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities, home healthcare agencies, schools, air transport companies, surgery centers, community health centers, software and device vendors. Each setting offers unique challenges and opportunities, allowing you to explore different aspects of nursing.

6. Shift Work and Flexibility: Nursing often involves shift work, including evenings, weekends, and holidays. The healthcare industry operates around the clock, so you may be required to work different shifts. However, this can also provide flexibility in scheduling and the opportunity to choose shifts that suit your lifestyle.

7. Emotionally Demanding: Nursing can be emotionally demanding, as you'll be dealing with patients facing illness, pain, and difficult situations. It's important to develop emotional resilience and self-care strategies to maintain your well-being.

8. Communication and Interpersonal Skills: Effective communication is crucial in nursing. You'll interact with patients, their families, and various members of the healthcare team. Developing strong interpersonal skills will help you provide compassionate care, advocate for patients, and collaborate effectively with colleagues. I suggest taking opportunities to learn these skills from a variety of sources; start with the internet.

9. Regulatory Standards and Ethical Considerations: Nursing is governed by regulatory standards and ethical guidelines. It's important to adhere to these standards to ensure patient safety, maintain professional integrity, and provide quality care. There are also a variety of professional associations, such as American Nurses Association (ANA) that offers practice and policy guidance, opportunities for specialization certification, and organizational programs.

10. Rewarding Career: Despite the challenges, nursing can be an incredibly rewarding career. The opportunity to make a positive impact on the lives of patients and their families, the ability to provide care and support during times of vulnerability, and the satisfaction of being part of a healthcare team are some of the aspects that make nursing a fulfilling profession. Salaries vary depending on level of education, state, organization, and specialty.

Typical days depends upon the setting., as Kathy indicated.
I also echo the comments of John.

If you feel this is the right path for you, just know that you have a variety of options, I'm certain there is one that you are sure to love! Best of Luck!
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John’s Answer

Nathan - You have asked a series of questions, but I will address this one as I think it may be the most relevant to what you are actually looking for with your queries. I have answered a similar question here several months ago and I'm going to use most of that response here.

I want to be encouraging here, but also honest, so here goes....

Nursing is a field that can be variable with respect to schedules, experiences, working conditions, and challenges. After 25 years as a nurse in ER's, ICU's, and now working in the disability insurance world, I can tell you that I've almost never been bored. There are lots of times when we work short handed because staffing is a challenge. There are days when patients, families, or visitors can be verbally or even physically abusive. There will be times when you feel put upon by your employer because they will always want you to do more with less.

But...... There will be times when you are a part of life entering the world, or have the opportunity to support families as their loved one exits this world. It can be profound and humbling and there may be days when you are light as a feather and feel like the world is full of possibilities. There will also be days when you will question humanity and your place within it. There is no end to what you can experience in the role and if you want to be a part of living life and not just observing it, then nursing is a great way to go. Having friends in the field or a partner who does similar work can be very helpful as it will make communicating about your experiences and feelings much easier.

Always remember this - advocate for yourself. Your employer will not look out for you, so be sure you negotiate for salary and benefits, as well as the schedule you prefer. You may not get everything you want, but you should always ask.

Finally.... There's a great Jimmy Buffett song called, "He Went To Paris" and it recalls the life of an old man. One of the lines is about how the man describes his life to a younger person and it goes, "Some of it's magic, and some of it's tragic, but I had a good life all the way...". I'm not sure anything better captures the role of a nurse. Hopefully your journey will be filled with more of the good than the bad - it's why most of us are still here.

Best of luck to you. Enjoy the ride.
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