Are you trying to decide whether to go to nursing school? If you’ve ever wondered “why become a nurse” then read on – I share my entire story!
Why Become a Nurse?
There’s always that one question on every college application. “Why do you want to become a nurse?” It’s asked the first day of nursing school, and again in every single job interview. I don’t think I really had a good reason as to why I wanted to be a nurse until recently. You’d think it’d be the other way around, right?
This Is Why I Became A Nurse
I wasn’t one of those people that always knew what they wanted to do with their lives. I didn’t know what path to take freshmen year of college and didn’t have this burning in me to become something specific. I envied those that did. My friends that knew they wanted to be a teacher, a pilot, a CPA, a doctor, etc., all had a passion for it and nothing else would satisfy their professional urge.
Oh, you guys make me sick. And proud. But mainly sick.
I Didn’t Always Know I Wanted To Be A Nurse
I was very aware of the need to make a decision, quickly, about the path I was going to take regarding my career, but painfully unaware of which path I wanted to take. Sound like you? Sucks, doesn’t it?
If you are one of those people who just knew within you which career was for you, please consider that a blessing, gracefully given to you. Please be thankful for that. The rest of us are out there, trying not to go into financial ruin, attempting to figure out what we should do with the rest of our lives. You’ll notice a lot of nurses are in the field as a second career.
It’s OK To Become A Nurse Because You Need A Job
Loving your career is something not everyone is blessed enough to be able to enjoy. Many work to make a living, to provide, and not to simply do what they love and somehow get paid for it.
It’s just part of life that not everyone gets to do. Being aware of that fact humbles me whenever I am tempted to hate my job. I think about that when I’m cleaning a particularly poopy patient or being yelled at for not getting someone’s pain meds fast enough. Some parts of this job suck, but there are some parts that are so unbelievably rewarding, I am awestruck that I am this privileged and blessed.
Why Become A Nurse: Job Security
I went into nursing not sure if that was for me, but because of the job security, solid and consistent paycheck right after graduation, and degree that it offered, I was going to stick with it for quite a while before I would reassess to see if I was going to be one of those lucky people who got to love going to work every day.
Nursing school, as I am sure you are keenly aware, was rough. I got through it though and started working as an RN in a larger hospital. I discovered I was kind of good at it too. I don’t like to give myself too much credit, but when a sweet old lady grabs your hand, gives you a huge smooch, and says that you’re a good nurse.. you can’t tell her she’s wrong.
(Thanks to you, the sweetest lady I’ve ever met. I will never, ever forget that.)
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I’m Just An Average Person
I consider myself a pretty average person. I’m not super technical and business-minded, like some of my successful friends. I’m not very creative and artistic, like some of my other successful friends. I am somewhere in the middle. I thought that meant I was basically not going to be good at anything because I didn’t have any particular talents like many of my gifted friends. (Getting sick here again..)
An Average Person Makes A Fantastic Nurse
In this life of averageness, I noticed that it was kind of a great recipe for a fantastic nurse. You have to have an awareness and knowledge of technical things (equipment, medications, diagnoses, and conditions, etc.) because clearly, that is important to practice safe patient care.
However, there is this side of nursing that is definitely not technical or in nursing textbooks. It’s not black and white like you want everything to be during school, so you can just get a 100% on your exams.
Succeed In The Grey Areas
There is a lot of grey in nursing. Having wisdom, grace, and discernment in terrible situations isn’t something that everyone carries within them. Not everyone can explain complex medical conditions to a crying patient. Compassionate care is something we assume all nurses, because they are nurses, do. Once you get out there, you’ll realize that is not the case.
It is in this grey blend of the black of nursing (technical stuff) and the white of nursing (creative/social/emotional) in which the good nurses live. They know enough technical stuff to be safe and efficient. They have enough social, emotional, and creative awareness to make their patients feel safely cared for, and how to get things done for them efficiently.
What Makes A Fantastic Nurse
You know great nurses when you see them. They’re freaking rock stars. They’re the ones that can take on a heavy patient load, be charge nurse, but somehow be on time with everything. They’re ones that know when they need to drop everything and be therefore a patient during a really rough moment. They’re the ones that patients request to have. They’re the ones with whom you, and your patients, feel safe.
The Black, White, and Greys of Nursing
It’s hard to figure out what’s important when you’re new. I didn’t know what to freak out about and didn’t know what to not care about. Nursing school is about the black of nursing, the technical stuff. You have to care about everything. You need to know how to not get sued; you need to know the “right” way to do everything.
Once you master this in your first year as a nurse, you’ll get to be more aware of the white of nursing. Once you’ve been there for a patient who has an emotional breakdown after getting more disappointing news, or when they’re sad because no one visits, or once you’ve sat with a family right after the doctor told them their loved one is dying, you’ll see that white side.
Once you’ve seen and walked on that white side, you can blend to grey. You know when you need to just get everything done, but you know which patients need extra time. You’ll know how to support and educate a patient on getting a certain important test done that they’ve been refusing, but still get all your meds passed and round with all of the doctors. You’ll become the one that other nurses look to for guidance.
And you’ll go from being an average, not-so-good at anything person to the nurse that patient will never forget because you really came through for them when they needed you the most… you freaking rock star, you.