Starting a career as a registered nurse takes time, training, education, and sacrifice.
However, the reward of helping others in need may be well worth the effort.
Before beginning your journey to becoming a registered nurse, you must ask yourself some fundamental questions.
The following questions help determine whether becoming a registered nurse is right for you.
These questions mainly focus on bedside care jobs at hospitals and busy healthcare departments.
As a result, these questions may not apply to less stressful occupations like education, research, or non-bedside care jobs.
Can You Prioritize Patient Care at Challenging Times?
Working as a nurse means putting your patients before yourself in many cases.
Many hospital nurses work long hours (12-hour shifts) to support staff and patients with various medical needs.
It also means being understanding and stoic when you’re hungry or need to use the bathroom.
Working as a registered nurse requires consistent effort and selflessness, which is sometimes very exhausting.
The patient’s needs often come first when it comes to nursing because their lives are at risk.
As a result, you must understand that you may have to put off certain things to ensure patients receive adequate care.
You also have to understand what you can control and what you cannot because some situations will be out of your control.
In addition, you’ll work as a team to ensure everyone receives adequate care and the staff completes all the essential tasks.
You rarely have the luxury of having a set schedule, and things often change at a moment’s notice.
Therefore, you must prepare for your day to change from moment to moment.
It will save you a lot of aggravation when things don’t go quite as planned.
Can You Work Overtime, Weekends & Holidays?
Registered nurses often work long hours, weekends, and holidays.
Most hospital and emergency departments operate 24/7.
As a result, nurses must be available to accommodate the healthcare facilities’ needs.
Working long hours is difficult when you don’t want to labor longer than expected or need to cancel plans.
Not every healthcare facility requires nurses to work overtime or extended hours.
However, some facilities have additional demands regarding schedule flexibility and mandatory overtime.
Facilities where employees call out often or have staffing shortages, may need existing nurses to work additional hours.
Mandatory overtime may sound appealing for nurses who want to earn more money.
Regardless, it’s essential to understand that being a nurse means working when you want to rest.
Reasons Nurses Work Overtime:
- Staffing shortages
- Busy healthcare setting (high demand)
- Unexpected patient influx
You may work longer hours than expected if your hospital or healthcare facility is short-handed.
As a result, it’s essential to understand whether you’re willing to sacrifice your free time when these situations arise.
Nurse burnout is a real issue across various healthcare facilities and departments.
If the thought of working long hours, weekends, and holidays causes you to pause, you’ll want to consider if nursing is for you.
Not all positions, specialties, or employers require nurses to work long hours, weekends, or holidays.
Therefore, you may want to look into nursing domains that accommodate your work/life balance.
It includes working in education/schools, home health services, clinics, research, physician offices, or part-time job.
You can also work for adequately staffed hospitals and healthcare facilities, offering nurses a good work/life balance.
Are You Working Just For The Money?
Those who enter the nursing field purely for the money quickly find themselves unhappy or depressed.
In many cases, this leads to people quitting the nursing profession because the work doesn’t suit their interests.
Nursing is a high-demand profession requiring patience, time management, direct hands-on care, and overcoming emotional challenges.
As a result, it isn’t ideal for those who prefer a slow-paced environment, self-focused work, or fewer interpersonal interactions.
There are a lot of sacrifices nurses must make.
Some become registered nurses to help others with various medical issues.
Others join nursing because it offers an excellent salary but don’t realize the profession’s challenges.
Money plays a significant role in determining the careers of aspiring professionals.
Unfortunately, most people cannot prepare for the work involved in their careers due to a lack of adequate foresight.
According to various reports, approximately 20% of nurses quit their jobs due to stress, burnout, and overwhelm.
In addition, one-third of nurses plan to leave their jobs this year.
It isn’t to say that these nurses choose their jobs purely for money.
However, it indicates how difficult nursing is regardless of the financial incentives.
Helping others is gratifying and very rewarding. It’s why many nurses entered their profession.
Nevertheless, it’s essential to determine whether you want to be a nurse to help others or primarily make money.
A good question is whether you would consider nursing if the pay was much lower.
By taking money out of the equation, you can better determine your reason for becoming a registered nurse.
Are You Willing to Make Difficult Decisions?
Are you comfortable with making important decisions regarding the safety and health of your patients?
You’ll have to step up to the plate and make essential decisions as a registered nurse.
Physicians are leaders who diagnose patients, prescribe medications, develop treatments and make other big decisions.
However, there are times when a physician isn’t present, and the patient needs immediate medical assistance.
Being confident in your abilities and knowing when to be a leader as a nurse is vital.
If you don’t want to make critical decisions, you may want to reconsider working as a registered nurse.
You aren’t a physician or nurse practitioner, and there are limitations to your scope of practice.
Nevertheless, you must be comfortable being a leader when emergencies or complications occur.
It’s particularly true if you’re the senior nurse and have to support less experienced and trained nursing staff.
The longer you work as a nurse, the more tasks and responsibilities you may face.
As a result, you must be ready for situations that require you to take a leadership position.
You must also be confident in your abilities to lead and provide proper medical care to patients without oversight.
Are You Comfortable With Multitasking?
In registered nursing, multitasking is a regular part of the work culture.
Juggling paperwork, handling numerous patients, monitoring medical equipment, and assisting doctors and nurses are just a few responsibilities nurses must manage.
Managing these tasks day-to-day can lead to burnout among those who aren’t organized and timely.
As a result, you must be well-organized, focused, and able to concentrate on several different tasks simultaneously.
Without good multitasking, you’ll be less effective and efficient while feeling more stressed out at work.
In addition, you may have little time to rest, making it challenging to remain productive without a solid work plan.
As a nurse getting sufficient rest and recovery time is vital to perform your tasks effectively.
Registered nursing may not be for you if you cannot separate work and personal life, aren’t good at multitasking, or burn out quickly.
Is Becoming a Registered Nurse Right For You?
If you’ve answered these questions and still feel enthusiastic, then becoming a registered nurse may be perfect.
Registered nursing is a vast occupation offering countless options to provide medical care, education, and support.
From bedside care to research and education, there’s a reasonable chance you’ll find a career to accommodate your interests.
That said, finding a balance between helping others, enjoying work, and earning a good salary is necessary.
If you genuinely want to become a registered nurse, look at the different career opportunities available.
Then focus on the specializations that fit your personality and motivations.