Questions to Ask Before Becoming a Nurse

To work effectively, nurses must overcome numerous mental, emotional, and physical stresses. As a result, they must ask themselves vital questions to ensure they pick the proper discipline.

If you are interested in nursing, it’s essential to understand your daily responsibilities and capabilities.

It enables you to pick a specialization that adequately suits your personality, skillset, and interests.

For instance, general registered nurses spend their days providing direct patient care.

These specialists work with other nurses and physicians to manage various illnesses, injuries, and diseases.

On the other hand, legal nurse consultants provide consulting services to attorneys and legal institutions.

As a result, they operate in a non-bedside care career, determining the legitimacy of legal-medical claims.

Answering the following questions will help you determine whether nursing is the right career.

It will also help you determine which career field best accommodates your wants and needs.

Mental Questions

You will deal with various psychological stresses in your daily routine as a nurse.

As a result, you must have the right mindset and attitude to manage patients and healthcare situations effectively.

Here are some questions to help you determine whether you will be comfortable with these psychological stresses.

Do you Enjoy Regular Interaction?

As a registered nurse, you must have good interpersonal skills and communicate regularly with patients and coworkers.

The interaction you have with colleagues will vary depending on the career field you enter.

For instance, registered nurses typically work at hospitals with various staff and patients requiring immediate care.

You must be comfortable with unexpected situations, taking on specific responsibilities and leadership/support roles.

You must also know how to communicate patient care, medical terminology, and the social aspects of hospital care.

On the other hand, nurse educators focus on the academic aspects of healthcare.

They provide education and instruction at colleges, universities, and clinical settings,

As a result, their communication specializes in academia and teaching. 

Finally, research nurses study new medical equipment, drugs, and other healthcare areas to provide advice and advance healthcare systems.

Clear and effective communication is necessary to advance in these domains.

However, you’ll succeed more by picking a domain whose communication style matches your personality.

Do you Work Well with a Team?

Registered nursing is a team-oriented career that requires communication, delegation, and role assignment.

As a result, you’ll often find yourself in close quarters with other nurses and medical professionals.

Therefore, having a team-oriented mindset to approach and handle specific tasks will be essential.

Working with a team goes beyond simply communicating with them.

You’ll have to coordinate tasks, observe team members, and take the lead on projects or tasks that require your skills.

If you prefer a non-team-oriented setting, a slower-paced education/research-focused specialization may be more suitable.

Are you Passionate About Healthcare?

As a registered nurse, you’ll educate patients about how to treat and improve their medical conditions.

You’ll also collect information, administer medications, assess, prioritize and treat patient conditions.

In busy settings, nurses must manage multiple patients simultaneously and perform various medical tasks.

As a result, you must be passionate about healthcare and enjoy working in these hectic environments.

Nurses who prefer non-direct bedside care jobs may want to specialize in other areas of nursing.

Do you Have Good Organizational Skills?

Nurses must keep track of the various tasks they perform daily.

Organizing medical records, managing multiple medical conditions, and administering medications are just some of the responsibilities nurses must satisfy.

They must also coordinate with team members, monitor medical gear/equipment, and keep paperwork organized and accessible.

A lack of organizational skills will complicate work, slow down team members, and make it challenging to stay on track.

Can you Work Well in Stressful Situations?

Some nursing fields are highly stressful and time-specific.

For instance, ER and critical care nurses provide timely medical care in emergencies.

They work with patients experiencing life-threatening illnesses, psychological disorders, or physical injuries.

As a result, they must be well-organized, team-oriented, mentally focused, and emotionally stable. 

They must also manage unexpected stressful events efficiently and effectively.

Allowing stress to overwhelm their ability to provide emergency care puts the patient’s health at risk.

Can you Manage Time Effectively?

Time management is crucial skill nurses must possess.

Working on time, juggling multiple patients, performing medical tasks promptly, and handling essential responsibilities will be extremely important in specific departments or fields.

Time efficiency is essential for managing tasks and ensuring team members can rely on you and complete assignments.

Do you Have Good Listening Skills?

As a nurse, many distractions can interfere with your listening ability.

For example, thinking about a previous patient or personal issue, distractions from other team members, hospital noises, and emotional distractions can all affect a nurse’s ability to listen effectively.

Therefore nurses need to learn how to turn out the external and internal noises and focus on the tasks and patients at hand.

A good listener can help nurses correctly identify a patient’s medical condition, effectively communicate with team members, identify potential medical errors, manage daily tasks, and better understand their responsibilities.

Therefore, excellent listening skills are an essential asset in the medical field.

Can you Manage Multiple Tasks Effectively?

In some career fields, nurses are expected to handle multiple tasks regularly.

In these cases, a nurse does not have the luxury of sitting down and working on paperwork for an hour or talking to a single patient for an extended time.

You may have to manage several patients, keep track of medical records, perform various medical tasks, assist other team members, and manage other nurse-related functions in one hour.

Are you OK with Conducting Regular Research?

Not all fields within the nursing field deal directly with patient care.

Suppose you are interested in becoming a nurse attorney, blogger, historian, or researcher, for example.

In that case, you may spend long hours reviewing medical papers, researching documents and medical histories, writing a synopsis, and performing other writing/reading-intensive work.

Emotional Questions

One of the most commonly overlooked parts is understanding nurses’ regular emotional responsibilities.

Dealing with patients you’ve become attached to, managing interpersonal conflicts in the workplace, and being a leader when you train newer colleagues are just some of the emotional areas you’ll have to triumph. Here are some questions to ask when dealing with the emotional components of nursing.

Can you Lead Team Members?

As a nurse, you may have to be the leader, not just a follower.

When you are faced with situations where you’ll have to take the lead on performing specific tasks or are responsible for teaching new nurses their responsibilities and how to work effectively, will you be comfortable with leading?

Do you Handle Conflict Well?

As a nurse, your responsibility often lies in ensuring that patients are adequately taken care of and treated.

In some situations, you may be faced with working alongside others who have different views or opinions.

Therefore, putting your differences aside and working together to complete the task will be extremely important in the workplace.

In situations where you may not resolve an issue with a coworker, handling the case can be extremely important.

Will you talk to human resources or your manager to resolve the conflict, lash out at your coworker, or find another way to handle the situation?

Does Bodily Fluid Bother You?

This one is pretty self-explanatory. However, if the thought of handling blood, urine, vomit, feces, or other bodily fluids sounds like something you’d have trouble dealing with, you may want to think about what nursing field may be right for you.

Can you Stay Emotionally Stable in Emergencies?

If you work in a setting with severely ill or injured patients, you’ll have to be able to deal with situations that can be very difficult emotionally.

One of the best feelings a nurse can have is helping the patients they care about.

However, this is not always going to be the case.

Being able to handle yourself when there is little you can do emotionally is very important for your mental health and ability to do your job correctly.

Can You Manage Emotionally Challenges?

In nursing, it may be hard for nurses not to get emotionally attached to their patients, especially if they’ve developed a long-term bond with them or if their patient reminds them of someone they care deeply about.

In many cases, that relationship will eventually end due to patients recovering from their medical ailment, passing away, or simply moving to another location.

How well you cope when a relationship ends or when you have little control over improving the health of a patient you care about can significantly impact your ability to stay positive and effective in the workplace.

One of the most incredible presents of being a nurse is being able to help others.

However, there will be times when you’ll face emotional situations that you’ll have to deal with, whether you want to or not.

Do you Have a Lot of Patience?

The nursing profession requires a lot of patience.

Whether you’re working as a forensic nurse talking to victims/witnesses and gathering information or as a registered nurse talking to your patients to understand their condition, you may find yourself spending lots of time on specific tasks that require lots of patience and understanding.

If you work for a nursing home or rehabilitation center, you will have to adjust to a much slower pace of care than you may be used to.

Excellent listeningcommunication to providing quality patient care in the medical field.

Are you in it For the Money?

You may have good intentions and want to help people.

However, it is essential to be realistic about your reasons for becoming a registered nurse and the sacrifices you’ll have to make in your daily work.

The emotional, mental, and physical requirements can be overwhelming.

In addition, if your primary motivation is financial, you may quickly lose interest in the nursing field.

Every career (especially nursing) requires a certain level of emotional interest.

Otherwise, you will find it challenging to continue doing it over the long run, so make sure that your reason for becoming a nurse is because you genuinely want to work in the field rather than for financial gains.

Physical Questions

Aside from the mental and emotional components of nursing, you’ll also have to deal with your physical demands.

Here are some questions to better clarify what you’ll have to deal with physically as a nurse.

Can you Work Long Hours and Nights?

Some nursing fields and departments may require nurses to work long hours. As a nurse, you could find yourself working 10 – 12 hour shifts, and in some cases, you may also be asked to work overtime several times a week, especially in areas dealing with a nursing shortage.

Beyond that, some nursing fields require staffing 24 hours a day, and you may be required to work morning, noon, and night shifts.

If you work for a department or healthcare center that requires this sort of flexibility, are you comfortable working these hours?

Can you Handle Physically Demanding Activities?

Nurses are often required to spend long hours walking on their feet as they move from one room to another or one patient area to the next.

In addition, answering calls, coordinating with other team members, handling medical equipment, and moving between the work and patient areas may be everyday tasks, so you may spend more time on your feet than sitting down.

Are you Comfortable Moving People?

Moving patients is a common task within some areas of nursing.

Helping patients on/off a bed or wheelchair, moving patients around so they can be cleaned, allowing them to walk around, and assisting them with other physical tasks may be primary areas of your work.

Can you Move Heavy Equipment Regularly?

In addition to moving patients, you may also have to carry medical equipment regularly that can weigh 30 lbs. or more.

Some equipment may have wheels that can be easily moved, while others require you to lift and carry it around.

If you have a bad back, legs, or feet, then having to handle heavy equipment all the time may create problems.

Note: As mentioned earlier, not all nursing areas will have the same mental, emotional or physical demands, so depending on the area you plan on working in, some of these questions may/may not apply to you.


As you can see, the daily responsibilities and tasks nurses face can be stressful on a mental, emotional, and physical level.

Therefore, it is essential to understand what you’ll have to do as a registered nurse and decide what nursing field you may be most interested in working in.

Every field offers its demands and requirements, so make sure you choose wisely and pick a career you can see yourself doing long-term.

For example, if you love working with patients, you may prefer to work in an available position at a hospital, school, healthcare center, or nursing home.

However, if you prefer working alone or outside of a healthcare facility, you may want to consider another specialty.

For example, you can become a nurse attorney nurse, nurse educator, or nurse entrepreneur.

Many career opportunities exist for those who want to join the nursing community.

Therefore, take your time and choose wisely.