In Career Articles & Resources

Guest author: Julia Merrill, owner of Befriend Your Doc

If you were asked to picture a nurse, you’d probably imagine a woman. For the last several centuries, nursing has been a predominantly female field. However, this stereotype holds us all back. There is nothing that makes men any less capable of being an amazing nurse. Moreover, it’s an in-demand career field with high income potential. Don’t let dated ideas about gender in nursing stop you from exploring a career you could love.

If you’ve recently been laid off, or are simply considering a career change, nursing could be an excellent option. Explore the field while you up your professional branding with Career Resumes. You might just realize that it’s a perfect fit. But first, let’s breakdown how to become a nurse, as well as take a look at what a nurse does day-to-day.

How to Become a Nurse

To work as a nurse, you need to get certified. If you already have a bachelor’s degree, this is usually a relatively simple matter. Many nursing programs offer accelerated tracks for people with existing degrees. Even if you only have a few college courses under your belt, you can usually use that experience to get your degree a little faster.

If you have a full-time job, but you want to make a career change, you can look into online nursing programs. These offer a lot of flexibility, so you can schedule your coursework around your day job. Moreover, you don’t have to worry about gas, babysitting, and other costs you might have to spend for an in-person institution, meaning you’ll save money along the way.

Related: Get a Free Resume Critique and Tips on How to Create the Perfect Resume for a Nurse 

What Makes a Good Nurse?

You might be wondering: Do I have the skills to make a good nurse? First and foremost, you need to have a passion for helping others. Nurses administer much of the minute-to-minute medical care patients receive. You’ll work directly with people, giving them the care they need.

Working with people one-on-one means you also need to be patient and able to hold your ground. People simply aren’t at their best when they’re sick or injured. They might be snippy, uncooperative, or even downright mean. However, you still need to be able to foster trust and develop a relationship to ensure the best care. Nurses need both a soft heart and a thick skin to succeed.

We think of women as more naturally capable caregivers, but this is far from true. Men have just as much capacity for compassion and empathy as women. As far as the rest is concerned, dedicated study and first-hand practice is all you need to succeed.

What do Nurses Do?

A nurse’s daily tasks depend mostly on the kind of nurse and the setting. For example, an emergency room nurse is going to have a very different day than a nurse practitioner. Generally speaking, however, nurses do the physical work of medical care (as opposed to doctors, who diagnose and define treatment). This can mean taking vitals before an appointment, administering stitches for a wound, or managing medications for a long-stay patient.

Nurses don’t only work in hospitals and doctor’s offices. There’s also a booming need for nurses who can administer home care to disabled or elderly patients. These individuals can need assistance with everything from hygiene to physical therapy. An in-home nurse can be the difference between a happy life and a difficult one.

Finally, those interested in taking on an even bigger role in their patients’ lives can become a nurse practitioner. An NP performs many of the same duties as a doctor, although the scope of their authority depends on what state they practice in. If you’re interested in diagnostics, defining treatment, and developing a long-term relationship with your patients, becoming a Nurse Practitioner might be a good fit.

Nursing is an excellent career, and there’s high demand for new nurses. So many of us are looking for a new path. This could be the opportunity you’ve been waiting for.

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About the Author:

After numerous years in the medical field, Julia Merrill experienced the challenges that a lot of patients came across when dealing with their medical care. It’s her goal to bridge the gap between those who receive care and those who provide it. She created Befriend Your Doc to share tips she has developed to help patients be their own advocate in seeking medical care, dealing with insurance companies, and contributing to their own health and well-being.
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