Being a Nurse can be a wonderfully fulfilling career that comes with a good salary.

However, nursing is a tiring challenge that takes a tremendous amount of dedication.

Helping those who are sick, hurt, or on the verge of death is part what being a nurse is about.  You tend to people’s needs in attempt to bring them back to a healthy condition.  You monitor a patient’s symptoms and educate them on how to improve their condition.  You console you patient and their family.  You are the strong light in the night that guides them through difficult times.  And for all of this, being a nurse usually means getting a pretty decent salary too.

But it is not all glory.  Sometimes your emotions are tested as the sick get sicker and there is nothing you can do to help them.  There are patients that just don’t want to be helped, and are aggressive or mentally disturbed and can put you in dangerous situations.  You deal with volatile substances like disease-ridden blood or radioactive materials.  You work long hours on your feet trying to maintain a certain level of sanity from the bombardment of information for the several patients under your care.  No, it is not all fuzzy bunnies and kittens if you are to be a nurse.

You can tailor your career to your interests.

There are a plethora of choices when it comes to being a nurse.  There are so many specialties and advancement opportunities that it would take far too much to list them all here.   You should be able to find an area of interest to you and pursue your dream.  And if those interests happen to change over time, you can always shift into a new specialty.  Sometimes this shift takes as little as a certificate course only a few weeks long.  There are even travel nursing opportunities so if you don’t like to hang around the same place for too long, you have options.

You are a very complex creature, ready for action at the drop of a heart monitor.

Physical Activity:
This profession requires a bit of physical aptitude and resilience.  Being a nurse means a lot walking.  You may be walking or standing your entire 12 hour shift.  You will also need to be able to move and adjust patients into various positions for treatment reasons or just to bathe them.  You may even need to restrain patients at times.

Strong Stomach:
Blood and guts are the norm in being a nurse.  You need a strong stomach because sometimes what you see and do require you not to get timid or queasy.   You will deal with all the bodily fluids from blood to saliva to fecal matter.  You will be pushing sharp needles into veins and standing in the operating room looking over someone’s exposed inner organs.  This is not for someone faint of heart.

Critical Thinking:
Being a nurse means you must be intelligent.  You will be dealing with scientific processes and calculating drug measurements.  You use both the standard and metric measurement systems.  A nurse must also be organized and good at multi-tasking.  Sometimes you have 10 patients under your care and you must keep all the information straight.  You need to be able to know when things are fine or when the patient is in trouble and the doctor needs to be called.

You must have a perception to see subtle changes or to know when the patient isn’t telling you the whole story.  Can you see when something out of the ordinary is going one with people?  Some people are stoic and wont tell you when something hurts them, other scream in agony when there is the slightest pain.  Being a nurse means observing these situations and knowing how to respond.

Communication is a huge part of being a nurse.  You must speak with doctors to clearly explain, usually in technical terms, the patient’s condition.  You will need to understand and be able to act on direction from the doctor, or other supervisor.  A nurse must speak in layman’s terms to the patients to advise them of the situation and comfort them.  You will be passing information on to coworkers at the end of your shift, and getting information from them at the end of theirs.  All of this communication must be clearly understood and retained.

A nurse sees people when they are feeling their worst, and thus are not always cordial.  Being a nurse means not loosing control of your emotions when someone gets confrontational.  Your emotions will be tested as the very sick die in your arms or those who have no chance, come back and defeat their illness.  You must be strong to help the patient feel secure in their treatment and comfort their emotional roller coaster.

Patients come to you with their most intimate information in what can be the most frightening time of their life.  Being a nurse means you need to be compassionate and understanding of their needs.  Even if you don’t like a person’s character, you must provide them with care and allow them to keep their dignity.  It isn’t just about the patient either.  A nurse will also be compassionate toward the family members, as their life is also in turmoil.

Without passion for taking care of people, you will be unable to keep coming back for more.  You must desire to make a difference and help people get well.

You are here to help.

Being a nurse is full of complexity, dedication, and never ending challenges.  You are rewarded when the ill are able to go home healthy.  You are saddened when they don’t go home.  A nurse is a critical thinker with sleuthing observation skills.  And you are passionate about caring for those who are in dire need of assistance.

What Does Being a Nurse Mean To You?