Top 10 traits of nursing
Nursing is so much more than a collection of skills and knowledge that make up a job title. It is the choice to dedicate one’s life to helping others, and a complex fusion of traits, abilities and beliefs.
So what does it really mean to be a nurse?
Nursing is learning something new every day. It is the highs and lows of doing something incredible for someone else while constantly being at risk for self-mortification. It is the art form of constantly changing your plan based on the ever-shifting conditions of your patient, your environment and yourself.
Nursing is about giving someone else strength when they have none, and providing answers in a time of weakness and uncertainty. It is, above all else, about caring.
Top 10 traits of nursing:
Nursing is a permanent path of growth, experience, tragedy, adventure, happiness, collaboration, inspiration and amazement. In some ways, it is impossible to define what nursing really is, because it’s more than a career: It’s a way of life.
Three nursing skills that are best sharpened on the job
Nursing school is notoriously tough, with strict professors, hours of studying and plenty of on-site training. Still, there are certain things that nursing school alone simply can’t prepare you for. Sure, you’ll learn the basics in class, but there are some nursing skills that are best mastered while on the job.
The Nerdy Nurse is sharing three skills she thinks new nurses nail down once they’ve become a bit more seasoned. Here are the first two:
1.IV STICKS: Many hospitals have a policy that states that if the patient is admitted to an inpatient setting, then they are required to have IV access. Because of this, it is important that nurses who work the floor know how to perform a good IV stick. However, many nurses won’t learn how to properly insert an IV until well after they are out of nursing school. It’s not that nurses don’t study this skill, it’s just that you really have to practice IVs to become good at them. Even though labs offer simulation technologies and mannequins, it is no substitute for threading an IV catheter through the veins of a living and breathing person.
2.MAKING AN OCCUPIED BED: Making an occupied bed is a challenge no matter how long you have been a nurse. Hospital beds are awkward to make without a patient in them; adding a person of any size just magnifies the challenge. If you couple this with the rising obesity epidemic, then you have a real pickle on your hands. You have to learn how to clean the patient and tuck the clean sheets in a way so that you are removing the dirty without soiling the clean. Sometimes this takes rolling the patient over more than once. If at all possible, you usually want to avoid rolling the patient multiple times because it can be very uncomfortable to them. There are few things more annoying than soiling your fresh linens while changing the bed…if you happen to be in an isolation room, it’s even worse!
Is your nursing job right for you?
One of the most frequent questions I get from new nurses (or those about to be nurses) is “How do I choose a specialty?” Ten years ago, the advice to every graduating nurse was to not specialize too early in your career; instead, work on a general medical-surgical unit for a couple of years, then decide what you want to do.
I’ve never really bought into that advice, and I buy into it even less now. For one thing, med-surg is its own specialty. For another, the majority of hospitals, research centers and clinics want to be able to train (or fine-tune, in the case of experienced nurses) their nurses in their own ways. Nowadays (says Grandma Jo, sucking on her dentures), new nurses are expected to start out in a specialty, switching later if they want.
How do you figure out where you belong? And, more importantly, how do you figure out if your chosen specialty isn’t the best fit?
Let’s take that second question first. If it doesn’t excite you to think about all the cool stuff you’re going to learn every day when you get to work, if you don’t perk up your ears when some doctor starts lecturing his interns on a tricky case, if you dread having to re-up a certification, you’re in the wrong place. Just because you earn money doing something doesn’t mean you can’t get joy out of it. Heck, if you’re spending 36 hours a week doing that thing, it had better make you happier, or at least not make you more unhappy.
In that vein, then, think about what excited you most in school clinicals. That probably won’t be the area in which you felt most comfortable; instead, it’ll be the one that had you tipping your head to the side and engaging new parts of your brain. Think of the most interesting problems you had to solve—that’s a good clue to where you might belong.
Remember which nurses and doctors your personality meshed best with. ICU nurses tend to be OCD, while rehab nurses are some of the most patient people ever. Like-minded people gravitate to certain areas of medicine and nursing for a reason.
Finally, list your own strengths and weaknesses. If anxious adults put you on edge, stay away from the neonatal ICU. If you like seeing the same patients every day for weeks and getting to know them, don’t work in a day surgery center—look for a job in rehab.
If you love getting an adrenaline rush and doing something different every day, consider becoming an Air National Guard nurse, where you could care for patients being airlifted out of disaster-stricken areas or save lives in a field hospital in the aftermath of a hurricane. The Air National Guard also affords the ability for nurses to choose from many different nursing specialties which could be just the path to take for a nurse who’s yet “undecided.”
Being open to the possibilities can prove handy in the long run. Just ask the neuroscience-certified nurse I work with who used to run a podiatry clinic!