Words of Wisdom for the nurse to be

Nursing is a booming field which is understaffed by an estimated 600,000 by the year of 2012.  Even with the uncertain landscape of healthcare there will always be a tremendous need licensed personnel to care for patients when the doctors are not at the bedside.  As a nurse for 15 years, I have noticed that there are certain traits and characteristics that make a great nurse.  Here are 3 characteristics that I think are most important.

            The first important trait is thirst of knowledge.  Knowledge is king in the health care field – knowing things from the latest techniques in cardiac surgery to the reactions of certain medications is vital to the patients well being and your ability to perform your job at maximum capacity.  It is also this thirst of knowledge that will drive a nurse to obtain certifications, degrees, and specializations that will pay dividends later in their career.

            Practical reasoning is another vital trait in nursing.  I went to school with someone that was extremely book smart and actually tutored other students before the exams.  After graduating nursing school with a virtually perfect score she was offered a nursing job in any area in the local hospital.  Within a year she quit and moved to another state after transferring to 4 different areas within the hospital.  The reason for her departure was that she could never apply her education to actual practice.  Practical reasoning and knowledge by themselves are not nearly as valuable as they are when used in tandem.  You don’t have to be the smartest in your class to be an excellent nurse if you’re able to think quickly in a practical manner.

            The third trait is control of your emotions.  If one is working as a nurse on a medical/surgical floor they might have 6 different patients with 6 different emotional needs – everything from being sympathetic to family of a dying patient to the joy of someone doing well to being a little assertive to that confused patient that thinks he is storming Normandy Beach.  Without control the emotional strain surrounding health care will eventually wear on one’s well being and will manifest in other parts of the nurse’s life such as relationships with coworkers and loved ones.

            If you are considering becoming a nurse I wish you the best on your journey to the health care industry.  Hopefully these traits will provide a good foundation to become the best nurse you can be.