Today’s nursing career is more challenging than ever. With the growing demand for nurses, hospitals and other healthcare facilities compete fiercely for qualified professionals. As a result, the work atmosphere is increasingly cut-throat. To make matters worse, today’s nursing professionals have to deal with extremely demanding patients, extensive documentations and various papework that take up most of their time.
The increase in nurse workload has led to an alarming rate of attrition among nurses—especially new graduates who are not equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to deal with the challenges of this demanding job. However, if you work on sustaining your career it can be very fulfilling and worth it!
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Be Flexible and Persistent
Workplace cultures vary greatly from hospital to hospital, state to state and country to country. This means that you may have to make certain adjustments as you move from place to place. At the same time, you should always keep in mind that your ultimate goal is to become a registered nurse.
With this in mind, you should always strive to acquire the necessary knowledge and skills that are essential for this profession. Moreover, you should always be prepared for unexpected challenges and changes.
In this fast-paced environment, you never know when you may have to deal with an emergency situation or be assigned an additional task. While you may feel overwhelmed at times, you should try to remain flexible while sticking to your core values.
Develop a Thick Skin
As a new nurse, you are likely to become the brunt of jokes and pranks by your co-workers. While this may seem harmless and fun at first, it can quickly turn into harassment and bullying. Unfortunately, most healthcare facilities lack proper policies to deal with this issue. As a result, new graduates are often discouraged from pursuing a career in nursing.
At the same time, you may also experience a high level of anxiety and stress when dealing with demanding patients. While it is important to be compassionate, you have to draw the line when it comes to patient’s needs versus your personal needs.
At the end of the day, you have to take care of yourself so that you can continue to provide quality nursing care for your patients. Once you develop a thick skin and learn how to deal with peer pressure, you will be well on your way to surviving your nursing career.
Cultivate a Support System
It is easy to get caught up in the excitement of starting a new job. Unfortunately, the honeymoon phase will eventually end. At this point, you may begin to experience feelings of frustration, uncertainty and doubt.
If you don’t have a strong support network, these feelings will likely consume your life and cause great emotional damage. Luckily, you can easily avoid these feelings by cultivating a healthy support system.
This group can consist of family members, lifelong friends, co-workers, mentors, etc. Ideally, each member of your support network should be someone who is willing and able to listen to you when you are going through a difficult time.
Building strong relationships and cultivating a large support network will undoubtedly improve your life as a nurse. At the same time, it will also position you well for future career opportunities. As such, you should make networking a top priority.
You should attend career fairs, nurse meet-ups, and other networking activities as often as possible. You should also make it a point to network with as many people as you can—including your patients and their families. Networking will help you gain valuable insights and information that will help you navigate your nursing career more smoothly.
Gain Advanced Nursing Skills
Healthcare is among the fastest-growing industries in the world. This means that there will always be a high demand for nurses. Ideally, you should aim to gain specialty skills such as cardiac nursing, diabetes nursing, etc. This will help you stand out from the crowd and will make you a more desirable candidate for healthcare employers.
Furthermore, it will also help you increase your earnings. It is important to keep in mind that obtaining specialty skills does take time. However, you will greatly benefit from it once you become a certified professional.
At the same time, you should also consider acquiring additional education. This can be in the form of a master’s degree in nursing or a doctoral degree. It will help you gain more knowledge in your field of expertise and make you more desirable to potential employers.
Develop Soft Skills
While nurses are required to have extensive knowledge and expertise, they must also possess soft skills. This means that you must be able to effectively communicate with your patients, families, and co-workers. You must also be able to manage your time and other resources effectively.
Ideally, you should develop these soft skills while you are still in nursing school. If you don’t, you will be at a disadvantage against your peers who have taken the time to develop these skills. This is especially important when it comes to managing challenging patient cases.
When dealing with patients who are very sick and/or in pain, things aren’t always black and white. As such, you may be required to make decisions that are somewhere in between the two extremes. Developing soft skills will help you make these decisions more effectively and smoothly.
Nursing is an extremely rewarding career path. It is also challenging. As such, you must be prepared for twists and turns that come with the territory. To make the most of your nursing career, you must be flexible, persistent, and always ready to learn new things. Most importantly, you must be capable of managing stress and remain positive throughout your journey.
If you manage your stress, have a great supportive network, and don’t let the little things get you, you will undoubtedly love your career. You will be able to help people at their lowest on a daily basis and develop a high self-esteem.