So you’re interested in becoming a nurse. Does the “nursing shortage” make you feel like you need to be a part of the “gold rush,” because you have read and heard about all of the wonderful sign-on bonuses? Sounds great but are you willing to do the work and handle the responsibilities that come along with the job. You need to really fill yourself with information that will help guide your decisions and reasons for you to go into this profession.

The one great thing about nursing is the variety of opportunities. Many prospective students have their specialty title etched in stone. “I want to go into pediatric nursing because I love children.” “I want to work in trauma.” Moreover, they don’t want to discuss or research anything else. There is nothing wrong with having a vision of which practice area you’d like to specialize in, but it is a good idea to keep the door open to other possibilities. Turnover can be high in some areas and many nurses change specialties for various reasons, from burnout, boredom, needing a change of pace, advancement reasons, to unforeseen circumstances. The ability to change specialty areas is one of the good things about nursing, made possible because skills are highly transferable.

Another important part of your research is volunteering at a hospital or nursing home; many organizations need volunteers to sit with patients or residents as companions. Working in the mail department won’t help, so concentrate your efforts on volunteering in a patient care setting, where you can have a direct visual of the nurse-patient interaction. This experience will be invaluable for you.

When it comes to nursing it is best to know for sure if this is the type of profession that is fulfilling to you and is something you will enjoy doing. You don’t want to see yourself spending valuable time and money just to realize that nursing isn’t right for you.

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