10) Patient Education – I have always wanted to be a teacher. As it turns out, nursing includes quite a bit of that. The good news is that the audience is only patients and/or their families, instead of 35 bored, distracted teenagers.
9) Patient Advocacy – There is something very empowering about being the voice of a patient, especially one that is not able to speak up for themselves.
8) Teamwork – There is something very synergistic about working with others, especially if there is a good sense of teamwork. Coworkers go beyond being other people at work. They become friends (or work family, at times) and everyone looks out for each other. The support and encouragement from them can give you more energy to get through a rough shift, as well as make an smoother shift seem even better. It is also empowering to be able to share insight and discuss how to manage new issues as they arise. Unfortunately, not all employers provide and/or maintain this kind of environment. Sometimes, you have to work to find them.
7) Scrubs – Having spent decades in the corporate world, I can speak from experience that dress clothes and neckties suck. Scrubs rock.
6) Improved Time Management Skills – The constant practice of assessing the situation, available resources, and knowing how long it takes to complete a task carries over into my personal life. Juggling family demands, as well as academic and social demands seems easier, if that makes any sense.
5) Confidence – I am far from being an experienced or expert nurse, but I have faced down some fairly emergent situations that do provide some perspective on what it means to be in a crisis.
4) Doing Something Meaningful – Some people look to make a difference in the world. It is not a requirement, but when applicable, can add an extra layer of satisfaction.
3) Respect – Nurses rank as the most respected and most trusted profession. I chose nursing because of the overwhelming desire to take care of others. However, it is nice that I am in a profession that is respected. It can be troubling, and sometimes annoying when new acquaintances (and even strangers) solicit me for my medical opinion. A cashier at a gas station, one morning, started rambling on about changing medications. I did not know her. I just wanted to finish my drive home to get some sleep. I told her to ask her primary care physician.
2) Evidence-based practice – Anything a nurse does is based on evidence-based practice. In other words, nurses study an issue…..do research….test the findings….then use that data to shape our practice. Not only does science rock, nurses use it to support their work.
1)Plenty of opportunities to learn – There are so many aspects and layers to nursing that the learning process is always on-going. Our profession requires continuing education credits, but there is always formal training at work (on-line/in-person classes) as well as informal training (getting a patient with an illness/injury that you’ve never seen before). For those of us who pursue more education, there are always classes toward a bachelors, masters, or even doctorate.