Every once in a while, you come across that rare breed of person who is equal parts selfless, intelligent, and comforting. There is also a good chance that this person is a nurse.
“Nursing is not for everyone. It takes a powerful, intelligent, and compassionate person to take on the ills of the world with passion and purpose and work to maintain the health and well-being of the planet. No wonder we’re exhausted at the end of the day!” – Donna Wilk Cardillo
As is the way with most professionals whose career is vocational, nurses don’t receive even near the amount of credit they deserve.
Most of the time, nurses are either working in the background of a healthcare setting what needs to be done without seeking acknowledgment of any kind, or they are at the forefront of an emergency. Make no mistake about it, though; nurses serve as the backbone of our healthcare system.
There are so many reasons why nurses deserve tons of respect and recognition, but here are just a few to consider.
Nurses are the Ultimate Caretakers
Nurses have to perform an assortment of daily tasks that range from the observation and recording of a patient’s behavior to the supervising and directing of the care of other healthcare professionals.
Another way of looking at the day-to-day jobs of an RN is to imagine the person who is responsible for the care of everyone around them. This, in essence, is the job of a nurse.
A nurse has the ability to work in a variety of healthcare settings as well. School nurses, those who work in clinics and outpatient facilities, and even those who work in government all serve others selflessly every day.
Nurses’ Work is No Cake-Walk
It is no secret that the regular schedule of a nurse can be grueling. To say that a nurse works either in a part-time capacity or a full-time one doesn’t exactly paint the whole picture.
The working hours of an RN can vary significantly from nurse to nurse. Because the schedules of nurses are generally set up in shifts, they will either work in the morning, in the middle of the day or through the night.
These hours will change from week to week as well, as nurses’ schedules are typically built on a rotation. This means that there is very little consistency in the working life of a nurse. With such variable sleeping and waking hours, self-care can easily fall by the wayside.
Aside from how variable the daily schedule of a nurse can be, the working hours are almost always spent on your feet with minimal downtime.
Working in a healthcare setting can be as hectic as it is unpredictable. Nurses are at the frontline of any madness that occurs, keeping their composure and all the while administering critical care to their patients.
Nurses Always Keep Educating Themselves
In order to become a registered nurse (RN), you have to go through at least two years of schooling to receive an Associates Degree in Nursing, or ADN.
While many nurses choose this route for their education as it means they can enter the workforce within about two years, more and more are opting for a four-year degree (BSN). This is because a BSN gives a more rounded and complete education that, considering how much nurses have to know while on the job, is a desirable option for many.
Furthermore, nurses who want to earn a Masters of Science in Nursing or MSN degree need to have a bachelor’s in nursing first. An MSN is necessary if a nurse hopes to obtain any further advanced degrees, or if they want to specialize in a particular field. In other words, nurses have to attend a lot of schools.
Once a nurse is an RN and has entered the workforce, much of this schooling has to be done while they hold down a job, as well. While some opt to switch to a part-time work schedule to earn advanced degrees, others have to explore options like an online Masters of Nursing program to continue working full time.
The nature of healthcare is that it’s an ever-changing field that is continually being re-evaluated and updated by various governing bodies. These updates must be studied and internalized by all nurses so that they are then able to provide the most up-to-date care for their patients.
Because of this, for a nurse to maintain their license and continue to work as an RN, they must fulfill specific requirements. These can include earning credit hours similar to school coursework and completing a certain amount of patient-contact hours within a set amount of time.
To make matters more complicated, the requirements for renewing a nursing license vary from state to state, with some states asking more than others. For example, a nurse working in the state of Texas has to complete the following:
20 contact hours of CE within the past two years
A one-time, 2-contact-hour course on bioterrorism
This differs from the requirements set by the state of Nebraska, which asks its nurses to complete one of the following:
500 practice hours within the past five years AND 20 contact hours of board-approved CE within the past two years
Board-approved refresher course within the past five years
Current or new certification in nursing specialty
Portfolio demonstrating current continuing competency goals and evidence of professional activity to meet those goals
There are two major takeaways here. The first is that if you are a nurse, you work tirelessly and are much appreciated and respected. The second is that there is scope for colossal career progression inside the industry, and if you possess the drive and determination, you are entirely capable of advancing your career.