If you want to become a qualified nurse, then you would be forgiven for believing that there are not many options to choose from.
However, this is not quite true as there are many different types of nursing careers to choose from, including family nurse practitioners, registered nurses, travel nurses and clinical nurse specialists.
This extensive amount of choice also means that there are various degrees and training programs to consider. It is not necessarily the case that you can enroll in a standard degree and be able to change between different nursing jobs, depending on which roles you enjoy.
Specialist nursing is exactly what it sounds like, requiring practitioners to have completed the necessary education and training in order to qualify for a particular type of nursing.
As a result, it is imperative that you get to grips with these various types of nursing and find out if there is a particular role that suits you.
Like any job, there are a number of important considerations to bear in mind before you start hunting for nursing jobs.
Quite aside from the various types of nursing, you will need to decide upon potentially life-changing choices, such as where in the world you want to live, the kind of people you want to work with and how much you are looking to be paid.
These decisions will also factor into your education and training prior to applying for the job.
If you want to live in a different country in order to soak up the local culture or help improve the country’s quality of healthcare as a travel nurse, it will be critical that you learn the language and develop strong communication skills, in order to work alongside a large team while dealing with a language and culture barrier.
It is also worth considering which role you envision yourself progressing to beyond the job that you are applying for. If your job offers little in the way of career progression, it may not be ideal if you want to enjoy a long and varied working life.
Here is how you can choose the right nursing job for you:
Begin by researching the roles you are interested in
The first step you need to take is to research the various different nursing roles that interest you. It is important to at least have a working understanding of different nursing roles, in order to come to a suitably informed conclusion.
To give you an example of the potential nursing careers available, you could look into becoming a critical care nurse, which means being trained for emergency situations, and involves treating patients with serious injuries. Alternatively, you could become a family nurse practitioner. An FNP works with patients of all ages, helping them to maintain lifelong health, as well as aiding them during times of health difficulties.
In your typical day as a family nurse practitioner, you could perform diagnostic tests, physical exams, maintain medical records and help treat patient illnesses.
Doing your due diligence on the different types of nursing is crucial because different roles suit different personalities. You should make sure you have a full understanding of what the role entails and the qualifications needed before applying. If you are interested in learning more about different nursing roles, Texas Woman’s University will help you learn How to Become an FNP in Oklahoma.
Decide which part of the world you want to live in
Another factor to consider when choosing a nursing role that suits you is to work out where you want to live. Although this sounds obvious, once you become qualified in a particular nursing field you may be limited in your flexibility.
This is because you will be restricted to certain roles by the hospitals or other medical facilities you are working in. If you dislike the area surrounding the facility, you are either forced to commute long distances or put up with it.
As a result, you should think ahead to the places you see yourself living in the future.
If there is a certain city or country you want to move to, bear it in mind if you apply for a potentially limiting nursing role. Opt instead for a nursing job that allows you greater levels of freedom to choose where you live, such as a family nurse practitioner.
Your academic grades will play a large role in deciding which roles you can apply for
Before you can set your heart on a particular nursing job, it is important to check if you have the necessary qualifications to enroll on the necessary degree or training course.
This can rapidly reduce your list of options, which is a good or bad thing, depending on how you look at it.
If you do have the necessary qualifications or experience to apply for a particular degree or course, make sure to factor in the length of time it will take to complete the course, as well as the cost.
You may find the course you are applying for is not sustainable, because you would have to move closer to the university and leave your existing life behind. If you are in your twenties or thirties and you have invested time and money building your current lifestyle, this may not make sense. Instead, look for online courses you can complete on your own terms.
Your talent and personality will influence which roles you will be suited to
As with any job, your personality type and aptitude will largely define which nursing roles you are suited to and which ones you are best off avoiding.
Of course, the differences between different types of nursing jobs are not necessarily night and day. You will have to be logically minded, organized and have a strong scientific background regardless of the role, as well as be empathetic and respectful towards patients.
However, different environments and daily demands will require different strengths.
For example, if you were a critical care nurse, you would have to have strong resilience under pressure, be quick-thinking as well as have the ability to deal with distressing injuries on a daily basis.
In contrast, if you are a geriatric nurse or a family nurse practitioner you will not be under such brutal daily stress, but it is important to be patient, organized and empathetic to your patients, as well as have the necessary people skills to build strong relationships with their families.
As a general rule, nurses have to be able to work both independently and within a large team, making quick decisions when necessary, without ignoring the opinions of their colleagues. It is a hands-on job that requires you to remain cool under pressure and create a soothing environment for your patients, without letting your emotions drive your decisions.
Find out which roles best fit in with your routine
It is not just your personal qualities which help decide which nursing role is best for you. Your existing routine will play a big role in deciding which jobs suit you, and which ones would be unsustainable.
For example, if you have children – especially young children – working long hours would be at best tricky and at worst unworkable. Furthermore, although it sounds trivial, if you cannot stand getting up early or staying up late, working a nursing job with odd hours will not be ideal for you.
In most industries, these considerations would not have much of a bearing on your decision, but when you work in healthcare, any mistake can be a matter of life and death. Therefore, you should take these factors into consideration when deciding which nursing role to pursue.
Take your future plans into consideration
If you are weighing up whether to become a nurse, you should keep in mind what your overall life goals are going forward. Once you begin specializing in a certain area, you will likely start building your life around your job and become less flexible as a result.
There is nothing wrong with this, but if you have certain ambitions that you are desperate to fulfil, then it is best to incorporate them into your decision process. If, for example, you want to start a family and be able to support them in relative comfort, you will want to stick to nursing roles that have higher median salaries and that offer reasonable working hours, whereas if you have no commitments outside of work, it could be better to aim towards a more intensive role.
Thanks to the wide range of nursing roles available, you can even incorporate nursing into your travelling. If you have always wanted to work in another country and use it as a way of engrossing yourself in the local culture, then becoming a travel nurse could be an option. Travel nurses work on a contractual basis, moving between different medical facilities when requested.
This gives you the opportunity to work with a variety of different people, constantly adapting to fresh environments. This sort of role is perfect if you have an adventurous personality and feel constricted when working at one hospital or facility.