Nursing is a noble profession. I'm sure you've heard that many times. But it really is. It's one of the few professions that combine a science of knowledge, skills, techniques, critical thinking and abilities with a passion for helping others that forms an art unequaled by many other professions. Florence Nightingale wrote about this 2 centuries ago.
Nurses come to the profession with the passion for helping others and learn the science of how to do this with skill and finesse. As science and technology continue to grow and evolve, nurses must continue their education for the life of their career. Continuing education is required to renew nursing licenses, and to move from one level to another within the field (LP/VN to RN to BSN to MSN to PhD).
Technology Provides New Opportunities
Along with this evolution of science and technology come many new career paths for nurses to expand their horizons and find new and challenging fields. When you tell someone you're a nurse they may conjure a picture of you working at the bedside in a hospital, but nursing offers so many other opportunities. There will always be nurses who love and are driven to bedside care and thankfully so as it is an essential part of nursing. Nursing education begins with bedside care but it doesn't end there.
Nursing is enormously challenging physically and emotionally. Out of necessity, nursing provides many different opportunities to provide care to others. These range from bedside care in general hospital settings to very specialized units. Nurses work in clinics and physician's offices, schools and corporations. Nurses continue their education to teach others how to become nurses. Nurses work in research and clinical trials. IT has many expanding opportunities for nurses to become involved in areas such as informatics and EHRs, software development and implementation of virtual care, just to name a few.
Nurses need to learn to explore and investigate other roles. Click here for recent nursing job listings. A job search can be a good way to begin to explore and find information about the requirements, such as experience and education, along with specific details about other roles for nurses.
Many nurses are reaching far beyond their comfort zones to invent products and become entrepreneurs who help other nurses and laymen learn to help themselves as well as others. Nutrition, yoga, reiki, holistic practices and using herbs and oils, are just a few of the branches spreading and budding into the profession.
Teaching patients to become responsible for their own wellness and health status has become the paradigm of meeting the needs of the public today. Patient education and information is an essential part of health care. Nurses have been charged with the responsibility of imparting the information and education, and from this rises the need for entrepreneurial thinking and invention. We are all charged with improving outcomes while lowering the staggering costs of health care.
Don't Get Stuck
Student nurses often feel pressured to find a niche right away, and when they love every new rotation as much as the last one it can be overwhelming. Established nurses can feel trapped in a career role that provides them little challenge, few opportunities for career growth and basic burn out. There is no reason for that to happen. Nursing offers so many growing and changing opportunities.
Researching the many nursing specialty organizations can provide insight into your next career move as well. There is no reason to feel stuck or to burn out. Preparation and planning are needed, but that should come natural to nurses. Life is too short to not love being a nurse!
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