Nurses are often lauded as ‘Angels in White’ because of their selfless commitment towards caring for others. This is every nurse’s greatest strength but also their biggest weakness.
Before becoming a Nurse, you have to consider the many challenges you will endure, such as late-night shifts, uncooperative patients, endless paperwork, and more.
Let’s take a deep dive to see if the role of a Nurse is right for you!
P.S: Currently a nurse or nursing student? Drop us a comment below if you can relate!
1. You need a strong heart
As a nurse, you will witness a lot of suffering. Most patients are sick, weak and in pain; their struggles and their loved ones’ worry will also be hard to watch. Some patients may struggle to bring their best selves to the table, and be cranky or uncooperative during bad days. The toughest part? Watching patients slip away despite doing everything you can — and having to break the news to their loved ones.
It will be challenging to keep your composure and balance your emotions while handling others’, and you will need to cultivate inner strength and ways to decompartmentalise so that you will not burn out. However, this is part and parcel of the nursing journey: if you think of all the people you manage to help along the way, it should be well worth it.
2. Long hours and labour-intensive work
As a nurse, you’ll have to work shifts which can be pretty long. For instance, during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, some healthcare workers worked 12-hour shifts for ten days in a row while being on-call 24/7. While the pandemic is an unexpected global crisis not of the norm, you will have to be prepared for sudden situations — such as major traffic accidents with many casualties.
As a nurse, you might end up having to do 12-hour shifts. You might have to go through relatively lonely nights when you’re on the night shift when others are spending time with their loved ones. That’s a reality that you have to be prepared for.
Your social life and your mental health may be affected if you are in this for the long term: do you have a stable support system to lean on?
Nursing is also a physically demanding career. You will be on your feet and moving about during most of your shift and will have to handle a lot of strenuous work. This includes helping patients shift from their beds to chairs, moving heavy equipment and more. Are you prepared to stay in good physical condition and maintain your stamina?
3. You have to expect the unexpected
Some jobs are desk-bound and filled with routine work. You can expect everything to be more or less the same, day after day.
While nurses do have paperwork to complete, their profession is dynamic and on the other end of the spectrum. You’ll meet and deal with people with different circumstances and personalities, and grow more adept at handling them. You’ll learn how to prioritise your time.
You’ll also be pushed to think on your feet and engage in critical thinking. Think about it: What if a patient suddenly collapses? What if his heart rate monitor begins beeping frantically? Nursing school teaches you how to become a nurse, but it’s only the beginning as no two situations are alike. Nurses have to advocate and make important decisions for the patient’s care. It’s a lot of responsibility.
One piece of advice: There’ll be pressure, no one is perfect, and mistakes will occur. When this happens, nurses will have to reflect, stabilise the situation, and learn how not to make the error again.
4. It may get a little too close for comfort
As a nurse, there are other difficult things that you might have to do. For example, some patients might have limited mobility.
Now, you might think that helping them into a wheelchair and such shouldn’t be all that hard. But what about when they need to change? What about when they need to wash up? They will need help and as a nurse, it is your responsibility to assist them.
There may be a mess, but nurses must maintain their composure and do their best to help maintain the patient’s dignity. You don’t want to make them feel worse than they’re already feeling; as helpless, powerless and mortified as they are. Here’s an admirable example of what one soiled nurse, caught off guard and flustered, still did.
As a nurse, you’ll almost definitely have to do many uncomfortable things. That’s something not to shy away from: you’ll gain strength and maturity that will serve you well throughout life.
As you can see, while being a nurse is as noble as it sounds, it is not the most glamorous profession. Even so, you will derive great fulfilment from the process of helping, serving and bettering others!
In addition, the efforts of healthcare workers have not gone unnoticed as the government seeks to maintain their salary competitiveness. Nurses in the public healthcare sector received an increase of 5 to 14% in their base monthly salaries from July last year that is phased over the next two years. They will also receive a special payment as part of the 2022 Nurse Special Payment (NSP) Package.
Thus, you can be sure that your efforts are seen and recognised.
MDIS Bachelor of Science Nursing (Top-up)
After a glimpse of what nursing entails, are you convinced that this is the profession for you?
You’ll need to obtain a diploma-level qualification in nursing or equivalent, to become a registered nurse. If you’re an enrolled nurse, or nursing student keen to advance in knowledge and experience, you can continue your nursing journey through a degree offered by MDIS!
Taught and awarded by Edinburgh Napier University, which has the largest School of Health and Social Care in Scotland, the 24-month part-time course offers a flexible timetable to cater to working nurses’ schedules. You will study modules that impart leadership and evidence-based, decision-making skills, and further develop your communication and interpersonal skills.
Do take note that the MDIS-ENU joint scholarship (worth SGD 2,000) is currently open to January 2023 applicants.
We wish you all the best in your nursing journey!
Nurses and nursing students, what else do you think individuals interested in nursing should know? Drop us a comment so that we can share it here!