With all the negative press the health services gets from time to time, the long and often unsociable hours, all seemingly without much recognition, many often wonder what makes nurses do what they do. Put simply, nursing is a highly rewarding career with variety and makes a profound difference to those with whom nurses come into contact.

What does a nurse do?

Nursing is something that can be done in a hospital setting, on wards or in the fast paced environment of the emergency department. Alternatively, nurses work out in the field, providing care in the community or at outreach posts. Nursing really is a profession which is required all over the country and indeed all around the world and the possibilities are endless. There are many options as to where and how to practice nursing. With a vast range of departments and specialities, for example caring for the very young or the elderly and concentrating on prevention or cure, it really does provide a great deal of variety in a range of settings.

What personal attributes are required?

Of course providing medical help and assistance is at the heart of a nurse’s role, but there is far more to this career than that. Being there to care for patients, often when they are quite vulnerable, being able to comfort and reassure both patients and their relatives at stressful times are important attributes for any nurse. Nursing is rewarding and their actions, compassion and support can really make a difference to all whose lives nurses touch.

What do you need to be a nurse?

Nursing is a lifelong career for most. Many who train as nurses stick with the profession for the remainder of their working lives. One thing you can be guaranteed of with a career as a nurse is that you will always be learning and acquiring new skills. This ensures that you are always ready to face a new challenge.

First of all, you will need to get a BSN degree from a reputable nursing school. Also, you need to be highly flexible and well-organised, capable of prioritising patient care whilst maintaining accurate records and dealing with paperwork. As a nurse you should also always be prepared for the unexpected in dealing with emergencies of all kinds. Although unsociable hours, such as working evening and weekend shifts can be restrictive, your focus should always be on providing quality care as and when it is required. At the frontline of healthcare, you need to be focussed on the patient at all times. A passionate and caring nature is also an important attribute for anyone thinking of becoming a nurse. A career in nursing will also bring you into contact with other agencies, organisations and other professionals.

How will I know if nursing is right for me?

Volunteering within a health setting is a great way to know if nursing is right for you. Health care providers are always looking for people to help out in a voluntary capacity, both parties benefit in the long run.

Be prepared to study hard but plenty of hands on experience will be vital in this career and the rewards will always outweigh any negatives.