A lot is learned in nursing school, but a lot more is learned throughout a nursing career. It makes sense – while a nursing education provides you with valuable medical knowledge, you learn far more about the realities of the job while physically there and in action. If you’re interested in healthcare and want to know more, here are ten important lessons you learn as a nurse.
1: There is No Set Path
Before nursing school, you might assume that most take a similar path when it comes to being a nurse, but that isn’t necessarily true. While many nurses stay as an RN for the entirety of their careers, many also decide to take different paths by advancing, whether that means becoming a family nurse practitioner or a nurse-midwife. Some even get away from patient care altogether to work as an educator or nurse administrator.
On top of that, there are plenty of different ways to advance as a nurse. Some might progress to a leadership position within their career, whereas others actively pursue online BSN to NP programs while working. It means that there is always a way to develop the nursing career that suits you.
2: All Healthcare Workers Are Incredible
You might have thought this before, but you come to understand just how incredible and resilient healthcare workers are as a nurse. From the surgeon to the recently graduated nurse, healthcare worker put their entire being into ensuring the safety and health of their patients. Not only do they help save and improve lives, but they also make people feel comforted when they’re at their most vulnerable. It takes a special kind of person to do that, and that’s what healthcare workers are.
3: Mistakes Are Normal
Before working as a nurse, you might have the goal of listening to every piece of advice never to make a mistake. However, nurses make mistakes no matter how well they did in school or how much they listen. Remember, though, that you learn from your mistakes, so you should be grateful for the lessons they provide. If a nurse makes a big error, it’s rare for them to do it again!
4: How Resilient the Body and Mind is
When thinking about sickness and death, many people assume the body gives up easily and that humans are quite fragile. As a nurse, though, you’ll quickly learn that this is anything but true. You’ll see weakened bodies fight through the harshest of diseases; patients laugh even when they’re in pain, and families comfort one another even when they’re feeling extremely emotional. It’s a lesson that’ll make you appreciate humanity much more than you previously did.
5: Bonds Can be Formed with Anyone
Before working as a nurse, you might prepare to make a few friends on the ward or in nursing school. What might surprise you is how many bonds you’ll form in unusual places. For example, a patient who’s spent a week in the hospital might make you laugh more than any of your co-workers, and you might end up becoming great friends with the receptionist who you only see in the mornings and before you leave work. When you’re in a career that people surround, you’ll realize bonds can be formed anywhere.
6: People Respond to Trauma in Different Ways
Many people expect others to react to trauma in the same way that they do, and when that doesn’t happen, they become confused and upset. For example, someone who deals with grief through crying and talking about the lost loved one might feel uneasy about the person who doesn’t show emotion and gets on with their life as if nothing happened. As a nurse, you’ll see a great range of this, and you’ll come to understand that different people have different responses but that all are just as normal as the last.
7: Education is a Gift
Many nurses spend many years in education, whether that’s attending nursing school or pursuing further education online to advance their careers. For this reason, they’ll come to understand just how brilliant education is. Not only does it provide a path into a career of your choice, but it also gives people a great wealth of knowledge they wouldn’t have learned elsewhere.
8: Life is Way Too Short
One of the sadder lessons that nurses learn throughout their careers is that life is way too short. After listening to stories of the elderly who still feel like teenagers and witnessing people far too young meet their end too soon, you’ll understand just how important it is to make the most of every moment. In a way, this is a positive lesson, as it’ll help you live a life you truly want to live, whether that involves lots of traveling, learning, or spending time with your family.
9: Having Loved Ones Around is Important
Another important lesson that every nurse learns is the importance of having loved ones around you, especially during the darker days. Unfortunately, nurses witness plenty of vulnerable patients going through sickness without a family member to hold their hand or a friend to make them laugh despite it all. It’s a difficult image to see, but it’ll ensure you keep your loved ones close and tell everyone that they must do the same.
10: How Strong You Are
Possibly the most important lesson you learn as a nurse is just how strong you are. When you spend a huge chunk of your life cleaning up after, caring for, and tending to the sick and vulnerable, you come to understand what true strength is. Plus, you probably wouldn’t have thought you were capable of pushing through a sixteen-hour shift before starting a nursing career!
Nursing is one of those careers that provide an education long after traditional learning has ended. Once you retire from a nursing career, the person looking back at you from the mirror will be well educated, compassionate, and undoubtedly wise.