There are many factors that go into preparing for and working as a nurse. Nurses who enter the field are already prepared to handle a lot of responsibility and face certain challenges, but there are other aspects of the job that aren’t always so easy to foresee. Here are seven tips that many nurses wish they would’ve known when they started.
The Salary May Be Lower Than Expected at First
Working as a nurse can be a highly lucrative career, but some nurses become dismayed when their starting salaries aren’t as much as they thought. Salary amounts can also vary from state to state with some states paying nurses significantly more than others. With more experience, some nurses can make more than $100,000 per year. Nurses who believe that they are being paid unfair amounts can try transferring to other medical facilities or moving to a state where the pay is known to be higher.
Healthy Eating Can Be Harder
Nurses often need to work odd hours with drastic schedule changes that could vary from week to week. This can affect eating times and also create more difficulties with getting proper nutrition. Even with the high stress and everchanging atmosphere, nurses should still take enough time to eat sufficiently and consume foods that are high in nutritional value to help maintain stamina and overall health. It’s also best to minimize fatty and sugary foods that can cause feelings of sluggishness and fatigue.
Physical Pains Often Develop
As Cosmopolitan.com explains, nursing often involves many hours of walking and standing, and this can put a lot of stress on the back, legs, and feet. Many nurses also develop neck cramps from bending over so much to care for patients or do computer work. Nurses are also sometimes required to help lift heavy patients, and this can cause even greater physical stress. Learning proper body mechanics and maintaining fitness can help nurses combat a lot of these problems. Using a heating pad while sitting with a sore back can also help relieve sore and tense back muscles.
Politics Can Affect Nursing
New rules and regulations that are passed by politicians often affect the nursing industry. It’s important to stay up to date on the latest laws that have been passed that may change the way that nursing is done. These laws could include restricting certain types of care or changing the nursing protocol to ensure greater patient safety. There is also the issue of politics among medical staff, which often affects the ways that doctors, nurses, and other medical staff work.
Being Fashionable is Still Possible
Nurses don’t have to be confined to just wearing plain scrubs and nurses’ uniforms. Scrub jackets that come in pink, fuchsia, turquoise, and other attractive colors can help nurses feel more fashionable on the job. Nursing attire with multicolored patterns is available as well. Looking better on the job can also promote a greater sense of self-confidence, which can help nurses do their work better.
Nursing is an Emotional Profession
Anyone who’s entering the nursing field already expects to deal with a fair amount of emotional grief, but the job is often even more emotional than expected. Having a patient die is never easy, and it generally doesn’t get much easier after experiencing many patient deaths over the course of a career. Nurses also sometimes need to comfort grieving family members of patients, which can have additional emotional impacts. Many nurses learn how to develop a better sense of humor to help them combat the heavy emotions that they often feel on the job.
Continuing Education is Essential
Nurses shouldn’t be under the assumption that their education is complete once they’ve finished nursing school. Continuing education is a major component of the job, and nurses are often required to take classes to further their knowledge and learn about the latest advancements in nursing. Even after many years of working, nurses still need to further their education to continue providing the best patient care possible.
Being a nurse comes with many responsibilities and rewards. By knowing what to expect when entering this field, new nurses will have an easier time adjusting to this everchanging industry while being better prepared to handle the physical, mental and emotional challenges of the job.