For many people, nursing is one of the most exciting, rewarding careers you can find. Not only do you have the chance to make a positive difference in the lives of others, you’re also challenged every day in a fast-paced, constantly changing environment. And with a greater demand for nurses than ever before, you have lots of opportunities to pursue your specific interests — and you can probably find a job just about anywhere in the country.
Sound intriguing? Keep reading to learn more about this fulfilling career path, and how our team at Hendricks Regional Health can help you get the ball rolling if you’re interested in becoming a nurse.
What is a registered nurse?
A registered nurse (RN) is someone who typically provides direct care to patients in a hospital or clinical setting, but who can also take on a wide range of roles. Some RNs choose to focus on specialized areas, including pediatric, emergency, geriatric, surgical and neonatal care. Some nurses also get into teaching and administration — but one of the great things about being a nurse is the ability to go back and forth between specialties.
RNs work collaboratively with doctors and other medical personnel. One of the important roles
of an RN is to be the touchpoint for
patients. We’re not only a liaison between the patient
and doctor, we’re a member of
the healthcare team who has the honor of providing compassionate care while the
Why might you want to go into nursing?
People go into nursing for all sorts of reasons, but the most important one is because they have a genuine desire to help others. Some people are born with this desire while others develop it over time — often because of a personal healthcare experience they or someone in their family have had. They feel drawn to help someone as much as they were helped in the past, and I can tell you firsthand that getting to see the difference we make in people’s lives is incredibly rewarding.
But a strong desire to care for others is just one reason you might want to become an RN. Another big reason is the huge amount of flexibility the career can provide. Nursing allows you the ability to have a work/life balance. And nurses can have the freedom to work as much or as little as they want, and to choose the shifts they prefer. There’s also lots of flexibility when it comes to where nurses work: it could be in a hospital, office, school, clinic and there are plenty of other options. On top of that, there’s basically endless opportunity to grow within your career and pursue your specific interests within nursing.
Finally, nursing offers competitive compensation and job security. With nationwide RN salaries averaging around $70,000 and plenty of open positions in all 50 states, you’re sure to find a position that’s the right fit for you.
What are some of the things you’ll learn as an RN?
It’s important to point out that nursing is both an art and a skill, and the art of nursing is often focused on patient interactions and learning how to deliver compassionate care. It’s a job that teaches you how to love and respect people from all different walks of life, so it’s a great way to interact with and appreciate others who bring a wide range of perspectives. Throughout your journey in nursing, you’ll become a better communicator and listener, and you’ll also learn how to be a valuable member of a healthcare team.
Being an RN can be a balancing act, so another thing you’ll quickly learn is how to be good at time management while being an effective decision maker. Oftentimes, these decisions are related to non-life-threatening issues — but there are certain scenarios when our decisions can be the difference between life and death. This provides lots of practice dealing with pressure and responsibility, which can be quite a useful skill to have outside of work as well.
As an RN, you’ll also learn how to:
- Perform physical assessments
- Evaluate and treat symptoms
- Administer medication and diagnostic tests
- Provide patient education
- Record medical histories
- Be a valuable member of a healthcare team
- Be an advocate for your patients
I’m interested in exploring a nursing career. Where do I start?
The first step toward becoming an RN is understanding the qualifications and creating a path to get there. At a minimum, RNs are required to have a two-year associates degree in nursing from an accredited school, but many have a bachelor’s and/or master’s degree. All RNs must pass the NCLEX-RN exam, which is a requirement everywhere in the United States. You’ll also need to apply for a license from your state’s board of nursing.
Once you’ve received your RN license, it’s a good idea to look for a nurse residency program to help support and prepare you for your transition into nursing practice. Here at Hendricks Regional Health, we offer a 12-month nurse residency program designed to do just that!
Our program focuses on giving RNs the real-world experience they need to succeed, which includes rotations in more than 30 of our departments to obtain foundational nursing skills and build relationships with other members of the healthcare team. We also offer learning opportunities with simulations and interactive case studies. There’s no need to apply to the residency program. Apply for one of our open nursing positions and once you’ve accepted an offered position, you’ll be entered into the Hendricks Nurse Residency Program automatically.
If you’re someone who’s a lifelong learner, a good communicator, passionate about serving others and you want to work in a challenging environment where teamwork is key, nursing might be the perfect career for you. And if you have any questions about becoming a nurse or our nurse residency program, please contact me at Michele.Young@hendricks.org or (317) 718-6296.