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How to Become a Nurse

Update Date: Jul 21, 2020 12:02 PM EDT
How to Become a Nurse
(Photo : How to Become a Nurse)

If you have a passion for caring for other individuals, one of the job sectors that may appeal is nursing. Becoming a nurse, however, is not as simple as you may have believed, due to the vast amount of competition and skills needed. It takes a great deal of time and dedication to forward your career in nursing, as well as be in-the-know of the correct steps to take to reach your goals.

Whether nursing is set to become your very first job or you're planning on switching careers after twenty years in another industry, this article will come in extremely useful in giving you the correct pointers and steps you need to complete to become a nurse. Let's take a look.

1. Apply to nursing schools

In the years gone by, attending college or university wasn't a mandatory step to become a nurse. Instead, it was primarily based on being passionate about the role and having the correct set of skills to do the job, which would be gained via training. Nowadays, a degree is a compulsory requirement to get into the field. While you may never have considered enrolling in higher education, a degree in nursing will equip you with the relevant theories, skills, and experience needed to kickstart your nursing career. 

2. Gain experience

Some nursing courses will require you to have a couple of months of work experience in the field of nursing or a similar industry. This is to prove that you have the element of dedication to work in the sector and are also fully aware of what to expect when you do the job for real. 

Nursing is a vocational role, which means you should have the desire to care for others - not for the salary or any additional benefits, but because you believe it is your calling. If you have always felt the draw to work in nursing, you shouldn't waste any time in finding voluntary work experience to get an idea of the day-to-day duties of being a nurse. You could consider volunteering in hospitals, care homes, or hospices to gain a better understanding as to whether you are emotionally strong enough to deal with harrowing situations and comfortable with the responsibilities.

3. Choose a nursing path

Did you know that there are many different career routes in the nursing sector? Nursing branches off into many different paths, so it would be a good idea to do some research before applying for job roles and discover which areas most interest you. When choosing a certain route, it would be best to think carefully about the type of environment you would prefer to work also. Some nursing fields to think about, include:

  • Pediatric nursing

  • Adult nursing

  • Midwifery

  • Mental health nursing

  • Disability nursing 

Nursing, however, is more than this. As you work through your career, you can begin your personal journey of growth within the industry. You can seek the highest level of nursing practice if you want in your preferred sector of nursing, whether this is a family nursing, pediatrics, or midwifery. How do you do this? How do you become a leader, expand your knowledge, and shape a better future for your patients? The short answer is by furthering your education. If you're worried about fitting a course around your work, you'll be pleased to know that online nursing programs can be studied from the comfort of your own home, on a flexible basis. There are no physical lectures to attend, and all the resources you need to complete the course can be accessed directly from your computer. 

4. Skills

Becoming a nurse is a major commitment. The long shifts mean the job can often interfere with your personal life, and it can also be emotionally draining at times, so you need to be prepared for what is to come. With that being said, it is also one of the most rewarding professions, as you have the opportunity to care for the sick and, hopefully, aid their recovery. Certain skills will be required if you wish to make it in the nursing industry. Here are just a few that you should acquire:

Communication skills

The ability to communicate effectively is the single most important skill that is necessary for any workplace and industry, but especially in nursing. When you're dealing with harrowing situations in high-pressured environments, the ability to communicate information clearly and in a calm manner is essential. Misinformation could lead to severe consequences.

Decision making

Nurses are required to make swift decisions based on the situations they're involved with. Therefore, there is a high level of responsibility on your shoulders to make the right ones. This means that nurses must use their theoretical knowledge and previous experience to make the call. While it can be extremely stressful to take matters into your own hands, your ability to make well-informed decisions will give you the power to determine the outcome.


It would be extremely difficult to work in nursing if you have a lack of confidence. It is not always about believing that you know it all and refusing to take advice on board but having belief in your capabilities. Showing that you are self-assured is also important while dealing with patients. In some cases, they may be worried or scared for their wellbeing but are forced to put their trust in medical professionals to take care of them properly. If you appear fearful while carrying out a certain procedure, it will only make the patient feel concerned. However, if you give off the impression of confidence, it will immediately make the patient feel much more relaxed while in your company.


Nurses work extremely long shifts and can't always take their set breaks. You're likely to be on your feet for 12-14 hours at a time, which means you need to be both physically and mentally fit to work in this specific job role. You'll be exposed to situations that can be extremely difficult to process and may even play on your mind even after your shift has ended. However, you must have the ability to remain calm and professional to fulfill your purpose. You will, however, need to learn to switch off after work in order to refresh yourself for your next shift. Some people can handle the physical and mental effects better than others, but you should have the ability to cope for the sake of your own health and wellbeing. 

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