Not Sure Nursing is Right for You? Questions to Ask

Entering the workforce is different than it used to be. When I interview nurses on my podcast, those who have been in nursing for 30+ years answer the question about becoming a nurse with a similar response. They speak about how when they were graduating from school, there were only a few professions that they could choose from to enter into. Nursing was one of them!

In today’s world this isn’t the case. Now, when students are graduating from school, they have a TON of options! Nursing may or may not be the first choice on their list.

If you are not sure if nursing is for you, here are 5 questions that you can ask yourself.

5 Questions to Ask When Considering Nursing

1) Am I willing to work hard? 

Nursing is tough work. Just today, as I walked into work, I saw plenty of nurses passing me by in the hallways. Many of them were carrying coffee and looking tired.

As a nurse, you have to show up, day after day. You are likely going to have to work weekends, holidays, and take a rotation of being on-call. There can be heavy lifting. You may find yourself on your feet a lot, depending on your role.

Sure, there are some jobs that are less physically demanding, but often this is not the “norm”. If you are interested in entering the profession of nursing- be honest. Are you willing to go the distance for your patient?

2) Do I care about other people? 

Speaking of the patient, nursing is all about taking care of others. So much so, that we often forget to take care of ourselves! While I definitely do NOT condone putting your own well-being on the back-burner… you do have to realize that when you become a nurse- you are going to have to care about other humans.

You will have to show up and provide care regardless of color, religion, sexual orientation, or life choices. Sometimes your patient may even be a prisoner and you may struggle with taking care of a person who has done horrible things.

It doesn’t matter. As a nurse, you will have to empathize with, care about, and advocate for people. And that means all people!

3) Can I work well with others? 

Gosh, more talk about people! That’s right.

I once attended a conference and the speaker pointed out something that I hadn’t sat down and truly thought about before. He said, “Healthcare is about people working for people to take care of people with other people.” My goodness, that’s a lot of people!

If you are unable to be a team player and work well with others, then maybe nursing is not for you. However, as I think about other professions, “people” are there too! So, I am not really sure where you might work to get away from them all. And, definitely, in healthcare… you’re going to work with others!

4) Do I enjoy learning?

Say what? I thought I was done with school! Uh, no.

Nursing is about continuous learning. Whether it is a new piece of equipment from a vendor or a changing policy that impacts nursing care- nurses need to keep up with the times. There are technological advancements and new research being published daily.

A nurse doesn’t just work with patients. He or she needs to read journals, attend conferences, and even join professional organizations. Continuing education also can be required as there are often annual courses nurses have to take just to stay at their job. Thought you would stop learning after nursing school? Think again…

5) Will I ask questions? 

This is an interesting question to ask yourself. Are you naturally curious? Do you tend to ask “why” a lot?

Nurses practice based on the best evidence. In fact, if you are concerned about the way you and your team are doing something in your work place, the first thing to do is to go to the literature! Perform a search and synthesis what the evidence is telling you. Nursing practice isn’t based on nothing- we practice according to the science.

Taking question thinking a step further- let’s go back to the fact that you work in a team. Rather than doing something just because you were told to do it, why not ask “why”? You want to understand the rationale for a treatment or order. You want to make sure that a mistake is not being made. As a nurse, your role is to always be observing and assessing. Make sure that you show up to work with a curious mind!

I am SURE that you can think of more questions that you would recommend a person ask as they consider the nursing profession. What would you add to this list? Be sure to Tweet me @ElizabethScala and let me know what you think! Thanks for reading; enjoy the day.

Elizabeth Scala

Keynote speaker and bestselling author, Elizabeth Scala MSN/MBA, RN, partners with hospitals, nursing schools, and nurse associations to transform the field of nursing from the inside out. As the host of the Nurse’s Week ‘Art of Nursing’ program, Elizabeth guides nurses and nursing students to a change in perspective, helping them make the inner shift needed to better maneuver the sometimes challenging realities of being a caregiver.Elizabeth received her dual master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University. She is also a certified coach and Reiki Master Teacher. Elizabeth lives in Maryland with her supportive husband and a playful pit bull.