Do you find yourself drawn to helping others? If you are the kind of person who takes great joy from supporting people in need and working in a fast-paced environment, then a career in the healthcare system might be your calling. A common phrase often heard is ‘Love what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life’, so how can you make this a reality and move into a career you truly love?
Finding your purpose
Having a purpose in life can extend beyond your work aspirations into your hobbies and downtime. With a solid grounding in your hopes and dreams, it can help you navigate your world and find something that you love to do every day. But how do you know when it is time to turn a passion into a successful career? This can be a daunting prospect for many people, especially if you have been out of education for a long time or you find yourself lacking the time, money or knowledge to really take your passion and interests to the next level. If you have identified healthcare to be the place for you, read on to discover how to plan out your route into this industry.
Where to start on your journey
There are many different roles within the health sector, so it can be hard to know where to start. If you think that a career in nursing might be for you, we have set out a mini guide on how to get started below.
Take time to think about your passions and what drives you
This is a great place to start, but it can often feel a bit overwhelming. It can feel like there are so many options that you don’t know where to begin. Start by thinking about all the things that bring you joy. Do you love to be active? Do you love to continuously learn new things? Do you love helping people in need? Can you see yourself in a fast-paced environment, or do you crave regularity? Write down everything you can think of relating to your passion, personality and interests as a first step and build from there.
Research, research, research
Now that you have everything written down, make some time to do some research into the different areas of nursing you can go into. It is also wise to look at the routes into the different roles at this stage to ensure that you are being realistic. Do you need a master’s degree or further training for a specialist field, for instance? If you are going to be working while studying, you will want to consider how you will achieve this. Can you study full-time or part-time? Will you need to work while studying? If you need flexibility for your studies, then an online master’s in nursing education might be a good option. It will allow you to continue working at the same time as studying and can be completed in as little as eight weeks.
Make a plan
Once you have decided which area of nursing you would like to go into and which course you might be interested in pursuing, create a solid, practical plan for both your time and finances. Some questions to consider are, how will you balance working with studying if needed? How do your family time and needs fit into this? Be realistic and set manageable and quantifiable goals to get you there.
To keep you on track and motivated, it is recommended to join some organizations that can provide support during your studies and beyond on your journey into nursing. You’ll also meet people who know the industry inside out and can provide advice. Some organizations even provide financial support if required to help you through your studies.
Joining communities online or in person is also a great way to meet people who are in the same position as you, starting out a nursing career and navigating the highs and lows. This can provide huge amounts of support and guidance, even just as a friendly listening ear to consult if you are unsure about something.
A few of the most popular associations in the US to look at are the American Nurses Association, the National Black Nurses Association, the International Council of Nurses, the National Student Nurses Association, the National Association of Hispanic Nurses and the National League for Nursing.
Think about specializing
Once you have started in a career in the nursing field, you may feel motivated to study for a specialism. There are so many different paths within the healthcare industry, all which provide a satisfying and well-rounded career. Here are some of the areas you could consider for furthering your career in nursing:
- Registered nurse: This role is the core of the nursing profession in the healthcare industry in the US. Working on the frontline, registered nurses (RNs) support patients, doctors and other healthcare workers to provide excellent care to patients. This is a great choice if you like working in a fast-paced team environment, and means that you can start your career after only two to four years of education.
- ER nurse: Busy, dynamic and flexible are three words that come up when talking about working in the emergency room, and nursing is no different. No two hours are the same. You’ll meet lots of patients and be heavily involved in assessments, diagnoses and treatment in a face-paced environment. This is a challenging but very rewarding role within nursing.
- Family nurse practitioner: Family nurse practitioners (FNPs) are the primary care-givers and usually the first port of call for most patients. The role involves assessments, diagnoses and treatment in a broad range of illnesses, but specialism is possible. This position is great if you love working in the community and building a rapport with your patients.
- Mental health nurse: If you love the idea of working in the mental health sector, then nursing in this area can be highly rewarding. Alongside the more traditional nursing responsibilities, there is also an aspect of counseling and specialist care required by these vulnerable patients. This could be the role for you if you are highly compassionate, caring and an effective communicator.
- Nurse midwife: This is a fantastic field to go into if you have a passion for helping pregnant women and new mothers. Nurse midwives play a hugely important role in educating new mothers about life with a newborn and how to adapt to their new role. If you can show care and compassion to those in a fragile state, then this could be the position for you.
- Cardiac nurse: A growing area of nursing, cardiac nurses provide essential support to the doctors and surgeons who deliver life-saving care to thousands of people a day. If you are interested in assisting surgical teams and devising aftercare plans for patients, then this could be the area of specialism you are looking for.
- Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist: Highly trained, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) are in demand due to the amount of training that goes into their specialism. This is a great role for anyone looking to work within a surgical team.
- Critical care nurse: Although a stressful and high-pressured job, the role of critical care nurse is a rewarding and purposeful one. If you thrive in stressful situations and can keep calm under pressure, then this department might be the perfect fit.
- Travel nurse: If you are looking to travel and see the world while working as a nurse, then this role could be the right fit for you. Filling shorter temporary contracts, you can move from place to place assisting in different areas as and when roles come up.
- Nurse educator: Maybe you are interested in helping others reach their full potential? If so, educating other nurses is a great way to spend your time. A real passion for education and helping others thrive is essential.
Get going on your journey
As you can see from above, there are plenty of opportunities for nurses within the healthcare system in the US. The path for turning your passion for care into a career may be a long one, but it is truly rewarding. Having a sense of purpose at work can make you feel happier, more fulfilled and mentally resilient in all aspects of your life. If you truly believe that you could thrive in a healthcare setting and love helping people during their time of need, then a career in nursing could be the answer.
You can make a huge difference to people’s lives through your passion for care. Good luck on your journey.