When February rolls around each year, thoughts and hearts turn to special relationships and finding or keeping the “right match.” This reminds me of the well-known Broadway musical, “Fiddler on the Roof,” and the song with the words, “matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match, find me a find, catch me a catch…and make me a perfect match!” (Bock, 1964). This is a fitting concept for those who are unsure of the best career match for them. For those who currently are nurses, the path to a nursing career may not have been a straight march. Many look to nursing after beginning another career but find that type of work unrewarding. We might ask, how did these nurses know that nursing was a good match for a career, or that a particular area or specialty of nursing was “just the right match” for them?
Becoming a Nurse
As I reflect on what former nursing students, as well as nurses, have shared about their personal nursing journey, there are common themes regarding interest, strengths, and passions. Those who choose the field of nursing often focus on an interest in science, particularly the biological sciences and the human body. Some report an interest in working with their hands, an action-oriented career. Many express a desire or even a passion to “help others,” which has often been described as “make a difference,” “improve health,” or “save lives.” When I think about my own nursing career, there has been a multitude of opportunities to do all of these.
Are interest and passion the only yardsticks for measuring the potential for a perfect match and career in nursing? What else could help? Becoming a nurse begins with admission to, progression through, and graduation from a nursing program, either practical nurse or registered nurse at the prelicensure level of education, then success with the national nursing licensure exam, the NCLEX, and state nursing licensure. Reflecting on my years as a nurse educator, a strong GPA (3+ on a 4-point scale) along with above-average grades in science, are important for academic progression and licensure in a rigorous, science-based educational pathway and career. Take a closer look at our RN to BSN and RN to MSN degrees.
Careers in Nursing
Are there any other helps or guides for those considering a career in nursing? Bucceri Androus (2021) brings the factor of personality traits to the discussion. She points out that the view of nursing portrayed in media does not provide a realistic snapshot of the role of the nurse. I would say this is especially true in light of the ongoing pandemic and its impact on nursing. Though all of the nursing has most certainly been affected by the pandemic, it is those nurses working in intensive care, medical-surgical, and long-term care, whose work lives have been most upended. So, how can someone considering a career in nursing find out what nurses actually do in the various nursing work settings? Talking with a nurse could be very helpful, keeping in mind that the area of nursing and work setting of that nurse will limit individual perspective.
There are YouTube videos published by nurses and schools of nursing which could be helpful as well. For example, Nurse Nacole has been a popular YouTube site for nursing students and new nurses. You can learn about nursing traits and so much more from these are real-world experience videos with topics such as mindset, strategy, and time management.
Looking at personality traits and nurse characteristics that correspond to success in the typical daily work life of a nurse, Androus lists the following: flexibility, patience, empathy, and humility, which I read as openness to new learning, direction, and teamwork. Truly, nursing is a team-oriented profession. Most nurses work in a team of some type. In fact, I have often visualized the nursing role as the hub in the middle of a wheel with multiple and varied stakeholders, represented by the spokes of the wheel. These stakeholders, or partners, include patients, nurse colleagues, providers (physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants), other professionals and departments such as pharmacists, physical, occupational, and respiratory therapists, social workers, as well as the supervisory hierarchy of the employer.
Androus further states that nursing education should imprint the importance of the 5 C’s of Caring early in the curriculum. These are Commitment, Conscience, Competence, Compassion, and Confidence. One of my former nurse colleagues once said to me, “Nursing is the hardest job I’ve ever loved.” I echo that sentiment. Nurses often talk about a “calling to be a nurse.” I’m not so sure about a call being required. However, people are people, and those receiving nursing care might not be at their best because they might not be having the best day of their lives. Nurses often work in fast-paced, high-stress environments. In light of this, the capacity to work with a team under time and pressure demands while demonstrating caring to those who might not be capable of reciprocating kindness or thankfulness could well be a calling.
Nursing is an opportunity to serve humanity, to use one’s skills and self to make a difference in the lives of others, regardless of the work setting or area of practice. For some, that is a great match! Is that you?
Online Nursing Programs
As advances in our health care system continue to improve, there is a critical need to increase both nurse educators and nurse leaders in our industry. This is why Ottawa University’s Masters in Nursing program offers two specialized concentrations within our masters in nursing program.
Nurse Educator Concentration
Take a closer look at the classes and requirements for our nurse educator concentration. Our dedicated and experienced instructors give you the tools to step into the classroom and produce future leaders in health care.
Nurse Leader Concentration
We also offer our nurse leader concentration. Our nurse leader specialization prepares nurses to pursue management and administrative roles. These classes teach students how to work toward continuous quality improvement within health care.
If you have the characteristics of a nurse and you are interested in finding out if our online nursing program is the best match for you, reach out to an enrollment advisor today!
Bock, Jerry. (1964). Fiddler on the roof: (from the Broadway musical "Fiddler on the Roof"). [United States]: RCA Victor.
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