When I was little, probably about three or four, I was playing and hit my head on the corner of a chair. This led to a lot of crying and a trip to the emergency room for stitches. When I finally got seen, I was fascinated by everything. But the best part was watching the doctor put the stitches in my head, by watching the reflection in his glasses. From then on, I was hooked. As I became more aware of the differences between nurses and doctors, I chose nursing as my path.
Nursing isn’t for everyone.
It takes a special person with the right mix of attitude, brains, and heart to make it a career. If you are interested in nursing, I have some tips you can use to prepare, understand it better as a job, and to make sure it’s a good fit for you.
Read everything that has to do with nursing and interests you.
I used to go to the library and find books on First Aid or books on disease that I wanted to know more about. Nowadays, with the Internet there are so many options to learn from. There are a lot of sites out there, which perpetuate incorrect information, so be careful which ones you choose to study.
Find volunteer opportunities.
Some hospitals still offer volunteer opportunities, such as a Candy Striper. I took advantage of this opportunity when I was young. It was very exciting to see what the nurses did, how the hospitals work, and helping patients. A lot of those skills came in handy later, by the way too. These experiences can also help to round out your applications to nursing school later.
Check out what the American Red Cross has to offer in the way of education.
I recently discovered that they have classes in First Aid, CPR/AED, Blood-borne Pathogens, and Responding to Emergencies. When I was growing up, if I had known that there were classes like this available, I would have been all over them. And it never hurts to build your toolbox early.
See if your high school has a medical careers program.
If it does, see if it has a certificate program in becoming a nursing assistant. If so, I would highly recommend that you take advantage of it. There are many benefits to such a program. One, you learn how to perform some basic tasks in nursing that will be the same ones you’ll need later. That experience is priceless later. You will be head and shoulders above others in your nursing program that did not choose that path. Secondly, when you fulfill the requirements of the curriculum and attain your certificate, you can get a job as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), earning more than your peers do at McDonald’s or the mall; and all the while gaining valuable experience and skills for your nursing career.