“Who inspires me to be a nurse? Every nurse who doesn’t turn their back on nursing students, or graduate nurses, every nurse who acknowledges it’s okay and simply human to make foolish mistakes, every nurse who takes a moment of their time to help when you’re scared, and every nurse who remembers what it’s like to be a beginner.” – Anonymous Nurse
I remembered when I was offered admission to study Nursing, I was filled with so much joy and at the same time uncertain of What the future holds. I’ve heard many talks about nursing from silver-tongued fellows and when I started practicing, I thought I had no power and for many years, I followed other people’s rule.
They’d tell me how my career should be and I’d believe them. Some of this shaped my career up till the point that I started reading books and expanding my library of knowledge as regards What nursing is and how it could be better. In the actual sense, Nursing can be What you Want it to be for you. You can decide the hours, determine the pay, work for multiple companies, travel round the world and make the rules.
Here are the 7 things you should know before starting a career in Nursing.
1. Be yourself
There are so much pretenders in the field of nursing today, many have configured their minds to the nursing ethics that they find it difficult to enjoy their own unique being. No doubt, nursing has shaped us in one way or the other but we shouldn’t forget to be ourselves. What do you love doing? What are your values and What exactly do you stand for? Identify it so that you don’t lose yourself in the process of finding a Career
2. You need a mentor
In the world of nursing today, it is hardly difficult to succeed without having a mentor. Like the old saying goes, Mentorship the shortcut to success , there are many local and international Nursing mentors today. It is not necessary you have direct contact with your mentor, you may not even have a one on one interaction with them but you see them doing well, study them , what stands them out? what’s that thing you like about them that makes them unique? Start walking in that direction and follow their paths.
3. Don’t settle for less
I remember just immediately after leaving nursing school, I got a consultation job in a nursing home on the island part of Lagos with a pay of 30k monthly. Ridiculous right? Yes but I never settled for less. Funniest my boss was a nurse midwife, when I told her I was leaving, she thought it was a joke. Not just leaving but leaving after gathering the neccessary skills needed to be a better nurse.
“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.” – Steve Jobs
4. Trust your gut
In 2017 when we were about starting Fellow Nurses Africa, we were presented with so many uncertainties. What if it doesn’t work? What if we get tired and fail? At a point some were even mocking us. But We trusted our instincts and here we are today.
When presented with an opportunity, your first reaction/gut reaction is a pretty good indicator. Do you instantly think “Hell Yes” or are you quietly thinking “Hell No” — or “I’m really not comfortable” which is your gut reaction telling you to run.
Your gut knows better and can see past all your worries.
5. See Nursing challenges as an opportunity in disguise
In nursing today, there are many challenges, too numerous to count. The fact is that no profession without one challenge or the other, ability to manage these challenges is key. Challenges should provide an avenue for you to be a trailblazer. What can you do to be a problem solver? Florence Nightingale will forever be remembered for her contributions during the Crimean war because she identified a problem and provided a solution. Okesola Jackson saw the need for nurses to use the power of the media to Change the status of the profession and he started Nurses On Air, the media power house of nurses, today the rest is history. What is it that you can do for nursing and create a name for yourself that will be a reference point for the next generation of Nurses? The time is now.
There’s a old saying that your network is your net worth. Apart from your nursing colleagues, do you have friends in other industries?
There’s an opportunity in other fields or industry that you need a pro in that industry to tell you about. The world doesn’t revolve around Nursing alone. loosen your guards to network and stop living in isolation.
7. Create a presence.
To be able to make a reasonable impact in nursing you need to first create a presence. Let people know you and What you stand for. If possible create a niche for yourself. Be active on social media platforms and let people hear your views. Don’t be bothered about your audience when you’re just starting , keep blowing your trumpet and before you know it you’re becoming a stronghold after which you will become a voice that commands respects.
Now that you’ve known these things that will help your nursing career, don’t hesitate to put them into practice as well as sharing with other young and aspiring nurses.
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Oluwatosin K Odunayo
Editor-in-chief, Fellow Nurses Africa