What was the reason(s) why you wanted to become a registered nurse? And why would someone choose this career?
I became a nurse after having a degree in Medical Biology; I was always interested in sciences but didn’t know what I wanted to do with the interest. After exploring different careers in the health field, I fell in love with nursing. I realized that I have always cared for and advocated for my family and friends and that was what nursing was all about. And it also tied in my love for science.
Becoming a nurse has given me the opportunity to meet many different people and has given me the privilege to support people at their worst and help them heal. I am also able to teach patients and impact their lives for the better. A career in nursing gives way to many different paths, it allows so much flexibility in schedule, and you are able to dictate your own career path. I truly believe anyone that is thinking of a career in nursing should go for it. Take classes and see if it is the right fit for you; the best nurses are not only smart, but also have a lot of heart. It’s a wonderful challenging career where you’ll learn something new every day.
How long does it take to become a registered nurse and what classes should you take to become a nurse?
Depending on the program you choose it takes between 2-4 years to become a Registered Nurse. Core courses include Biology, Anatomy & Physiology, Microbiology, and Chemistry. Some of the nursing classes include Pharmacology, Nutrition, Health Assessment, Genetics, Research and Evidence-Based Practice, Care of Adults with Chronic Health Conditions, Care of Adults with Chronic Health Conditions, Care of Adults with Acute Health Conditions, Maternity & Pediatrics, Mental Health, Aging and End-of-Life Care, Public Health, Leadership and Management, and Statistical Methods.
On a typical day as a nurse, what do you do in your nursing job?
I started my career on a general medical surgical floor. I then focused more on cardiac patients and started working on a telemetry cardiac floor. Since then, life has changed and now having a family I work in an outpatient in a cardiac ambulatory setting. I am a cardiac stress nurse which involves stress testing patients on the treadmill or chemically. I also triage phone calls and have to ask the right questions to get patients the right care and right answers. Many patients call us with chest pain because they fear going to the Emergency Department. It can take a lot of questions and quick thinking to decipher if something acute is going on. I also do patient teaching in the office or over the phone regarding cardiac conditions, medications, and diet. My position rotates with the other nurses at the office, sometimes we are scheduled in the office, or in testing. My day changes based on where I am scheduled that day and the day is never the same, it’s very dynamic.
After I become a nurse, how much money can I expect to earn?
Hourly rate for a nurse ranges from about 27-45/hour, Hospital & Skilled Nursing Facilities offer differentials based on shift times and days which increases the hourly rate.
What does your typical work schedule as a nurse look like?
I work in an ambulatory setting so we are open Monday-Friday 8:30-5pm, closed weekends and holidays.
Hospital nurse schedules are done differently depending on where you work. Typically the days of the week are different, and the nurses rotate holidays and weekends. Many new nurses start on nights, which can be difficult but can really help a new nurse grow in their autonomy and confidence. When I worked nights early on my career was where I honed my clinical skills.
What type of patients do you take care of at your job?
I started my career in ‘General Medical’ allowing me to see many different patients. For example some of the patients I saw had pneumonia, anemia, and sickle cell crisis. I have since focused on cardiac where some of the patients I see now have arrhythmia issues, myocardial infarctions, or congestive heart failure.
What should someone new to the nursing field, who is thinking about becoming a nurse, know about the nursing field?
Being a nurse is more than a career, it’s a calling. It can be emotional, it can be challenging and it is so fulfilling. It’s not just a good job, it’s an identity. We make big impacts on patients’ lives and their families’ lives. Patients don’t forget a good nurse. There are so many different things you can specialize in as a nurse, and it gives a great foundation for graduate studies too.
What challenges do you face as a nurse?
At times it can be frustrating re-teaching patients that continue the same behaviors that are poorly affecting their health. Being an advocate for patients is a big part of being a nurse, sometimes getting answers from doctors can be difficult as well.