Currently working in an Adult Psychiatric Unit at Lutheran Hospital, Mary Santos, RN, BSN, offer advice to both those interested in becoming nurses as well as to those who have already are nurses and need to expand their practices.
If you are interested in nursing, get out there and experience it first-hand! Volunteer, shadow, or better yet, get a job as a nurse’s aide. Getting a job as a nurse tech or aide gives you invaluable experience that you can use to inform your patient care from clinical courses in school through the rest of your career. Not only does it help you become comfortable with basic Activities of Daily Living (ADL) care, getting a job as a nurse’s aide can help you to figure out what type of nursing you are most interested in, as well as help you get your foot in the door with an employer.
One of the best ways to expand your thinking as a nurse is to keep an open mind, and to continue asking questions. Once you have a good base of nursing knowledge, discussing concepts of patient care and medications with trusted and experienced co-workers can help you refine your own approach to caring for your patients. Taking advantage of opportunities your hospital system has for supporting your education is also a great way to continue growth and life-long learning. For example, I recently applied for and received a literature review grant through the CCF Nursing Research Institute so that I could look into a topic I was interested in for my specialty. I know others who have taken advantage of this opportunity. If you want to learn and grow as a nurse, CCF is more than willing to help you reach your goals--you just have to show initiative!