A degree in nursing is currently one of the hottest degree choices for students interested in the medical field. Nurses are in especially high demand throughout the country, and they can find work in a variety of settings. The job demands a great deal of energy and commitment, and many prospective nurses wonder if a nursing degree is really the right choice for them.

The Many Choices in Nursing

Nursing is one of the most complex medical fields because there are so many different ways to be a nurse. Many people can picture the classic nurse that runs around the ICU or Emergency Room checking on patients in hospital beds, getting vitals and dispensing medicine, but there is a lot more to nursing than the classic image. There is a broad range of options in nursing. Some nurses work only with the very old or the very young. They may focus on education, training other nurses or giving instruction to patients. They may focus purely on blood as a phlebotomy nurse, or they may spend their entire day putting in IVs.

Consider the Specializations

For beginning nursing students, the best thing to do would be to get an idea about specialization. Most nurses choose a specialized field within nursing, and many nurses agree that there are positions in the field they would never like doing and other positions that they love. Many nursing positions use some of the same skills and knowledge, but the work environment, including pacing types of patients and specific challenges, will vary widely. Imagine the difference between working with children in a small clinic and running around the ER of a major hospital. Both of these people are practicing nursing, but their days are going to look like two different jobs.

Similarities Between Nursing Specialties

All nurses should be prepared for some of the same basic requirements no matter where they work or who they work with. All nurses will be required to have at least an associate’s degree and then pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Nursing (NCLEX-RN). This qualifies the graduates for all basic nursing tasks. All nurses will need knowledge of basic skills. These include:

–human anatomy and physiology
–basic pharmacology and drug administration
–patient care and safety
–how to take proper vitals
–CPR and first aid
–knowledge of common infectious diseases and how to prevent the spread of infection
–how to collect test specimens from patient stool, urine, sputum and blood
–the basics of body mechanics and mobility
–how to properly bathe and clean a patient who is disabled or has surgical complications
–basic nutrition as related to patient care

All nurses will in some way deal with patients. Nursing in general is a very social career choice. Nurses must be comfortable relaying information to patients and families.

Nursing is a career choice that can appeal to many different types of people. Prospective students should look closely at the many specializations within the field before deciding if nursing is right for them. The question usually becomes not if nursing is right for me, but which type of nursing is right for me.