Shadowing a DoctorAugust 16, 2012
While an extremely challenging career, nursing offers a diverse and rewarding job that can make a genuine difference to people’s lives. Nurses work in all sorts of environments, from busy hospitals and clinics, to local surgeries or in the local community. The work also covers a wide range of different areas, from caring for the elderly or children, to midwifery or working with the mentally ill.
For a nurse, no two days are ever the same and caring for people offers unrivalled job satisfaction. However, nursing can involve a lot of hard work and the path to becoming a nurse requires dedication, commitment and a passion for the profession.
Unlike becoming a doctor, where academic excellence is necessary, nurses come from a more diverse background, and there is less emphasis on educational background. That being said, from 2013, all nursing qualifications will be offered at degree level only. Prior to this, nurses were able to practice following the completion of a diploma, but now all new nurses will be expected to achieve graduate level.
However, this doesn’t mean to become a nurse you need the same A-levels or formal education required to be a doctor, and many people become nurses after having worked in other types of jobs first. Nursing degrees are more practical based than other types of degree, with half of the programme devoted to work placements, and during their studies, nursing students are expected to choose an area of nursing to specialise in, which include:
- Adult nursing
The field of adult nursing is huge. Nurses specialising in adult nursing can find themselves with an almost unlimited range of opportunities, from delivering general care in hospitals or working in a busy accident and emergency wards, to working out of a local GP surgery or travelling around a community offering home care.
- Paediatric nursing
Perhaps one of the most challenging and yet rewarding specialities of nursing is working with children. A children’s nurse can find his or her self in a variety of different settings such as offering care on a children’s ward, working in specialist baby units or offering sexual health advice to teenagers.
Equally rewarding is the role of the midwife. Midwives play a central role during pregnancy and childbirth, and as such, form close relationships with expectant mothers who rely on midwives for information, care and advice. Whilst bringing children into the world has its rewards, midwives also have to face many challenges such as helping mothers cope with unsuccessful pregnancies and difficult births.
- Mental health nursing
One of the most challenging fields of nursing is caring for those with mental health problems, such as people suffering from dementia, severe and enduring mental health conditions or those with drug addictions.
Qualified nurses can go on to specialise in all sorts of different fields of medicine too, such as women’s health, cancer care, critical care, or surgical assistance. Furthermore, the career opportunities for nurses is now extensive, with nurses able to take on a variety of responsible positions and leadership roles, right up to executive level.