3 Reality Checks for Nursing Students

June 3, 2013 in Nursing TIps

Nursing Student with Books

Reality checks are never fun but for students already going through the challenging task of earning degrees from nursing schools, they are necessary for putting things into perspective and helping students make the right choices for their careers in the future. Schools can only prepare its students for so much.

Reality Check #1: It Takes Time to Be a Pro–Even With a Degree In Hand

It’s no secret that the academic training to become a nurse is hard. Graduating and automatically entering into one’s dream occupation isn’t a very accurate or realistic expectation to have, however. This isn’t impossible to achieve but it does take time–something newly graduated nurses often don’t want to hear. They figure they’ve already put in enough time in school so why can’t they dive right into the profession they’ve worked so hard for?

Graduates must understand that the clinical portion of their education only exposes them to so much. While a nursing degree will get a person hired into a medical facility, it’s still going to take a few years to learn the ropes and master a hospital or clinic’s day-to-day operations to a point where they can be considered for more advanced job positions. New nurses may even find themselves working in a unit completely unrelated to what they studied for in school. This is the new normal in healthcare, for better or worse.

Reality Check #2: Not Everyone is Ready for Retirement

Among the many factors resulting in the ongoing rise in healthcare jobs, including nursing, one of the most talked about is the ushering of new nurses to replace the ones going into retirement. While it is true that many seasoned nurses are getting ready to enter this next phase of their lives, this notion isn’t unfolding exactly the way most students would think.

Some nursing students may believe that a large portion of nurses will suddenly retire, leaving a huge gap in the healthcare system that needs to be filled. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. When nurses retire, it doesn’t typically happen all at once, it is staggered throughout the year so soon-to-be graduates shouldn’t stick to the idea that they’ll find themselves with an abundance of job openings to choose from.

Additionally, because the economy is still recovering, many nurses who are eligible to retire are choosing not to or are delaying retirement so they can continue earning enough to help them afford a proper retirement in the future. That means less job openings than originally anticipated when it comes to this particular factor.

Reality Check #3: Not All Hospitals Are Hiring

With the state of the economy, many hospitals have gone into hiring freezes, limited the number of people they’re able to hire or are no longer considering graduates. Students must carefully research the city and state where they plan on finding employment to make sure they aren’t preparing themselves to enter a market filled with employers with no current need for (or are incapable of) bringing new nurses on board.

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