Why do you want to be a nurse? Students share their sentiments
By The College of St. Scholastica | @StScholastica | Apr 27, 2015
Let's face it—not everyone is cut out to be a nurse. But in the midst of it all, babies are born, lives are saved and life-long bonds are even formed between the medical staff and their patients. This rewarding career path is as multifaceted as it is essential to the medical field.
And what's better? We need nurses now more than ever!
Baby boomers are aging and the need for healthcare professionals is skyrocketing as a result, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). Nursing schools across the U.S. are struggling to expand at the rates necessary to meet this increasing demand.
The numbers reflect this widening gap. There were more than 750,000 job postings for nurses across the spectrum of specialties in the past year, according to Burning-Glass.com.* The job prospects for registered nurses (RNs) alone are expected to grow at a rate of 19 percent by 2022, much faster than the average vocation.
The field needs qualified nursing hopefuls to step up to the plate. But sometimes a bright job outlook isn't enough to seal the deal for the medical professionals of our future.
That is why we spoke to a handful of nursing graduate students and asked them, "Why do you want to be a nurse?" They identified four distinct reasons why pursuing a career in nursing is worth it.
4 Reasons you should become a nurse
1. It's an exciting, fast-paced profession
The shifts may get long and certain aspects of the job will inevitably become routine, but the life of a nurse is never boring. Whether you're working out of a hospital, a private practice or a palliative care center, you have to be ready to respond to just about anything at a moment's notice.
"I need to be in a fast-paced work environment," says Danielle Mella. "In nursing, every day is different, so there's always something new to figure out. Working as a clinician keeps me on my toes."
From quirky patients to split-second decisions, rest assured that no two days will be alike when you're working as a nurse. This makes nursing a great choice if you're the type who thrives under pressure and craves excitement.
2. It gives you the opportunity to positively impact your patients & community
"I want to be a nurse because I really want to help people through some of their most vulnerable moments," explains Meagan Thompson.
All nurses have at least one thing in common—they want to help people. Not only do they play the role of caretaker for their patients, but in some circumstances, they can also be a friend, a confidante and a trusted adviser. It takes a special kind of person to fill all of those roles the way nurses do.
"Ever since I was a little girl, my empathetic heart took over. When I saw a friend crying, I was the first to go over and comfort him or her," says Brie Peters. After traveling to Guatemala as a young adult to assist an RN in administering medical treatment to underserved villagers, her childhood penchant for helping others transformed into a career dream.
The medical care administered by nurses isn't just a temporary fix—it is also about teaching people afflicted by injury or illness to care for themselves as they move forward. "Empowering others to take control over their health and quality of life will be truly fulfilling," says Elana Goldsmith.
3. It offers one-of-a-kind flexibility
There is a certain flexibility that comes with the profession of nursing—one that can often lead to a longer, more sustainable career. In fact, there are more than 100 different specialties in the world of nursing. These jobs include everything from critical care nurse to forensic nurse to nurse anesthetist.
"There is so much flexibility in terms of the areas that a nurse can specialize in," Mella explains. "It truly makes for a career that will last a lifetime!"
Nurses relish this opportunity to locate the perfect specialty through which to utilize their specific strengths. This plethora of positions means it won't be hard to find your perfect fit.
4. You can experience the benefits of a holistic approach to medicine
"One of the aspects I enjoy most is the holistic approach of nursing care. We are taught not to focus on the specific state of a disease, but rather the patient's response to the disease or illness," says Kara Somora.
She explains that the most effective method of patient care includes not only meeting their physical needs, but meeting their emotional, social and spiritual needs as well. "If any of these components are neglected, a person can't be their healthiest self," Somora says.
Using a holistic approach to medical care allows nurses to treat "the whole person" while also benefitting the nurses themselves—often preventing professional burnout among medical teams.
Join this rewarding career path
Americans consider nursing to be the most trusted, ethically-sound profession, according to a 2014 poll from Gallup. But, as our panel of nursing graduate students revealed, there is a lot more to this multifaceted career path than what is portrayed on TV shows like "Grey's Anatomy" and "Private Practice."
"I believe that patients' willingness to place their lives in the hands of those assigned to care for them demonstrates the ultimate act of trust," Peters says. "It is a great honor and responsibility."
From the flexible job opportunities to the profound community impact nurses can make, this career path has the potential to reap a lifetime of rewards.
If you can identify with these reasons for pursuing a career in nursing, learn more about 9 of the different nursing jobs that are in demand now!
The College of St. Scholastica
The College of St. Scholastica is an independent private Catholic Benedictine college with locations across Minnesota, in addition to many high-quality programs available online and through convenient evening and weekend formats. Since 1912, St. Scholastica has been preparing students for a life of purpose and economic gain by engaging students in the love of learning and active citizenship in the world. Our mission is to provide intellectual and moral preparation for responsible living and meaningful work.
A recurring theme in our examination of IELTS testing for nurses has been how the Writing module is often the primary cause of insufficient overall scores.
As we’ve discussed recently, there is a growing consensus that a General Training module for Writing, rather than Academic, would be more appropriate. But the idea of reducing the overall average to 7 with no element below 6.5 has also been proposed.
So we’ve been examining what the difference between a 6.5 and 7 in the Writing module actually looks like.
How the tests work
The writing test is split into two tasks.
Task 1 provides a graph, diagram, table or chart, and asks candidates to describe and compare its features, or analyse certain aspects. Meanwhile, Task 2 questions require candidates to present and justify opinions on specific topics – essentially, it’s an essay-writing test.
It’s also worth noting that the difference between an Academic or General Training IELTS test only applies to the Reading and Writing modules; the Speaking and Listening modules are always the same.
Small grammatical mistakes that make a big difference to the NHS
The tasks we initially analysed were Task 2 examples written by the same Italian nurse.
What is immediately apparent when comparing examples of a 6.5 and a 7 is that the difference is negligible. Both examples are easy to understand, and both are impressively articulate.
The one noticeable difference is that the example that scored 7 is more grammatically sound. However, those grammatical differences are technicalities – small details that make it no easier to understand but slightly more sophisticated. Task 2 carries more marking weight than Task 1 – so those small details make a big difference.
In fact, to be really specific, the only difference is that verb tenses are more often confused in the 6.5 example. Disappear is written when disappearing was required; decrease rather than decreased. The spelling is good, the punctuation is logical, and structurally it’s a perfectly well-balanced essay. But the damage is done: this Italian nurse is not coming to support the NHS because she’s confused her verb tenses. That’s the almost bizarre reality here.
In other widely available examples we’ve viewed, the vast majority of scores of 6.5 feature specific grammatical problems. Unsophisticated paragraphing is a regular offender, as is structural naivety. In other words, candidates might communicate perfectly clearly, but they score a 6.5 because they aren’t especially good at organising an essay.
If my plans to the work in the UK were scuppered for that reason, I think I’d feel pretty disgruntled.
Australian cinema attendances and the process of brick manufacturing
In the first examples referenced above, the questions asked the candidate to explore the morality of violence on TV and the issue of animal extinction respectively.
In response, both answers are fairly repetitive. It’s clear that the Italian candidate is struggling to think of different arguments to expand the essay sufficiently. Which begs the question: why is she answering questions about subjects she doesn’t necessarily have knowledge about? That problem would disappear if nursing- related subjects were used exclusively.
Looking at further examples, the problem only gets worse. In an IELTS score guide that’s publically available, Task 1 examples are mind-bogglingly irrelevant – and difficult as a result. One example asks candidates to analyse a line graph that illustrates how cinema attendances across Australia have changed between 1990 and 2010. Another presents a complex diagram showing how bricks are manufactured, and asks candidates to report and compare its main features.
As a result, you can’t help but wonder whether those who struggle to answer fluently are struggling with language, or simply struggling to understand the question.
Academic criteria for academic tasks
A brief look at the IELTS Task 2 band descriptions illustrates the problems that we’ve been exploring at HCL.
The criteria clearly focus on a candidate’s ability to construct an essay. A score of 7 ‘logically organises information’ and ‘uses a range of cohesive devices’ as well as ‘a variety of complex structures’. Evidently, an IELTS Academic writing task is looking for the foundations of an academic writer – something which, to our knowledge, the NMC is not looking for in international nurses.
Equally, the criteria are displayed for a score of 6 or 7, but not a 6.5. This is notable given that, at HCL alone, we have seen a huge number of candidates score a 6.5 for writing. Therefore, how a score of 6.5 is calculated is not clear.
The Academic Writing task does not make for good reading
A brief foray into task examples supports the growing consensus that the Academic Writing module is not suitable for the testing of international nurses.
With abstract questions and academically focused criteria, relevant knowledge is not being tested and nurses with appropriate communications skills are being overlooked.
But most damningly, all the examples we’ve examined suggest that nurses are having their dreams of working in the UK shattered simply because of small grammatical errors. These are the kind of errors that the British public make daily, and are preventing international nurses from cutting NHS vacancy rates. And arguably, they’re the kind of errors that simply wouldn’t have any impact on a nurse’s ability to do their job.
Switching to General Training might be the answer. Lowering the overall average to 7 would have a big impact. Even using a different, more vocationally-relevant test for nurses might produce better, fairer results. But whatever the answer, change is needed.
Click here to read our original report.