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717richboy's avatar

What must you be good at in order to be a nurse?

Asked by 717richboy (234points) December 13th, 2013


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15 Answers

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

Drawing blood without digging a hole in the patient’s arm.

717richboy's avatar

Well, that makes me optimistic. What else? Does one have to be a math or science scholar or can they just work really hard and succeed?

ucme's avatar

You must have a lot of patients/patience.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

You don’t have to be a genius when it comes to math and science, but you do have to have some smarts in those areas and memorize certain calculations/conversions.

You also need a good bedside manner and unending patience. If you get frustrated with people easily, nursing is not for you.

Jonesn4burgers's avatar

One must be a good student. Grades are important, but however good the grades are matters much less than one’s performance with real people. People skills are crucial. Your desire for a paycheck may be genuine, but to be a nurse, your desire to aid the suffering person must be stronger than your desire to cashy your check.
People who have a good support system around them have a better chance than someone going it alone.
You can be aware of what classes to take and do well in, but thatwill not neccssarily make you a good nurse. You have to be able to take a lot of crap without feeling an urge to open fire in a cowd….ever.
One must be able to stand many hours on their feet, turn a deaf ear to their own complaints while focusing all their concentration on everyone else’s.

wildpotato's avatar

Patience, empathy, good bedside manner, steady hand, nice smile…and administrative skills, or at least a high tolerance for paperwork.

glacial's avatar

You need to be able to do mental calculations quickly for dosages, and to be able to memorize a lot of facts in biology/anatomy. You need not to be squeamish, and to be willing to work long and odd hours. You need good interpersonal skills.

My experience is that people who say they’re not good at math and science can succeed at fields that require them if they love what they’re doing enough. For example, you might be strongly motivated to learn anatomy so that you can become nurse, whereas in high school you might have hated general biology courses because they had no application for you.

johnpowell's avatar

I took a year of chemistry my first year of college. I didn’t give a shit, I just needed the science credit. 80% of the people in my class were nursing students.

I’m good at math and chemistry was rough for me.

talljasperman's avatar

You will have to cope with spilled fluids, and deceitful patients.

Lightlyseared's avatar

I know its a bit of cop out answer but it really depends on what sort of nursing you want to do. There are more nursing roles than you could possibly imagine and the sort of skills you need to be an ITU nurse might not get you very far if you were working on ward caring for elderly patients with dementia. Don’t like blood and bodily fluids – there’s a job for you. Like messing about with a million bucks of tech but don’t want to talk to people too much – there’s a job for you. Want to jump out of plane behind enemy lines and a have skill set on par with the special forces tier 1 operative you’ve been sent to rescue – there’s a job for you.

livelaughlove21's avatar

I started college in the nursing program before deciding the medical field wasn’t for me and from my experience, what it takes to get through nursing school is a bit different than what it takes to be a nurse.

To get through school, you need to be able to memorize and apply a ridiculous amount of material in order to do well on exams. While you don’t need to be a math genius, drug conversions can be tricky and do require some basic math. Most of the biology is Anatomy and Physiology and Microbiology, in addition to some basic biology courses. Prepare to have to memorize the name of every single bone and muscle in the body and be able to label them properly. You’ll have to learn skills that have very precise steps that must be followed exactly as you’re shown.

Luckily, that was the stuff I was good at.

As for clinical rotations, get ready to write until your fingers feel like they’re going to fall off. You’ll also have to document, usually electronically, every single thing you do – and you’ll learn the legal reasons behind that. Your notes will need to be very specific and accurate. I hope you’re not at all grossed out by puke, blood, nasty wounds, urine, or shit – because you’ll be well acquainted with all of them. Changing adult diapers, giving enemas, cleaning infected wounds, etc.

Those were also things I was good at.

Here’s the part that I couldn’t hack – prepare to be unwanted. Those patients know you’re just a student, they already have their own real nurse, and most of them don’t want you bothering them. And when the families are there – ugh, even worse. I got awkward blank stares and even got cussed out once for needing to check vital signs on a patient that just had it done by the nurse.

Now, to be a good nurse, you’ll need a tremendous amount of patience and empathy (something else I lack). It does get better after school is over and nursing is a great career as long as you have a passion for it. If you don’t, pick another field. It’s not a glamorous job to be wiping an old man’s ass on your fourth consecutive night shift, but the pay is good and you have a chance to make a difference in someone’s life. As they say, doctors treat illnesses, but nurses treat patients.

glacial's avatar

@livelaughlove21 My roommate in college was a nursing student, and she’s still a nurse now. Her experiences were very much like what you described.

stanleybmanly's avatar

You will need sound legs and feet as well as a sturdy back and state of the art immune system.

BosM's avatar

Lot’s of good feedback so far. What I can add is that the nurses I know have a tremendous propensity to be caring, empathetic, and are drawn towards wanting to help others, these three characteristics are intrinsic to them, meaning they come naturally. 2 or my sisters are nurses and my SIL is a PT and my wife and I both work in healthcare. You do it for the satisfaction gained from helping others.

wuad2015's avatar

You have to love this job, then be patient and careful.

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