A happy nurse is a happy patient. So, you should strive to have a job that you love and one that you’re excited to go to each and every day, or at least most of the time. There are so many people around us who are climbing their way up the ladder that someone tells them to climb and ends up being leaned up against the wrong wall, or no wall at all.
To avoid this, find out what your strengths are and what you are good at, and what you might not be that good at. Think about what you enjoy doing, and note it down. Ask yourself where you want to see yourself in 3 years, in 5 years and in 10 years and then find people in those places who might help you get there. These people will also be able to tell you what might get in your way, and how to navigate those obstacles as they come along.
After speaking to nurses across Pakistan, we have gathered a number of areas that nurses can build their careers. However, there may be other areas we have missed. If you come up with one, please mention it in the comments below!
When you taking the clinical route, you will be working closely with patients; taking care of them and helping them improve their health in a hospital setting. This job has long hours and maybe overwhelming at times, but if you are excited about a high tempo, the opportunity to literally save lives and working to serve people at the most critical time of their lives, the clinical nurse route is extremely fulfilling. Within the clinical route, you will need to pick a specialty such as pediatrics, oncology, ob/gyn, emergency and many more. For this purpose, you will also need to attend relevant courses to upskill yourself, which can be exciting as you will continuously be developing.
2. Education or Research
As a nurse in research and education you will be delivering, training and evaluating the students, and you will be responsible for developing the nurses who work every day in the field. These jobs are normally found in higher education institutions or training institutions for nursing and midwifery education. You can go from assistant to lecturer to senior lectureships to professorships. In Pakistan, and worldwide as well we need more instructors and educators who can share their knowledge experience and skills with others to make them better nurses. As a nurse in research or education, you can helo bring change to the nursing profession by working on new and innovative techniques for healthcare training side by side with doctors. If you have a curiosity gene in your DNA, or you want to work on something new or invent something this job is for you.
3. Management or Leadership
This can be in the hospital or outside the hospital. All organizations need a leader or a manager. So, if you are interested in leadership this job is for you. You can be a leader at many different levels. Team leads are responsible for overseeing a team of nurses in a ward and this can be a great first step towards leadership in the clinical setting. Then there are frontline managers who are responsible for day to day running of the wards efficiently. After that there are managerial roles throughout the hospital, or in educational institutions as well. If you are someone who likes big-picture thinking and planning, you might enjoy this kind of more organizational and strategic role where you will be an integral part of corporate management. Your primary objective will be to efficiently run the organization and make sure that all nurses and staff working in it have the best conditions to do their job.
4. School nurses
Being a nurse at a school can be a great job for someone who likes children, and wants a more long-term relationship with patients. As a school nurse, you spend time with children to take care of their medical needs at school; from their belly aches to allergic reactions and vaccinations. You have to follow the protocols and procedures, but there is also a lot of autonomy in this job. An added bonus is the summer breaks and the fact that you don’t have to work on the weekends.
5. Home health
This is where you see patients in their home settings. It’s really unique as you get to care for the patient in their own home where they feel safe and comfortable. Home health care may include occupational and physical therapy, speech therapy, and skilled nursing. It may involve helping older adults with activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, and eating. This can also be a great way to build a more long term relationship with patients, and see your care improve their everyday lives. If you enjoy changing your environments and being in touch with older people, this field can be great for you.
If you have picked your path, you are ready to jump into the next step of your journey, which is to develop your network and we are here to help. Our next blog is about how to expand your network.