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Spreading Balance, Positivity, Encouragement for Your New Nursing Career

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A refreshing outlook on choosing the nursing career pathway and how to stay optimistic. 

Are you doubting your decision to become a nurse?

Spreading Balance, Positivity, Encouragement for Your New Nursing Career

Negativity Bias Phenomena

This post is specifically for anyone doubting or stressing over their decision to become a nurse based on the perspectives/thoughts/opinions of others. Please read below for more insight.

Over the last few months reading various pages and discussions focused on nursing, you may have seen more negativity than positivity and that is because of the "negativity bias" phenomena. The idea that negativity weighs more than positivity hence why it always seems like you see more negative outlooks than positive when that may not necessarily be the case 

This post is for whoever needs that extra push, encouragement, sign etc to keep going. 

Keep Going

#1: There will ALWAYS be cons to any and every profession. 

This is not singular/isolated to just nursing. Focus on the primary elements that originally drew you into this profession and if the pros still outweigh the cons, you may have your answer (but only you know that). A little doubt is normal when taking risks/ making life-changing decisions. You also control what you choose to feed into so keep a filter on the outside forces that may try to confuse or hinder your decision-making. For example, if looking at feeds, forums, pages, etc of nursing discussions trigger your mental health, take a break from those things and instead focus on things that relax you or bring relief. This does not mean you are running from a decision or problem but instead finding a healthy balance. Be realistic with yourself and know your limit. Too much or too little of anything is not healthy for anyone. 

#2: Times have changed.

Due to inflation and economic crisis more than ever people have multiple streams of income and to this point, people change careers and have, or balance multiple professions throughout their lifetime. With that being said you are NOT locked solely into just nursing. It is totally okay to start nursing and a year or years later decide you want to do something else. Mental wellness matters just as much if not more than the desire to be financially stable or whatever your motivation/driving force might be. Not neglecting the realistic point that money is necessary or that educations/career training costs BUT everything must be within reason for YOUR life. 

#3: Create your world/space.

Within reason, stop letting pessimistic views that are not aligned with your outlook on life and do not offer you sound advice or constructive criticism consume you to the point where you are now living for other people or through the lens of another person. If you like art, designing, skateboarding, traveling, teaching, dancing, singing, etc DO those things. You do not have to stop having hobbies and you do not have to choose ONE thing over the other. You can be a nurse and still have a life outside of nursing. There is such thing as work/life balance. Find your balance early on. Do not forget to pay yourself back in self-care too. Manicures, pedicures, massages, retail therapy, actual therapy, quality time with loved ones, short fun trips ie to beaches, etc are all ways to treat yourself to your hard work. You must work daily to incorporate what matters to you in your life.. no matter what. 

#4: There are literally over 30+ types of Nursing Jobs/careers.

You are NOT tied down to the bedside if bedside nursing is something you despise or do not look forward to. The nursing pathway provides many opportunities, including ones that do not include hands-on patient care altogether ie informatics nurse, legal nurse consultant, cruise ship nurse, flight nurse, forensic nurse, remote nursing jobs, nurse entrepreneur, the list goes on. You may find yourself wanting to try out different specialties and if given the opportunity DO it because the worse that can happen is that you do not like it but the flip side of that is you've gained more skills/knowledge which will always make you a more versed and marketable/profitable nurse. 

Break the old idea of having to start in a specific area to become a well-learned nurse. If you combine determination, hard work, consistency and patience you WILL land whatever nursing career you want in whatever area you want. Law of attraction. There is no cookie-cutter outline anymore. Again, the health profession has drastically changed so nurses are going after the career they want and so can you. 

#5: Unpopular opinion.

If you are burned out from school after pursuing nursing in your LPN, ADN or BSN it is OK to stop there. Do not let societal pressure make you feel like you are not enough if you decide that you are okay where you are at in your career. Not everyone wants to be in school for a third or more of their life or worry about the piling of student loan debt. If that is how you feel, learn to be okay with it if you originally had other goals/dreams. Life has a funny and quick way of making us take alternative routes during our life journey. Only you have to be okay with your decision.

On the flip side if you decide you want to continue your education also be okay with that decision and understand that your life is your biggest investment. Take a different approach to the idea of gaining more student loan debt because unless you come from a family that has money to pay for your education, it is to be expected that you will incur some sort of debt. Of course the less the better but there are plenty of grants, scholarships, and repayment/loan forgiveness programs out there. If none of this still applies to you, look at it this way.. car loans = debt, mortgage loan = debt. The unpopular opinion here is this applies the same idea/concept which is these are investments that almost without hesitation are made by people every day why would your career be any different. It would be great to live in a world where continuing education was free for all but we do not and the truth is our education is priceless/invaluable so do not allow the opinions of others to stop you from investing in yourself because there will always be naysayers. Drown out the noise. Your life, your decision. 

#6: Be yourself in whatever specialty or nurse profession your choose.

People will either like you or won't. Do not spend your time/energy on people that do not care for you. You are there to complete a job, if you get more out of it great but try not to get consumed in being the "favorite" on everyone's list. No one is going to give you a gold star every time you go above and beyond your role. Understand this early on and do things because you want to rather than for reward and it will help minimize the idea that your hard work goes unnoticed. The unfortunate truth is more times than none it will go unnoticed but if you are doing it to make your workday/night better you will find more comfort in that. The rapport you build with your coworkers will come naturally if they come at all. 

#7: The obvious is that you will have to work hard for your career and the way you want it to go.

What you put in is what you get out. Be kind to all and give respect to all but set the tone early that you mean business. Do not feed into the idea that as a new nurse you have to allow mistreatment or toxic nurse politics. You will have to advocate for yourself but this will build character. There is a nurse shortage for a reason, now more than ever you demand respect and go where you will be treated correctly. Take charge of your life and stand for what you believe in. The good news is there are many free platforms (Youtube, FB, IG, etc.) and mentors out there that provide you with endless information that can make your life easier as a nurse. Take heed to what applies to you and let what does not fly.

#8: HAVE FUN.

It won't always be serious, sad, draining, frustrating moments. You are not your problems and they do not define you. When they do come take them for what they are and then keep pressing on. Learn to leave work at work so you can enjoy/ reset at home. Find the silver lining in things to keep yourself lighthearted. Read books that challenge and improve your mental well-being. Buy a pet (scientifically known to improve mood and longevity). Do not take yourself so seriously all the time. You are a nurse but you are also many other things. Continue to explore those things so that you continue enjoying what you do. 

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8 Comment(s)

I love this, such a refreshing take! Wish I could find more articles like this as a nervous new student nurse. 

@biancal257 thank you so much! I am glad you like it. I agree with you. We definitely need to see more optimistic approaches to the nursing field because it is still a promising field with time to improve. 

CKPM2RN, ASN, EMT-P

Specializes in Emergency/Med-Tele. Has 3 years experience.

Great article, helpful especially for those who aren't looking to be Super Nurse or nothing.  After 4 years of being an RN, I tell people who ask that I wish I'd pursued a degree as a radiology tech instead. What I know now.

AtomicNurse

Has 9 years experience.

There are some gray areas that need addressing: Going into debt has major consequences, especially if nursing turns out to be a really bad fit. This article is perfect for the single younger nurse with no obligations who can pivot easily in life. But if you have a family consider your needs and the needs of the family. It's really hard work on your body and mind. These are facts. If this will be a second career consider the impact on your body and mind. It is not very easy to pivot to new positions. The"if you try your very best and work hard you're gonna get where you want to go" doesn't always work out so easily esp as time is going by. Read the good and the bad and make sure you have a path to where you want to go. Really understand to hard part of nursing from lots of input. Nurses are not out there marching and striking for nothing. 1/3 of new nurses drop out of nursing after their first 2 years. Yes, it's that hard. I thought I was a hard worker before nursing. OMG. You don't want to be anchored in debt. So make that decision BEFORE you step into a class. Schools are aching to take your money. There are ancillary careers like the above radiology, ultrasound, etc.  

@AtomicNurse good points but this article specifically states a different approach to nursing than what is typically always stated. Thanks for your feedback though