Being a Hospital Nurse

You don't have to be a hospital nurse forever, but you do need to have a solid foundation of skills and the best place to get that is in a hospital. If you have worked as an aide for a year or more and have had the opportunity to observe procedures and treatments and have had a very strong clinical education, you might not need as much experience. However, nurses and even physicians don't learn everything they need to know in school.

If you had an externship in the hospital during your schooling, you might also be well prepared. And if you are going to have an internship in another facility or environment, you might be ready to move into another area of nursing. Of course, if you are an LPN who has completed an R.N. program, you should be able to move into another role more easily as well.

There are many different roles and career options for nurses beyond the hospital setting and you may have had some exposure to them either from clinical rotations or through previous careers. In many of these options, you will most likely have more autonomy and are less likely to have many more nurses around to help when you encounter a situation you are unsure of. You need to have a solid foundation of skills including assessment and critical thinking skills in order to provide the best quality care to your patients. A hospital experience can provide you with exposure to more than you may ever need to know, but it can help to assure that you can face any situation with confidence and skill for at least basic care until more advanced help can be accessed.

In a hospital environment, you will work with several nurses at a time and be able to pick their brains for tricks and tips for handling situations and performing procedures that will be invaluable to you throughout your career. In another environment, you may not have as many colleagues to consult for help and to learn from.

Be aware, however, that many positions require, if not highly recommend, one year's recent acute hospital experience. This is true even for new R.N.s who were LPNs prior to continuing their education. The reason is that the R.N. role is more advanced particularly in the areas of assessment, leadership, and critical thinking responsibilities.

Talk to the nurses who work in the field you are interested in and get their opinions on the best way to gain the skills and experience necessary for that role. This will be the beginning of a lifetime of networking. Be sure to thank them for their advice.

A year from now, you will look back and realize that what you learned in school is by comparison a mere grain of sand in your eye to what you have learned in the past 365 days. Make the most of it and you'll never regret it.

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