As someone who has always loved helping others, deeply enjoys the sciences, and wants to make a positive impact on my community, I have found myself drawn to the healthcare field. I had the pleasure of speaking to a nursing student who has had practical experience in this field through volunteering opportunities, previous jobs, and various clinical placements.
One of the first notes that really resonated with me was the similarities in our motivations for this career. The person I was speaking to said the most rewarding part of being a nurse was the ability to “make a direct change to someone’s life and quality of life.” She also mentioned that she loved being able to help “people of all stages of life […] go through life with ease and joy,” which was a major part of what drew me to nursing too. When I shared that I was feeling a little torn between pursuing the arts and the sciences, she mentioned that her professors often tell her that healthcare is both a science and an art. While the scientific aspect of this field is obviously an in-depth understanding of medication and the human body, there is a certain art to exercising empathy and communicating with patients. This is critical to nursing because nurses may need to deliver hard-hitting news, distinguish whether someone is being honest, and interpret body language.
Throughout our conversation, I took note of some of the thematic statements and pieces of wisdom the interviewee shared with me. One of the main thematic statements was the importance of taking advantage of available resources. For instance, high school students may use websites, surveys, and questionnaires offered as part of the Career Life Education course or seek out the career resource center for support. The person I was speaking to shared that the career resource center helped her proofread her resume and cover letter by advising her on the best fonts and adjectives to use, giving her a really sturdy foundation from which she could build on to. They even helped recommend job openings to her! Moreover, seeking resources may extend to joining mentorship programs or taking the initiative to apply to volunteer or work places related to fields of personal interest.
Another piece of important wisdom was for high school students to put less stress on themselves. Rather than restricting oneself to classes exclusively related to a certain career, it may be beneficial to think of high school as an opportunity to branch out and learn new skills. Although it may be tempting to just concentrate on subjects that feel comfortable, one may find a new passion or even a potential career if they try to explore as many diverse electives as possible and expand their horizons. In contrast, university would be a good time to specialize in specific points of interest and hone in on what one wants to study.
Lastly, the person I was speaking with shared three important skills to becoming a nurse. The first skill is organization. This is because there is often a lot happening in the working environment, and nurses need to keep track of their tasks, especially as many of these tasks are time-bound. Nurses also take care of many patients at once, so staying organized under pressure is critical. Secondly, nurses need to be good communicators. They converse with a variety of patients, some of whom may be hard of hearing, frustrated, angry, confused, or struggling with mental illness. Nurses also need to communicate with doctors and other professionals in the field, sometimes even giving details of the status of patients through writing or the phone. Most importantly, nurses need to be patient, because many diseases are long-term and treatment may take a long time to show effectiveness. Patience also means staying calm under pressure, which is crucial for working with both equipment and other people.
I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to interview someone in the healthcare field, and I could not have chosen a more thoughtful, genuine, and well-spoken person to talk to! These pieces of wisdom will definitely stick with me as I continue to navigate the next chapters of my life.