The role of a nurse in a care related environment is to ensure that the best outcome is attained for the patient. This has always been my perception of the industry with my focus being guided towards making a realistic difference for people in need of help. I have always wanted to embark on a career choice that would be both challenging and offers a chance of making an immediate influence in people’s lives. This meant that becoming a registered nurse would serve this purpose since there is direct contact with the recipient of the service. The varied nature of experiences from interacting with even the families of each patient shows the level of involvement expected. I have been able to develop my interest for nursing over the years through challenging myself on how much I know concerning medical trends. This has helped narrow down my career choice to nursing as my aptitude for what it entails continues to grow.
The work environment for nurse varies depending on where they are positioned. While a majority of nurses work in hospitals, others provide homecare services. Their work environment also extends to learning institutions and outpatient clinics (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019). Nurses play a significant role in ensuring the provision of immediate care in an environment where such may be required. This means that their services are required in a majority of organizations which include those that do not specifically deal with the provision of healthcare. Therefore, registered nurses also do serve in other careers such as the army where they provide the required medical care and assistance when the need arises. Having immediate access to nursing services helps in easing pressure on other health-related service providers as they can provide a diagnosis for a wide arrange of illnesses. This illustrates a wide range of places that skills gained in the nursing profession can be applied to ease human suffering.
There are several ways in which one can become a registered nurse which includes taking a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing and acquiring an associate’s degree in nursing. One could also become a nurse by acquiring a nursing diploma from approved institutions (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019). However, one must also undertake a licensing exam which certifies their credentials hence can offer medical services as a registered nurse. Advances are possible within the industry where some registered nurses may choose to go for an advanced course which is more specialized. This includes advancing to careers such as clinical nurse specialist which allows them to not only play a specialized role in the patient care process but also earn a higher salary. The ability to progress through the career by advancing creates room for greater levels of satisfaction for the nurse, as they can always choose to focus on a particular aspect of nursing care.
There exist numerous challenges in the nursing industry, which makes it necessary for one to have particular qualities to ensure maximum input towards patient recovery. One of the qualities expected of a nurse includes being patient and respectful. The nurse has to exercise patience when interacting with both patients and their families which is challenging as the other party could be facing under a lot of stress (Yarbrough et al., 2017). The patient extends to how they interact with doctors while at the same time, ensuring that policies are adhered to in the treatment process. One has to be patient enough to handle the switch from dealing with one group to the next. Being respectful extends to showing people that one interacts with respect and observing set procedures. I find this quality critical to patient care process given that a lot of considerations have to be employed when dealing with patients from different cultures, and how their wishes can be incorporated in the treatment process.
Another critical quality of a nurse includes having adequate communication skills. The skill, in this case, refers to how well they manage their listening and speaking process. A lot of communication has to be passed between the patient and the nurse and between the nurse and other parties in the treatment team. Failure in communication reduces the effectiveness in which treatment can be offered to the patient. In addition, effective communication skills help to ensure that the patient is understood and their needs are met through building a relationship between the nurse and the patient (Spence Laschinger, Zhu, & Read, 2016). This helps in reducing the incidence of mistakes and guarantees a higher level of medical care since the objectives of all parties involved are clearly understood. For instance, nurses have to be in a position of explaining what a process entails by breaking it down into a format that can easily be followed by a patient or their family.
Other critical qualities expected of a nurse includes being compassionate and acting with professionalism. The need to show kindness during the treatment process is crucial towards patient outcomes during the treatment process. When suffering from an ailment, both the patient and their families are under a lot of stress hence, which influences how their perception on specific subjects. The nurse is expected to show compassion during this period as it helps towards personalized treatment experience thus easing the emotional burden for patients. The role of professionalism during such a treatment process is to ensure that an aspect such as dignity for the patient is maintained at all times (Yarbrough et al., 2017). The diverse backgrounds among patient’s demands that nurses act professionally to overcome biases as a result of patient socioeconomic status or culture. Overcoming such barriers is critical towards effective patient care where each opportunity is explored to ensure positive outcomes.
The median annual pay for a registered nurse is $71,730, which translates to $34.48 per hour (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019). The amount earned by nurses tends to differ given where they earn their salaries whereby those employed by government institutions tend to earn more on average as compared to those working for private institutions. The salaries for those in home care are lower than the other two categories. The job outlook for the industry indicates that the employment capacity for nurses in the U.S. will increase by 15 percent in the period 2016-2026 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019). This positive job outlook is higher than the average expected for all occupations over the same period. The growth in demand for nursing services comes from the anticipated increase in an aging population. This category requires more medical attention hence increasing the demand for nursing services. Another factor contributing to the positive projection is that a high number of nurses are approaching retirement; thus they will eventually be replaced.
The Texas Reality Check (TRC) summary indicates annual total expenses of $42,490 (Texas Reality Check, 2019). While this figure shows that I can lead a modest lifestyle in Texas with the median annual salary for nurses at $71,730, a lot of sacrifices have been made to keep the value of expenses low. One such example is housing, where I have chosen to use a studio apartment $650 a month. I have also settled for basic healthcare insurance option in addition to employer-provided health insurance. Other significant cuts are in entertainment and clothing where each has been allocated $25 per month. The figures indicate that I will be in a position to cover my expenses through my income. Such frugal measures will help to ensure that I can save a huge proportion of my salary which will go towards furthering my education without the need to acquire new loans.
Given that the median annual salary for registered nurses in Houston, Texas is $71,730, this analysis uses a comparative figure of $70,000 as the annual salary. The figure leads to a comparable salary of $88,053 in Chicago, Illinois (CNN, 2019). The higher figure comes from a series of factors where the greatest contributor is housing costs at 48 percent. The cost of transportation is also higher in Chicago by 30 percent when compared to costs that I would incur in Houston. Other costs contributing to a higher cost of living in Chicago include groceries which is higher by 25 percent and healthcare at 11 percent. However, the cost of utilities in Chicago is lower by 18 percent when compared to Houston (CNN, 2019). This does little in offsetting the higher cost that one would be expected to bear by shifting from Houston while at the same salary level.
I believe volunteering will offer me the opportunity to interact with society and exercise my soft skills effectively. One of the organizations I would like to volunteer at includes the Star of Hope Mission. This organization deals with helping the homeless population within Houston by offering a point of connection between homeless families and those able to offer help (Star of Hope, 2019). The program encourages the development of positive changes among the homeless population by focusing on matters such as spiritual growth, life management and recovery from substance addiction. My soft skills as a registered nurse would be highly applicable within the organization given the demand for medical services exists among the homeless population. My contribution can also be in the form of counseling services for those dealing with substance addiction.
Another organization I would like to volunteer at includes the Ronald McDonald House. This organization provides housing facilities for families of children who are critically ill. The focus is on assisting parents of ill children receiving treatment and ensuring a family can connect with other families facing the same challenge (Ronald McDonald House, 2019). This further allows the family to be closer to their children during the treatment process thus offering the necessary moral support. The organization ensures that both the children and their families can gain receive the comfort and convenience needed throughout the process. Since the organization works with the Texas Medical Center associated institutions, volunteering there would be of significant help in the provision of medical care to the children and counseling for their families. In addition, this offers me the opportunity to experience a wider range of places where my services as a nurse may be required.
My long-term career goal as a registered nurse includes being able to discover my specialty in the nursing field. The process of specialization requires that I embark on additional learning. This will allow me to earn more through my services especially for fields that human resources are in low supply. This ensures a higher level of personal satisfaction as the extra effort put towards learning indicates full exploitation of my capacity (Spence Laschinger et al., 2016). The options that I would consider for specialization include nurse administration, which will put me at management level. Some of the measures that I have to take before this goal is attained includes getting employment as a nurse. Once this has been accomplished, the next step will revolve around finding a mentor. Such individuals have the necessary experience to guide one on the expectations of my job and what has to be done to attain the goal.
The last step towards attaining my long-term goal includes attaining work-life balance. Preventing the incidence of burnout is critical taking into consideration that I will be undertaking additional classes. Achieving balance will be important as this will ensure that my busy schedule does not negatively impact my job performance. One of the challenges that I am likely to face when moving towards my goal includes obtaining necessary funding for my advancement. Financing the same through education loans will be the last option to be explored if all other avenues fail. This will be tackled through looking for scholarships and personal savings. Another strategy involves seeking learning institutions that are closely located to my place of work as this would greatly reduce the stress associated with commuting for long hours.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Registered Nurses, on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/registered-nurses.htm (visited June 19, 2019).
CNN. (2019, June 25). Cost of living: How far will my salary go in another city? Retrieved from CNN mONEY: https://money.cnn.com/calculator/pf/cost-of-living/index.html
Ronald McDonald House. (2019, June 26). Ronald McDonald House. Retrieved from Ronald McDonald House Houston: Keeping Families Close: https://rmhhouston.org/?id=1
Spence Laschinger, H. K., Zhu, J., & Read, E. (2016). New nurses’ perceptions of professional practice behaviours, quality of care, job satisfaction and career retention. Journal of nursing management, 24(5), 656-665.
Star of Hope. (2019, June 26). Volunteer with Star of Hope Mission. Retrieved from Star of Hope Mission: https://www.sohmission.org/volunteer/becoming-a-volunteer/
Texas Reality Check. (2019, June 25). Occupation: Computer Programmer. Retrieved from Texas Reality Check (TRC): https://texasrealitycheck.com/OccupationsDirectDetail
Yarbrough, S., Martin, P., Alfred, D., & McNeill, C. (2017). Professional values, job satisfaction, career development, and intent to stay. Nursing Ethics, 24(6), 675-685.
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