11 Things I wish I knew before becoming a nurse

11 Things I wish I knew before becoming a nurse


One of the most significant worries to nurses – transitioning to practice – brings out the difference between training and the career world. You get to interact with real patients daily and face emotional situations that shouldn’t distract the professionalism in you.

There are many things I never knew from school, and they always remind me of the realities of this profession. During the first few days in practice, I had to learn a lot fast. If you are new to the practice, the following are some of the things I wish I knew before becoming a professional nurse. Hopefully, you will learn a thing or two from my experiences.

  1. Without passion, you are likely to feel underappreciated as a nurse

For most nurses, a 12 hours shift is standard. It is also possible to miss important family events so that you can take care of your patients who need you the most. If passion is not your source of motivation, nursing is not your ideal career path.

  1. A good sense of humor is a plus

In the world of nursing, you need a perfect way to cope with stress and deadlines. Although having good laughter is odd in this profession, it is an ideal way to de-stress.

  1. Extra roles are a norm

Regardless of how staffed or understaffed your hospital is, expect additional roles. Patients, for example, may ask you to assist them in getting out of bed or sometimes changing the TV channel.

  1. A good memory is key in the world of nursing

Even in a world full of technology, you will still need a good memory. You must memorize patients’ room numbers, their names, and other essential details. Better memorization helps in creating a good rapport with doctors.

  1. Nursing is a versatile career path

Working in a hospital is not the only way to put your knowledge into practice. Schools, research centers, and communities also require nurses. Therefore, if hospitals are not your ideal working environment, you have other options.

  1. Admitting you do not know is not a crime

In the world of nursing, it is okay not to know everything. Experienced nurses also see new cases every day. Be prepared for ‘first-time’ moments. However, asking and consulting from your colleagues is advisable.

  1. Be prepared for bureaucracy

Although nursing schools do not prepare students for a bureaucratic world, it is real. Fortunately, a bureaucratic system may be a blessing in disguise. If you plan to work in the alternative labor markets such as research centers, you are safe from hospitals’ bureaucracy.

  1. Prepare for body aches

Walking around and standing — sometimes in the entire shift — may be a cause of body aches. Fortunately, basic stretching routines are all that you require. The notion that nursing is not for the weak has some truths here.

  1. Nursing as a career is more than just seeing blood

Most nursing students associate the practice with blood. However, the profession is more than seeing blood. The work of a nurse goes beyond seeing blood and the unfriendly smell of stools and wounds.

  1. Listening is a key skill

Sitting and listening to patients are arguably the most underrated skills in the world of nursing. Therefore, be prepared to give your patients motivational interviews once and in a while.

  1. Nursing as a career is rewarding

One of the most rewarding things is seeing a patient getting better. The salary and allowances are also crucial to a nurse.

In conclusion, nursing is one of the best professions if you have the right preparations, both technically and mentally. The challenges are not close to the level of satisfaction most nurses have during and after work shifts.


I am Dr. Marion Johnson, a Nurse Supervisor, Educator, and A clinician with a Doctor of Nursing Practice Degree (DNP) and a Master of Science in Nursing Degree (MSN) both from Walden University. I have worked as a nurse in the healthcare industry for over 15 years. Presently, I am doing something I love most, which is being an online instructor. In this position, I believe I can learn, educate, create and implement positive input into the nursing field. Besides work, I am also an avid reader of nursing journals and articles that is why I have a passion for reading, learning and sharing on the trending topics in the nursing arena.

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