It's not easy being one of us. It requires a lot of schooling, clinical practice, and long hours. Not only that, but we must develop characteristics of resilience, persistence, and thoughtfulness. And that's just the start! What about the certifications, licenses, and continued education that are required to simply do our job?
They all add up to something, and that something is a Nurse.
So what does all of this mean for us when we're not at work?
Nurses, Outside of the Hospital
There’s a lot of value in leaving work at work, especially for nurses. That said, the spillover of skills and experience can actually be a really good thing. As mentioned, there is quite a lot involved in order to maintain our licenses, certifications, and job positions. These requirements can feel like added work and stress.
But -- and here's the zinger -- what if these requirements are actually doing us, and the people around us, a favor?
What Skills Do Nurses Have That the Average Person Doesn't?
CPR, BLS, ACLS, PALS, etc.
We have the skills, training, and experience to literally save a life. That’s pretty powerful. Every two years during renewal, I think about how important it is that every human understand how to save a life, and how I hope if anything happens to me, there will be a nurse around.
But what do all of these acronyms mean?
CPR - Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation; this certification is for mastery over the basics of saving a life through the effort to preserve brain function of an unresponsive individual until further emergency measures can be taken.
BLS - Basic Life Support; this certification is crucial for anyone working in patient care and teaches "skills in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), using automated external defibrillators (AED) and relieving airway obstructions in patients of every age."
ACLS - Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support; this certification is for nurses in involved in the "management of cardiopulmonary arrest or other cardiovascular emergencies or personnel in emergency response."
PALS - Pediatric Advanced Life Support; the goal of the certification is to teach concepts like the "systematic approach to pediatric assessment, basic life support, PALS treatment algorithms, effective resuscitation, and team dynamics."
Continuing Education Units (CEUs)
Learning and education never ends. Unfortunately, it can be hard to allocate time and money outside of career and life responsibilities to seek out educational opportunities. The need to maintain a certain number of CEUs forces us to stay current on practice changes, review core concepts, and challenge our daily practice.
CEUs can be a burden if you aren't proactive about crossing them off the list. For more information on how to get started, you can check out our Trusted Guide to Nursing CEUs.
The world is a scary and unpredictable place. Last week, I experienced a table-top drill on how to handle an active shooter in the hospital. The reality of this situation occurring in places outside the hospital has becoming increasingly high. The consistent awareness and conversation forces me to think about how I am personally prepared for the worst-case scenarios.
As a nurse, you're infinitely more prepared to handle any matter of surprises, think on our feet, and attend to the most dire needs first; it's part of what we do! How many working professionals can say the same?
I’m the first to admit my lack of tech skills. I’m not nearly as bad as my mom, who is the perfect bait for phishing attempts, but these annual requirements actually teach me quite a lot about keeping information safe and secure. Not just for the sake of my hospital and patients, but also for myself. Not trying to buy my identity bak any time soon.
I will (controversially) admit that I never received a flu shot until nursing school. I now keep a thoroughly detailed record of all my health information — every one of my immunizations, tests, and results. I’m also annoyingly encouraging all my family and friends to do the same!
So, what do you think? Are we, as nurses, better off as people because of what our profession requires of us? I think so.
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