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How To Succeed As A Nurse

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One of the benefits of being a nurse is that there are a number of career paths in which to be successful. Nursing is not like being a psychologist where the career path is pretty much set in stone. Instead, there are various positions based on your education and career objectives. There are licensed practical nurses (LPN’s), which take their direction from registered nurses and train for about one year. Then there is the registered nurse (RN), who can choose a degree program in a university, which is the BSN and then there is the diploma nurses that leads to the RN but are mostly trained in hospitals and take three years to complete.

Education, Licensing, and Certification: Registered nurses usually take one of three education paths: a bachelor’s of science degree in nursing (BSN), an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN), or a diploma from an approved nursing program. Registered nurses must also be licensed.

In all states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories, registered nurses must have a nursing license. To become licensed, nurses must graduate from an approved nursing program and pass the National Council Licensure Examination, or NCLEX-RN. Other requirements for licensing vary by state. Each state’s board of nursing can give details.

Nurses may become credentialed through professional associations in specialties such as ambulatory care, gerontology, and pediatrics, among others. Although certification is usually voluntary, it demonstrates adherence to a higher standard, and some employers may require it. Certification is required for all registered nurses serving in any of the four advanced practice registered nurse roles.

Nursing is a field that demands much of those who pursue it. Long hours and the strain of working with ill and stressed people on a daily basis can make it a very difficult challenge.

If you are currently in the nursing field or are considering pursuing this career, here are some career tips to help you succeed:

  • Be Detail-Oriented: Nurses must remember to write everything they do on patients’ charts. They must also remember to bring medications at the correct times. Being an organized detail-oriented person is therefore crucial for someone in this career field.
  • Be Adaptable: No day is quite like the next when you work as a nurse, so they need to be able to adapt to circumstances. People are unpredictable at the best of times, but under stress become even more unpredictable, so a nurse’s typical workday will require flexibility and adaptability.
  • Be a Quick Thinker: When a nurse notices something is not right with a patient, they need to be able to make decisions quickly and put their plans into action instantly. Nursing is not the career for someone who needs time to think about a situation before responding, because even a fraction of a second can mean the difference between life and death.
  • Have Great Judgment: A nurse must be able to look at a patient’s current state and accurately assess what is or is not needed. This must happen quickly during emergencies. Nurses therefore need sound judgment and maturity
  • Be Hard-Working: Nursing is a never ending job. Someone is always ill and in need of some sort of aid or attention. It’s also unusual for a hospital or medical center to be overstaffed, which of course means more workload on each nurse in the unit. Being a hard worker is therefore a very important trait.
  • Have Great Communication Skills: Nurses communicate with each other, doctors, patients, and patients’ families on a daily basis, so being able to communicate clearly and effectively, and to read people is necessary for people in this career

Conclusion: Nursing is a difficult career. There is no doubt about it. However, it can also be an extremely rewarding career given the right personality. Certainly, the more of the traits above you have as an individual, the more likely a travel nursing job is right for you.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition, Registered Nurses, on the Internet at

Winter, R. (2009, April 06). Top 10 traits every nurse should have [Web log message]. Retrieved from