This can be an interesting career if you’re interested in helping people
Think you might like to work in the field of healthcare and nursing? You should consider becoming a practical nurse. This patient care role can be an excellent way to “get your feet wet” in nursing and see if the daily responsibilities and demands of working with patients are something you could take to.
Where do practical nurses work? In hospitals, long-term care facilities like nursing homes, or doctors’ offices. In each of these environments, they work as part of a nursing team to provide basic care to patients, which can include routine care (bathing, grooming, changing), as well as:
- administering medications
- collecting specimens such as blood or urine
- changing dressings for any wounds the patient may have
- helping a patient who has a tracheotomy tube or feeding tube.
This a career that can a significant difference in the quality of life for each patient. And practical nurses need to know things as a matter of course that the rest of us may overlook. Consider some of these advantages if you’re thinking of practical nursing as a career:
Being intimately in touch with the needs of patients
Because this is a profession that spends a tremendous amount of time with each patient, practical nurses generally get to know their patients better than a supervising nurse on a unit, or a doctor who might check in once a day. This creates the ability to anticipate what the patient may need from minute to minute, as well as preferences and daily routines. From a healthcare perspective, this uniquely equips the practical nurse with information that the rest of the healthcare team will need, in terms of any new symptoms or other changes.
Insight into what’s happening in the body
Since physiology and human anatomy are at the center of practical nursing training, they are well versed in the system of the human body. When a disease takes hold, chances are the practical nurse has studied many of these effects. It is a useful skill when you are working with a wide range of patients who may be facing any number of different ailments.
Being good in a crisis
As a member of a team of nurses, a practical nurse learns to get his or her “sea legs” during times of intensity or that call for critical decision making. The person in this role needs to be calm, cool, and collected, so they can alert other health professionals as needed and administer CPR and basic first aid as necessary.
Making patient safety a priority
Practical nurses focus on protecting their patient from infection, which can be a significant risk during a hospital stay. The practical nursing training includes protocols for how to minimize the chance of infection, and part of the job is to make these a routine priority. Keeping viruses and bacteria from infecting their patients requires insight, precautions, and vigilance—even taking measures that patients themselves might not understand. But practical nurses are up to the task!
Providing first-rate compassionate care
This is a job that requires performing duties that many patients are no longer able to do for themselves. It’s a highly intimate role for someone living in a nursing care environment. Being a good practical nurse means being sensitive to the delicate emotional needs that patients may have, now that they’ve transitioned into this new phase of life, as well as responding with respect and kindness in every interaction.
As you can see, being a practical nurse is a career that can be challenging as well as gratifying on many levels. In about a year, you can complete the training that would qualify you for a practical nursing position. In many states, a licensing exam is required before you can practice in this field.
Find out more about this profession in 5 Benefits of a Practical Nursing Career. A smart next step would be to look into training programs at schools like the Harris Casel Institute in Melbourne, FL. It could be the beginning of a whole new profession in healthcare!
This article is part of the Harris Casel Institute’s weekly blog. We conveniently offer many career training programs at our campus in Melbourne, FL. Contact us online for more info!