How can nursing students prepare for the job industry?

The nursing profession is growing complex as technology changes how patients are treated, services are provided, and medical records are kept. So, there is a good chance that nursing will have advanced far ahead by the time today’s aspiring nurses enter the workforce. Therefore, nursing students must learn to prepare themselves for the enigma that is the future of healthcare work.

Education empowers nursing students to adjust quickly to work demands and overcome the challenges that come with entering this fast-paced industry. From time management, organization, and competency to confidence and stress management, new nurses encounter multiple difficulties as they blend into the work environment.

According to a recent PubMed Central study, new nursing graduates are sometimes uncomfortable conducting various procedures independently. While being a good nurse cannot be rushed and only come with time, experience, and practice, nursing students must still learn to prepare for the difficulties they will likely face. When nursing students can facilitate a smooth transition to becoming a professional, they can become more effective at their jobs and view the change as an opportunity for personal growth and learning.

Applying for healthcare jobs while studying

Students should be encouraged to get their feet wet with some valuable experience, as this is one of the most significant ways of preparing them for the demands of the nursing profession. Contrary to popular belief, students can use their youth to their advantage in their first foray into the working world. This is because their first experience will be mainly about learning to work as much as working itself.

While this might sound counterintuitive, getting a healthcare job allows students to build confidence in their ability to thrive in the work environment, especially if they want to work in hospice care for terminally-ill patients. Moreover, it lets students find an experienced mentor who will guide and support them in developing nursing skills. Nursing mentors have sufficient experience to provide students with an intimate knowledge of how the business of healthcare works and how they can take advantage of every opportunity to advance a career.

This reduces the likelihood of students making costly mistakes that could otherwise spell the end of their careers. Some part-time jobs students can work as a pre-nursing student include the following.

Nursing assistant

A nursing assistant offers healthcare and support to patients in a nursing home or medical facility. Depending on the healthcare institution they work in, their primary duties include:

  • Providing essential physical assistance to patients.
  • Recording vital signs.
  • Feeding patients according to their dietary needs.

Since they have extensive everyday contact with each patient, nursing students can get a real-life view of what it takes to become an effective nurse and use this experience to excel at their initial jobs.

Healthcare transporter

Nursing students can also enter the field by working as a healthcare transporter. A healthcare transporter works with physicians and registered nurses in moving patients throughout the hospital. Healthcare transporters also track where transportation equipment, such as wheelchairs and beds, are located so they can provide help whenever needed.

Monitor technician

Monitor technicians in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) manage patient heart rate monitors. They track heart rate patterns or irregularities in a specific unit. This job is ideal for nursing students interested in cardiac care as it lets them manage and learn how registered nurses care for critical patients.

While there are several nursing job opportunities, the field is still highly competitive. So, nursing students must learn to expand their experience, make connections, and present themselves as qualified candidates to stand out in this industry. By applying for healthcare jobs while studying, students can develop in-demand nursing skills that differentiate them from other applicants and increase the likelihood of landing a desired job.

Consider simulation nursing education

Technology has changed every industry, and nursing education is no exception. As the healthcare industry encounters ongoing change, leading academic institutions such as Walsh University offer a simulation nursing education course to prepare students for the hustle and bustle of the profession. Students can bridge the gap between skills, theory coursework, and clinical rotations through simulation nursing without risking patient injury. The online Master of Science in Nursing with a Nurse Educator concentration is designed to prepare graduates to teach in a variety of in-person and virtual settings.

Students can receive constructive feedback and enhance their overall medical knowledge using carefully controlled and monitored equipment. For instance, nursing students can administer physical care elements such as giving inoculations or learning how intubation works. Depending on their chosen academic institution, academic labs can include:

  • Various life-like anatomical models.
  • Standardized patients.
  • Simulation mannequins that manifest symptoms and respond to treatment decisions or other stimuli.

Furthermore, simulation in nursing education urges nurses to work together by emphasizing interdisciplinary and team-based healthcare. For example, one student may play the lead nurse role while their classmates act as an assistant, a scribe, or family members. A primary nurse must identify the best treatment course for the patient, distribute tasks, and communicate as they move along with the process.

Once completed, there is often a debriefing to discuss student performance after every nursing simulation experience. This allows students to reassess their performance with their instructor openly and honestly. This also increases the likelihood of the instructor reinforcing learning objectives and correcting misconceptions that would otherwise remain prevalent without constant feedback.

With every nursing simulation recorded, students can watch their performance with their instructors to dissect a particular action and work to understand their thoughts or feelings. For example, if a student displays distress while treating the patient, the instructor can offer advice to deal with these unsettled emotions and ensure the student performs at their full potential. Addressing these problems early on allows students to deal with unforeseen circumstances once they leave school and work in the constantly changing healthcare industry.

Clinical experience

As an alternative to applying for healthcare jobs, nursing students can also get experience through clinical placements to prepare themselves for the practice-based healthcare industry. Through clinical placement, students will learn how to use groundbreaking healthcare technologies and processes that may have been discussed in the degree program. Learning to navigate these empowers students to prepare and become competitive nurses ready to tackle contemporary issues and change the world.

However, it is worth noting that students will start slowly in their clinical placement before moving into higher-level tasks. Of course, there is nothing wrong with nursing students wanting to change the world, but they must manage their expectations at the start of the clinical placement. Once the student has mastered straightforward nursing tasks, their superior will assign them to higher-level activities like administering medications or injecting patients under supervision.

Prospective nurses must also expect shift work, especially with many openings and the nursing shortage. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, roughly 275,000 nursing positions will be available between 2020 and 2030. This can help students adapt to long hours and ensure they will be competent enough to fulfill duties once they have entered the industry. These placements further give nursing students more autonomy, which is essential for becoming a nurse practitioner.

Preparing for the changes in the nursing industry

Nursing is changing rapidly. With an aging population, new challenges, and shifting technologies, nursing students must equip themselves with the required skills and qualifications to navigate these changes and provide the best possible care.