A Nursing Career Leaves You With More Than Just Experience

A Nursing Career Leaves You With More Than Just Experience

When you enter the medical field, your peers will share their insights, tips of the trade, and so much more with you. However, what they don’t commonly share is how a nursing career leaves you with more than just experience. Whether you decide to stay in the field or not, you’re left with experiences and life lessons you likely couldn’t experience anywhere else. 

Ever since I was a little girl, I knew I wanted to be a nurse; I grew up going to doctors’ appointments and doing extensive tests at the local hospital. There was a nurse there, Moreen, who would make the visit fun. While I wanted in the waiting room, one of my favorite things she would do with me was play Chinese jump rope. From those young days, I knew I wanted to make a difference in people’s lives like she had for me. 

Fast forward to high school, and I began taking after school classes through a Regional Occupational Program. The first one was to obtain my First Responder Certificate, and after that, I obtained my Certified Nursing Certificate before graduating Highschool.

The clinicals were short, and the classes for me were second nature since the human body had fascinated me since I was young. Through training, I obtained an internship at Mission Hospital, one of the top trauma centers in Southern California.

I quickly learned how important it is to be fast-paced, how you have to think on your toes, and that every second count when it comes to human life. Long shifts are part of the job, and they go by faster than you’d ever imagined.

Grunt Work is Vital

I quickly learned that working that internship at Mission meant you have to start at the bottom to reach the top. You start out running to the cafeteria to grab nurses food, you do all the things they don’t feel like doing, and they work you not because they don’t value you but because they are they had to do it at one point too and they’ve earned the role they are working.

The grunt work is also a way to test how quickly and efficiently you can get things done. This is not your time to complain or feel entitled. The grunt work won’t last forever if you’re able to prove yourself. This is also when the nurses and other staff will test you to see what they can and can’t trust you with. If you prove yourself, you will get more opportunities. This is the time to step up and work harder than ever.

Have you seen Greys Anatomy? Those that work hard and prove themselves get to scrub in. That’s real life. The people that have a pity party when they are in the grunting phase usually fail. After leaving the medical field, I learned that this is the case in nearly any industry. You’re started out at the bottom of the totem pole, and you won’t be given better opportunities until you prove yourself. Be quick, think on your toes, go above and beyond, and you’ll excel quickly. 

12 Hour Shifts Condition You 

When you first start out, the shifts either completely kill you mentally or physically or power you up like a Tesla SuperCharger. It’s almost always one or the other, but those that struggle with it at first usually get used to it after a few months.

Ever since my first shift, I remember loving working a full twelve hours. The time went by a million times faster than my shifts working as a hostess at TGI Fridays (That didn’t last long as I saw the glass ceiling and quit almost immediately). When you love what you do, and you’re working with a team you love on a unit you love, time will fly by.

The reward for the long shift is also the fact that you work three days a week instead of 5 like most people. Having four days off is the reward for working those long shifts. Some people would request to work 3 in a row so they could have all the same patients, and others preferred to work every other day or split two days on one day off. I personally loved working as many in a row as I could to have large gaps between my shifts.

This way, I could enjoy what seemed to be an extra-long weekend and take a trip. So what does all this have to do with more than just experience? Well, the long hours condition you to work a regular job like a breeze and even further condition you to succeed as a business owner if you opt to become one. Working for the man for 8 hours, although it can go by slower if you hate what you’re doing, for the most part, is a cakewalk for anyone who used to work 12+ hour shifts in the medical field.

And for those like me who jumped into entrepreneurship, you’re able to put in 12+ hour days for your business like it’s nothing. I often find myself working 14+ hours without it phasing me one bit because of being conditioned to work 12+ hours since I was in High school. Fast forward 14 years later and it’s basically in my blood. People who haven’t worked in the medical field need those two-hour lunch breaks and short and slow-paced workdays. 

Fast-Paced and Efficient 

When you work in the medical field, more specifically, in a hospital, you learn life skills that are engrained with you forever. The two more notable ones that will be helpful for any future endeavors, even parenting is how to be fast-paced and efficient.

Too many fields are slow-paced, and because you are paid hourly, there’s no need to get things done overly fast. Unline in a unit where you have a handful of patients that all need to be cared for at the same time, and their lives are on the line.

You quickly have to learn to be past-paced thorough, and efficient. These skillsets carry over to any future endeavors. I am able to multi-task work at a thousand miles a minute and be as efficient as possible, and I attribute that to my years in the medical field. 

What are a few things you’ve learned working in the medical field that has carried over to your current job? Has your experience in the medical field given you a step up or possibly made you more appealing to your employer? Has the medical field given you more than just experience? Let us know in the comments below.


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About the author

Ashley Carty

Ashley Carty is a seasoned medical professional with over 8 years of experience working at the top hospitals in Southern California, including Hoag, Saddleback Memorial, and UCSD.

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