Nursing is an excellent career with some great rewards, and undertaking to become a community nurse is an admirable endeavor. However, community nursing jobs presents its own challenges, stresses, and responsibilities. Such work requires technical acumen, excellent communication skills, emotional intelligence, mental toughness, and grasp of human psychology. It is a role in which women have proven to excel, and for which they are in increasing demand.
Although there are many capable male community nurses, women have historically proven dominant in the field. The Federal Government Nursing and Midwifery Board maintains nurses’ registration data tables which show that female practicing registered nurses outnumbered their male counterparts Australia wide by a whopping 264,792 to 32, 911, a greater than 8 to 1 ratio. Nursing is a sought after role among women, and women are sought after for these types of community jobs.
Ensure Right Fit
Nursing jobs, like nursing in general, is a role that one must be suited to. There is a certain romance about nursing, and for good reasons. However, nursing is not all Florence Nightingale and grateful survivors. Community nurses spend time in the company of people devastated physically and sometimes psychologically by injuries and illness. The patient is often only one of the persons that must be provided with accurate and sometimes difficult support and advice: families are also affected.
Doctors and nurses are routinely at risk of suffering minor assaults (physical and verbal.) Patients in community nursing settings do not always exhibit convenient patterns of behavior, social grace, and/or organization. Visits to clinics to ask questions before embarking on a nursing career can be valuable. In most states of Australia the department of health runs information sessions on site at hospitals and in clinics. It is a good idea to sit in or do volunteer work with a community nurse for a few days. If the romance does not dissipate then the role may be a good fit for the candidate. As an alternative try and get some career advice from your tertiary education institution before pursuing this career path.
Psychology and Communication
In a nursing environment you will be continually exposed to people under stress, and some of these people will be co-workers. Nurses have to be mentally tough, able to communicate effectively, and have patience in ample supply, as there will be an ample supply of patients who do not communicate well. Community nurses experience unique challenges associated with their varying work environs. These are associated with the need to be highly organized and responsive, and quick to identify problems and solve them appropriately. Patient management often has to be done without the immediate support of a team.
Education and Training
All Australian nursing courses have a practical element, and so often training involves actual nursing practice. In most states of Australia there are three primary categories of professional nurse. However, there are numerous other grades of nursing qualification that vary in terms of name and description between states, and there are other differences in role descriptions depending upon which state one resides in. Generally, nurses are classified as nursing assistants (sometimes called nurse grade 1,) enrolled nurses, and registered nurses. Registered nurses with adequate special training and qualifications can work without supervision in specialist clinics and emergency departments, and are sometimes referred to as clinical nurses.
Nurses who have completed training and are interviewing for community nursing roles should prepare to interview the way that they would have to work: with high levels of organization and excellent communication. Aspiring community nurses in interview should demonstrate:
- Technical acumen and capabilities in both clinical and interpersonal problem solving
- Emotional intelligence and an understanding of patient management
- High levels of personal organization
- Flexibility in the face of changing circumstances and requirements
- Excellent communication and listening skills
A career as a community nurse requires careful consideration, but the rewards in terms of personal job satisfaction, employer support and opportunities for advancement and community appreciation make the role a worthwhile one for those with the right personality profile.
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