Does helping other people bring you immeasurable joy and satisfaction? If so, you should seek out a vocation that would allow you to indulge your “selfish” desire to improve the lives of your fellow human beings. To use a popular metaphor, if you are a compassionate person a career in a caring profession might be just what the doctor ordered - and if you choose to become a nurse you could literally be what the doctor ordered.
But that little pun should not be construed to imply that nurses only follow orders given to them by doctors, because nothing could be further from the truth. Nurses are co-healers who work side by side with trained physicians, dispensing advice and providing vital emotional support to the sick and the injured even as they use their advanced medical knowledge to help make accurate diagnoses and prescribe effective and appropriate treatment. Nurses put a human face on the sometimes imposing edifice of modern medicine, acting as compassionate liaisons between impersonal organizations and real people in pain and distress.
As sympathetic intermediaries nurses must possess copious amounts of the personality trait known as Agreeableness. People facing medical crises and the uncertainty that accompanies the onset of illness are in desperate need of warmth, understanding and compassion; they need a safe environment to express their fears and concerns, and nurses have a unique responsibility to provide humane, friendly services even as they are making critical medical judgments. Agreeable individuals are naturally sympathetic and will listen to people in distress because they truly care, and their inherent trustworthiness and sincerity shine through like beacons. Nurses are medical experts but they know how to make connections through the heart, and it is their Agreeableness that gives them this vitally important capacity.
But if nursing sounds appealing to you, it is important that you realize just how challenging this career choice really is. Students who enter the field of medicine face long hours of intensive study, and after they graduate and obtain employment their workloads will only grow and the expectations they must meet will be immense. This is why prospective nurses must rank highly on the scale of Conscientiousness, which will give them the focus and determination they need to stay on track even when things get so difficult they aren’t sure they can take it anymore.
People blessed with excessive Conscientiousness are organized, efficient, diligent and detail-oriented, and these characteristics will give them the zeal and fortitude they need to keep trudging along as they struggle to master complex and intellectually-challenging subject matter. Conscientious people are hard workers but they are also effective workers, and they know how to make good use of time even when much of their time is required.
Agreeableness and Conscientiousness together make a potent combination that can hold the key to success for those who enter the nursing profession. At the same time, however, a good nurse should also have enough Resilience to handle emergencies with comfort and aplomb. Medical training is intense because prospective doctors and nurses must be prepared to handle sudden health crises in the instant they arise, and any apprentice nurse who survives this trial-by-fire will inevitably possess the Resilience she requires to deliver high-quality medical care in even the most stressful situations. Fictional television shows aren’t normally known for their accuracy, but the kind of high-stress scenarios you watched play out in the imaginary emergency rooms on ER, St. Elsewhere and Grey’s Anatomy are really not all that different than what you can expect to encounter if you do decide to enter the nursing profession.
Not surprisingly, prospective nurses score most highly in the interest area of Helping. For Helpers it is not about what others can do for them but what they can do for others, and people with a helping nature always stand ready to provide assistance, advice and expert knowledge whenever and wherever it can make a positive impact. Helpers can be as patient and compassionate as they need to be in each and every situation, and they have an instinctive ability to communicate with people in a way that will soothe and reassure them when their fears and insecurities are in full bloom. If you do decide to enter the nursing profession you will have the opportunity to offer your assistance to suffering and frightened people on a daily basis, and your kindness and empathy will serve you well in your dealings with medical patients and the loved ones who are concerned for their welfare.
People with a passion for helping can make fantastic nurses, and patients who have the chance to work with them will be truly blessed. But before making any final decision about a career path that involves helping others you should help yourself first by taking a comprehensive career assessment exam to reconfirm your intuition about your future.
You owe it to yourself to discover the truth about your personality traits and personal motivations, and taking a high quality career test can help. Becoming a nurse is one of the more selfless and noble choices you can make, and being confident that this career is a good fit for you will help light your way to a happy and successful future in this demanding but immensely satisfying profession.