A career that demands varied skills and talents also offers its own rewards
[00:00:00] Host Amber Smith: Here's some expert advice from chief nursing officer Scott Jessie from Upstate University Hospital. What kind of person would make a good nurse?
[00:00:09] Nurse Scott Jessie: The profession attracts a really wide variety of people, and I think that's the beauty of the profession, honestly. There is a lot of pressure in some kinds of nursing, for sure. It can be very, very intense, and in other different types of nursing practice, maybe a little bit less so, and I think that gives a lot of different people options when they get into the career. I do think you have to definitely be a committed and caring person. I think everybody who gets into nursing at the base level likes to work with people, likes to help people. That's why they do it.
[00:00:39] Everybody knows health care is stressful, whether you work in a physician's office where you see an awful lot of patients a day, or you work in the emergency department or an acute care med-surge unit taking care of patients, patients' lives are in your hands. It's a high-responsibility position. It's stressful. It is beyond rewarding, and I think that's why people do it. But yeah, it is stressful, it's challenging, and I do think people who get into it, I don't know if they're all great at dealing with pressure initially; they learn that over time. I think what they do realize, or come to the profession with often, is the ability and acknowledgment that they need to be flexible. Our day's never the same, no matter what we do, and you have to be able to pivot, and that's really important.
[00:01:21] We end up getting nurses with all different kinds of backgrounds and degrees. We have a lot of nurses, ultimately, who end up going back to school after they've earned a bachelor's in something else, for example, and end up in the health care profession. I think naturally you have to be an inquisitive person to be a nurse. You have to like and understand how the body works. That's really important from that perspective. Do you have to love chemistry? Maybe not so much. I can certainly tell you a lot of nurses would say they didn't love their chemistry classes, but you have to have some basic understandings.
[00:01:49] The amount of knowledge that you need to be a nurse is tremendous in reality. We take care of all ages of patients under all circumstances and all disease types. And the number of medications, for example, that are available has grown exponentially over the years. And you have to know how they work and how they interact. And we, thank goodness, have tremendous partners in pharmacists who help us with those things, but at the bedside, you're the person giving the medication, nobody else is, and you have to know the risks and the safety concerns and how they interact, and if it's the right medication, and so, yes, science is very important. Excellent communication skills are very important. Being a people person is very important. A good, broad background is really important, I think, for people who are interested in getting into the field, though.
[00:02:34] Host Amber Smith: You've been listening to Scott Jessie, the chief nursing officer at Upstate University Hospital.