Nursing: Do You Have What it Takes?

By Tony Paterniti, PhD, RN, Director, Department of Education, Methodist Health System

Can you walk into an ER waiting area full of anxious people and calm them down? Are you willing to console a patient and his/her family members when a diagnosis isn’t so good? Can you adapt to change easily? Are you comfortable in a fast-paced working environment that requires prioritizing multiple responsibilities?

If so, you may want to consider a nursing career.

Why nursing? Whether you’re already working in a hospital, or you’re on the outside looking in, nursing is a noble career choice. In fact, in the 2010 Gallup Poll, nurses outranked every other profession in its annual honesty and ethics survey for the 11th consecutive year. At Methodist, our whole purpose is to put the skills in the hands of the nurses to give excellent patient care.

If you’re still wondering if you have what it takes, here are some questions to ponder:

1. What is your tolerance for change and flexibility? Can you easily adapt to what’s going on around you, schedule changes, and pressure? With the impact of health care reform, changes in technology are more common than ever. Being able to adapt easily to change is an important skill to learn if you’re going to be happy in health care.

2. Are you ready to dedicate yourself to the educational process? Academically, nursing school is rigorous and challenging. What’s more, it’s important to be able to retain what you learn because, in nursing, you will use everything you learn. Also, it’s competitive to be accepted into a nursing program. If you’re considering this career path, apply yourself and make good grades in required prerequisite courses. They could determine whether or not you get into the program.

3. Do you like to work as a team member? Nursing is about working together to care for patients and their families. Do you prefer to work independently? If so, you may want to consider that in making your career choice.

4. Do you know someone who works in the profession you’re interested in? If so, ask if you can shadow him/her for a few days. It might help you understand the day-to-day operations. Then you can compare these experiences with your own interests and capabilities.

We know it takes a special person to juggle the demands of patient care. And to sustain an excellent level of care, health systems work to find the right people to join their teams. At Methodist Health System for instance, we have a comprehensive program that targets educational needs of nurses and offers all employees the chance to explore the nursing profession.

Our on-campus nursing program is in partnership with El Centro College and is available for employees and/or their immediate family members to become registered nurses. In addition, we are the only hospital in North Texas that offers an RN refresher course for nurses that helps them to get back into the clinical setting. And like all hospitals, we have nurse internships to help Graduate Nurses gain hands-on experience in the clinical setting. We also run an online education platform with 8,000 users.

There’s never been a better time to think about a nursing or health care career. In this economy, jobs are tough to come by, but the health care field is hiring. Nurses and other clinical specialists are in demand and will continue to be as baby boomers hit retirement age and their medical needs increase. In other words, health care careers are here to stay.

The most important thing to remember is that if you get a joy out of giving, then you belong in health care.

At Methodist, we want to help employee fulfill their dreams in nursing. To see where your career path might be taking you, visit us at


© Methodist Health System

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