Nursing as a Vocation – Can it Still Exist?

Why did you become a nurse? There are as many answers as there are nurses; but research shows that most of today’s student nurses are motivated to go into the field by a strong desire to care for people. Nurses today, like many others in health careers face challenges including high-pressure environments, understaffing and paperwork overload; but at its heart, nursing has always been about compassion. The satisfaction of helping someone get back on their feet or simply making them comfortable is what makes nursing a vocation for so many people, and lifts the work above and beyond a simple job or career.


History of Nursing as a Vocation

Historically, nursing the sick was thought of as requiring no particular specialised skills or training. Before 1850, most patients were cared for in their own homes, usually by female family members or servants. With the advent of modern anaesthesia and sterile surgical techniques, hospital treatment became more common and nursing as a professional occupation began to emerge.

Florence Nightingale, a woman driven to nursing through a strong sense of vocation, pioneered the practices of modern nursing with her work caring for soldiers during the Crimean War. She would later establish one of the first official nursing and midwifery schools in England in 1860, paving the way for generations of nurses to come.

Nursing in the UK today is a professionalised field, requiring a degree to enter and strong technical skills to succeed in. New requirements were passed in the UK in 2013, making a degree the minimum standard to begin work as a nurse. While technical competence is vital, the inherent compassion of nursing is also essential.


Nursing as a vocation today

Today, the NHS is under huge amounts of pressure. Nurses and other staff are often struggling to cope with rising demands and stress, leaving nurses having to deal with staff reductions, mounds of paperwork and intense time pressure to get things done. When working under these conditions, many nurses report feeling unable to give patients the level of compassion and care they would like to. A Royal College of Nursing survey found that 59% of respondents felt too busy to provide the right level of care.

Under tough conditions, nursing as a vocation is more essential than ever. A strong education and refined skill set will set you on the right track towards becoming an exceptional nurse. However, you also need empathy and sensitivity, and to be able to keep sight of the patient as a person with emotional needs. Many nurses report that it’s possible to keep emotionally engaged with patients despite competing demands on their time. This vital compassion improves patient outcomes, relaxing them and often decreasing their time in hospital, as well as easing their anxiety and pain levels.

Nursing as a vocation can be demanding but it comes with incredible rewards. The camaraderie of working with a tight knit team of medical professionals means nurses form strong, lasting professional relationships and friendships. Nurses are also among the most trusted professions in the UK. As a nurse you’ll also have huge scope for career growth and change – you could be working in a hospital, school or clinic, and current UK demand for nurses is sky-high. All of this while improving lives and standards of care for those who need it most.

Looking for work as a nurse? We have a number of nursing vacancies currently available, all of which offer a flexible and rewarding career move. Find our latest vacancies at EBPCOOH Recruitment, or contact us here if you have any questions.