by Work the World

Clinical Experience

A vocation is a strong feeling of suitability for a particular career or occupation. Vocation also refers to a person’s occupation that is considered worthy and requires dedication. 

Photos 2015 05 20

Nursing involves specialised education and training. Not only do you need a degree to enter the field, but maintaining strong technical skills is essential for a successful career.  

And as an ever-evolving profession, with new technologies being introduced on a regular basis, brushing up and learning new skills is important to progress. 

But nursing is more than a degree and technical skills. Being a nurse requires dedication and hard work to go beyond the technical requirements...

I’ve always felt like nursing is more of a passion than a job I guess – like you’re just built for it. 

It’s something I was naturally drawn towards and I felt it fitted with my personality. It felt like a natural calling. I think you are either a compassionate person or more of an academically driven person. I’m the former.”
Jemma, nursing placement in Ghana


Nursing as a vocation

Before 1880, receiving medical treatment in a hospital setting was rare. Patients would be treated at home, attended to by a family doctor or nursed by female relatives or servants. 

It wasn’t until the mid-nineteenth century when the discovery of anaesthetics and antiseptic surgery increased medical care in hospital settings, that people began to see that nursing required skill and training.

However, before it was ever considered a technical profession, nursing existed from compassion and a dedication to caring for others. The vocational elements of nursing remain fundamental to the profession.

So much so, that even Florence Nightingale – who championed nursing as a technical profession and founded the first training school in 1860 – stated nursing can not be successful without them;

Vocational duties require nurses to care for all aspects of patients, especially the messy, dirty, non-technical bits. Not to do so is not to care or be a good nurse.

In 2013, the NHS outlined a Compassion in Practice Strategy outlining six core values essential to compassionate care, known as the 6Cs; care, compassion, competence, communication, courage and commitment. 

And it’s the dedication to developing and practising these values that make nursing a vocation for many people – it takes the work above a simple job or career.

I just really liked looking after people, helping them to maintain their independence and dignity, so I felt like I’d found my calling. I’ve not looked back since.
Kristal, nursing placement in Kathmandu

Social Media - Alexandra May - @alexandramay298


Why are the vocational elements of nursing essential to patient care?

The ability to put the emotional needs of your patients first by practising sensitivity, patience, and empathy can drastically improve patient outcomes. Displaying this level of compassion can ease your patients’ anxieties and decrease their time in hospital.

There’s no doubt that nursing as a vocation is incredibly demanding and requires lots of hard work. But it’s also incredibly rewarding.

Improving a patient’s road to recovery, helping them get back on their feet or simply making a patient comfortable can drastically improve their quality of life.

Not only can you help create positive outcomes for patients, but nursing as a vocation has rewards for you too.

You’ll build strong professional relationships working closely with other medical professionals who share your passion. And you’ll have a strong support network you can rely on too. 

You’ll develop sought-after skills and have plenty of opportunities to grow your career as the demand for nurses continues to rise. 

As a nurse you have the chance to use your skills in a variety of settings and even specialise in a particular field, whether that’s adult nursing, mental health nursing, learning disability nursing or child nursing.



Ready to take your vocation one step further?

If you feel like nursing is your calling, why not take it one step further and gain invaluable experiences overseas?

A nursing elective in a low-resource healthcare system will bring you face-to-face with global health issues you might not have considered before while encouraging you to gain new perspectives on what we sometimes take for granted.

Social Media - Jasmijn	VerburgYou’ll see firsthand how social and cultural issues can impact the vocational elements of patient care.

With limited resources, it’s not uncommon for a patient’s family to take on responsibilities that would usually fall to a nurse in the UK, such as personal care.

With such an eye-opening experience you’ll come to appreciate that being able to practise the 6Cs is a luxury of a wealthier healthcare system.

Going overseas to get as much experience as you can is something that so few people get the chance to do. It helps you develop skills that help you find the job you want, and you’ll become more confident and courageous.
Temitope, nursing placement in Ghana

To learn more about our overseas nursing placements and how we can tailor your experience to suit your clinical goals and needs, get in touch via the form below.



Want to experience a life-changing overseas placement? Get started by learning more about our nursing electives. 

Search blog posts