Becoming a registered nurse can be a highly rewarding experience. Not only is there a growing demand for nurses in many sectors, but the industry itself provides a wide variety of specialisms and the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives. Depending on what area or type of nursing you’re aiming to pursue, there may be many years of schooling and training involved, but the journey can be well worth it.
If you’re considering a career in nursing, but are unsure about whether it’s right for you, below we explore some of the top reasons for working in this industry.
Making a difference
At the top of the list of reasons for becoming a nurse is to help people and make a difference in their lives. Nursing provides the opportunity to deliver comfort, compassion, education, and healing to patients when they are at their most vulnerable. On hospital wards especially, nurses also spend a lot more time with patients and their loved ones than most doctors or healthcare professionals. This frontline role makes nursing one of the most vital jobs in the healthcare sector.
Nurses also make a difference through outreach and education, with many acting as mentors and teachers in college or university settings. Nurse Educators, for instance, play a vital role in ensuring that new nurses are kept up to date and informed about best practice, ensuring that the highest quality of care is delivered.
Whatever industry it may be, nursing overall requires calmness, kindness, and the ability to think on your feet while responding to change, often in fast-paced environments. If you have a passion for caring for others and for making a positive difference in someone’s life, nursing might be the career for you.
The nursing industry is currently in high demand, partly due to America’s aging population. According to the American Nurses Association, there will be more available RN positions than any other profession — around 100,000 per year — by 2022. This is also partly influenced by the 500,000 or so seasoned nurses who are expected to retire around that time. Added to this are the advances in healthcare that are extending lifespans and the increasing access to healthcare which is boosting demand and causing a nursing shortage.
With these kinds of stats, nursing is an industry with an enormous amount of growth and potential for job options.
Accessible and high-quality training options
Another reason for choosing nursing for a career are the numerous high-quality training options available throughout the country. A Bachelor of Nursing degree is easy to obtain, and for those who want to fast-track their education, there are also online accelerated nursing programs by state, which allow you to get your BSN within a year.
Other options include going the registered nurse (RN) to Bachelor of Nursing (BSN) route and this can also be done while working part-time. Whatever specialism you choose, there are many colleges, universities and institutions that offer certifications, degrees, and practical training for aspiring nurses.
Variety of work
Nurses work in a range of sectors and among a variety of different demographics and specialisms. The day-to-day activities of a nurse can also vary greatly with no two days being the same due to the never-ending flow of people and situations. The choice of industry for aspiring nurses is huge, but the career roles can include the following:
- Cardiac Nurse
- Anesthetist Nurse
- Clinical Nurse
- ER Nurse
- Psychiatric Nurse
- Geriatric Nurse
- Trauma Nurse
- Nurse Manager
- Mental Health Nurse
Nurses also specialize in terms of demographics, and often choose to work with families, children, women, the elderly, or adults only. Depending on the specialism, nurses can also be found in a variety of settings, such as schools, hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, emergency wards, or even in travel settings such as the cruise and flight industries.
Nurses command very decent salaries, and these amounts increase depending on how specialized the role is. General registered nurses can make a median salary of around $70,000 per year, whereas an experienced practitioner such as an anesthetist nurse can make as much as $180,000 per year. These more advanced roles often require master’s or doctorate degrees and several years of practical training; however, the salary reward for this additional education can be huge. With the demand for nursing roles only increasing, nurses can expect to earn comfortable and competitive salaries that may be set to increase in the coming years.
Another benefit of a nursing career is the flexible hours. Many hospital nurses, for example, find that they can fit their nursing career around family life and other commitments as shifts can be amended around their own schedule. Alternatively, for those who are content with the traditional 9-5 working patterns, a role in a doctor’s office or clinic might be more suitable. Whatever your preference, the nursing industry affords a kind of shift flexibility not found in many other professions.
It is no secret that nursing is a well-respected industry. The vital role that nurses play in terms of education and maintenance of care makes them a highly trusted profession. If integrity, honesty, and compassion are values that you hold in especially high esteem, nursing is an industry that maintains these standards and ethics to a large degree. According to the 2019 annual Gallup poll on ethical standards, for instance, nursing has topped the list for the past 18 years.
Nursing has a high degree of job satisfaction, largely because of the opportunities for advancement and growth. Combine that with the varied nature of the work and flexible shift schedules, and nursing becomes a career with a high amount of happiness and gratification.
For instance, a recent report by Medscape showed that nurses in nearly every position reported a staggering 98% job satisfaction. Listed among the top three reasons for this satisfaction was helping people/making a difference in their lives, working at a job they like, and being good at what they do.
Pursuit of learning
The myriad opportunities for skill growth within the nursing sector means that nurses can be on a continual journey of education and learning. Most nursing roles require continued learning to ensure that they’re up to date on the latest technology and methodologies and that they are able to help advance and improve the health care sector more broadly.
Also, obtaining a BSN opens further doors for nurses to specialize even further, whether it’s to pursue postgraduate degrees or gain certification in other practice-based areas. Whatever industry you’re in, there is no shortage of professional development opportunities and the chance to continue a path of learning.
Vibrant community and connections
The nursing industry is awash with a number of organizations and community boards such as the American Nursing Association (ANA), The National Student Nurses Association (NSNA), The National League for Nursing (NLN), and American Academy of Nursing, to name a few. The huge number of organizations means that as a nurse you can remain well connected with the ability to network and meet new people in your area of specialisms.
Aside from organizations, nurses also have the opportunity to collaborate with health care partners such as physicians, clinicians, and allied health partners. Combined together, nurses are able to access a wide variety of resources to improve their development and advance their careers.
As a nurse, you are largely employable anywhere in the world. This affords you the opportunity to travel and to work in different countries to help boost your experience and deepen your cultural awareness. Many countries around the world are also experiencing nursing shortages, so traveling to different areas to gain first-hand experience while learning about other cultures, technologies, and perspectives can go a long way, not only in terms of career development, but also in regards to the possibility of enhancing your skillset. Living abroad can also expand and improve your personal development, making you a better carer overall.
Exciting and fast-paced
For nurses in hospital wards and clinics, in particular, the job can make for a very fast-paced and exciting atmosphere. Whether it’s dealing with emergencies or an everchanging flow of people and situations, nursing is one field that can always keep you on your toes. While shifts can sometimes be long for nurses, many of these medical environments mean that unexpected things can come up without a moment’s notice. The nature of the work also means that nursing often requires split-second decisions or performing well under pressure, making it a great role for people who seek excitement in their day-to-day jobs.
Working as a nurse is a highly rewarding and satisfying endeavor. With so many options for training and development, a career in nursing is an excellent option, especially with demand for these roles set to rise in the coming years. If you’re interested in becoming a nurse, it’s a good idea to think about what areas you’d like to specialize in before you seek out resources on training and education. Good luck!