Why Right Now is a Great Time to Get a Nursing Degree
Weekly Wealth Staff
Apr 25, 2023
Nursing is a popular career choice, and for good reason. It offers competitive pay, benefits, opportunity for growth, and the ability to make a tangible difference in people's lives every day. If you're deciding which career path to pursue (or considering a career change) nursing can be a smart move.
Nursing is a people-focused career path. You can actively participate in saving and improving lives every time you show up to work. Nurses offer practical and interpersonal help to people who deeply need it.
If you want to help people, pursuing a nursing degree is a great option. If you're up to the challenge of long hours and tough days, nursing can be an incredibly rewarding career.
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If you're still not convinced that getting a nursing degree is the right move for you, here's some of the most compelling reasons why nursing is an excellent career:
1. Nursing is a diverse, flexible field
Pursuing a nursing career opens up a world of unique opportunities. While the basic responsibilities of a nurse remain the same no matter what, the context in which you work can be drastically different from person to person. Nurses work full-time and part-time hours; they also work in a variety of roles and medical institutions. Nurses work days, evenings, nights or weekends; shifts usually vary anywhere from four to 12 hours.
In addition, there are dozens of areas of specialization available to nurses such as family nurses, pediatric nurses, critical care nurses, or mental health nurses. Nurses and nurse practitioners can work in high-demand settings like trauma care, or in lower-stress environments like family care or teaching roles.
If you have a bit of wanderlust, travel nursing is a viable career path. Travel nurses go to unique locations all over the world to assist countries in need of extra medical support. Travel nurses usually work through organizations like Doctors Without Borders.
Because nurses are high in demand, you can find job security just about anywhere in the country once you've obtained your degree.
2. Nursing offers leadership and growth opportunities
Once you've established yourself in the field, there are plenty of ways to grow and develop in your career. Nurses who pursue additional education can find opportunities in teaching. Nurses with experience who prefer to stay in the hospital setting can work as an administrator or manager.
Nurses who want to become more valuable in their field can select a speciality to pursue. You can learn more about hospital procedure, anesthesia care or I.V. teams. If you find you don't prefer a particular role, it's usually easy to transfer roles within a hospital. You can take time to shadow a nurse whose role interests you to find out if it's a better fit. If you decide to pursue career growth, many hospitals and medical organizations offer tuition reimbursement for their employees.
3. Degree options are flexible
If you're not sure where you'd like your career to end up, nursing is a great option that provides both flexibility and security. LPN programs can take anywhere from 13 to 16 months to complete; while you work, you can pursue an RN program that will allow you to begin earning more money. Once you've finished you RN program, you can pursue a Bachelor's in Nursing.
Nurses can work while they pursue education, all while gaining valuable practical experience in the field. Nurses who have completed their Bachelor's degree can pursue a Masters and post-Masters degree in order to become a nurse practitioner (a highly-respected position that pays very well.)
Pursuing a nursing degree means that you can work in your field while pursing an education simultaneously. There's no need to live out the typical "broke college student" cliche while you get your degree.
4. Nurses are in high demand
Hospitals are always looking for qualified nurses. Higher RN staffing rates usually correlate to reduced hospital mortality. (1) This is more important than ever as the US continues to face a shortage of medical staff for hospitals. (2) The healthcare system needs qualified employees to keep up with population increase and medical crises.
Because of demand, nurses have been given more and more autonomy in recent years. Nurses and nurse practitioners serve as primary care physicians for many people, especially in rural areas where doctors are in short supply. (3). Nurses often prescribe medicine, diagnose ailments, and sign death certificates. Working as a nurse doesn't just mean assisting doctors and surgeons; it means serving as an indispensable part of the medical community.
Despite the growing number of retiring nurses, nursing schools can’t replace them fast enough. In 2014, U.S. nursing schools had to turn away 69,000 qualified applicants. Some of these men and women were put on wait lists. Others received a simple rejection letter, despite the fact that they would likely make wonderful nurses. Unfortunately, schools and clinical sites lack the space for many qualified candidates.
Because of demand for nurses, there's a massive demand for nursing education in the US as well. That high demand means that nursing schools are added to universities at a high rate -- which means that aspiring nurses have options available to them when pursuing an education.
5. Nursing is well-respected
Gallup polls consistently rate nurses as the "most respected profession" on a survey concerning honesty and ethics in different professions. (3) Nursing is a career anyone can feel good about pursing; it's selfless, rewarding, and allows you to help people in serious need.
Finding success in a career is about more than a high salary; it's about pursuing a career path that you feel good about. While nursing certainly is hard work, it's work that offers peace of mind. There are plenty of career options that offer easier hours, less stress and higher pay; there are few career choices that are as rewarding and as well-respected as nursing.
6. Nursing is an excellent second career.
No matter what background you have, nursing is a smart career to transition into. Many employers value nurses who have a diverse background in. For students who already have a non-nursing bachelor's degree, some programs offer an accelerated BSN program that will allow you to enter the field quicker. These programs can be intense, but they are well worth it -- full-time students can becomes nurses in just two years.
Higher education of any kind is the most practical step a job seeker can take. Nursing careers offer flexibility, high pay, and the opportunity to do something meaningful as a career. More than ever, qualified, compassionate people are needed to help fill the gap in the hospital system.
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