What Does a Nursing Career Offer – And Is It Right for You?

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Choosing the right career path can transform your life and allow you to fulfill your potential. Of course, finding the right career path isn’t always easy. Until you gain experience in a particular industry or role, it can be hard to know if it’s right for you. This is why it’s important to do as much research as possible before deciding which route to follow. 

By getting a clear idea of what a particular job role involves, you’ll have a better indication of whether it’s the right fit for you. Furthermore, you’ll be able to determine whether your preferred career fits with your lifestyle and allows you to enjoy the work-life balance you want to achieve. 

For millions of people, nursing seems like an attractive career option, but how much do you really know about what the role involves? To find out if nursing is right for you, take a look at these ten benefits associated with a career in this field and learn what a career as a nurse can offer:

1. Active, Fast-Paced Environment

If you dread the thought of sitting behind a desk all day, then nursing could certainly be the right career option for you! As a nurse, you’ll be working in a busy environment, regardless of whether you choose to work in a hospital, a doctor’s office, or in your own practice. Delivering patient care in a variety of different situations will keep you on your toes – both literally and figuratively. 

As you might imagine, no two days are ever the same, which makes nursing an active and exciting role. If you’re interested in a career that offers consistent challenges and you want to work in an environment that’s busy, exhilarating, and constantly changing, becoming a nurse may be the best choice you ever make. 

2. Supporting Patients, Families, and Communities

Healthcare is, perhaps, the most important industry in any country and it’s a service that is always in demand. People are at their most vulnerable when they’re unwell and, during these times, they rely on a team of medical professionals to provide them with the care, compassion, and support they need. 

When it comes to working as a nurse, you’ll have the opportunity to support patients, their families, and the wider community day in, and day out. Nurses can play a key role in health care by educating their patients and families by sharing care plan examples or a support plan with them. When a care plan is implemented, everyone knows what to expect and the patient receives the treatment plan requested.

The decisions you make will have a significant impact on people, which ensures that nursing is always rewarding. Despite its challenges, nursing offers a high level of job satisfaction, and, at the end of every shift, you’ll know that you’ve made a real difference to the patients you’re caring for. 

3. Varied Career Opportunities

Some nurses begin their careers by qualifying as an RN, while others gain practical experience as Certified Nursing Assistants (CAN) or Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN). Once you’ve passed the NCLEX-RN exam and gained experience as a Registered Nurse, you’ll have the opportunity to follow a variety of different career paths. 

You may choose to study for a Master of Science in Nursing degree and qualify as a Nurse Practitioner, for example. Alternatively, your career goals may include completing a Ph.D. in nursing online from Wilkes University. With a Ph.D. in nursing, you can help shape the future of nursing by researching care methodologies, undertaking qualitative research, forecasting future trends in the profession, and advocating on behalf of nurses all over the country. 

With so many different options available, every career in nursing is distinct. No matter how you choose to begin your career path, you’ll have the chance to find your own, unique career goals and be able to undertake the challenges that are most meaningful to you. 

Fortunately, temporary nursing job openings such as per diem and travel nursing positions can give you the chance to “test the waters” before committing to long-term employment and choosing your main career path. Not only will you have the freedom to flexibly choose your working hours, but also experience working in different medical settings and states. You can easily be updated about current vacancies by checking out job boards such as PRN RN job openings and Nrusebuff.

4. Job Security

When you’re thinking about which careers might suit your skills and aspirations, it’s important to consider the potential job security you’ll have too. After all, you’ll want to ensure that your chosen career will offer long-term prospects and reliable employment. Fortunately, nursing is known for delivering a high level of job security. 

In fact, the demand for nurses in the U.S. is increasing rapidly, so you shouldn’t find it difficult to secure employment. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of roles for Registered Nurses will increase by 7% from 2019-2029, which is faster than the average. For Nurse Practitioners, Nurse Midwives, and Nurse Anesthetists, this increase is predicted to be even more significant, with a rise of 45% expected to happen between 2019-2029. 

With hundreds of thousands of new nursing roles set to be created over the next few years, it’s clear that there is an ongoing demand for competent and compassionate nurses. When you’re among them, you’ll be safe in the knowledge that your chosen career will effectively provide you with a job for life. 

5. National and International Opportunities

Although every state has its own licensing requirements, nursing is a role that can take you anywhere. Once qualified, you’ll have the skills and competencies needed to practice as a nurse in any location. You’ll simply need to apply for the relevant license wherever you want to work and set about finding employment in your new destination. 

As well as being able to find career opportunities throughout the U.S., you may choose to work abroad for part or all of your career. Organizations, such as Doctors Without Borders, regularly hire Registered Nurses and Nurse Practitioners to work overseas. With nine and 12-month assignments available, you can use your professional skills to deliver healthcare services where they are needed most. 

Of course, if you ever choose to emigrate or live abroad for an extended period of time, your nursing training in the U.S. and qualifications will stand you in good stead to become a licensed practitioner in any location in the world. 

6. Range of Specialties

As you gain experience as a CNA, LPN, or RN, you might find that there’s a particular area of nursing you’re most interested in. If so, you’ll have the chance to choose a specialization and focus your career around it. From Cardiac Care Nurses and Medical-Surgical Nurses to Legal Nurse Consultants and Nurse Educators, there are numerous nursing specialties to consider. 

Now that most or all of your optional postgraduate qualifications can be completed online, it’s easier than ever to progress your career in your chosen specialty. Instead of having to relocate to attend campus or take a sabbatical to study full-time, you can complete an MSN, Ph.D. in nursing, or a DNP from any location and continue to work while you obtain the advanced qualifications that you’ll need to further your career. 

7. Leadership Roles

Healthcare is a collaborative industry, and it can take a range of different professionals to provide effective patient care and treatment. If you choose to, you can ensure that your career path takes you to a leadership role within the nursing sector. This might mean becoming a supervisor on your regular ward, being a nurse advocate within a hospital setting, launching your own clinic, or even developing and recommending new policies to enhance patient care and improve nursing as a whole. 

As the demand for Nurse Practitioners increases, many nurses are choosing to follow this route due to the enhanced responsibilities and independence it offers. For Nurse Practitioners, your state’s practice environment will determine how independently you can work but, in full practice states, you’ll have the scope to evaluate and diagnose patients; prescribe medications; arrange and interpret diagnostic tests and implement and manage treatments. 

In fact, the ever-increasing responsibilities of Nurse Practitioners mean that nurses who choose to follow this path can combine their clinical skills with their inner entrepreneurial spirit. If you want to combine a career in healthcare with running your own business, for example, opening your own clinic could be a rewarding, challenging, and lucrative experience. 

8. Unique Work Environments

When people think of nursing as a career, they automatically imagine working in a hospital. While this is certainly one option, there are a variety of other environments that offer full-time, part-time, or ad hoc nursing roles. 

You may choose to work in a doctor’s office or in your own clinic as a Nurse Practitioner, for example. Alternatively, you could become a nurse in a school, camp, or residential environment. For nurses with an interest in geriatric care, a role in a retirement community or nursing home could enable them to fulfill their professional ambitions. Alternatively, becoming a home care or home health nurse will mean that you’ll work with patients in their own home environment. Managing your own caseload and traveling from one patient’s residence to another, this is a role that combines independence and managerial expertise with direct patient care. 

If you want to do something a little different, you may consider becoming a flight nurse. Tasked with delivering critical care to patients affected by emergencies, you’ll work alongside paramedics and doctors outside of a hospital or clinical setting. As well as delivering emergency care in any location, you’ll deliver ongoing care in a plane or helicopter as you transport your patient to the nearest hospital or trauma center. 

9. Flexible Working Options

At first glance, nursing might not seem like a particularly flexible job, but you’ll be surprised at how many options are available. In fact, nursing can offer a great work-life balance when you find the patterns and shifts that are best for you. 

In a hospital setting, nurses often work shifts, but many facilities give you the option to choose which shift pattern you want to work. If you’re an early riser, for example, you might decide to start at 5am and finish by 3pm. Alternatively, night owls could decide to work night shifts on a permanent basis, which can be a great way to ensure you’re able to spend more time at home during afternoons and evenings. 

In some cases, nurses are given the opportunity to work for an extended number of hours on certain days, which gives them more days off in total. So, you might work four 12-hour days and then have three or four days off. 

Additionally, there are a variety of 9-5 roles and part-time jobs available, so it’s relatively easy to find working patterns that suit your needs. With the option to choose your working environment, you can factor this into your decision-making as you determine how to shape your career. 

10. High Earning Potential

The amount you earn doesn’t necessarily reflect how happy you are at work, so it shouldn’t be the only consideration when you’re choosing a future career. However, you will want to ensure that your future job roles are well-paid and provide you with a sufficient salary. 

In the U.S., nurses can expect to earn an above-average wage. While salaries differ from state to state, Registered Nurses can earn anywhere between $59,030 and $106,950 per year. For Nurse Practitioners, this rises to $95,970 and $133,780, while Nurse Anesthetists frequently earn around $200,000 per annum. With an average salary of approximately $95,000, Nurse Researchers can also earn one of the highest wages in the industry. 

Is a Nursing Career Right for You?

Now you’ve got a better idea of what a nursing career can offer, you can determine whether it’s the right option for you. While the ability to create an enviable work-life balance and enjoy high earning power is certainly advantageous, nursing offers so much more. For anyone working in the healthcare sector, it’s the ability to help people and provide essential care when patients are at their most vulnerable that makes the job so rewarding. 

If you’re eager to do a job that really matters and you think you’ve got what it takes, why not start your nursing career today and enroll in an accredited program? Whether you’re on your way to being an RN or you’re ready to take on a leadership role with a Ph.D. in nursing, taking the next step in your career and achieving your goals is sure to bring both personal and professional happiness. 

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