Have you ever considered a career as a nurse? It can be challenging, but there are many rewarding aspects. From a positive job outlook, a variety of career pathways, and a multitude of benefits, a career in nursing is worth considering. Lets jump right in and talk about a career in nursing.
By 2029, all baby boomers (born between 1946-1964) will be at least 65 years old. Not only is there an increase in the aging population, a huge portion of the nursing workforce is retiring around the same time. This has resulted in a great need for nurses now and in the near future.
Registered Nurses are among the occupations with the largest projected job openings due to growth and replacement needs.
Data from a culmination of the Occupational Employment Statistics program, U.S. Department of Labor, and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics stated that the demand for nurses was expected to increase by over 19% by 2022. Compared to all occupations, the employment of registered nurses is expected to grow 7% from 2019-2029. This is faster than the average growth of 4% for all occupations combined.
The shortage of registered nurses yields a great job outlook for the nursing workforce. There will always be a need for healthcare providers due to the aging population. So if you are worried about job security and availability, that’s not a problem in this career field.
When you think of a career in nursing, what comes to mind? Your though might have just gone straight to a bedside nurse caring for patients in a hospital. You’re absolutely right! That makes up a large portion of nursing as a whole. However, what many people don’t know is that nursing is a versatile career choice in a multitude of different settings. For instance, there are over 80 different nursing specialties. From a hospital to an office to you sitting right at home, there are nurses working in a variety of different settings.
Ask yourself what do you love to do. The upside is that if you end up not liking the specialty you are in, you can always change your type of work. By this, I mean you can explore other types of nursing within the nursing field such as, but not limited to, the following:
RN Sales/Marketing Representative
Nurse Case Manager
Legal Nurse Consultant
Community Health Nurse
Nurse Health Coach
It’s the jack-of-all-trades career because you can do so much with your education and experience unlike professions where you are stuck in one specialty or job without room to explore and grow. You can make a lateral transfer, such as transferring from working with adults to pediatrics, or you can obtain an advanced nursing degree and becoming one of the following:
Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)
Advanced Practice Registered Nurse, such as a Nurse Practitioner
If you discover that working at the bedside isn’t your jam, you can always dive into something like nursing informatics, which is the information technology side of nursing. If this still isn’t your niche, keep researching and discover what interests you. You can contribute to the largest field in healthcare, which is nursing, whether it's at the bedside or behind the scenes of direct patient care.
There are many benefits that a career in nursing can offer. First, let’s talk about an internal benefit. The qualities of a nurse include compassion, integrity, strong communication skills, attention to detail, empathetic, critical thinker, leader, advocate, flexible, respectable, etc. The list can go one forever but these are some qualities a nurse must possess to be successful in this field.
If you have any combination of these qualities, the internal benefit is a sense of purpose. If you are at the bedside, you will be helping people during a vulnerable time in their life and saving lives. If you are behind the scenes and not at the bedside, you will be a vital component in keeping the nursing field and healthcare running smoothly. Without our clinical and non-clinical nurses, this field would be a non-functioning mess. We need leaders in all parts of the nursing workforce to function as a whole.
Having a flexible schedule is a benefit many people would enjoy. Most nurses work 12-hour shifts for 3 days during the week, but there are also 10-hour shifts and 8-hour shifts. It just depends on where you work. Many nurses also have the benefit of making their own schedule working the days that work best for themselves or their families. This is always a plus in my book.
Nursing jobs are everywhere! Knowing you have a portable career gives room for travel opportunities. Whether you are a travel nurse or just happen to be moving to a new place, there’s comfort in knowing there will always be a demand for nurses no matter where you go.
Last but not least, a point that everyone wants to know when career planning or job searching. How much will I make?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Registered Nurses in 2020 made a median pay of $75,330 per year. Nurses can make between $53,410 to $116,230 per year.
The potential to make a good living, is immense. Keep in mind that the region where you live, years of experience, and type of nursing specialty you are in are just a few of many factors that determine what a nurses pay will look like.
Because a majority of nurses work three 12-hour shifts during the week, we have 4 other days during the week to either work overtime and make more money or just relax. Some may work one extra shift every week. From personal experience, working 2 extra 12-hour shifts a month can equate to an extra $1000-$1800 per month. When you add shift differential (night shift, day shift, weekend, holiday), overtime, and bonus-shift pay (if your hospital offers it) to your base pay, that’s a lot per hour. Another way to bring in more income is working PRN, which is "as needed," in another hospital or location. As a side job, you can work extra whenever you want while keeping your main RN job.
The options are endless, and there are many opportunities within reach.
It’s up to you to take the first step. Join the nursing field! We'd love to have you!
See my next blog on "Effective Study Tips for Nursing School"
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Registered Nurses, at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/registered-nurses.htm (visited August 23, 2021).
U.S. Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, National Center for Health Workforce Analysis, “Brief Summary of Results from the 2018 National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses,” 2019: https://data.hrsa.gov/DataDownload/NSSRN/GeneralPUF18/nssrn-summary-report.pdf