Professional Education and Career Blog

The Explosion of Demand in Nursing: A Good Career Choice?

nurseThere are many reasons someone might choose a career in nursing. The most obvious is the desire to help people, which is the primary role of a nurse in medical care. But people also want to know that it’s going to be a path that leads to a stable career with good prospects and a good income. Is it going to be worth the inherent difficulties involved? Is it worth the training that will be needed? Here are some facts about the nursing path that can help with the decision.

Career Growth

One aspect of nursing that appears solid is that a nursing career offers many opportunities for earning potential and advancement. The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that registered nursing is the occupation with the highest projected growth through 2022, with the aging of the Baby Boomers and other health care expansion policies in the United States.

The pay for nurses is quite good, with the median national wage for an RN being $64,690.

Education

In the past, it was possible to find good nursing positions without a four-year degree, but this aspect of nursing that has gotten a bit more difficult in recent years. It is now common that a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing is considered an entry-level requirement. A study from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing showed that Bachelor’s and Master’s graduates have much higher rates of job offers upon graduation than other non-medical fields.

Advanced Nursing Careers

There are many types of nursing, and these career options offer much room for advancement. One type is the Nurse Practitioner, which is an advanced practice registered nurse who is qualified to take patient histories, order and analyze labs, prescribe medication, authorize treatments and counsel patients. They may also move into specialties similar to physicians, such as dermatology, oncology, orthopedics, cardiology and other areas.

The salary for Nurse Practitioners is good. In 2012, they earned a median salary of $89,960, and the highest paid 10% earned $120,500. A graduate degree is usually required to be a Nurse Practitioner, and many go on to earn a Ph.D. (Doctorate of Nursing Practice).

There are many other specialty paths in nursing that offer upward growth.

Making a Difference

One of the great aspects of nursing is the opportunity to make a real difference in people’s lives. Not many jobs give you as much opportunity to change lives for the better instead of just drawing a paycheck. In a very real way, nurses are the “front lines” of medical care who have the most contact with the patients, and act as educators and advocates for them.

nurse2The Right Temperament

Of course, nursing isn’t for everyone. It’s important to go in with your eyes open and consider whether it’s the right career for you. It’s a very high-stress job, dealing with sick people every day and knowing that real people depend on you and mistakes can have dire consequences.

It can also be a messy and turbulent job. You can deal with blood, vomit, screaming and other aspects of patient care that aren’t always glamorous. You can get hit with a large number of patients at once, and you will need to carefully manage your time so that all the patient needs are met. You can’t just take a break or have lunch if there is a crisis to be handled.

It takes someone with a large reserve of empathy and sympathy. You will deal with things like heart attacks or sick children every day, but it’s the first time for many of the patients, and they won’t handle it well. You need to be calm, patient and kind all the time, every time. Don’t underestimate the amount of stress a nurse can take.

Men in Nursing

Culturally speaking, many people have a view of nursing as a primarily female occupation, but there are many male nurses as well. Of the 2.6 million licensed RNs, around 200,000 are male. It can be done, but unfortunately there is a bit of a bias against men in nursing that can work against males.

A Great Career

Nursing can be a great career choice, but many factors should be weighed before going down that path. The time and expense are not insignificant, and the job itself is difficult. But for those that hear the calling of this profession, it can be a rewarding life.