Nurses play an important role in not only shaping healthcare but also ensuring our healthcare systems keep running. Although nursing can be a challenging career, it is also an important and rewarding one. It does take people who love making a difference in other’s lives and if this sounds like you, nursing might just be the perfect career. If you are thinking about getting into this rewarding and in-demand field, here are a few things you need to know.
Nursing School is Challenging
Getting into a career in any medical field is challenging and nursing is no different. Whether you enroll in an associate’s or bachelor’s degree program, you will be challenged. There is a lot to learn but that should not discourage you. Nursing programs are designed in such a way that there is always someone willing to help you and guide you.
Additionally, there are lots of online options if you would like to keep working while earning your degree. Taking it a day at a time, staying organized, and managing your time properly are good rules to follow so you do not become overwhelmed.
If you enroll in an Associate in Nursing degree program, you will be required to complete three years of nursing school while a bachelor’s degree will take four years. Some hospitals also offer nursing programs and these usually take three to four years depending on the hospital and program structure.
You Need to Get Certified
Once you graduate from nursing school, you will need to pass a national licensing exam. This is an important step in becoming a registered nurse (RN) so you can start practicing right away. Just remember that you might be required to recertify if you move to or wish to work in a different area from the one where you are certified.
Lots of Career Advancement Opportunities
A career in nursing gives you opportunities to grow in your nursing career by taking an advanced nursing degree. That can be through taking a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree if you have an associate’s degree or preparing for a role in management or leadership by enrolling in an MSN program.
Nurses do not have to stop there because there are even more opportunities to distinguish themselves at the highest levels by pursuing a post-master’s degree. By enrolling in online DNP nurse executive programs at Baylor University, for example, practicing nurses place themselves in a great position to rise to the highest leadership positions. Additionally, nurses can pursue other post-master’s degrees and certifications to get into different specialties, thereby advancing their careers.
You Can Choose Different Nursing Specialties and Settings
Nurses can choose from a variety of settings and specialties. Nurses can work in the emergency room, doctor’s offices, or in private settings. Because the list of nursing specialties is so long, it is important to take the time to go through each of them to find out what would work best for you.
Within these specialties, there is also the option to work with people of different ages. Nurses can care for infants, teens, adults, and even elderly patients.
Lastly, nurses can choose where and how to work. For example, if you love traveling and would like to gain experience working in different environments and settings, you can choose to become a travel nurse.
You Will Be in Demand
The demand for nurses is growing the world over and with many nurses expected to retire in the next five years, the demand for nurses will keep growing. This means that it is relatively easy to find a nursing job regardless of where you live. If you cannot find a job you like where you live, it is possible to seek opportunities in other countries that have a nursing shortage.
Although many nurses get into nursing to care for and help their patients, good pay is always welcome. Because of the high demand for nurses, nurses command very good salaries. Some hospitals also have signing bonuses for nurses who have specialties in specific areas such as neonatal oncology or geriatric long-term care.
You Will Make a Difference
As a nurse, you will make a difference in people’s lives. Whether that is through relieving a patient’s pain or helping a family cope with the loss of a loved one, you will touch people’s lives. Another way you will make a difference is by defining how healthcare is handled. If you get into an administrative nursing position, you will have the power to put forward and enact policies that help improve the provision of healthcare.
Your Nursing Career Will Be Challenging
No matter the field or specialty you are interested in, a career in nursing is very challenging. Your shifts will be busy and full of challenges. You might also be called in to cover extra shifts and be asked to work weekends and holidays, especially when you are new to the job.
The good news is that the healthcare industry is taking steps to improve nurses’ working conditions, so many of the challenges that nurses face today will be resolved in time.
You Will Be Required to Gain Additional Skills
Two important skills that great nurses have include time management and proper communication skills. Time management skills are important in your career as they can help you remain organized – an important trait in nurses.
Nurses have to be able to communicate not only between themselves but also with their patients. Good communication skills help them communicate with empathy and understanding and can make a massive difference when passing bad news to families.
Nurses also need to be great listeners. This skill allows them to understand where their patients are coming from, their values, and their experiences. Because of this, they can put themselves in their patients’ positions and therefore offer better care.
Nursing is challenging but it is one of the most rewarding career options in healthcare. If you are considering a career in nursing, knowing what you expect can help you make the decision. With an increase in demand and a dwindling supply of nurses, there has never been a better time to get into nursing.