Not all the nurses you meet have been nurses since they left college. In fact, there are lots of nurses who started out in careers that were in no way related to healthcare. So, if you are feeling underpaid, dissatisfied, or bored in your current employment, switching to a career in nursing could be the ideal option. Nursing is a meaningful and rewarding career that offers a variety of different paths and plenty of opportunity for progression, but it also requires dedication and hard work. This article describes the most compelling reasons why you should consider a career change to nursing.
You can retrain in as little as 18 months
The best training route for nursing is to complete a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree as most states and employers prefer their nurses to have this level of education. Completing the degree straight out of college takes around four years, which is obviously less than ideal for career changers who have bills to pay and/or families to support.
However, if you have a degree in another subject, there is another route that does not have the same demands on your time or money: The Accelerated Bachelor of Science or ABSN. The best accelerated nursing programs can be completed in as little as 18 months. Many online courses are available that make learning more flexible, although you will need to complete clinical placements. When you have achieved your degree, you can take the NCLEX-RN exam to become a Registered Nurse in your state.
Nurses are in demand
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that there will be 371,500 more nursing positions needing to be filled by 2028. This is also impacted by the fact that one million nurses are due to reach retirement age in the next 10 to 15 years, which increases the number to 1,371,500. In addition, the population is aging as the ‘Baby boomer’ generation is living longer, which means the US has a growing number of patients needing healthcare.
Nurses will always be needed
Illness, disease, and injuries will always be a part of our lives, which means healthcare is a necessary industry. There is no denying that technology, medication, and medical procedures are advancing, but trained nurses will always be needed to administer treatment or operate equipment, as well as to provide emotional support to patients and families. This makes nursing one of the few professions that is unlikely to be replaced by technology any time soon. In fact, nursing informatics is a growing area of employment thanks to advancing technology.
In addition, nurses are not only needed by the sick or injured, as even healthy people need to use the healthcare system for guidance, check-ups, and preventative care.
Nursing offers progression
A Registered Nurse can look forward to not only a long and stable career, but also one which offers plenty of opportunity to progression. Through continued education and training, nurses can take on senior positions that involve the management of healthcare facilities and its staff. In some states, a Nurse Practitioner can manage their own practice, diagnose conditions, prescribe treatment, and administer medication just as a physician would.
Nursing offers lots of varied career paths
Registered Nurses can follow a variety of different career paths in numerous environments. Many will choose to work in a hospital or healthcare clinic, but others may work in mental health facilities, schools or colleges, nursing homes, rehabilitation, or substance abuse centers, to name just a few. Some choose to become a traveling nurse, which means they take their skills to short-term assignments wherever they are needed.
Nurses can also choose to pursue a specialty if they wish to focus on a particular aspect of healthcare or work with a group of patients. They can, for example, choose to train in geriatric care (caring for the elderly), pediatric care (caring for children and teenagers), midwifery, psychiatric or mental health care. The opportunity to retrain in a new specialty is available at any stage in a nurse’s career so nurses can switch to a new path when they want a new challenge.
Nursing hours can be flexible
While it is true that nursing hours can be long and grueling (up to 15 hours), they can also be flexible. You can choose to work on a full or part-time basis and shifts can often be changed or swapped with colleagues to suit your lifestyle, which is why nursing is such a popular choice for people changing careers. In fact, some people hold another job while working as a part-time nurse, but it is important that you do not overwork yourself as nursing requires a high level of energy and concentration.
Nursing is well-paid
Nursing salaries vary depending on which state you are working in, but the average US Registered Nurse earns approximately $65,870 annually. This is higher than the national average salary, which is $49,764 per year. The higher your level of education and the more responsibility you have in your nursing career, the higher your earning potential. Nurses are often eligible for excellent employment benefits such as medical insurance and generous pensions, but this can vary depending on the organization you work for and the state in which you are licensed.
Nursing makes a difference
Nurses are there for people during some of the hardest times in their life. Whether they are unwell (physically or mentally) or injured or a loved one is suffering, nurses are there to ease their pain, and provide support and guidance. We never forget good nurses, and they are instrumental in ensuring that patients get the best care possible. Nurses also work in the community and schools providing healthcare advice to individuals and families to help them live healthy lifestyles. Some nurses work with victims of natural disasters or in the army providing emergency care in extreme conditions. Nurses are well respected and often revered in our society. They touch people’s lives and really make a difference.