Every person in the United States has benefited from the skills, compassion, and knowledge of a nurse. After all, nurses welcome people into the world, tend to wounds, alleviate illnesses, and care for loved ones. It’s for this reason why the American Nurses Association reported that nurses are one the most trusted professionals in the United States.
If you are eager to enter the profession to care for many patients’ needs and improve medical outcomes, you might want to understand as much about the role as possible beforehand. Make an informed choice by learning what to expect from a nursing career.
Different Initial Nursing Paths
At present, there are two paths to choose from to become a qualified nurse, which features different educational requirements. To become a registered nurse (RN), you must earn an associate degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). An ADN and BSN are more technical nursing programs that typically take two or four years to complete.
Alternatively, you can complete a licensed practical nursing (LPN), which is a one-year certificate or degree program at a hospital, vocational, or trade school. The qualification is referred to as licensed vocational nursing (LVN) in some states. If you choose an LPN/LVN, you will receive on-the-job training by performing various nursing duties; however, you cannot provide the same care RNs provide to their patients. To earn an LPN license, you must pass the National Council Licensure Examination.
Many Daily Responsibilities
Nurses of every specialty have many daily responsibilities, which may vary based on their roles. Typical duties include:
- Obtaining patients’ medical histories
- Promoting healthcare, education, and counseling
- Performing physical exams
- Administering medications
- Caring for wounds and injuries
- Supervising staff
- Coordinating patient care with other healthcare practitioners
- Making critical decisions
Multiple Career Paths
One of the many benefits of a nursing profession is the various occupations you can choose from throughout your career. After training as a registered nurse, you can take your pick from more than 200 specialties, such as:
- Cardiac nursing
- Hospice care
- Palliative care
- Mental health nursing
Also, you can complete programs to become a nursing leader. For example, you can apply for nurse practitioner programs in Texas to enter the highest level of nursing, such as becoming a family nurse practitioner or neonatal nurse practitioner. As a result, you can actively improve patient outcomes, department processes, and healthcare policies. It will allow you to shape a nursing career to match your medical passions, professional goals, and desired salary.
An Attractive Salary
Nursing salaries have never been better due to the increased demand for qualified professionals. At the start of a registered nurse’s career, they can earn between $20 to $36 per hour. Plus, some US hospitals provide nursing staff with rewarding annual bonuses, which can reach up to $10,000. The further you go in your career, the bigger your earning potential and the more financial security you can enjoy. As a result, you could easily reach your personal goals of owning your own home or enjoying a comfortable retirement.
A Demanding Working Life
Make no mistake, nurses will face a significant amount of daily pressure. You’ll need to care for many patients, prioritize cases, deal with difficult situations, and follow strict healthcare policies to the letter. Plus, you may need to work unsociable hours, work back-to-back shifts, or embark on overtime to care for a patient or department’s needs.
Work in a Variety of Settings
Qualified nurses can secure roles in many healthcare settings to match their desired environment, pace, and medical passions. For example, you could enter a position in:
- Medical office
- Nursing home
- Occupational health
- Ambulatory care
- Community health center
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there is a need for more than 11 million registered nurses to help organizations expand and replace retired nurses. As the country is struggling with a substantial nursing shortage, there has never been a better time to enter the occupation.
In addition to receiving a rewarding salary, nurses of every level can enjoy a stable career and choose from many roles at different organizations and settings. It is expected the shortage will last for many decades, which means you could enjoy fantastic job security and opportunities throughout your career.
Plus, you will likely be able to find a job anywhere across the country, as hospitals, clinics, and medical offices are crying out for qualified nurses. A nursing career can adapt to your personal needs, as you will not need to worry about struggling to find work when relocating.
Contrary to popular belief, many healthcare organizations are happy to adapt to their nurses’ busy schedules and provide a better work-life balance. Due to shortages in the field, hospitals and clinics are now striving to be more flexible to their nurses’ needs to improve job satisfaction, prevent burnout, and stop people from leaving the profession.
Opportunities to Increase Earnings
Nursing not only provides a rewarding annual salary, but you will have many opportunities to increase your earnings. For example, you can receive overtime for on-call shifts or cover for a colleague. Also, you could increase your salary by moving to a higher paying state for nursing, such as:
- District of Columbia
Also, a nursing specialty could help you earn more money, or you could become a nursing educator to increase your annual salary. However, you must complete an advanced degree program or certification.
There is no limit to your success and earning potential in nursing. If you’re willing to work hard, commit to education, and strive to improve patient outcomes, you could enjoy many financial, personal, and professional rewards in the field.
Nursing is a fantastic profession that can provide exceptional job security, a large annual salary, career flexibility, and rewarding working life. However, you will need a strong work ethic, compassion, dedication, and a passion for healthcare to experience much success in the field.