11 Most Significant Benefits of a Career in Nursing
You’ll find at least one nurse in every two healthcare workers you come across. Despite this, there is still a serious shortage of nurses everywhere.
Nurses have always been in high demand. Even during harsh times with widespread downturns across many industries, nursing still often records strong job market results.
The shortfall in the supply of nurses isn’t always due to lack of uptake, but rather because the demand always exceeds supply. Due to this, nurses often enjoy special treatment and many benefits that are unavailable in other career paths.
These benefits include many different paths to entry, high incomes for entry-level nurses, an abundance of opportunities for personal and professional growth and job security.
If you’ve been considering joining the fray on the frontlines of healthcare, there are many intrinsic and extrinsic motivating factors to draw inspiration from. In this article, we’ll look at some of the most important benefits of becoming a nurse. We’ll cap it all off with plenty of tips to help you jumpstart your career.
11 reasons to consider a career in nursing
· Personally fulfilling
Nursing is one of the most challenging jobs available. A life is always hanging in the balance, and the decisions you make could be the difference between life and death for someone.
Rather than causing anxiety and self-doubt, the call to save lives has been one of the most powerful motivators for nurses. Most nurses find a strong sense of fulfillment in making critical contributions to people’s lives. They gain a lot of happiness from making a difference in people’s lives.
The appreciation and reverence they receive from patients and their loved ones only fuels their passion.
Nurses are one of the most revered and respected professions. As a nurse, you’ll be a highly valued member of any community you find yourself in. You can help touch the lives of people in that community, making a difference in the standard of living there.
According to a 2020 Gallop poll, Americans rate nurses as “high” or “very high” in terms of ethics and honesty in the profession.
Nurses are often close confidants to patients, relating on a much deeper level compared to how other professionals relate with their clients. Due to this, nurses often earn a special place in their patient’s hearts, and this gives nurses a special feeling that is unobtainable in most other professions.
· Multiple paths to entry
As an aspiring nurse, you’ll have many ways to launch your career. You can choose a training program that spans anywhere from weeks to years, depending on the level of preparation you prefer.
For instance, Elmhurst University offers multiple online RN programs in Kentucky. There’s an online Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, which fast-tracks the path to securing a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing. For graduates who want to pursue nursing as a second career, the Master’s Entry Nursing Practice prepares them for both entry-level nursing jobs as well as higher-level jobs that require a strong background in management and leadership.
As an aspiring nurse, you can choose from a wide variety of specialties. Options for certification and licensure also abound.
No matter what training programs or licensure you choose, you’ll always find it easy to secure a job and begin practicing.
· Job security
As mentioned earlier, the nursing industry always enjoys relative stability and growth, even during difficult economic times. Nurses are always in high demand, regardless of the socio-economic environment.
The demand is consistently high, whether it’s in a well-developed economy, a developing or underdeveloped region.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics pegs the yearly growth rate of nursing jobs at 9%, nearly double the national average for job growth. The average annual salary of nurses is approximately $82,000 –
significantly higher than the average for most other jobs.
Nurses also enjoy a variety of perks designed to keep them motivated and committed to their work, including:
- Paid sick time
- Paid vacation and holidays
- Health and life insurance
- Tuition and certification fee reimbursement
- Wellness programs
- Paid family leave
- Retirement benefits
· A physically and mentally stimulating career
Want a career that keeps you on the cutting edge? Something that brings out the best in you while exposing you to the intricacies of life in a modern age?
The thought of lives hanging in the balance, hoping for someone to come to their aid will drive you out of bed every morning as a nurse.
Also, modern healthcare is filled with intricate technologies, groundbreaking therapies and a whole lot more to fuel your imagination and inspire you to commit to your profession. Every day, it challenges you to do more to save more lives and bring improvement and relief to the community.
Each day is a different opportunity to learn new things and meet new faces. There’s always something to keep you stimulated mentally and physically.
What’s more, you can up the ante or lower it whenever you want. For high-octane action around the clock, you can work shifts in ERs and ICUs. To take things slower, you can choose to work in adult care homes.
· Opportunities to network and socialize
By virtue of the role you play in other people’s lives as a nurse, you’re bound to socialize.
Rather than staying enclosed in a cubicle or a machine room all day, as a nurse, most of your daily activities involve one-on-one conversations with people from all walks of life. You can interact with people on a personal level but within professional boundaries.
Excellent communication and interpersonal skills are indispensable to a nurse’s line of work. You’ll also find plenty of opportunities to learn as you go, sharpening your skills as you gain more real-life experience.
In addition, you’ll find plenty of professional bodies to join and other ways to expand your professional circle.
· Flexible working hours
Nurses mostly perform shift work. That means you can choose the hours you want to work. Rather than sitting it out on a 9-5 every day, you can choose to rack up additional hours of work on a given day.
For instance, if you’re working four-hour shifts, you can go for 12 hours non-stop to free up two-three days ahead of your schedule.
The extent of this flexibility depends on your employer. Some places have such severe shortages you may be required to put in long hours every day during certain periods.
However, most community centers allow for self-scheduling, giving you full autonomy over your schedule, although you might still be required to put in long work hours every day.
Also, you can choose to work as many shifts as you’d like to earn more from overtime. Working on weekends and holidays usually provides higher overtime rates.
With more control over their working hours, nurses are better able to take advantage of opportunities that arise for personal or professional improvement. They can pursue a side hustle, volunteer or spend more time with their family.
· Many different specializations and work settings
Nursing is a very vast field, with multiple branches and skills that can be applied in a variety of settings. You can specialize in areas such as mental health, pediatrics, dentistry and intensive care.
Your work settings can range from a teaching hospital to community health centers or private clinics. If you’d like to step back from the rigors of the frontlines, you can take on an administrative position that requires the extra skills that you have in addition to nursing, such as a nurse attorney or legal nurse consultant, an informatics nurse or even the owner of a self-practice.
Here is a rough classification of the settings you can work in as a nurse:
School nurses: Work in the health facilities of learning institutions such as community colleges and universities.
Home health nurses: Deliver care directly to aging adults in their homes.
Forensic nurses: Work with law enforcement to collect and corroborate medical evidence.
Public health nurse: Help treat patients in public health facilities such as community health centers.
Insurance nurses: Work with insurance companies to keep track of customers’ health status.
Correctional nurses: Help provide care to prisoners in jails and prisons.
Traveling nurses: Travel to other countries or regions to help out with severe shortages in healthcare delivery.
The list by no means ends here, as you can find yourself working in many other settings, such as a clinical nurse researcher or cruise ship nurse.
· Opportunities for professional development
Nursing is one of the most supportive careers for professional growth. Everyone can benefit from your professional growth as a nurse, from your loved ones to your workplace and the entire community. You’ll be able to get encouragement and support from all these places when pursuing career advancement goals.
Many employers incentivize learning and advancement for nurses by offering perks such as program sponsorships and reimbursement for tuition fees and the cost of certifications.
There are many ways to advance your career as a nurse. One comes naturally as you grow in your current position and gain more experience. You could be recognized and promoted to senior roles in your workplace thanks to your hard work and dedication.
Another alternative is earning a postgraduate degree or learning a new nursing specialization. Simply put, the more education and experience you acquire as a nurse, the greater your potential for growth and career advancement.
Some advanced roles to target as a junior nurse include:
- Clinical nurse specialist
- Nurse anesthesia
- Nurse practitioner
- Nurse educator
Another factor that could help you out is networking. By joining various networking organizations and meeting other like-minded professionals, especially those with advanced experience and expertise, you can learn about new career advancement opportunities as they present themselves.
For instance, you could learn about a free or discounted professional training course or a job opening that could help you earn more money and experience.
You should be cautious though, as a career advancement opportunity might not only mean more money and respect but more responsibilities and more hard work as well.
· High social status
As a nurse, you’ll be considered a hero by many people. You’ll receive preferential treatment and special attention in many places.
For more than 20 years in a row, Americans have rated nurses as the most trustworthy and ethical professionals. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and even afterwards, nurses were media darlings, hailed by media outlets as frontline heroes risking their lives to save others.
People see you as a lifesaver, someone to be trusted and revered. You’ll be regarded as an embodiment of morality, ethics and emotional support by members of your community.
Your role as a nurse also involves educating and supporting people. People will listen when you speak and value your opinion on any issue.
Additionally, the high demand for nurses and the relative stability of the industry also accords nurses even more respect. For instance, you’ll likely find it easy to qualify for loans, insurance premiums and other financial services requiring people to have stable finances.
· Acquiring transferable skills
If you decide to switch careers to another industry as a nurse, you’ll probably not need that much extra training. Many nursing skills can be transferred to other industries.
Your soft communication skills and robust interpersonal relationship skills are very useful in business administration. This means you can fit into multiple departments of a business, ranging from sales to HR and administration.
Time management is also a crucial aspect of nursing, and your time management skills can be critical to organizational processes in many different organizations.
The ability to coordinate collaborations among a multidisciplinary team can also shine through in settings other than healthcare. You can head a department or work as a project manager with the strong organizational skills you learn as a nurse.
Also, your capacity to persevere through difficult situations and adapt to new challenges could prove indispensable to the survival of a business. Your empathy and sympathy can help strengthen solidarity and rally teams around certain goals during difficult times.
Your strong critical thinking skills can also shine through. Every day as a nurse, you’ll be faced with difficult decisions and challenges that require excellent critical thinking and problem-solving skills. All of this could prove highly valuable when working in a large organization.
· Opportunities for international employment
If you love traveling, you’ll find nursing very compatible with your lifestyle desires. As a certified nurse, you can relocate to other cities and regions and easily find a place to practice.
There are many regions currently facing severe nursing shortages, and travel nurses are more than welcome there. You can join organizations offering missionary healthcare delivery, or you can apply individually to specific facilities in a region.
Many countries offer special visa programs to attract traveling nurses with fast visa approvals and flexible stay periods.
Many of these places pay higher rates and offer numerous perks and favorable treatment. Your pay package could include travel reimbursement, a housing stipend and even a shopping allowance.
In addition, you’ll have the time you need to explore a new location as a nurse compared to visiting as a tourist. You’ll most likely have several months on your contract, which provides enough time to soak up all the attractions and cultural quirks of different cities.
Tips to launch your nursing career successfully
Excited about the prospects of a career in nursing? If you’re determined to join the fray on the frontlines of healthcare, here are tips to help you hit the ground running:
- Earn your certifications and get proactive about your education.
- Work with a mentor to identify your areas of weakness and strengthen them.
- Practice time-management techniques such as cluster care, which involves working on many related patient-care tasks simultaneously.
- Master safety standards and always comply with standard procedures.
- Be respectful and empathetic toward patients.
- Build up your physical strength and find better ways to cope with physical stress and fatigue.
- Tackle leadership problems and find ways to improve organizational processes in your healthcare center.
- Stay abreast of new medical information and current best practices.
- Fuel your curiosity and ask away whenever you need more information or clarity on a subject.
- Learn to keep your cool and diffuse tense situations.
- Be detail-oriented and always look out for details that other members of your team might miss.
An exciting career opportunity awaits you in nursing
There’s never been a better time to become a nurse. With an abundance of job opportunities, multiple pathways to entry and options for career advancement, a highly respected social status and job stability and security, your future as a nurse is as bright as that of any profession.
There are no dull moments in the life of a nurse, as there’s always something to explore whether that is a new specialty, a different work environment or even a new city.
You’ll also have plenty of opportunities to travel to new places and explore life in many different regions.
With a wide range of transferable skills, you won’t find yourself wanting when switching to a range of different industries. Your soft communication skills, empathy and interpersonal skills, strong critical thinking, leadership and organizational skills can make you a great fit for many different departments within any organization.