Nurses play a critical role in every society as the primary advocates for health promotion.
They achieve this by educating the general public and patients on a healthy lifestyle, engaging in rehabilitation, and offering the right strategy for body treatment. Over time, nursing has remained one of the most trusted professions, with about 84% of the public rating nursing standards as high or very high.
As impressive as the profession has been, it’s currently viewed as an aging field. This is primarily due to the fact that a significant number of nurses are close to retirement age. According to 2020 research, 22% of all registered nurses working in a US healthcare institution were aged 55 or older.
This highlights the need to remind people how beneficial and fulfilling a career in nursing can be. Furthermore, with a significant portion of the workforce close to retirement, the shortage of nurses is expected to grow in a few years. This offers an opportunity to prospective practitioners as the field has a predicted job growth of 9% by 2023, making now the ideal time to pursue a career in nursing.
Types of nursing specialties
Nurses are essential healthcare providers tasked with managing physical needs, preventing illness and treating health conditions. Nursing practitioners can engage in several healthcare institutions, including health centers, schools, nursing homes and hospitals.
According to the American Nurses Association, the nursing field comprises three categories: registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, and advanced practice registered nurses.
This category represents the predominant type of nurses. These professionals are responsible for observing, educating and evaluating patients. They mostly work as part of a team featuring doctors and other medical specialists. Becoming a registered nurse requires at least a college degree – commonly a BSN.
Licensed practical nurses
As the name implies, these nurses work under registered nurses and engage in functional roles such as administering medication, dressing wounds and checking a patient’s vitals. Licensed practical nurses obtain their licenses by completing any registered nursing program.
Advanced practice registered nurses
These practitioners possess advanced knowledge of clinical responsibilities. They engage in various roles, from direct healthcare to administrative positions. Becoming an APRN requires a nurse to complete some form of a graduate degree. It could be either a master’s or doctorate degree. Nursing certifications are also required.
Benefits of becoming a nurse
There are many benefits of becoming a nurse, and this article helps you explore why it might be the ideal path.
High level of job satisfaction
In today’s world, where, according to a global Gallup poll, about 85% of people hate their jobs, nursing offers a high level of fulfillment and job satisfaction. According to the American Mobile Nurses Healthcare survey of 2019, more than 80% of practicing nurses felt immensely fulfilled with their jobs and career choices.
This immense feeling of fulfillment within the nursing profession may be attributed to the fact that nurses get a clear view of how their responsibilities positively impact the health and wellbeing of people. The close relationship that nurses have with patients also helps them relate better with other people and their stories.
For every career path, a professional’s personal development depends on how fulfilling they find their career. As such, nurses are some of the most complete and competent professionals in the healthcare industry. Aside from this, the competencies developed are also essential outside of work.
Currently, health institutions have difficulty keeping up with the number of nurses close to retirement age. In different countries, nursing practitioners remain in high demand, with many vacant positions left to be filled. As a result, it’s unsurprising that nurses enjoy stability and security in their careers.
Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic has also impacted staffing, with some nurses opting to retire earlier than planned and possibly changing career paths. All of these factors ensure that the demand for nurses remains strong, and this demand creates stability and security for current and aspiring nurses.
Nursing careers offer versatility
Pursuing a career in nursing does not relegate a professional to only clinical activities. Nurses also have the potential to become successful administrators, educators, researchers and entrepreneurs. There is also the possibility of obtaining a DNP, which ensures that nurses practice at the highest level.
Most nursing degrees incorporate different disciplines, including management and leadership. With this, professionals gain skills relevant for diversifying into other career paths without necessarily leaving the healthcare industry. The more educated nurses are in general healthcare, business, management and other societal aspects, the more impact they can make on society.
A career in nursing supports education growth
Nursing does not necessitate extensive educational requirements compared to other healthcare professions. A professional can become a licensed nurse with an undergraduate degree and industry certification. However, there is an evident push to increase the total level of education obtained by nurse practitioners.
A fundamental discussion has been to offer financial aid to professionals seeking educational growth. This can create a platform for nurses to gain career advancement opportunities. Today, some institutions provide reduced costs for both BSN and BPN programs.
Different educational pathways
As we stated earlier, most healthcare careers require extensive educational requirements. These requirements offer a rigid pathway that must be followed to the letter. Nursing, however, provides different routes to becoming a practitioner in the field.
Entry-level jobs can be secured by completing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. To become a licensed nurse, professionals can take certification exams from any registered institution. Online graduate degrees also allow nurses to reach the top of their careers while gathering relevant experience.
The only prerequisite for any nursing certification is a BSN. Therefore, nurses can tailor their educational pathway in whichever way they feel is best.
How to begin your nursing career journey
Prospective nurses looking to advance their careers in the field can do so in different ways, one such way being an online Master of Science in Nursing. Walsh University offers a fully online Master of Science in Nursing program for professionals seeking leadership roles in the healthcare industry.
Walsh University’s online FNP program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and is available in 22 states.