10 Reasons Why You Should Become a Nurse

10 Reasons Why You Should Become a Nurse

10 Reasons Why You Should Become a Nurse

Being a nurse is awesome! If you have ever considered becoming a nurse, here are ten reasons why you should go for it, whether you are currently a high school student or working in a different role and wanting a change of careers.

1. It’s Rewarding

Nurse 1

The main reason many people choose to go into nursing—or, indeed, any other healthcare profession—is that they like to help others. Being a nurse is an intrinsically rewarding job, as one Illinois nurse explains here. Nurses, often more than doctors, have the opportunity to listen to patients’ stories and get to know their patients as individuals. This makes them extra proud when they know they have been able to make a difference to the life and wellbeing of that patient and of their family.

2. It’s Holistic

The term ‘holistic healthcare’, according to Taylor Mallory Holland of Dignity Health, indicates “caring for the whole person”. This includes preventative healthcare, a focus on wellness, and the use of therapies from many different medical cultures and approaches, from pharmacology to massage therapy to acupuncture. In recent years there has been a shift towards holistic healthcare even in mainstream healthcare settings such as hospitals and family doctor practices.

Unlike doctors, who often tend to be taught to treat one specific condition or even symptom at a time, nurses have holistic healthcare baked into their professional ethos and education. If you go on to pursue graduate studies in nursing, you could even become a nurse practitioner and perform many of the same duties as a physician, but with a more holistic and preventative approach. Becoming a nurse could therefore be the right career choice for you if you believe in the importance of treating the whole person and even addressing wider social factors which may be impacting an individual’s health.

3. The Opportunities For Growth Are Endless

As mentioned, nurse practitioners are highly trained nurses who perform many of the same duties as a doctor. Through completing graduate studies, registered nurses can become nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, nurse midwives, or nurse anesthetists, and both the nurse practitioner and clinical nurse specialist pathways offer students the chance to specialize in caring for a particular segment of the population, such as pediatric patients, or in a specific aspect of medicine, such as oncology or cardiology. Far from being a one-size-fits-all profession, nursing is an extremely varied field with countless specializations within it.

4. You Can Study Flexibly to Become a Nurse

Unlike many other professions, nursing is one of those jobs you can train for in a way that works for you. From bachelor’s to doctorate levels there are courses you can take online in your own time, which include clinical placements in a healthcare setting in your area. If you already have a bachelor’s degree in another discipline, there are even online accelerated nursing programs you can complete in just a year, which will give you all the skills and knowledge necessary to sit your state’s licensure examination to become a registered nurse.

Once you have secured a position as a nurse, your education isn’t over! Most state professional nursing boards require their members to attend regular Continuing Professional Development courses, many of which are provided by trade associations such as the American Nurses Association and the National League for Nursing. You can use these courses to specialize in a particular field of nursing or to learn how to become an assistant nurse manager.

5. The Job Market Outlook is Fantastic

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment growth across all sectors is expected to average 5 percent in the 2018 to 2028 decade. By contrast, the nursing professions have a predicted growth of eleven to twenty-eight percent in this same decade, with the highest predicted growth being in demand for nurse practitioners and the lowest being in demand for licensed practical nurses and licensed vocational nurses, which is the rung below registered nurses. It’s worth pointing out that even for licensed practical and vocational nurses, the predicted growth in demand is over twice the all-sectors average! If you train to be a nurse, therefore, you stand an extremely good chance of securing a job at the end of your studies.

6. You Can Get a Federal Scholarship to Train as a Nurse

Given the current high demand for nurses and other healthcare professionals and the fact that they perform an essential job, there are federal scholarships available to nursing students to help pay tuition, equipment, and book costs and even provide the student with a stipend. A popular federal nursing scholarship is the Nurse Corps Scholarship Program, which requires grantees to work at a healthcare facility with recognized Critical National Shortage of staff for a few years upon graduation.

7. You Will Be Paid Well

Even registered nurses, who don’t have to be specialized in a particular field and can obtain their position with a bachelor’s degree or—in some cases—with just an Associate degree, are paid better than the average worker across the United States. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary across all occupations was $51,960 in 2019, whereas the median annual salary for registered nurses was $75,510—a more than just recognition of the difficult and vitally important work that registered nurses perform every day. This is not the case in every country—in the United Kingdom, for example, the average salary for nurses is only £33,384 ($39,689)!

Average salaries vary quite significantly by state, with California coming out on top in 2019 at $106,950 and South Dakota trailing behind every other state at $58,340. Granted, the cost of living varies greatly between different states, too, so don’t be put off if nurses in your state don’t earn as much as nurses in some other parts of the country—chances are that those nurses are paying a lot more than you are for rent, food, and bills!

In nursing, more than in other professions, the more you learn, the more you earn. In 2020, the median annual salary for nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, and nurse anesthetists—all roles which require a graduate degree—was $117,670, a staggering difference from the median salary that registered nurses earned. Having said that, those who have earned a master’s degree or a doctorate will typically have much higher amounts of student loans to repay, so again this is a consideration that needs to factor into your decision-making process if you are thinking of applying to graduate nursing school. Go after those scholarships, if you can!

8. You Will Have Job Security

Related to the current high demand for nurses is the fact that you will not only find it easy to get a job as a nurse but also to retain it. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted not only the importance of healthcare workers but the disastrous effects that a shortage of nurses, doctors, and other hospital employees can have on health and wellbeing at both the individual level and the level of society. As long as you do your job well, nobody will be in a rush to fire you as a nurse!

9. You Can Have a Flexible Schedule

Although nursing shifts in hospitals are fairly long, that doesn’t mean that they are not flexible. The very nature of shift work means that you can swap shifts with your co-workers when needed. You could also sign up with a nursing employment agency rather than become an ‘in-house’ nurse, which will give you the flexibility to be able to say yes or no to any shift you are asked to work. Working for an agency does, of course, give you less stability and security, so it would probably be most suited to nurses who have a partner with a more stable income and who are taking primary responsibility for childrearing or caring for elderly relatives.

10. You Will Make a Difference

The Shortage of Nurses

This list started out with the claim that nursing is a rewarding career before going into the specifics of the job, what it entails, how to train for it, and what the financial situation looks like for nurses. It’s only fitting that it should end with a reminder that, as a nurse, you will be part of a team of people who are standing between a patient’s illness and their return to wellbeing. You will save lives and comfort those whose lives you cannot save, as well as their families.

As Christina Colantuono, a surgical nurse, told Healthline, “even if [your patients] don’t remember your name, they will remember what you did for them.” As a nurse, you will participate in life-changing events for your patients, and you will be safe in the knowledge that, thanks to your care and support, your patients felt calmer and more secure and hopefully came out of the experience with improved wellbeing. Even if that’s not possible, you will be able to give your patients compassion and a listening ear, which is invaluable when going through a difficult time. Nurses really are some of the most special people in the world!

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Tracy Churchill

Nursing Expert

Tracy Churchill is a Nurse Manager and LinkedIn Top Voice 2020. She shares her insight and expertise as a nursing leader during a time of tremendous upheaval for frontline health care workers. Her articles cover topics such as the loneliness facing COVID-19 patients as they isolate from their loved ones; the small acts of kindness that nurses provide to their patients; and how hospitals are managing nurse burnout, such as with four-day workweeks. She also writes about leadership and management from a nursing perspective.

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