Choosing a career path is a difficult choice. With so much of your time spent in the workplace, you want to ensure that you are fulfilled in your work and enjoy dedicating so many hours to your job away from your family and friends.
You might be a recent high school graduate and considering what to do with the rest of your life; or, you might be stuck in a rut with your current job and seriously considering a career change. For either of these situations, a career in the nursing profession is one that you would find fulfilling and like you are making a true difference to society. You will be at the forefront of care for patients, helping people to recover from illnesses and maximize their health to lead happy and healthy lives.
If you need a bit more persuading, here are seven reasons why a career in the nursing profession is right for you and why you should consider studying at one of the online nurse practitioner programs.
- Academic and vocational learning and skillset
Becoming a nurse requires rigorous training, from online nurse practitioner programs to clinical work experience, to ensure that you have all the right skills and knowledge to provide patients with the best possible care. Therefore, it is an excellent career path if you have a thirst for knowledge and are keen to excel academically and gain a bachelor’s and master’s degree while having a vocational skill set that is useful and applicable in a real-world setting.
If you are concerned that you do not have the time or funds to complete a bachelor’s degree, an associate degree in nursing is a good first step to pursuing a nursing career. However, as hospitals and other healthcare facilities are increasingly only recruiting new nurses who have bachelor’s degrees in nursing, it might be pertinent to look more deeply into this academic pathway. Online nurse practitioner programs will provide you with the flexibility to fit your study around work and family commitments, meaning that you can work on your professional development while still keeping up with your current responsibilities.
After having completed your bachelor’s degree and gone on to become licensed as a registered nurse in your state, you can look for online nurse practitioner programs to study for a master’s degree. This will enable you to specialize in a particular field of nursing that appeals to you, such as pediatric care or anesthesiology.
- Choice of specializations
The field of medicine is huge, and as such, there are many different areas for you to work in depending on your experience and interest. For example, if you have an affinity with children and a great desire to care for their needs, you could become a pediatric nurse or even a midwife. Or, if you are coming to the nursing profession after having been the full-time carer of an elderly parent, you might put your skills and experience to use by specializing in senior care. It is advisable for you to spend some time as a registered nurse caring for a variety of different types of patients with different needs and gaining valuable clinical experience before deciding to go off and specialize in a particular nursing field. To specialize, you will have to study for a master’s degree in that area, such as online nurse practitioner programs.
There are a variety of master’s level online nurse practitioner programs that provide you with the flexibility to enable you to study your master’s degree alongside working your full-time nursing job, as well as any other family and life commitments you may have. Furthermore, as a registered nurse, whether specialized or not, a prerequisite of retaining your license is to continue with your nursing education by attending a variety of training courses to gain certificates in essential nursing areas, such as infection management, to ensure that you continue to provide top notch nursing care. As such, as you progress in your career and become more experienced, you will become a highly knowledgeable and specialized nurse who can be sure to provide patients with the highest standards of care.
- High demand and job stability
If the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has demonstrated one thing, it is just how important nurses and other healthcare staff are to ensure a healthy and well-functioning society. Without the selfless hard work and dedication of nurses and other healthcare workers administering vaccines and caring for those suffering from covid, the pandemic could have wreaked even more devastation and havoc than it already has. As such, with the pandemic showing no sign of abating any time soon, now might be the ideal time to join the nursing profession and assist in the fight against covid.
However, even before the pandemic hit, there was a tremendous projected job growth for registered nurses in the US due to a number of factors. The aging baby boomer generation, who are living for longer than ever before, is starting to require an increasing amount of healthcare, which is exacerbated by the fact that one-third of registered nurses currently working are nearly retirement age themselves.
Furthermore, the increase in chronic health problems such as obesity, diabetes, and dementia will require nurses to provide specialized care for patients, as well as education to help minimize the prevalence of such conditions. Considering all this, you will be in high demand as a nurse and enjoy a job stability that will see you in paid employment until the time that you decide to leave, should you choose to study online nurse practitioner programs.
- Choice of where you work
As a nurse, you will not be restricted to only working in hospital wards or in a medical clinic. As people can suffer medical emergencies at any time and in any place, there are a great many locations in which you can practice as a registered nurse after completing online nurse practitioner programs.
For example, you could work in an elementary or high school setting as a school nurse, an important role that will see you providing basic nursing care for playground injuries and childhood illnesses, as well as providing students with important education about looking after their own health and hygiene, such as the importance of eating a healthy, balanced diet.
Or, you could work as a nurse for the military, accompanying deployed soldiers abroad to provide urgent medical assistance, or providing nursing care at a military hospital within the US. However, bear in mind that many of these locations may require additional training, qualifications, and experience to work as a nurse for them. For example, to become a military nurse, you will have to enlist in the army after gaining your nursing degree from online nurse practitioner programs and state license and completing an Officer Basic Leadership Course (OBLC) as part of the recruitment process.
Despite additional recruitment requirements such as these, you are sure to find that your nursing career is even more rewarding and mentally stimulating when you work in a slightly more unusual healthcare setting.
- Contribute to improving the overall health of society
A career in nursing is not all about providing care for poorly people; indeed, a great part of it is spent educating individuals and communities about healthcare so that they are empowered to look after themselves and make the right choices to enable them to lead happy and healthy lives.
For example, you can work in communities to provide information about how to lead a healthy lifestyle, including the importance of a balanced diet that is low in saturated fats and sugar, finding time to exercise in a busy schedule, and cutting out smoking and excessive alcohol consumption. By providing people with this information, they have the right tools to take control of their lives and reduce the prevalence of conditions such as obesity and diabetes.
As a nurse, you will also be instrumental in providing education and support to families to help them care for loved ones who have been diagnosed with difficult and often heart-breaking illnesses. For instance, dementia is an umbrella term for a set of memory conditions and cognitive impairments that are increasingly affecting mainly older people in the aging boomer population. Families often struggle physically and emotionally to care for beloved relatives who have been diagnosed with this condition, so the advice and support of an experienced and empathetic memory care nurse will prove invaluable as they negotiate the field of this devastating condition.
- Active work and mentally stimulating
If the thought of being stuck in an office from nine to five every day, getting up from your seat only to make a cup of coffee or use the bathroom, fills you with dread, a career in nursing is the ideal antidote as it is the complete opposite to a sedentary office job.
On the contrary, as a nurse, you will be on your feet all day attending to the needs of patients and working as part of a team with other dedicated healthcare professionals. No two days are the same as a nurse, the result being that you will rarely get bored and always be mentally stimulated by your job.
However, it is important to remember to work some time for rest and relaxation into your daily routine to ensure that you do not get burnt out and always remain mentally and physically sharp.
Though nursing is an extremely fulfilling profession, it can also be emotional and mentally draining, as you are dealing with people in high stress and emotional situations. This might particularly be the case if you are a nurse in the ER department having to provide urgent frontline care to patients coming into the hospital immediately following their medical emergency. Likewise, giving care to poorly children suffering from debilitating conditions can also understandably become emotionally charged and stressful.
Therefore, it is incredibly important that you look after your own mental health when working as a nurse and regularly decompress to deal with the stresses of the job.
- You will make a real difference to the lives of patients
Finally – and perhaps most importantly – you will make a real difference in the lives of all your patients. As a nurse, you will be in the privileged position of being able to take an active role in helping patients to recover from their health issues and go on to lead a healthy and fulfilling life. You might be helping a person to walk again after they have suffered a serious accident and have spent several months in a cast. Or, you might be administering chemotherapy and moral support to cancer patients.
Nurses do more than just administering medications and dressing wounds. They help patients to improve their lives and disease outcomes by passing along valuable information and education, as well as provide an invaluable source of comfort and empathy to patients and their families.
Indeed, many people feel that an empathetic bedside manner and overall caring manner is an essential quality for people in the caring professions to have – you might be able to dispense the all-important medications and other treatments, but if you do so with a sour face and surly demeanor, this will only lower the spirits of patients who have already suffered enough. As a nurse, you will have the chance to make a positive mark on patients’ lives on a daily basis by treating them with kindness and empathy. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing a patient leaving your care with a positive attitude and anticipation for continuing with the rest of their life.
So there you have it: seven reasons why a career in the nursing profession is right for you. As you can see, nursing is a well-respected profession offering plenty of opportunities for career progression and specialization and continued academic study with online nurse practitioner programs. In addition, it is a career with huge projected growth in the upcoming few years, meaning that you will never be out of a job, and you can carry out your trade in a number of different settings. Most significantly, however, as a nurse, after completing your online nurse practitioner programs, you will have the satisfaction and fulfillment of empowering patients to lead healthy and happy lives.