Becoming a nurse is an excellent way to combine your desire to help others with your passion for a career that offers strong job growth, earnings potential and security. Nursing offers career flexibility, with over 100 areas of specialization, allowing you to choose the path that best suits you. You can select the type of patients you want to care for, the work environment that appeals to you the most, and how far you want to advance in your career.
Nursing is one of the fields that is always in very high demand and having a nursing degree can open the door to a wide array of positions worldwide.
Nursing professionals can be found in a variety of settings, including hospitals, nursing homes, schools, doctor’s offices and home care, where they care for patients with chronic illnesses and deliver babies.
Having realistic expectations about the job and student life will help to alleviate your concerns about taking the leap, allowing you to be confident and focused on your education. There are also numerous reputable online resources to get you started. Examine national organizations, blogs, journals and news outlets, because healthcare is a sector that is constantly evolving. Developing your knowledge base early will enhance what you learn in the classroom, allow you to hear different healthcare voices, and enable you to examine various topics you may not have previously considered.
Careers in nursing can be limited without a degree. Still, for those with a degree, such as those obtainable via online ABSN programs, there can be many opportunities.
Here are five careers you can get into when you have a degree in nursing.
1. Registered nurse
A registered nurse’s annual salary in the US is around $71,000, and there are approximately 2.7 million such positions in the country.
The demand for registered nurses in the US has increased markedly, making this a position that has an excellent salary and many options for employment.
Registered nurses are required in acute care hospitals and many other settings, including doctor’s offices, home care, outpatient care centers and nursing homes.
Registered nurses often wear several different hats every day to be able to treat their patients, with their primary role being to make sure that all patients are being given the proper and direct care they require, and there are several ways that they go about this.
Registered nurses are responsible for assessing and identifying the needs of patients and then implementing their medical plan and treatment and monitoring it to ensure its effectiveness.
They also ensure that patient care is being conducted in a manner that conforms to the standards and policies set out by their employer, whether that’s a hospital or some other type of facility.
Registered nurses are responsible for coordinating the care of every patient and managing almost every aspect of their workspace, from educating patients on health, to drawing blood, to close coordination with doctors and medical teams.
A registration or license is necessary to become a registered nurse.
2. Nurse midwife
The median salary for a nurse midwife in the US is approximately $93,610 annually, with around 2.7 million such jobs nationwide.
Many patients are now requesting a less traditional delivery, making it better than ever before to study to become a certified nurse midwife.
Midwife positions can be found in doctor’s offices and at specialty hospitals, and some midwives in certain states can even have their own autonomous practice.
Nurse midwives offer lifelong care to women, starting with pregnancy and childbirth through menopause and beyond.
Success for a midwife will be achieved via a genuine desire to care for other people and to promote the health of women and infants.
Highly educated nurse midwives can offer more comprehensive health services than is the case for midwives who do not have a background in nursing – APRNs (advanced practice registered nurses) have graduate degrees and usually earn much higher salaries than nurses who do not have as much education and training.
Certified nurse midwives have many core duties, including educating women about their birthing options, monitoring fetal growth and maternal health, and dealing with any health issues that may occur during pregnancy. They also attend births, help to induce labor or relieve pain during labor, and assist mothers with self-care and breastfeeding.
This position does require a graduate degree.
3. Nurse practitioner
The median salary for a nurse practitioner in the US is about $101,260 annually, with around 136,060 positions in the country.
Those nurses who would like to move their career on to the next level that will enable them to get involved in diagnosing and treating patients may wish to study to become a nurse practitioner.
Nurse practitioners can be found in hospitals and doctor’s offices, and are responsible for assessing, diagnosing and treating illnesses; interpreting diagnostic tests; and prescribing medications.
A nurse practitioner having a collaborative practice with a physician or even having their own independent practice allows them to help patients via the prevention of disease and the promotion of good health.
Nurse practitioners are fast becoming the preferred health partner for millions of people in the US, offering a comprehensive perspective on healthcare and a more personal touch.
Nurse practitioners can offer a complete range of primary, specialty and acute health services, including the ordering, performing and interpretation of diagnostic tests such as X-rays and lab work; and the diagnosis and treatment of chronic and acute conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes and infections, as well as injuries.
Nurse practitioners can also prescribe various treatments (including medications), manage their patients’ overall healthcare, offer counsel, and educate their patients on how to prevent disease and make more positive lifestyle and health choices.
Specialty areas include acute care, family health, neonatal health, pediatric/child health, adult health, gerontology health, oncology, women’s health and psychiatric/mental health.
4. Nurse educator
The median annual salary for a nurse educator is around $73,150, with approximately 57,390 jobs available in the US.
Those nurses who love teaching may find that the best career option for them is to become a nursing teacher or instructor, particularly as there is an increasing shortage of nursing faculty staff within academia.
Whether in a university setting or in staff development, nurse educators learn to treat patient care and assist nursing students with the preparation they will need to be a nurse in a wide array of different settings.
Nurse educators are responsible for providing educational leadership to patients and nursing care staff and facilitating evidence-based research within a particular nursing specialty.
Nurse educators collaborate with medical practitioners to include nursing processes in a care plan for specialized patient groups and perform direct specialty nursing services to patients as needed, ensuring adherence to standards, guidelines, policies and procedures.
5. Clinical nurse specialist or healthcare services manager
The median salary for these positions averages at around $106,070, with approximately 314,950 such positions in the US.
A nurse with a bachelor’s degree who is looking to expand their career to the next level would find that a Master of Science in Nursing would give them the clinical expertise and leadership skills they need to become part of the management in the realm of nursing.
A clinical nurse specialist is a dedicated clinician in a target population with care management, consulting and organizational management skills.
Clinical nurse specialists have several significant responsibilities, including clinical practice, teaching, management, research and consulting.
Clinical nurse specialists are vital to the managed care movement and also serve in the role of being a patient advocate.
This also means that another role of a clinical nurse specialist is to coordinate services to save money and resources while still ensuring the provision of optimal health outcomes.
A clinical nursing specialist position could be an appropriate role for those who thrive in environments where they get to provide care for other people, solve complex problems, and take on a leadership role.
One of the most beneficial aspects of being a clinical nurse specialist is that they can work in specialized healthcare areas such as geriatric nursing or acute care nursing.
Being a clinical nurse specialist is therefore a gratifying career for anyone who not only wants to give help to others, but is also a positive influence on the profession of nursing as a whole.
Clinical nursing specialists can expect to get into a wide array of work, which will be highly dependent on their workplace, specialty and several other factors.
Clinical nursing specialists will always be given advanced duties, with general tasks including working with nursing staff to optimize patient care. This involves the evaluation of current practices and reviewing alternatives in addition to educating members of staff and consulting with patient care managers.
Clinical nursing specialists can also expect to develop specialized plans for treatment after examining patients and educating patients and their families on how conditions will be best managed.
Healthcare services and clinical care managers are in very high demand, and the position is also very well paid.
There are, of course, many other career options open to those with a nursing degree other than the ones explored in this article.
These careers include the likes of a nurse navigator, manager, researcher, administrator or clinician, and positions in geriatrics, operating rooms, schools, recovery rooms, pediatrics or mental/psychiatric health.
Why choose nursing?
Nursing is more than just a job. It’s a career, a vocation, and some even say that it’s their calling. For example, suppose that you enjoy looking after others, caring for them, and making a difference in people’s lives. In that case, you might want to consider a career in nursing. Becoming a nurse is complex and not for the faint of heart, but it is one of the most rewarding jobs. Here are some of the primary reasons why people choose a career in nursing in the first place.
The flexibility of a nursing career is one of its most appealing features. Work schedules of various types can easily accommodate a variety of family-oriented and personal lifestyles. Many nurses are parents who take advantage of the flexible schedule options to reduce childcare costs. Others will combine working days to have more free time without using paid time off.
Some nurses are willing to trade longer shifts for more days off, whereas others prefer a more structured schedule that does not include nights and weekends. Whatever the requirement, there is almost certainly a position that will meet it. This can be a welcome change when considering nursing as a second career.
The variety of workplaces to serve is one of the best aspects of this profession. This means that a registered nurse or nurse practitioner can work in various settings, including hospitals and healthcare facilities. They can also work as a trauma care frontline worker.
However, their role has expanded to include public health and community settings. Those who want to work in the legal field can become a nurse consultant. Meanwhile, if you want to teach, you can volunteer as an educator at a nursing school. In other words, the possibilities for career advancement are limitless, and you are almost guaranteed a job once you’re finished with your studies.
Did you know that just one more full-time registered nurse in a hospital care setting could save five more lives? Registered nurses play a critical role in achieving optimal health outcomes in various settings. For example, a systematic review of the literature found that higher registered nurse staffing ratios result in lower hospital mortality.
In addition, registered nurses and nurse practitioners have been shown to reduce the need for health services, improve patient satisfaction, and improve the quality of life in patients with chronic care conditions. Aside from better health outcomes and higher standards of care, registered nurses and nurse practitioners provide patients with a sense of emotional wellbeing that no research adequately documents.
It has been said a thousand times, but we’ll repeat it: as a nurse, you can make a difference. This is a people-oriented profession. You will most likely assist patients during some of their most vulnerable times. You will attend to their medical needs, but you may also have the opportunity to make them feel safe, cared for, and heard in a way that few others will. This is a gratifying feeling that isn’t found in every profession – and it’s undoubtedly something that nurses can cling to when they’re having a bad day at work.
Nurses are among the highest-paid professionals on the planet. True, the nature of the job is a little more complicated when compared to other general professions, but the lucrative salary packages more than compensate for pursuing a career in the field. Furthermore, the potential for expansion is high. You don’t have to be a nurse for life. Later in life, you can choose to continue your education and pursue other career paths.
There are numerous opportunities for travel nursing work if your specialty is not in high demand in your area. In the healthcare industry, contract work is common. This is because insufficient staffing levels can lead to patient harm and unsafe care. Even if regular employees leave unexpectedly or take medical or maternity leave, hospitals must ensure that they have enough staff to care for all of their patients.
Many organizations help nurses find travel jobs that match their experience and interests. Travel contracts are typically 13 weeks long and can be located in your neighborhood or on the other side of the world.
In recent years, the nursing profession has changed and developed rapidly, creating a demand for nurses with varying skill levels. Nursing is one of the best career options available due to the pay, benefits, respect for the position, and opportunities for advancement. If you want to help people when they are at their most vulnerable, then nursing may be the career for you. It’s an exciting career path with numerous opportunities to specialize, travel, learn new skills and gain new experiences.
To determine whether the nursing field is right for you, you must weigh the benefits and drawbacks of becoming a nurse. When deciding whether to become a nurse, consider the following factors: high demand, job security, flexibility, study options, system contributions and positive impacts. However, with the increasing availability of online courses, pursuing a career in nursing has never been easier to do while fitting in your study with other personal commitments.
You can also try nursing courses to see if the field is right for you. In addition, volunteering in a healthcare setting may allow you to get a first-hand look at the work and the environment. Finally, perhaps the most effective method is to try the job and see if it is a good fit for you.