Nursing school leads to are some of the most versatile careers in the United States. Nurses can work in a variety of settings, industries and backgrounds, but all have one thing in common: A passion for helping people.
Schooling is long and hard, there’s no question about that. So, why is it that students are enrolling in nursing programs in staggering numbers?
Nursing jobs provide individuals with a wealth of benefits, from compensation to benefits packages. The job field is in high demand, so nurses have more leeway with where they want to work, and what they want to do. Learn more about nursing to see why the career popular in today’s job market.
Nursing jobs offer job security in today’s up-and-down economy. While other careers may be in demand now, there’s no guarantee they will exist in 10 or 20 years. The opposite is true for nurses. As long as there are people that need help, nurses will be needed.
Nursing careers have been around since the dawn of time, and they aren’t going anywhere. In fact, a nurse’s skills and education are more expanded now than they were in the past. Doctors rely on nurses to perform more skilled tasks, which increases the demand for educated individuals in the field.
For example, a general nurse practitioner is a type of nurse with expanded responsibilities. While not a doctor, he or she can prescribe medications and make diagnoses. This job title didn’t always exist, but the health care field saw a need for nurses with higher degrees of education.
Variety of Specialties
From cardiac nursing to forensic nursing, the possibilities are seemingly endless. The variety of specialties within the field is another draw for those considering a career in health care. There are dozens of different types of nurses, each with their own scope of practice.
Those with a love for children can become pediatric nurses, focusing on the health and wellbeing of kids and teenagers. Some nurses choose to specialize further in the intensive care unit for newborns, otherwise known as the NICU. On the opposite end of the spectrum sits geriatric nurses, which specialize in caring for older patients.
A certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) is a very specific type of nurse that specializes in a very important aspect of surgery. When a patient needs an operation, he or she is given anesthesia to be put to sleep. A CRNA administers, oversees and monitors the admission of anesthesia to ensure a safe operation and recovery.
Those who enjoy seeing the country while working may prefer a career as a travel nurse. These are nurses who typically work short periods (13 to 25 weeks) in one health care facility, before moving onto another area in need. The facility usually provides travel nurses with accommodations, and reimburses them for travel costs.
Salary and Wages
Nursing salaries differ, depending on the area of the country, but the career generally enjoys higher wages than most industries. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average annual salary for a registered nurse in the U.S. is $71,730.
Nursing careers that require a higher education, such as an Advanced Practiced Registered Nurse (APRN), typically receive higher salaries. According to the BLS, the average annual salary for an APRN is $113,930. This also includes nurse midwives and nurse anesthetists.
Nurses can also receive hefty sign-on bonuses from facilities in high demand. Because there is a shortage of nurses in the U.S., many hospitals and emergency centers provide nurses with enticing bonuses and perks.
Some nursing jobs enjoy more flexible schedules than others, but the hours are still better than many other occupational fields. Some hospitals allow nurses to choose their own schedules, such as:
- Choosing shifts in increments of six, eight or 12 hours.
- Being permitted to pick their days and schedules.
It isn’t uncommon for nurses to choose to have weekends off, though, overtime is always an option. Due to the high demand of nurses in all fields, individuals in the profession always have the option to work more shifts than what is required.
Per diem nurses, for example, choose to work their own schedules in the short-term. They typically work by the day at facilities who are in need of nurses short-term. They are essentially “on call,” and can choose to work a shift when they are requested.
Great Benefits Packages
Did you know the cost of nursing school can be forgiven by some employers? It’s no secret that nursing programs are often accompanied by hefty school loans. However, due to the high demand of educated and trained nurses, many employers offer to reimburse some, or all, of the costs of education.
Likewise, the cost of continuing education can be 100 percent covered by employers. Registered nurses (RNs), for example, can choose to go back to school to become APRNs for free. This incentive echoes the need for more highly skilled workers in the health care field.
In addition to great nursing salaries, the career also offers unbeatable benefits packages. Most employers provide:
- Ample paid time off (PTO).
- Sick leave.
- Paid holidays.
- Vacation days.
Most also include pension plans, life insurance, health insurance and tax savings plans.
A job in nursing can be an extremely rewarding profession. Providing lifesaving care and working to bring patients back to good health is satisfying to most. In fact, most nurses enter the profession for this simple benefit.
Nursing jobs can also be extremely difficult on the body, mind and soul. Nurses are constantly surrounded by sick and injured people, which can take a toll on their mental health. However, the satisfaction of seeing a patient walk out of the door with a clean bill of health is enough to make anyone feel they are making a difference in their community.