May 9, 2017
If you've long marveled at the role nurses play in the medical field, chances are you've given thought to whether you could be one of these amazing individuals, too.
Opportunities abound: Nursing is a fast-growing field with a wide variety of positions in hospitals, physician's offices, schools, nursing homes and other health care and government facilities. Working as nurse can be a very rewarding career, and it will draw on your work ethic, emotional strength and ability to pivot to meet ever-growing patient needs.
Wondering if it's for you? Here's what some nursing professionals and students had to say:
Nurses are the most employed profession in the healthcare field, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS),* with job opportunities available in specialties ranging from cardiac care and emergency nursing to pediatrics, obstetrics and even forensic nursing.
Nursing schedules can also vary widely. While some nursing jobs, such as in schools or physician's offices, may follow a standard Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. schedule, many registered nurses work nights, weekends and even holidays, offering vital flexibility to fit you're the needs of your life.
"This may be a plus for nursing students because the current day student is not the traditional one of the past," said Sharon Campbell, a nurse practitioner and nursing educator in Atlanta, Ga. "Students may be older, and may have children or a family and may welcome the versatility of the nursing profession."
The day-to-day responsibilities of the nursing are both rewarding and challenging. Luckily, said Hannah Boutselis, a cardiothoracic O.R. nurse, a career in nursing also comes with a built-in support system.
"Nurses stick together," she said. "I can easily say that nursing is a profession where people constantly have your back. My nurse friends are always there for me both in work and out of work."
If you choose to further your nursing education while working and managing family obligations, it just takes some planning. Take it from someone who knows. "Be careful to maintain a good balance of personal, family, work, spiritual and school time," said Julie Antis, a nursing student graduating this year from Southern New Hampshire University with a BSN degree. "Be a good planner; be organized; be mindful. Your spouse, children, extended family, friends and school advisors are there for you. Lean on them and thank them often."
"Discover and know why it is you want to be a nurse," Antis said. "If it is the service of others, if it is the need to aid in healing of the whole person, then you will be an excellent nurse."
Prospective nursing students should also consider their own personality and work style, Campbell said to ensure they're prepared to work in the fast-paced environment of a hospital or other health care facility.
"The nursing profession is a dynamic one, and one which is never static," she said. "It therefore requires continuous change and adaptation. The question would then be, 'Am I flexible? Am I willing to adapt to changes in situations, treatments and protocols readily?'"
Boutselis said it is this ever-changing nature of the nursing field that makes a career as a registered nurse so rewarding.
"It is tough work...but it's amazing and you can truly build a career," she said. "There is always something new and you can always find something to learn about! Nurses never stop learning. Once you think you know everything, something new comes along and you start all over."
*Job market data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook is intended to provide insight on occupational opportunities and is not to be construed as a guarantee of salary or job title. SNHU cannot guarantee employment.
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