Is a Nursing Job Right for You?
Saturday, May 6 through Friday, May 12 is National Nurses Week: a seven-day celebration to raise awareness about the integral roles nurses play in our communities. If you’re interested in a career in healthcare, it’s also the perfect opportunity to learn more about nursing and see if it’s a good match for you.
Reasons to become a nurse
There are several very good reasons to become a nurse:
- It’s rewarding. You’ll have the opportunity to help people and make a positive difference in their lives.
- Nurses are in demand. The ageing population and rise in chronic diseases contribute to an ongoing increase in nursing jobs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, registered nurses will see a 16 percent rise in jobs by 2024.
- It offers many career options. After qualifying as an entry-level practitioner, you can specialize in anything from cardiac care to psychiatry. In addition, you can earn advanced degrees and even become a doctoral-level nurse researcher.
- You can earn a competitive salary. According to Salary.com, a charge nurse earns approximately $80,000 per year, a nurse practitioner earns around $100,000, and the annual salary for a chief nurse anesthetist is $200,000. Of course, salaries vary by specialization, experience, employer, and location.
- You can travel. Nurses are in demand around the country, both for fulltime jobs and for temporary positions. If you’ve always wanted to travel, then you can work with a recruitment agency to find a job in a location that appeals to you.
What qualities and qualifications do you need to become a nurse?
Before choosing nursing as your vocation, it’s advisable to find out if you possess the necessary qualities. Remember: While nursing is rewarding, it can also be emotionally, psychologically, and physically stressful. You need a strong sense of empathy, outstanding communication skills, good interpersonal skills, and a lot of patience to interact effectively with patients and their families—especially when they’re frightened or don’t understand what’s happening. In addition, you need good observation skills and attention to detail. Finally, you should respond well in a crisis and have solid problem-solving abilities.
According to the American Nurses Association, to become a licensed nurse, you need to pass the standardized National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX)-RN in your state. You can prepare for this exam by:
- earning a certificate in Nursing from a hospital-based school of nursing
- earning an Associate’s degree in Nursing from a community college or hospital-based school of nursing
- earning a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing from a college or university
If nursing is a good fit for you, then once you’ve obtained your license, you can look forward to a long, rewarding career in a field that really matters.