We’ve all had those days at work where you’re sitting at your desk staring at a spreadsheet, or serving the hundredth grumpy customer in a row, and you wonder about changing careers and doing something more meaningful.
You probably then put those thoughts to one side, telling yourself that you’ll do it one day or that the work you’re doing right now isn’t really that bad. If you are having those thoughts in the first place, it’s probably an indicator that you should consider a change, and if you’re someone who has thought about a career in nursing then there are very good reasons why making that change isn’t as outlandish an idea as you might think.
Why Now is a Great Time to Retrain as a Nurse?
1. Increased Demand
According to the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) the number of registered nurses employed in the US is set to increase by 221,900 between 2019 and 2029. This means that if you train as a nurse you will be skilled in a profession that will be in demand, and you will have job security.
The BLS is predicting such a growth in employment for a few reasons. The main contributor is the fact that the population is aging. The baby boom generation are living longer and more active lives than their parents did, which means that there are more people requiring geriatric care in later life. This is compounded by the fact that we are seeing marked increases in chronic conditions such as obesity, diabetes and poor mental health. Nurses are increasingly being asked to be involved in more preventative care, which will hopefully lessen the amount of people with chronic conditions in the first place, however, for the moment it means that nurses are in high demand.
2. Excellent Salary
Nurses generally earn a good salary as soon as they qualify.
The salary that a nurse earns will depend on the area of the country which they are working in, which type of organization they are working for and their level of qualification and experience. The median salary for nurses in 2019 was $73,300 which is much higher than the average worker salary across all sectors, which was $39,810. The best paid nurses were getting an average salary of $111,220, and the worst paid nurses were receiving $52,080.
3. You Can Train Online
Retraining as a nurse doesn’t have to mean taking an extended career break and attending a bricks and mortar institution. There is an increasing availability of accelerated nursing programs online, which will allow you to attain your bachelors degree (BSN) online in the space of a year.
A bachelor’s degree is the best route into nursing as it is quickly becoming the industry standard, and nurses with bachelor’s degrees are generally paid more than nurses with associate degrees (ADN).
The point of an ABSN is that it is accessible, so no matter what your educational background it is worth looking into. If you aren’t sure then you should contact your preferred school to discuss options, and they will be able to advise whether you are able to join a program and if not, what steps you need to take to be able to do so.
4. Specialize In Line With Your Passions
Nursing is a varied career path. Every day you will meet people from a variety of different backgrounds, all with their own story to tell.
It’s also possible for registered nurses to choose to specialize in a particular area of medicine, based on their own preferences. Some of the areas you could choose to specialize in are:
- Clinical Development Specialist. Working as part of a team to develop new treatments and clinical practices, you will be influencing the future of healthcare.
- Geriatrics Specialist. Working with older members of the community not only to provide treatment when they are suffering with acute or chronic health issues, but providing education and support to help them to keep enjoying their lives for longer.
- Hospice Nurse. This may sound like quite a depressing specialism, but hospice nurses report on how much they love their jobs and how rewarding their career is. As a hospice nurse you will be working with terminally ill patients. Their role includes not only caring for the patient, but working with their family and other caregivers too to help them through the end of life transition.
- Home Health Care. Exactly what it sounds like, home health care nurses provide care for patients in their home. You will need a wide range of knowledge as you will be dealing with a variety of patients suffering illness or injury, who are not in the hospital.
- Infection Control. Infection control specialists are well versed in the ways in which infection spreads, and they use this knowledge to design and implement policy to keep the staff and patients within their environment safe.
- Labor and Delivery Nurse. As a labor and delivery nurse you will work with mothers who are in labor to help them to safely give birth to their child. You will monitor them throughout the labor and birth, and react quickly if medical intervention is required.
- Nurse Educator. Nurse educators most often work in a university setting, and their job is to train the next generation of nurses in how to provide effective healthcare. You will likely also spend your time on academic research.
- Mental Health. Mental health nurses work with patients who are suffering from an acute mental illness, helping to keep them safe and well while working as part of a wider mental health team to implement a treatment strategy.
- Pediatric nurses work with children from infancy and into adulthood who are suffering with acute or chronic health conditions. They will also work with the child’s family to help provide the best possible care.
5. Opportunities For Progression
Nursing is a career where there are a lot of clear cut routes for progression. You could choose to take on a supervisory position and lead a team of nurses in your institution, or you could train further in a variety of specialisms, all of which come with increased salaries and increased responsibilities.
Nurse Practitioners, for example, have the same level of authority of patient care as a physician and in some states they are even able to set up their own medical practices.