Why Become a Nurse?
©2007 (updated 2015) Kathy Quan RN BSN
All Rights Reserved

Healthcare is one of the fastest growing professions throughout the world.
As the population ages, and healthcare costs continue to rise, the demand for nurses will continue to increase. The health care delivery system is shifting, and nurses, particularly those with advanced education, will be in demand for quite some time to come.

Nursing Role Expanding
With the rising costs of healthcare, physicians are spending less time with patients, and nurses have shifted into an ever-expanding role of health educator, along with providing more direct care to the patients. As the ACA, or Obama Care as it has come to be known, begins to realize its impact on the health care industry, there are many thousands more Americans with health care benefits seeking medical care. A shortage of physicians is being felt, and advance practice nurses and physician assistants are being turned to to pick up the slack, ex=specially in rural and more sparsely populated areas.

Effects of Nursing Shortage
Since the early part of the 2000's the population of nurses is aging and approaching retirement. This will compound the current shortage of nurses worldwide. The shortage of over 300,000 nurses worldwide is expected to grow to over 800,000 in the next 15-20 years.

In the mid 2000's this shortage caused a dramatic increase in salaries for nurses. Hospitals and other facilities were competing for nurses with sign-on bonuses, and packages including cars, childcare and/or eldercare assistance, and housing assistance.

In 2015, this is no longer the case. Many Baby Boomer nurses returned to work or delayed retirement when the Great Recession started in 2008. Today, many of those nurses are still working at least part time. But as they begin to feel the effects of age and find themselves needing to retire, the nursing shortage is expected to grow once again exponentially.

Benefits, Job Security, and Rewards
Attractive salaries, bonuses, and job security are not the only benefits for nurses. Caring for others and making a difference in the lives of others everyday is a rewarding aspect to a career in nursing. It's something that can be said to be missing in many careers. And after Sept. 11, many began to seek more meaningful and rewarding careers helping others.

Second Degree Options
As the population ages, we also find ourselves looking for second and even multiple careers. It is becoming more and more common for those with Bachelor's even Master's degrees in other fields to enter nursing programs for a second degree and career path. Many schools are now offering accelerated 12-18 month programs for a BSN.

More Men Becoming Nurses
Men are joining the nursing profession in growing numbers as well. This is due in part to the rise in salaries for nurses and the job security that is lacking in other fields. Patients are much more accepting of men as their nurse, and facilities offer options to anyone objecting to a male nurse. Equal pay controversy applies to nursing as it recognized that male nurses often make more money that female nurses earn with the same qualifications and job status.

Flexible Schedules
The shortage of nurses forced employers to not only adjust salaries, but to look outside the box at alternative and flexible working conditions. As a result, many more opportunities are available for per diem, part time as well as full time employees. Flexible work schedules and job sharing opportunities are emerging in the field to help nurses meet the demands of their families while managing a rewarding career.

Where Do Nurses Work?
Nurses work not only in hospitals and clinics, but in physician's offices, schools, private duty and home health. Nurses also work in the legal arena as consultants and lawyers with a nursing degree, for insurance companies, and as clinical researchers, and sales reps for drug companies and medical equipment firms.

Occupational nurses work in industry all over the world. Nurses such as Diabetic Educators and Wound Ostomy nurses educate other nurses in new medications, treatments, equipment, and treatment modalities. There is a rapidly growing field of nursing informatics that involves computerizing medical records and health information.

Nurses are also teachers in nursing schools at all levels. Nurses can also travel extensively and work by working for travel nursing agencies who place them for short and long term assignments in various facilities throughout the world.

Military opportunities for nurses exist in most nations with active militaries. The military will often pay for your education based on a work commitment afterwards.

Advance Practice Opportunities
Advance practice nurses work under the supervision of physicians in such areas as nurse practitioners, midwives, and nurse anesthetists. Nurse practitioners specialize in areas such as geriatrics, mental health, OB/GYN, palliative care. Most of these require advanced degrees and some certification programs.

Nursing is a constantly emerging profession. Consider the opportunities when choosing a career.

©2007- present by Kathy Quan RN BSN PHN, all rights reserved. No portion of this document may be used in any format without written permission.
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