We may think of nursing as a career calling; it might be one of those jobs that you’re either born to do, or not. But if you’re deciding on a major, or considering changing yours, nursing is a pretty solid career choice.
Sure, you hear about the long hours, the lack of appreciation for the job they do, or even about problems of understaffing in hospitals. But every career field has its downsides. And if you can look past those for nursing, it’s a career that has a lot of advantages and is well worth considering as a major.
We sometimes think of a nurse as something of a generic function. It can conjure up visions of a young lady in a white uniform assisting a doctor in some capacity. But the reality is that nurses do a lot more than that.
There are hospital nurses for sure, but there are also clinical nurses, emergency room nurses, traveling nurses, geriatric nurses and nurses working in virtually every area of the healthcare community.
That means that a nurse has a wide variety of disciplines to choose from. You can start out working as a hospital staff nurse, but then move to other functions within the healthcare community. It’s not a field where you ever need to be bored.
Nurses are needed anywhere and everywhere there are people. There are hospitals, medical clinics, rehabilitation centers, senior citizens facilities and doctors offices in virtually every corner of the country, and throughout the world. Nurses are needed in every one of those facilities.
The point is, while many careers are geographically centered, a nurse can live anywhere he or she chooses. Wherever that may be, there’s a very high probability that there will be a job there waiting.
Not only does that mean that you can choose where you want to live when you get out of university, but you’ll also be free to change your decision at any point your career. You can live in a big city, you can live at the beach, and you can even move back-and-forth between the two.
The salary isn’t too bad either
Salaries for nurses start at around $50,000 but can reach $70,000 with a few years of experience. That’s a pretty solid salary level to earn with just an undergraduate degree. And that’s in addition to all the other benefits that nursing careers include.
While it’s true that many other career fields pay more than nursing, precious few can offer the level of job security that nurses have. Unlike other career fields, you never hear of large-scale layoffs in nursing. In fact, it’s much more typical that there is a shortage of qualified nurses for all the positions that are available.
A nurse can go his or her entire career without ever experiencing as much as one month of a layoff. A job lost will be easily replaced.
We’ve already discussed the career and geographic mobility that nurses enjoy, but they can also have more scheduling flexibility than most other occupations. A nurse can choose to work part-time, certain shifts, or even to hold part-time jobs at two facilities with an equivalent income level a full-time position.
For the most part, nurses are immune to the ups and downs of the economy.
You‘ll be doing a job that makes a difference
Nursing is one of those fields that can have a direct impact on people’s lives. You will be working with people who are sick or injured, and helping them to get back to health. That may involve working with children who are injured, the elderly, or people with serious illnesses. Your role in all of those situations will be significant.
There’s a certain amount of drudgery that’s part of any career. But as a nurse, there will be those times when you will watch someone regain their health and know that you’ve been a material part of the success. Very few careers have that kind of impact on other people‘s lives.
Career mobility, geographic mobility, a solid income, job security and doing a job that makes a difference – that’s a tough combination to find at any career field. If you are choosing a major, or thinking about changing the one you have, take a good long look at a nursing major.