Saturday, October 6, 2007

Nursing as a Career

Many students in high school are trying to focus on what they are going to do with their life after graduation. If you are one of these students trying to decide on your future employment, you might want to consider a career in nursing. Why nursing? Nursing offers many opportunities in which to practice, it provides flexibility and a good salary, and is a profession that provides excitement, challenges and rewards.

It is said that the nursing shortage will escalate as the baby boomers begin to retire. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that employment among RNs will grow faster than the average for all occupations through 2008. Demand for quality nurses will continue to grow as the baby boomers retire from nursing.

Nurses can be found in a variety of settings. Although the majority may be working in a traditional hospital setting, many more can be found utilizing their nursing education and skills working in insurance companies, legal firms, schools, physicians offices, the military, private corporations, clinics, the government, and even casinos.

Nursing allows for flexible scheduling. Nurses are needed twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Most employers have varying shifts during that twenty-four hour period, such as traditional eight-hour shifts while others allow for four- to twelve-hour shifts. In addition, if a nurse needs to work weekends for childcare purposes or while attending school, it provides them with that flexibility. Another advantage of a nursing career is that the job is portable, meaning you can take your education and skills to another type of setting, or another part of the state or country.

Nursing salaries are typically $30,000 to $45,000, for the newly licensed nurse. According to the Labor Bureau of Statistics, the national salary estimate annually for an RN in May 2005 is $56,880. Obviously, this salary is dependent on the setting in which you work as well as which part of the country you are employed. Most facilities also allow for excellent benefits with the opportunity for additional educational assistance for continuing your education.

Some of the most important things a nursing career offers are excitement, challenges, and rewards to make it an excellent choice as a profession. It is never dull. Nurses experience patients during their most tragic times and during their happiest times. They participate in the birth of a child and the death of a loved one. They provide support to the family and friends during the most difficult times. They are challenged with caring for sick patients while providing assurances to the families. Nurses work collaboratively with physicians and other members of a healthcare team. They are required to maintain current practice knowledge and skills through continuing education.

When all is said and done, the one main aspect a nursing career offers is the ability to use your knowledge and skills to help patients promote healthy lifestyles, provide nursing skills when they are ill, or to help them die with dignity. These challenges are tremendous but also very rewarding. Patients place their trust in nurses during their most vulnerable times. They expect compassion and respect. Whether you are helping to maintain a patient’s blood pressure or just listening to a patient talk about their fears, you will know how important this is to the patient. If you become a nurse, you will know what I mean; you will see it in the eyes of your patients, you will hear it in the praises of their loved ones, you will know at the end of the day you made a difference.

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