It takes a very particular person to become a nurse and that should be facts! Or what do you think? Like many professions that require devotion to the well being of others, it’s more than just a job.
It’s a calling. You may be in your youth, looking for a path to travel, and an avenue through which you can grow in your knowledge and skills.
If so, nursing can give you the development and training that you need to enjoy a lucrative and thoroughly rewarding career. Or perhaps you are well into your career but don’t find it as rewarding or meaningful as you had once hoped and think that it’s better to be at the bottom of a ladder you want to climb than half way up one that you don’t.
There are many reasons why people consider a career in nursing, and many do so at very different points in their lives.
Nonetheless, while nursing is a wonderful career and demand for nurses has never been higher, there are some parts of the world where nurses are starting off on the back foot.
Take, the UK for example. In 2016, UK Prime Minister Theresa May gave an impassioned inaugural speech about the need for social mobility, but almost immediately after this speech, she cut bursaries that enabled students from lower income backgrounds the lifeline they needed to pursue the career without their studies being dogged by student debt.
This move seriously harmed nursing recruitment, and attendance for nursing and midwifery courses dropped by almost 25% the next year.
It can be demoralizing when the deck seems so thoroughly stacked against those who want to train to be a nurse. However, there are still many reasons why this noble profession is still worth pursuing.
Yes, the work is hard and demanding. Yes, there will be days when you wish you were doing something, anything else, yes 12-hour shifts take a lot of getting used to.
Yet those who stick it out despite the inherent challenges agree that there’s no career more rewarding. Here we will go through some of the awesome things about the pursuit of a career in nursing that you may not have been told.
You’ll never need to worry about finding work
There are few careers where your skills will be more widely in demand or suitable positions readily available. Most graduates, however, hard working and skilled, often find themselves staring down the barrel of a quandary when it comes to looking for suitable work.
They may have to move to a different city or even a new state because of the dearth of opportunity where they live, or they may need to work in an unrelated field for years until the right opportunity comes along to allow them to use their degree.
Nurses are one of the few professionals not plagued by this issue. Not only will you be able to find work quickly upon graduating, provided that you adopt the right mindset when looking for work, your skills will be just as in demand if you move to another city, another state or even another country.
The days are long but the work week is short
Nurses work famously long shifts. Twelve-hour shifts can develop a nasty habit of turning into thirteen or even fourteen-hour shifts. This will likely mean that work days allow you very little free time to do anything else.
You’ll probably be too exhausted to hit the gym, go on a date night, catch a movie or host a dinner party. In fact, you won’t be up to much expect to take a long soak and turning in for the night.
Nonetheless, nursing work weeks are comparatively short with most nurses working “only” three days a week. This is, of course, a double-edged sword.
It will make finding childcare a little easier and more affordable while also affording you a little more free time to enjoy with your friends and family. Of course, nurses often work nights and weekends so you’ll find that social occasions need to be planned well in advance and in accordance with your shift patterns.
Nonetheless, though it takes a while to find the balance, a shorter work week can have its advantages if you use your time off to its fullest.
While you’re unlikely to have any kind of say in the length of your shift, you may be pleasantly surprised at how flexible you can choose and plan your shifts to suit your commitments and lifestyle.
If it’s easier for you to work nights and sleep through the day, you go for it. If it’s easier for you to work days, you’ll most likely be allowed to. And as your commitments change should you marry or have children, your shifts will allow you the flexibility to do right by your children and spouse.
Nursing offers many opportunities for advancement
Many pursue a career in nursing as its own reward. It is, after all, a calling. But for those with ambition and a willingness to grow and develop, there are ample opportunities for career progression.
Like most professions, nursing offers a multitude of options for continuing professional development, either to advance their skills as nurses or to progress upwardly or laterally using their wealth of transferable skills.
The role of nurses in the common cultural milieu may be one of caring. They think of Florence Nightingale in the Crimean War or the many famous nurses of World War I.
These nurses showed incredible strength and bravery as well as calm and grace in the face of the atrocities of industrialized warfare. Nonetheless, they were there for their bedside manner and morale-boosting qualities to help injured soldiers to recover quickly.
It was a humanitarian discipline rather than a medical one. Suffice to say that times have changed significantly since then. Today, nursing is a far more technical and highly skilled profession in which practitioners use quick thinking and medical knowledge to potentially save lives on a daily basis.
People may assume that nursing is wiping butts and dealing with people’s complaints all day. There’s far more to it than that!
Believe it or not, it’s possible to look awesome in your scrubs
There are few of nurses, men or women, who don’t silently dread the notion of getting into scrubs for work. They picture those baggy and unflattering green garments that look like they’re made from tent canvas and worry that they’ll never find love wearing those for 40 odd hours a week.
Fortunately, there have been many advancements in nursing attire and lots of nurses wear far more flattering scrubs than you’ll see in an episode of… Well… Scrubs.
Just browse Med Couture Scrub Shop and you’ll see that pursuing a medical career needn’t preclude you from looking good at work. Not only do the new generation of scrubs look infinitely more aesthetically pleasing than their baggy green counterparts, they’re also far more functional, allowing you more comfort and a greater range of motion. Which is just what you need at the end of a 14-hour shift.
There’s a lot you can do with a nursing degree
When you study a nursing degree that implies a degree of specificity. One assumes that it’s essentially a license to practice nursing. And while, of course, it is that, it’s also so much more.
There are literally dozens of things that one can do with a nursing degree without going into hospital nursing. If the notion of working in hospitals gives you the hives, how about taking your skills on a cruise ship?
What better way to see more of the world? Or how about school nursing? Young people really appreciate having a stable and positive role model in their lives, and many find school nursing extremely rewarding (plus, there’s a lot of paid vacation time, too!).
Of course, you can also work in a number of capacities outside of nursing itself. You could work with insurance companies to assess claims, you could transfer your skills to the sector of occupational health, you could work with a law firm in a consultancy capacity, helping to assess medical malpractice cases.
The transferable skills you gain as a nurse are applicable to a range of fields in the public and private sector, enabling you to adapt and change your career to suit your needs and passions.
You’ll form close personal bonds with your patients and colleagues
A hospital can be a lot like a war zone. With all the stress, panic, shouting and blood, it’s not uncommon that nurses form bonds akin to those of brothers and sisters sharing military service together.
People tend to bond together in stressful and challenging environments so even on your worst days you’ll find solidarity and solace in the relationships you share with your colleagues.
Moreover, while patients aren’t always on their best behavior and it’s inevitable that you’ll get the odd cranky patient every now and then, the vast majority of patients are utterly delightful and grateful for the support and service that you provide them. This keeps you smiling and feeling buoyed even when the work is challenging.
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