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5 Things to Consider If You Want to Become a Nurse

Nurses dedicate their skills, time, and effort to caring for others. It’s a demanding career for those choosing to pursue this line of work. The satisfaction that comes with helping people and making a significant contribution to the community is well worth it.

Do you share this sentiment? If yes, then consider the following before pursuing your dream of becoming a nurse:

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1. The length of nursing shifts varies according to the workplace 

Nurses often work long hours, but the specifics will largely depend on the workplace. For example, nurses working in private practices tend to work eight-hour shifts for a standard 40-hour workweek. However, hospitals are open 24 hours a day so longer shifts are expected, typically 12-hour rounds and a 36-hour workweek. Most hospitals consider 36 hours a full-time work week, whereas part-time nurses work 10 to 30 hours.

2. The current nursing shortage has many implications

The current nursing shortage will increase due to a lot of nurses retiring by 2022. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a huge demand for RNs in the coming years.

Aging baby boomers—living longer thanks to advances in science, medicine, and technology—are demanding more and more personalized and dedicated care. This is prompting significant demand for nurses. Even so, the volume of nursing students is unable to keep up with the nursing positions opening up. 

The severity of the nursing shortage is also more prominent depending on the location. For example, rural hospitals are likely to feel the lack of available nurses because most nursing schools are located in cities and metropolitan areas. City hospitals also hire most of the fresh graduates, making it even harder for hospitals or care facilities in rural areas to attract talent.

3. Despite high job satisfaction, nursing is challenging

The high satisfaction ratings constantly being reported for nursing are not unusual.

Most nurses go into the field with an inherent drive to make a real difference in their community by helping people—and when asked what the most rewarding part of being a nurse is, the top answer is that they can help others. The second is having the chance to do a job they like, followed by knowing they are good at what they do.

Still, nursing is a demanding profession and like any job, it will have its own challenges. The pressures of being a nurse can be intense—physically, emotionally, and mentally. Nurses are exposed to trauma and grief. They are also prone to stress and professional burnout from the demands of the job. Fortunately, more organizations and institutions are recognizing the need to prioritize nurses’ well-being, and now offer programs and counseling to address the effects of the job on their health.

4. Nurses enjoy many career opportunities

Nurses have many options once they enter the workforce. They can opt to be hands-on practitioners working in hospitals or care homes, or they can specialize in a wide range of nursing specialties. They can pursue work in a private practice or work as a school nurse. Another option is to become a nurse educator and share skills and knowledge with aspiring nurses. There are also administrative and leadership roles where nurses manage nursing departments, facilities, and budgets.

5. Nurses require consistent learning and education

Healthcare is a complex industry in which methods, techniques, and procedures are constantly advancing and evolving. This means nursing, as a profession, will demand continuous pursuit for education and learning. Nurses must have the drive to learn and excel.

While requirements vary across different states, many hospitals require nurses to complete continuing education every couple of years to maintain their license.  Successful nurses pursue opportunities where they can learn about the industry and how the latest advances in medicine and healthcare can be applied to their work. This can be done by enrolling in traditional or online degree programs, attending conferences, earning specialty certifications, seeking comprehensive on-the-job training, and collaborating with colleagues and other healthcare professionals across different fields.

Aspiring nurses can enter the workforce with more confidence knowing what it truly takes to have a prosperous nursing career. To find more learning opportunities, visit our website and discover the programs and courses available for you.