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5 reasons why nursing is still a good career

A male nurse smiling and writing a note on a clipboard

At a glance

  • Nursing has traditionally been considered an attractive field because of competitive salaries, job security, and opportunities for diverse experiences and lateral and upward career moves.  
  • The COVID pandemic exacerbated existing nursing staff shortages due to burnout, increased resignations and early retirements.
  • Awareness of the importance of registered nurses’ mental health and well-being is growing, with resources and programs available to reduce burnout.
  • University of Phoenix offers an RN-BSN degree program as well as master’s degrees in nursing. Explore online nursing degree programs!

Nurse careers: An overview

Nursing has long been an attractive career path due to its traditionally stable job market, competitive wages and opportunity to serve in a caring and people-centered human services career.

Becoming a registered nurse means taking one of several pathways. You can earn a diploma from an approved nursing program. You can also pursue an associate degree in nursing or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). From there, you must pass the NCLEX and get licensed. (And you can always go back to school after becoming a licensed RN to earn your degree if you pursued a career first.)

On the tail of the 2020 COVID pandemic, however, you might wonder if a career in nursing is still a good idea. After all, the past few years have put the healthcare industry under tremendous strain with nurses on the front lines of the fight against the virus. Their sacrifice and dedication have come at a high price: America’s nurses are burned out.

A recent white paper published by University of Phoenix (UOPX) noted that more than 50% of registered nurses (RNs) experienced worsening physical and mental health related to their pandemic workloads.

The situation is serious, but if your heart set on a nursing career path, don’t give up that dream just yet. Indeed, nursing remains an incredible career choice in spite of the challenges and especially for those who want to make a difference in people’s lives.

Ready for the challenge? Maybe it’s time to pursue an RN to BSN degree.  

5 reasons to pursue a career in nursing

Nursing isn’t for everyone, but it may be for you. Here’s why.

1. You desire meaningful work

Undoubtedly, few careers compare to nursing in terms of positively impacting people’s lives. RNs provide compassionate care, advocate for patient needs, and support patients and their families, friends and communities through difficult times.

Many nurses report that the most rewarding part of the job is going to bed knowing they made a difference. Their dedication is recognized and appreciated: Nurses continually top Gallup’s annual poll of the most trusted professions by the American public.

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2. You crave job stability

During uncertain economic times, a career with job stability is hard to come by — but the demand for nurses remains steady.

Sun Jones, DNP, RN, FNP-BC, Systematic Plan of Program and Curriculum evaluator for the University of Phoenix College of Nursing, explains: “Even before the pandemic, there have been persistent staff shortages in all nursing fields. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the nursing shortage and is challenging the current workforce due to increased demand for healthcare-related services.”

For the 2021-2031 decade, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) forecasts a 6% growth rate for registered nurses, which is about as fast as the average for all occupations, and a 40% growth rate for advanced practice registered nurse careers such as nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives and nurse practitioners.

3. You seek a competitive salary

Nursing is a well-compensated profession. According to BLS, RNs earned an annual salary range between $59,450 and $120,250* in May 2021, although experience, specializations and location can greatly impact a nurse’s salary.

Jones adds that many companies offer certain benefits to attract nurses. Typical benefit packages for nurses can include paid sick time, tuition reimbursement, paid vacation, and health and life insurance.

*Salary ranges are not specific to students or graduates of University of Phoenix. Actual outcomes vary based on multiple factors, including prior work experience, geographic location and other factors specific to the individual. University of Phoenix does not guarantee employment, salary level or career advancement. BLS data is geographically based. Information for a specific state/city can be researched on the BLS website.

4. You like career options and flexibility

One of the most appealing aspects of nursing may just be the variety of nursing jobs available. Depending on your nursing education level, experience and additional certifications, careers such as direct patient care, research, nurse practitioner, administration and nursing education are available. An RN can work for hospitals, schools, clinics, community health sites, and government and private agencies. Different specialties include oncology, pediatrics, hospice, emergency and more. Options for an RN with the proper education and experience are extensive.

Flexible schedules are also a huge perk for nurses. Shift work often ranges between eight and 12 hours and is not limited to business hours, which can be beneficial for parents and caregivers. Some hospital units even offer their employees the ability to self-schedule. And as advanced technology continues to evolve our workplaces, nurses can now join the remote workforce. Practically unheard of a decade ago, remote telehealth nursing is now a viable option.

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5. You’re looking for career growth

Nursing is much more than a job, so it’s important that this field offers career enhancement and professional development opportunities.

After earning their stripes, many nurses specialize or go after additional qualifications. Nurses can pursue advanced degrees or specialized certifications in areas such as pediatrics, oncology or critical care.

University of Phoenix, for example, offers a variety of online nursing degree programs. The RN to BSN degree program is ideal for registered nurses looking to solidify and enhance skills like health information technology and research management outcomes. Nurse practitioner programs include the Master of Science in Nursing/Family Nurse Practitioner and Master of Science in Nursing/Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. A Doctor of Nursing Practice option is available to those looking to earn their terminal degree in nursing.  

How nurses can protect their mental health and well-being

While the emotional and physical demands of a career in nursing are a potential source of stress and burnout, they don’t have to lead to frustration.

One option is to pursue a nontraditional nursing job, so you can enjoy the benefits of a stable career with less stress.

Another is to embrace the growing awareness of the importance of nurses’ mental health and well-being. “National organizations are calling for changes in working conditions and providing help to nurses who are faced with those emotional challenges,” says Jones.

As you embark on your career in nursing, remember to prioritize self-care along the way. “Many nurses are caregivers to their patients and family members,” Jones observes. “When you are in situations to provide care, sometimes you forget to take care of yourself. Nurses must learn to take care of themselves while caring for others.”

Options for registered nurses with a BSN

Registered nurses who have earned a BSN may choose to explore leadership roles, like being a charge nurse or nursing instructor. Or they may pursue further specialization with a master’s degree or doctorate.

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What comes after a BSN? Breaking down education and career options for registered nurses

University of Phoenix offers several degree programs for registered nurses who have their BSN degrees and are looking for the next step. These are:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Claire O’Brien has led copywriting teams for Hilton Worldwide Corporate’s creative studio and advertising agencies specializing in the real estate, hospitality, education and travel industries. In 2020, she founded More Better Words, a boutique copywriting agency that taps into her global connections. She lives in Costa Rica with her husband and six rescue dogs.

 

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