The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the critical role registered nurses play in helping vulnerable patients of all ages. It has also encouraged many to change career paths to nursing. If you’re one of these people, you came to the right place.
The nursing profession has a lot to offer. Next to being one of the most in-demand jobs of our time, it gives you the opportunity to work in a variety of settings, receive a solid paycheck and have a say in your schedule. These reasons alone speak volumes as to why you should become a nurse.
Eager to learn more about what a career in nursing has to offer? Here are six reasons why more and more people are choosing nursing as a second career.
1. Nursing Is a Trusted Profession.
The nursing industry has a solid reputation of honesty, integrity and ethics. So much so that for the 18th year in a row, Americans have rated the honesty and ethics of nurses highest among all professions. This reflects the important role nurses play in the field of healthcare and the degree to which patients and their loved ones rely on nurses as not only caregivers, but also as “translators” of medical information, researchers, educators and good listeners.
Nurses are there from the time you walk in the door to the time you leave and are a critical role in maintaining a person’s health.
― Kyle, Accelerated BSN Graduate, Class of 2019
The Year of the Nurse
The World Health Organization (WHO) and the American Nurses Association (ANA) designated 2020 the Year of the Nurse and they couldn’t have picked a more appropriate time. Given the weight of the global pandemic, celebrating nurses has never been more important.
Seeing as how countless nurses have left their homes to bravely face the greatest global healthcare challenge of our time, it’s likely that the profession, overall, will continue to enjoy the top spot in integrity and ethics in the years to come.
2. The Job Outlook for Nurses Has Endless Opportunity.
As the need for registered nurses continues to rise, more and more opportunities are becoming available. However, these opportunities rely heavily on the educational pathway you choose to pursue. If it’s your goal to have as many nursing career options as possible, a Bachelor Science in Nursing (BSN) degree may be your best bet. This type of degree lets you practice in a wide variety of inpatient and outpatient settings, as well as pursue certification in any number of specialty areas.
Career Options Inside the Hospital
Bedside nurses serve on the frontlines of direct patient care. You can find them working in settings such as nursing homes, hospitals, and long-term care facilities. As a bedside nurse with a BSN degree, you can pursue certification in the following specific areas of practice:
- Emergency care: this nurse cares for patients who require urgent treatment.
- Oncology and hematology care: this nurse cares for patients who have (or are at risk for) cancer or blood diseases or blood disorders.
- Transplant care: this nurse cares for patients donating or receiving an organ.
- Pediatric care: this nurse cares for primarily children and patients under the age of 18.
- Labor and delivery care: this nurse cares for women and babies at all stages of childbirth.
- Nephrology care: this nurse cares for patients with kidney disease or abnormal kidney function.
Career Options Beyond the Bedside
Another benefit of earning a BSN degree? You’re not pigeonholed into working inside of the hospital. You can choose to apply your skills and knowledge beyond the bedside, in settings such as:
- Correctional facilities
- Courts of law
- Health insurance companies
- Medical disaster teams
Alternative nursing careers can also be those that don’t involve direct patient care at all. These job titles, which often require educational training outside of a BSN, include:
- Legal nurse consultant: this nurse works as a medical expert in legal cases.
- Nurse attorney: this nurse represents medical professionals in the courtroom.
- Nurse writer: this nurse writes educational materials, articles, blogs, and even Hollywood scripts.
- Nurse entrepreneur: this nurse owns his or her own healthcare business venture.
- Informatics nurse: this nurse develops communication and information technologies.
By earning your Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree, you open the door to a wide range of career opportunities and further your knowledge and skill as a nurse.
Advanced Practice Careers
The more education you have as a nurse, the more opportunities there are for growth and advancement. Once you earn your BSN, you are well-positioned to pursue a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) and a post master’s certificate in an advanced practice role, such as:
- Nurse practitioner: this nurse has similar responsibilities to that of a doctor. However, it’s important to note that every state has different rules that determine the scope of practice for nurse practitioners.
- Clinical nurse specialist: this nurse brings leadership to practice settings.
- Nurse anesthetist: this nurse delivers anesthesia to patients.
- Clinical Nurse Manager: this nurse supervises the nursing staff.
“Advanced practice registered nursing is my ultimate career goal. Furthering my knowledge within my chosen specialty will manifest as greater decision-making and expertise in areas of assessment and diagnosis, planning and implementation, and evaluation of treatment.” ― Ed, Accelerated BSN Graduate, Class of 2019
3. Nurses Receive High Earning Potential.
A BSN degree not only opens up opportunities for medical marketability, but results in higher-paying positions. In other words, it gives you a leg up when negotiating your salary and puts you ahead of other candidates with the same level of experience.
While an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN) is the minimum educational credential needed to work as a registered nurse, baccalaureate-educated nurses typically earn more responsibility, supervisory roles, and as a result, higher salaries over the span of their careers.
A New Standard
As patient care rises in complexity, nurse leaders are advocating for an increase in the number of BSN nurses in all clinical settings. They believe that education impacts the quality of patient outcomes, which studies show, holds true.
Research has found that hospitals and units with a greater percentage of nurses with a BSN degree or higher, rather than an associate’s degree, yield lower mortality rates, lower 30-day readmission rates, and lower failure-to-rescue rates. They also discovered that nurses with higher levels of education are less likely to make medication errors or break procedural violations.
It’s because of these findings that many hospitals are held to higher standards, with the highly influential Institute of Medicine 2010 study The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health recommending that 80% of the nurses on staff hold a BSN by 2020.
While this lofty goal has yet to be met, leaders associated with the campaign say the number of nurses who have earned BSNs has gone up dramatically, and even more than anticipated.
4. There is a High Demand for Nurses.
The numbers don’t lie: both in the United States and globally, there is a shortage of registered nurses that is expected to grow immensely. Some of the factors contributing to this shortage include the retirement of the baby boomer generation, higher demand for preventive care, and access to better medical technology. Which means there will be plenty of open jobs for new nurses.
The COVID-19 pandemic further proves the need for more nurses. As a recent article notes, there are not nearly enough nurses to take care of hospitalized patients because there are simply more patients than caregivers.
5. Nurses Work in a Stable industry.
As you can see, the healthcare industry is growing at a rapid pace and the nursing industry isn’t going away anytime soon. In fact, while advances in robotics may lead to automating certain nursing tasks, the importance of empathy and advanced motor skills to nursing jobs means that while machines may replace other professions, with nursing, they will likely only provide assistant so that nurses can spend more time focused on advanced patient care.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nursing is one of the top occupations for job growth through 2029 and it’s expected to grow by 7%, which is much greater than the average for all professions overall. The BLS also reports that 221,900 new RN jobs will be added by the year 2029. Based on these estimates, it’s safe to say that the job outlook for registered nurses will be bright in the coming years.
As mentioned above, as Americans age, nurses will be needed to educate and care for older clients in many different settings. The Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates job growth in long-term care facilities that provide care for rehabilitation and Alzheimer’s disease. Home health, outpatient services, and residential care are also expected to be in demand.
6. Nurses Work on a Flexible Schedule.
Nursing offers a unique benefit that most professional careers don’t: job flexibility. Depending on where you choose to work as a nurse, oftentimes, you have a say when it comes to working full-time, part-time, or on-call. While there are nursing jobs out there that fit the normal eight-hour day, five days per week, the average workday for nurses in long-term health facilities or hospitals is twelve-hour shifts, three days per week.
Per the American Journal of Nursing, flexible scheduling has been shown to benefit patients, nurses, and the organizations for which they work. Not only does this promote autonomy among nurses, but it empowers the staff overall. The result is that nurses feel like they are more involved in decision-making and committed to teamwork.
Other Flexible Work Practices
Flexible work practices are not one-size-fits-all and it’s important to note that not all medical institutions offer flexible options like these. However, should you work at a hospital that does allow flexible scheduling, here are some of the available opportunities you may come across:
Per Diem Registered Nurses
Per diem means “by the day.” In other words, nurses working in this type of role are basically working on-call or helping to “fill in the gaps.” This type of nurse may be hired for seasonal staffing coverage; for example, during cold and flu season when patient intake rises, or summer when many nurses go on vacation. Many nurses see a benefit in this because they can pick their own schedule with no minimum shift requirement. Plus, working per diem typically pays a higher hourly rate compared to a staff position, but excludes benefits.
This is a part-time employment alternative that offers advantages for employers interested in retaining experienced staff and nurses who are looking for a more work-life balance. In other words, job shadowing would allow you to share one full-time job and benefits with another registered nurse. This grants each of you the flexibility that part-time employment brings.
PRN (Pro Re Nata)
PRN is a Latin phrase that translates to “as needed” or “as the situation arises.” A PRN nurse works when called, to fill in for an absent employee or to cover a special situation. In most cases, these types of nurses are considered to be floating nurses because they are prepared to work in multiple units and can adapt to a variety of patient needs. The benefit? You can continue to work as an RN without committing to a regular, full-time schedule.
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Nursing as a Second Career
As you can see, the nursing profession has a lot to offer – from personal fulfillment to career growth to diverse opportunities and more. While the career itself may seem inspiring from afar, getting there is no easy feat – the nursing school is rigorous and takes a lot of work and education. Yet, if you’re motivated to get started as soon as possible, there are ways to accelerate your nursing education. How? Through Madonna University’s Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program.
How Does it Work?
Accelerated BSN programs like Madonna’s ABSN, targets’ career changers with non-nursing degrees or students who have enough credits to qualify for admission. With Madonna’s ABSN, if you have a minimum of 60 college credits, you can get moving on your nursing education without having to start over from square one. This gives you a fast-track toward a BSN degree, allowing you to graduate fully prepared for an exciting career in nursing in as few as 16 months.
Over the span of four, full-time semesters, you’ll take part in a unique blended learning experience that includes:
Online nursing theory coursework through our interactive e-Learning platform. Here is where you’ll learn key nursing theory concepts. This part of the curriculum can bring a level of convenience to your learning experience because it allows you to complete coursework from anywhere, at any time (within the deadlines set forth by your instructors).
Skills and simulation labs where you’ll apply the nursing theory concepts you’ve already learned into experiential practice. Taking place at Madonna’s state-of-the-art facility, in metro Detroit, labs grant you the opportunity to practice nursing skills and partake in simulated scenarios inside a safe, hospital-like setting under the guidance of Madonna’s expert nursing instructors.
Clinical rotations in which you’ll put you experience in labs and online coursework into practice in real-world patient care settings at top healthcare facilities in and around Detroit. Clinicals help you get comfortable in the fast-paced, unpredictable world of healthcare so that you start your first nursing job confident.
Begin your ABSN education when you’re ready! Rather than offering one start per year as most traditional programs do, Madonna University’s ABSN program offers three start dates (summer, fall, and winter) so you can get started on your nursing education at a time that works best for you.
Do You Have the Qualities of a Registered Nurse?
You’re aware of all the great benefits a career in nursing has to offer, and thanks to Madonna University’s ABSN program, you’ve found a quicker path to nursing. Yet, one outstanding question remains: What are the top qualities that make a good nurse?
Successful registered nurses pave the way for better patient outcomes, staff and patient satisfaction, and hospital growth. They’re key players in setting the tone for and ensuring the quality of care at the hospitals they work in. They also strive to inspire everyone around them. They do this by possessing a unique set of qualities. Some are instinctive, while others are developed with time, education, and experience. Here are just a few top qualities:
It’s common to experience a wide range of emotions as a nurse. After all, as a nurse, you’re a witness to a patient’s triumphs and struggles. That’s why it’s important that you have empathy as a nurse – it builds a connection between you and your patient. The best nurses are able to imagine themselves in the shoes of their patients. They recognize and appreciate the concerns other people have. This helps them to better advocate for patients who cannot advocate for themselves.
Compassion is central to the welfare of patients. In fact, studies have shown ample empirical evidence for proving what should seem obvious: feeling soothed or cared for through the experience of meaningful social or human connections produces a physiological state in the body that is optimum for healing.
While it’s common to think that most nurses join the profession because they already have compassion, the truth is that some don’t. Some nurses struggle to show compassion in stressful situations. They have to take the extra time to hear out their patients’ needs, which forces them to learn how to be compassionate with patients as they go.
Good communication skills are absolutely crucial in nursing. Serving as a point person for patients, doctors, insurance companies, hospital staff, and family members, nurses never stop communicating and relaying important information. Communicating as a nurse is just as much an art as it is a science – the art involves establishing a human connection with the patient or a fellow co-worker, and the science relates to the tools and technology that facilitates such connections. As such, nurses need to possess much more than just clinical knowledge.
Attention to detail is an exceptional skill and habit to obtain in many fields, especially in nursing. After all, the details in care and treatment can mean all the difference in the health of patients. Medicine includes precise measurements, medications prescribed at specific dosages, and highly detailed procedures to follow.
With that said, nurses can’t afford to be distracted or sloppy while writing down important details about patients, such as symptoms, vitals, and medications administered, which must be accurately passed along to other medical professionals.
Patience is needed in every part of the healthcare profession. Losing it can be severely consequential and can even cost your nursing career. Look at it this way: Patients don’t really want to be experiencing healthcare, no matter what the situation is; chances are they would much rather be healthy and living their regular life.
Every day, nurses come in contact with patients and families who may be confused, sleep-deprived, or experiencing a great deal of stress, so it’s important that they handle each situation with calmness and rationality. This helps nurses better care for patients, and will result in more effective decision-making, even if it requires some extra time.
Get Started on Your Accelerated Nursing Education Today!
If watching registered nurses answer the call to help during the coronavirus pandemic has inspired you to change careers to become a nurse, Madonna University’s Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program is here to help you achieve your goals.
Get started today by connecting with one of our admission representatives. In addition to answering any outstanding questions you may have about the program, he or she will help determine your eligibility and identify any prerequisite courses you need to complete.