The nursing profession has a lot to offer, and there’s no better time than now to become a nurse. 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.
At Madonna University, we are committed to preparing the future generation of nurses for a rewarding career. Through our Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program, students with 60 college credits or a non-nursing bachelor’s degree can finish their nursing degree in as few as 16 months.
Eager to learn more about what a career in nursing has to offer? Here are nine reasons why more and more people are choosing nursing as a second career.
The nursing industry has a solid reputation of honesty, integrity and ethics. So much so that for the 20th 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. People trust nurses not only as caregivers, but also as supporters, researchers, educators and listeners.
Countless nurses have left their homes to bravely face COVID-19, the greatest global healthcare challenge of our time. Thus, it’s likely that the profession will continue to enjoy the top spot in integrity and ethics for years to come.
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, and it also lets you 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 BSN, you open the door to a wide range of career opportunities in which you can further your knowledge and skill as a nurse.
The more education you have as a nurse, the more opportunities there are for growth and advancement. Once you earn a 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.
A BSN degree not only opens up opportunities for medical marketability, but it 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 through supervisory roles, and as a result, they earn 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.
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. This 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.
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, empathy and advanced motor skills are important to nursing jobs. This means that while machines may replace other professions, with nursing, they will likely only provide assistance so 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%. 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.
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 it 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 sharing 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.
According to the American Psychological Association, employees who pursue the feeling of a higher calling in their careers are among the most happy. With a career as a nurse, you’ll make a difference in your patients’ lives each and every day. Having a career that offers fulfillment and leaves you feeling like you truly made a difference is one of the most important reasons to become a nurse.
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.
Our 16-month accelerated BSN program is built for students with at least 60 college credits or a non-nursing bachelor’s degree who want to make the change to nursing. The curriculum combines online learning with hands-on labs and clinicals, ensuring you receive a high-quality education. We offer three start dates each year, so you don’t have to wait a whole year to begin.
Get started today by connecting with one of our admission representatives. In addition to answering any outstanding questions you may have about the program, we’ll help determine your eligibility and identify any prerequisite courses you need to complete.
Fill out our brief contact form to get in touch with an admissions representative. Now is the time to begin the nursing career of your dreams.