Published December 24, 2019
Working in the field of healthcare is one of the most rewarding roles that you can possibly take on. Regardless of the exact setting in which you work, working to help other people stay healthy and fight disease is an indispensable public service. Without healthcare professionals, our healthcare system and society would be in jeopardy.
Of the many healthcare roles that exist, nursing is one of the best-known and has also traditionally been one of the most popular to pursue. There are a number of reasons why nursing is such a popular option – it is a career path that has a huge amount to offer.
In order to pursue a career in nursing, you will first need to obtain the relevant nursing qualifications. Fortunately, studying for a nursing degree has never been easier, and there have never been better reasons to do so. Below are just some of the reasons why a career in nursing is worth aiming for.
Make a Difference to Other People’s Lives
One of the biggest draws to the field of nursing is the opportunity it presents to make a difference in other people’s lives. The work that nurses do is essential; without them, our healthcare systems would collapse. Nurses make a tremendous difference in the quality of healthcare that people receive, both on an individual and on an institutional level, and as has once been said:
“Constant attention by a good nurse may be just as important as a major operation by a surgeon”
Nurses are required in a variety of different roles, some of which involve direct contact with patients, but many of which do not. This means that nurses are able to help patients in a number of different ways. Even if you take on a role like a research nurse that doesn’t involve much direct contact with patients or the actual treating of medical conditions, you will still be contributing to the progression of the field and the development of our understanding of medicine. Whatever context you find yourself working as a nurse in, the work is endlessly rewarding.
And because nursing is such a rewarding job, it is also a career that offers high levels of job satisfaction; many nurses find that despite the difficulties that are inherent in the role, being a nurse is ultimately a hugely satisfying experience.
In fact, a survey by Medscape asked over 10,000 nurses what they thought the most rewarding aspect of their job was, and the results were as follows:
- Making a difference in people’s lives – 40%
- Working at a job I like – 11%
- Being good at what I do – 11%
- Being proud of my career – 10%
- Relationships with patients – 8%
- Working as a team – 7%
- Opportunities open to me – 5%
Choose from a Variety of Potential Careers
Nurses are required within healthcare organizations of all different types. As a result, there are a huge number of potential careers that you can work towards with a nursing degree. Whichever career path you ultimately choose, you will find that the core values and requirements of being a nurse stay more or less the same. Even if you only have minimal contact with patients, you will still need to operate with a sense of compassion and empathy.
The many different nursing careers that exist also means that you can choose one that is most suited to your individual skillset and ambitions in life. Many nurses will flourish in the hospital environment, and there are lots of nurses who would recommend that junior nurses cut their teeth in this environment before pursuing a more specialized career.
However, even if you are working outside of a hospital setting, perhaps not even coming into contact with patients at all, there is still plenty of work to be done that requires knowledgeable and experienced nurses. You can always transfer into one of these roles later, but the more frontline experience you are able to gain, the better for your resume.
Below are some examples of potential nursing careers you can pursue:
- Physician Assistant: Working as a physician assistant (PA) is the ideal role for any nurse who is not ready for the frantic and high paced environment of a hospital ward. In general, the work that a physician undertakes is much more laid-back and tends to involve routine medical procedures rather than emergency ones. However, that isn’t to say that working as a PA cannot still be hugely rewarding. You will still have ample opportunities to help other people and to make a real difference to them while they undergo medical treatment. Physician Assistants can also be responsible for supporting doctors with a patient’s diagnosis. There is some overlap in the duties of a PA and a hospital nurse, although the roles are very different.
- Nurse Informatics Specialist: Data has changed just about every industry that you could possibly think of, and healthcare is no exception. But while data is an incredibly powerful tool to have, it needs to be interpreted and refined before it can be deployed in the real world. This requires qualified individuals who are able to understand the implications behind the raw data that they analyze. A Nurse Informatics Specialist will be trained in both the gathering and the analysis of data from within healthcare environments. A Nurse Informatics Specialist might be a dedicated member of staff, but they are often taken from the ranks of existing nurses and take on responsibility for Informatics on top of their regular duties.
- School Nurse: Another excellent option for those who aren’t ready for an emergency room environment is working as a school nurse. School nurses are responsible for dispensing health advice to students, as well as diagnosing and treating common ailments. School nurses may have to dispense basic medical treatments, but they are generally limited in what they are able to do. However, working as a school nurse is an excellent opportunity to make a difference in the lives of children and to contribute to the smooth functioning of a school or other educational institution.
- Research Nurse: The role of Research Nurse is a fantastic one for experienced nurses. Most Research Nurse positions will require you to have a certain amount of experience working directly with patients. However, once you have this experience, then working as a research nurse is an excellent way to apply the knowledge and skills that you have developed and contribute towards the advancement of the nursing profession. Research Nurses sometimes work conducting scientific trials for big pharmaceutical corporations, but they can also work within hospitals and continue to treat patients while undertaking their research. As with many other nursing careers, you can choose the kind of environment that suits you the best.
Take Control of Your Own Career Progression
Another significant draw to the field of nursing are the fantastic opportunities it presents for career progression. It has historically been one of the best careers for women especially, because it enables them to ascend to the highest echelons. Not only are there lots of opportunities to progress through the ranks of a nursing career, but nurses are also able to take control of this progress and progress through the ranks at their own rate.
Whenever you want to progress to the next level of a nursing degree, you can simply apply to study the relevant qualification with a local university. In order to pursue a nursing degree, you will need to undertake a certain amount of practical work within a clinical setting. However, if you are already working as a nurse, then you can simply continue as normal and arrange with your employer to complete your degree there.
Whether you are studying for your initial nursing qualifications, or you are ready to embark on a master nursing program, you can do so on your own volition and at your own pace. Nurses now even have the option of studying their degree through an online university. Studying online is a better option for some people, as it is generally cheaper and also offers a more flexible timescale for completing your course.
Utilize a Variety of Different Skills
Obviously, nurses will need to learn a lot of specialist skills and knowledge in order to succeed in the profession. However, working as a nurse will also call on a variety of other skills. For example, nurses need to be empathetic to their patients and be able to sympathize with them. They also need to be able to treat all patients equally and dispense care equally regardless of circumstances.
Other skills that you will need to succeed as a nurse include:
- A sense of ethical responsibility
- Good organization skills
- Attention to detail
Working as a nurse can also present a number of ethical dilemmas over the years. In many cases, you may well have already received guidance on how to navigate these murky waters, but this aspect of the job is something that appeals to some people and deters others.
Nursing is a fantastic career option with a huge amount to offer. It is undeniably hard work, and can even be difficult physically and emotionally. However, it is also a unique opportunity to help other people in a variety of different contexts. If you think that nursing is the right career for you, consider studying for your nursing degree at the next opportunity.