Whether you are a nurse or you’re in nursing school, chances are you’ve spent some time trying to figure this nursing thing out. You’ve done your research, spoken to seasoned nurses, or spent many nights studying while watching Grey’s Anatomy and laughing at the procedures the doctors are doing that are actually the nurse’s job. You’ve watched your free time drift away, taught yourself how to survive without sleep, and started to accept that just because your answer is right doesn’t mean it’s the most right. The need for nurses is at an all-time high in a variety of capacities. It is a demanding and draining position that is not for the faint of heart, but is also extremely rewarding.
The nursing shortage
If you are already a nurse or wanting to be, you are helping aid in the problematic nursing shortage. Right now more than 50% of the nursing workforce is close to retirement age and in the U.S., baby boomers are experiencing an increased number of chronic conditions that require hospitalization. While we are losing nurses to retirement and gaining patients, we need more nurses to fill the gap. Increasing enrollment is one way to impact the shortage, but this uncovers yet another issue, which is the low number of nursing instructors. The only way to promote a higher number of nurses willing to teach is to raise their wages. Due to the unequal amount of supply and demand in the nursing industry the job market for nurses is at an all-time high for potential nurses looking for work and therefore salaries are much higher.
The options are endless
The options for types of degrees and the jobs you can obtain with those degrees are expansive. With options for LPN, NP, and RN programs available at a slew of different nursing schools with varying pathways, every student will be able to find the degree and pathway that suits them best. The degree preferred by most nursing leaders is a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), so do your research if you are thinking about joining the nursing profession to make sure you have the degree appropriate for your career track. One you’ve obtained your degree, the options open even more with careers available to nurses in a wide variety of specialties and lifestyles such as travel nursing, nurse educator, oncology nursing, pediatric nursing, and the list goes on and on.
You’ll always be learning
The learning process does not stop with graduation when you are in a medical field. Nurses focus on such a wide variety of medicine that they are always attending seminars and conferences, reading medical journals, learning new procedures, and trying to keep up with the forever changing medical industry. You’ll always be learning from seasoned nurses, trial and error, and mandatory continuing education. Coursework never stops when you are a nurse and in order to thrive in the field, nurses must be eager learners and naturally driven. A nursing career isn’t for everyone, and the obligation to stay on top of the evolving nursing world is one of the many difficult tasks required.
Nursing is difficult
Let’s drive this point home one more time: Nursing is hard. Nursing school is hard because being a nurse is even harder. If you are already a nurse, you understand this. Compiling an impossible amount of information in your mind and being able to pull it out at the most stressful time in an effective manner can be the difference between life and death for patients. Not only dealing with the long hours, lack of sleep, no social life, and the never ending amount of learning involved, but the physical and mental strain it puts on your body is not for the weak. You’ll cry for patients, make mistakes, work with an aching back and feet, get yelled at by faculty and patients alike, develop a strong stomach, work overnight, work into the next day, miss birthday parties, be invited to patient’s funerals, and be covered in bodily fluids. You are on the front lines of healthcare and you will see things that no one else sees. Be prepared.
It’s all about patient care
For those in nursing, the entire reason that they go through the rigors of nursing school and the battles of the job is for their patients. Without a passion for people and their welfare, maintaining a job that is so difficult would be impossible. Nursing isn’t a job you do for the money; good nurses in the field for a long time do it to help people. Caring and compassionate nurses mean the world to their patients and end up being the best at their jobs. Every single day you will be making a big difference in someone’s life. You are responsible for positive quality of life for your patients, you will be fulfilled and satisfied in your career, seeing immediate gratification for the tasks you complete correctly. Despite the pain, heartache, stress, time away from loved ones, and lack of sleep, nurses do it for their patients.
This article was contributed by guest author Chelsy Ranard.