Nursing is rewarding and challenging, but it provides a diverse and flexible career choice where being without work is highly unlikely. This article will cover what you need to know if you’re thinking about becoming a nurse.
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects growth in nursing opportunities at 6% from 2021 to 2031. This is much higher than most other occupations, which gives nurses job security for the foreseeable future.
What Attributes Do All Good Nurses Have?
As with any profession, nursing is not for everyone. However, there are some basic attributes that are common among all good nurses:
- The first of these is being caring. If you genuinely care about people, you may enjoy a nursing career.
- Top-notch communication skills are important in nursing, as interacting with people takes up much of your time.
- Empathy is a great characteristic for any nurse to have. Being able to put yourself into the shoes of the patient or their family means you’ll treat your patients as people instead of parts of your job.
- Another important characteristic is orientation to detail. As a nurse, you must pay attention to the details, whether filling in documentation or observing a patient.
Add to this time management, stamina, good health, a sense of humor, and a willingness to learn; these are all attributes of a good nurse.
How To Become a Nurse
Step number one is graduating with a high school diploma (GED). Nursing schools look for a GPA of at least 2.5 to accept you as a student. As with any educational program, contact the school where you wish to study and check their entrance criteria to ensure you will be accepted.
You can choose to study one of two degrees. The first is a two-year Associate Degree in Registered Nursing (RN). Alternatively, you can undertake the four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). As a student nurse, you’ll get theoretical instruction in the classroom alongside clinical experience and laboratory work.
In the United States, it’s compulsory to be registered as a nurse with the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN). To get registered with the NCSBN, you’ll have to pass the NCLEX exam. Nurses also have to apply for a state license.
Passing the NCLEX exam, with either an RN or BSN degree, will allow the candidate to work as a staff nurse in nearly any medical facility. Medical administration, research, teaching, or consulting careers usually call for a bachelor’s degree as the minimum academic qualification.
What Will Your Pay Be?
Statistically, in May 2021, the average pay for registered nurses was $77,600. The salaries of the best-paid specialist nurses averaged over $120,250.
What you’ll be paid will depend on your qualifications and experience. For example, the best-paid nursing specialist is a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, earning $195,610 annually. These nurses are highly skilled practitioners involved with preparing and administering anesthetics.
What Career Opportunities Are There?
Nurses have a wide variety of career opportunities at their fingertips. Once your basic training is completed, you can start working on a hospital ward, which may only suit some. Ward nurses work shifts, which can be difficult for many people, so working in a doctor’s office, school, or large manufacturing company may suit you better.
You can move into many fields by specializing and upgrading your qualifications. Examples are Nurse Practitioners, ICU Nursing, Neonatal Care, Psychiatric Nursing, Certified Nurse Midwives, First Assist Nursing, and Administration.
There are career opportunities for those who want to travel with their qualification. In the US, Travel Nurses travel nationwide, filling in wherever needed around the country. Nursing in the military can also provide many opportunities to work in exotic locations around the globe.
Your US nursing qualification will be accepted in most countries if you want to try working in a foreign locale. Nurses are also keenly sought by international organizations such as Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors without Borders) and the Red Cross. Bear in mind the language issue if you do not speak the official language of that country.
So, Is This a Career for You?
A good nurse knows that there are few jobs where the stakes are so high. You are responsible for people’s lives, so ambivalence about your job has no place in this career. Labor statistics indicate that each year there are around 203,200 nursing posts advertised. Nursing is a gratifying, well-paid, and interesting career with no lack of job opportunities.