You’re considering becoming a nurse. Maybe you have family members in the healthcare field, or you’ve been inspired by nurses who cared for you or your loved ones. Whatever your motivation, your nursing career will need to start with a nursing education. A Bachelor of Science in Nursing is recommended by industry leaders and strongly preferred by 82% of employers surveyed in 2019. This nursing bachelor’s degree can prepare you with a solid foundation on which to build your career.
Of course before you commit to a degree or a career, you’re likely to have a few questions--and we’re here to answer them!
1. What are the benefits of a nursing career?
Employment Growth: According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of registered nurses is expected to grow 7% between 2019 and 2029, resulting in over 200,000 new nursing positions!
That faster than average employment growth is driven in part by the aging of the large Baby Boomer generation and their related increase in health care needs. Couple their healthcare demands with large numbers of nurses expected to retire in the coming decade. What you get is that nurses are in-demand. In some states and regions (including the south and the west), nurses are increasingly in short supply. By entering this profession, you’ll be helping to fill that demand and care for those who need it.
Personal Fulfillment: Nursing is a rewarding career. As a nurse, you can have a huge impact on your patients – emotionally and physically – as you care for and support them through their most vulnerable and difficult moments. The more educated you are, the better you’ll know how to help. US News & World Report even ranks the career choice of registered nurse as #13 on their 100 Best Jobs list, which weighs factors like job market, future growth, salary and work-life balance. Nurses can also expect to earn the respect of others; for 18 years straight, nurses have been voted the most honest and ethical professionals in an annual national Gallup Poll.
2. What kind of person makes a good nurse?
Compassionate: Nurses need to demonstrate caring and empathy for patients through their bedside manner. Nurses must also stay emotionally strong and help patients and family members to manage their emotions in emergencies, stressful situations and other trying times.
Good Communicators: Listening to patients is essential as a nurse. You must know how to ask the right questions and gain your patients trust so that you can understand their health and concerns. Likewise, a large part of a nurse’s job is educating patients, including explaining complicated medical information and instructions. Nurses also must communicate and collaborate with many fellow healthcare providers.
Organized: Nurses constantly balance multiple tasks and patients, so keeping everything in order is key to providing quality care. Close attention to detail is another professional quality nurses need, to ensure that proper medicine and treatments are given on schedule.
Problem-Solver: In many situations, nurses are called upon to think and act quickly. You’ll often be asked to assess changes in patients and decide when action or assistance is needed.
Hard Worker: Last but not least, hard work is another distinguishing characteristic of a great nurse. Nursing is rewarding, but caring for others isn’t easy. Nurses stay on their feet most of the day, and, depending on where you work, nursing shifts can be long.
3. What are some major responsibilities and jobs that nurses do?
As we’ve mentioned, registered nurses (RN) deliver and coordinate patient care as well as educate and support patients and their families. Most RNs work with a team of physicians and healthcare specialists and may also manage nursing assistants, aids, and licensed practical nurses. The jobs nurses do include:
- Assessing and recording patient conditions and symptoms
- Administering medicine and treatment
- Operating and monitoring medical equipment
- Assisting with diagnostic tests and analysis
- Teaching patients how to manage injuries and illnesses
RNs can choose to focus on particular groups of patients, such as children or the elderly. Different types of nurses also specialize in certain health issues, such as cardiovascular nurses, who care patients who have heart surgery or heart disease.
4. What is a typical career path for a nurse?
After earning your nursing degree, the next step will be to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). Once you pass the NCLEX and meet your state requirements for licensing, you’ll be ready to pursue a job as an RN. Then, when you’re an RN, how your career progresses is up to you. You’ll have the chance to work in a variety of specialties, and over time you potentially can advance into more senior nursing positions.
Some nurses earn a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) so that they can provide more advanced care and work more independently. Many MSN programs offer specializations such as family nurse practitioner, nurse educator or nursing informatics, to name just a few. After you have an MSN, you can also gain skills in new specializations with Post Graduate Certificate programs. You can even pursue a doctorate in nursing (a Doctor of Nursing Practice or a PhD in Nursing) to increase your leadership, teaching, clinical and/or research skills. The trajectory of your nursing career all depends on your interests and goals!
Ready to discuss BSN programs and applying to nursing school?
At South University, our nursing programs are led by nurses with real experience in the field and are built to make you a confident, caring health care professional. Explore our nursing programs or request information today.