(BPT) - As time and technology reshape the workforce, most professionals are not in the position to choose one career or one track and stick with it until retirement. Nursing offers relevant, future-focused opportunities for people of all ages and levels of experience, from those re-entering the workforce or making a career change, to registered nurses pursuing further education. Below, you’ll find for four key reasons students are pursuing licensure or a degree in nursing (RN to BSN and beyond), shared by Dr. Bonnie Stegman of Maryville University.
If you are interested in making a direct impact on the lives of individuals and communities, you should consider nursing. It’s a rewarding career, according to nurses themselves — 83% say they are satisfied with their career choice. Many find the job fulfilling on a personal level as caring for others is a hallmark of the profession. Nurses provide a great deal of personal contact and engagement with patients, a traditional role that has only become more important in today’s often-hectic healthcare environment. At the same time, nursing is an exciting and expanding field with new areas of focus and settings in which to practice. You have more options than ever before to pursue your individual interests and work at the cutting edge of healthcare.
2. Wide-ranging opportunities
Nursing often is associated with foundational healthcare settings such as primary care practices, hospitals or nursing homes. However, nursing offers many different paths to build and develop the specific track that’s right for you. It includes many different specialties, including areas relevant to our aging population, such as gerontology (focused on elderly patients) and genetics (patients with or at risk of hereditary diseases). You also can specialize in public health, working in nonprofit organizations, community health centers or governmental agencies. Across specialties and settings, you also can build on your experience caring for patients and transition into other areas, serving as an administrator or an educator, for example.
The array of options and opportunities available within nursing means that you can pick what best fits your needs and preferences. For example, if family responsibilities mean you need to keep a 9-to-5, Monday-Friday schedule, some primary care or specialty practices can accommodate that. Through telehealth, you can provide patient care and education remotely, potentially creating opportunities across geographic areas and time zones. If you’re open to moving around, you might find work as a traveling nurse to be an interesting — and usually well paid — choice. And, this flexibility means you can adapt and shift your focus as you move through different stages and phases of life.
4. Demand and compensation
Nurses are in high demand nationwide, a trend that shows no sign of slowing. That means you can expect competitive salaries and benefits. You’ll even find that employers are getting creative in how they recruit and incentivize new hires. Mercy Children’s Hospital in St. Louis created a seasonal staffing option, where nurses can opt to work a full-time schedule from September to June, then take time off in the summer months while retaining their benefits — and a guaranteed job in the fall. It’s a valuable offering for anyone with childcare considerations. Other employers are providing financial incentives such as signing bonuses and tuition reimbursement. It’s an environment ripe with opportunity.
Make it happen
Once you decide to pursue your licensure or earn a nursing degree, you have a variety of educational options. It all starts with finding a program that offers a realistic path for your existing schedule and responsibilities.
Online programs typically are designed for flexibility. The online nursing offerings at Maryville University, for example, include an RN to BSN program with multiple start dates throughout the year that can be completed 100% online to help students balance work and school commitments. You also can find flexible options in on-campus programs as well. In addition to programs for full-time and transfer students, Maryville’s on-campus nursing options include a part-time evening and weekend program designed for working adults.
As our population ages, career options in healthcare are predicted to expand and grow. Nursing is worth considering — a resilient and wide-ranging career field with significant opportunities, now and in the future.