Nursing is an incredibly competitive field of work – and for good reason. Nurses may face a laundry list of work-related challenges but they also get to enjoy plenty of positives of nursing as welll.
Many nurses feel underappreciated, overworked, and even burnt out. They say, “if it’s worth it, it won’t be easy.”
This article will cover some reasons why becoming a nurse is entirely worth the challenges it brings with it including:
- Making a difference in the lives of others
- You can work anywhere
- The ability to move up and change roles
- Continuing education
You make a difference!
One of the most common reasons people pursue a job as a nurse is to make a difference in the lives of others – I know that was my motivation.
I never thought I had it in me to be a nurse and couldn’t even wrap my head around why people chose this career route. It wasn’t until someone close to me was hospitalized and I visited her that it all clicked.
Nurses and doctors make a major impact on so many lives, every single day.
As a nurse, I’ve faced many challenging moments that left me feeling powerless. But all it took were those few impactful experiences to keep me going.
Sometimes something as simple as washing a patient’s hair and combing it out meant the world to them. Being hospitalized can be challenging and upsetting, and nurses are essentially angels to so many people.
Nursing can go anywhere
Not only will you have a guaranteed job right out of school, but you can literally take your nursing job just about anywhere. There are nurses needed everywhere and you’re always able to switch jobs if and when you want to.
You never have to worry about getting bored as a nurse because there will always be new opportunities awaiting. Nursing jobs can vary by specialty and job title.
As you gain more experience, you may try working on a different floor of the hospital or even move into a leadership role, such as management or education.
Where can nurses practice?
The majority of states are compact states, meaning that nurses in the United States have the ability to move around quite a bit without even having to get a new license. Even if you don’t have a compact nursing license, license transfers are easy to do when moving to a new state.
As a nurse, you can even work internationally. Plenty of countries accept nurses from the United States. However, you may be required to speak the native language or obtain a work visa beforehand.
Volunteering as a nurse internationally is another impactful way to combine your passions for nursing and adventure.
If you want to stay within the states, you still have plenty of options. You can consider less traditional workplace options such as being a school nurse, camp nurse, or even working on a cruise ship!
When we say nurses are needed everywhere, we mean everywhere. Yes, many nurses work in hospitals but nurses are also employed in many other locations such as schools, summer camps, and even cruise ships.
Nursing has a lot of upward mobility
The potential for professional development is another major benefit of working as a nurse.
Many hospitals offer yearly raises. You may get the opportunity to work as a charge nurse or preceptor on your unit, once you’ve gained some experience. This is a great way to test the waters with leadership roles to see if you might want to try management down the line.
In addition to having plenty of different job options within a given unit, you can also switch specialties and move to a different unit or hospital.
Continuing education is another option that allows nurses to change roles. Graduate school is a great option, but you can also grow your nursing knowledge by completing certification courses or preceptorships.
There are also plenty of unconventional work options for nurses as well, some of which might surprise you!
Discover your true salary range
Receive a free salary estimate in minutes. Then get matched with nursing jobs to pay it.
The burnout rate is high for nurses, which is why it is great that the demand for nurses is also incredibly high. When one door closes, a new one will always be opened for you.
Some nurses go directly into a specialty setting like L&D or the ICU after graduating, while others choose to complete a year of Med-Surg first. Either way, once you have some experience, you can pretty much switch to any specialty, as long as they’re willing to give you the necessary training.
You may want to complete a preceptorship when changing specialties in order to ensure that you’re getting the most out of your training but this isn’t always necessary. If you’re not a fan of the hospital where you’re working, then it shouldn’t be hard to find somewhere else that will hire you.
Working in a hospital is a common choice amongst nurses, given the longer shifts and more flexible work weeks. However, this is nowhere near the only choice. Nurses work in a wide variety of settings.
You could opt for a position in a doctor’s office or same-day surgery clinic if you’re looking for more of a Monday-Friday work schedule.
Nurses can even work from home. Once you have plenty of experience, you may want to look into legal nursing. This is a lucrative field of nursing that allows plenty of schedule flexibility, but it requires a lot of experience working as a nurse first.
If you’re ready to start opening more doors for yourself as a nurse, you may consider getting an advanced degree. Many nurses return to school to gain a Master’s or Doctorate degree.
Both of these degrees can lead to a career as an advanced practice nurse or nurse practitioner. Nurse practitioners can also work all over and they make a much higher income. On top of that, you’ll have more autonomy by stepping into the provider role.
If graduate school isn’t for you or you just don’t feel ready yet, you still have continuing education options. There are a variety of certificate programs for nurses that can create new employment opportunities, such as becoming an infusion nurse or vascular access nurse.
For nurses who already work in a specialized field, you could further your education by getting certified in something relevant to your job. Such as an oncology nurse getting certified in bone marrow transplants, or a post-partum nurse becoming a certified lactation consultant.
Certifications help to prove your credibility for future employers and may even boost the pay rate at your current job.
Earn your CEUs free
Our easy online CE courses are ANCC-accredited and 100% free for nurses.
For nurses who have already gotten to the point of working, remember there are great nursing jobs out there. If you’re not happy right now, don’t give up, there are plenty of other options, especially once you have some experience under your belt.
Consider what you want most out of your job. Are you looking for higher pay? More flexibility? Better management?
Networking with other nurses is one way to find out what other options exist to help you find a job that speaks to you. Visit our nurse forum to connect with and learn from other nurses about what opportunities are out there.
Becoming a nurse is tough and continuing to show up to a challenging work setting can be even tougher. I promise you though, it is worth all of the work. You will always have job security and you never have to worry about running out of work options. The possibilities really are endless when you choose a career as a nurse!