Careers in healthcare have some of the most promising job outlook percentages on the job market today. With the need for qualified and experienced healthcare professionals only expected to grow, the prospect for certain jobs in medicine is looking good. As a significant portion of the population continues to advance in years, and as modern medical advancements are making it possible for people to live longer even with terminal illnesses, hospitals and other medical facilities continue to recruit higher numbers of staff to accommodate the demand.
One career in the medical field that has been seeing an upward trend in job outlook for some time, a trend that is only expected to continue, is that of nursing. As the members of a medical team that are responsible for providing direct patient care, nurses play a pivotal role in healthcare. Moreover, nurses with advanced degrees are able to work in higher levels of responsibility and acts as leaders in healthcare.
There are many more aspects of nursing that make this one of the more desirable careers in healthcare to pursue.
Here are four things about the job that you should take into account when thinking about following a career in nursing.
1. Earning Potential
One aspect to a career in medicine in general that tends to make jobs pertaining to healthcare appealing is the fact that they generally provide higher salaries than many other career paths. Careers as a surgeon, physician, or physician’s assistant are typically accompanied by attractive earning potential, a potential that can increase when you obtain advanced degrees and specified experience. However, these are not the only careers in medicine that provide good salaries.
There are a variety of jobs within the field of nursing that come with higher salaries than one might expect. While registered nurses (RNs) with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree average around $66,000 per year with excellent overtime compensation as well, nurses with graduate degrees and who specialize in specific areas of medicine can stand to make twice as much.
As far as the highest paying nursing jobs are concerned, the job of a nurse anesthetist is renowned for being attached to the highest salary that a nurse can earn. While earning potential can vary from state to state, the national average of salaries for a nurse anesthetist is around $160,000 per year. That being said, there are some states where that average is much higher. For instance, the average salary of a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) in the state of Montana is in the neighborhood of $243,000.
Other jobs in nursing, such as nurse practitioners and nurse midwives, have high earning potential as well. While it will most likely be necessary for you to earn advanced degrees in order to specialize in the areas of nursing with the highest salaries, there are a number of other positions available to experienced RNs that are accompanied by enticing salaries as well.
2. Career Progression Opportunities
There was once a time when the career of a nurse was considered to be fairly one-dimensional. Nurses were expected to act under the supervision of a physician and provide routine services to their patients. These days, though, states are removing restrictions on nurses with advanced degrees and permitting them to act in more independent roles.
For instance, a nurse practitioner who possesses a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree has the ability to evaluate, diagnose, and even prescribe certain medications to patients. This is generally seen in states where a significant lack of qualified physicians is creating a gap in healthcare. The experience and education that a nurse must obtain in order to earn their doctorate is seen as sufficient to make him or her qualified to take on such a responsibility-filled role that is typically held by family care practitioners.
Other roles in nursing that provide career progression opportunities include management pathways where a nurse with adequate experience and a demonstrable aptitude for leadership can assume more responsibility in the workplace. Nurses in management roles are generally responsible for managing other nurses in their unit, making schedules, and ensuring that there are no lapses in the quality of care provided by the unit.
Jobs in clinical research, midwifery, and other specializations also provide for natural career progression if that is something you are seeking. Even though you will have to earn the right amount of experience working on the frontlines of healthcare as an RN, with the right dedication and education, you can take your career in nursing to more advanced levels.
3. Job Security
As with other careers in healthcare, nursing is among some of the more in-demand jobs available today. With a job outlook that is predicting around 12% in the coming years, there is going to be a demand for nursing for several years to come. There are many reasons for this increase in demand that mainly pertain to the fact that more people are seeking or in need of quality healthcare than ever before.
Firstly, around 91% of the population has health insurance as of 2018. While this is still far from the percentage that it should be, the fact that so many people have health insurance means that more and more people are seeking healthcare through their insurance providers. When high demand is placed on hospitals and other medical facilities, the need for nurses and other healthcare professionals goes up.
Furthermore, statistics are predicting that by the year 2030, the number of the population that is comprised of adults who are more advanced in age will actually outnumber that of children. This would be the first time that such an occurrence has taken place in the United States. Since older adults need more healthcare than children, statistically speaking, this is expected to place additional burdens on the healthcare system. In other words, while there is currently a great deal of job security in nursing, that level of job security should go up as time goes on.
This level of job security tends to increase as your levels of education and experience increase. For instance, nursing jobs that require a nurse to possess a DNP degree are expected to increase by 26%. These are jobs that include nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists, and nurse midwives.
At this point, the job prospects for nursing school graduates is promising as well. A study conducted by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing indicated that around 94% of nursing school graduates who earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree or an MSN degree found employment within 4-6 months of graduating. This indicates that even nurses who don’t have much experience behind them are able to find good employment relatively quickly.
4. Rewarding Nature of the Job
As a job that gives on the ability to directly help people in need, it is no surprise that nursing ranks among some of the most rewarding jobs out there. Many nurses put a great deal of hard work and perseverance into earning their education and obtain the right experience needed to help people suffering from illness or injury. They find a great deal of fulfillment in the fact that they can use all of that hard work to help ease the suffering of their patients and help them on the road to recovery.
Another appealing aspect of nursing as a job is the fact that nurses tend to work as part of a team. While this isn’t something that appeals to everyone, most people like working as part of a fully functioning unit towards a specific goal. When patients come in for care, nurses, physicians, and assistants must act together in order to properly evaluate, diagnose, treat, and monitor those patients. This isn’t possible unless every part of the team is working in conjunction with the other members of the team. Such a scenario typically promotes a level of comradery and closeness that isn’t seen in other professions.
Nurses who specialize in specific areas of nursing also feel, for the most part, that they have dedicated their skills and efforts to a rewarding job. For instance, nurse midwives work to assist expectant mothers as they progress through their pregnancies. They also manage the labor and delivery process, an experience that can be intimidating a scary, particularly for first-time mothers. A nurse midwife works to guide expectant mothers so that they are able to deliver safely and calmly. The ability to help bring new life into the world is an incredibly rewarding job for nurse midwives.
Ultimately, career satisfaction generally depends on a few key factors. Such factors include the nature of the job that one is performing, the job security of that job, the earning potential involved, and the opportunity for career advancement. As a job that comes with all of these things and more, it is no surprise that nursing is a career that has a great deal of job satisfaction among those who work in this profession.