Here Are The Questions You Should Ask Yourself If You’re Considering A Career In Nursing
Over the past decades, nursing has become a booming career – there are more than 3.1 million registered nurses in the U.S. alone. The U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 16% growth in employment of registered nurses over the next 12 years, which is much faster than the average growth for all occupations. With aging baby boomers, growing rates of chronic conditions like diabetes and obesity, and an increased emphasis on preventative care, nurses will be in high demand for a long time to come.
Here are some important things to consider when choosing a nursing career.
Your Personality and Interests
There are many nursing specialties to choose from. You could be anything from a nurse practitioner to a home health care nurse to a certified nurse midwife. What type of population do you want to work with? What are you passionate about? Why do you want to be a nurse? There are so many different areas of healthcare where nurses are needed that it’s important to assess yourself and your passions in order to choose which path of nursing to follow.
Personal and Professional Goals
Where do you see yourself in 10 years? Do you want a family? Are you looking to grow into leadership positions in your career, or do you want to work solely with patients? Becoming a nurse is a commitment, especially if you want to specialize or get into leadership. While becoming a Registered Nurse (RN) requires an Associate’s degree, many specialties require a Master’s degree, and it’s useful to have a Doctorate degree for many leadership positions. Nursing school in general will pull you in multiple directions with coursework, clinicals, and studying. How will you balance this with your family and social life? Are you willing to commit to 1-10 years of schooling in order to reach your professional goals?
Location and Job Market
Where do you want to live? In general, the job market is excellent for nurses. However, if you want to specialize, you must consider your location. Not all specialties are in demand in all areas. Are you willing to relocate to follow your passion? If not, you will want to consider a specialty that is in demand where you live. Additionally, there will be more opportunities in large cities than in rural areas. Another thing to look at is the licensure requirements of each state. Some states allow nurse practitioners to practice independently, while many require nurse practitioners to be under the direct supervision of a physician.
Levels of Pressure
How much stress can you handle? Certain nursing specialties, like surgical nursing, require long, irregular hours or on call shifts. Leadership roles may demand more of your time and energy. Some specialties may require quick action and on your feet thinking, like ER nursing, whereas others provide more of a routine.
Desire to Work with People
There are over 100 nursing specialties. Although people may think all nurses work with patients, there are many nursing careers that don’t require as much interpersonal interaction. For example, a health policy nurse works behind the scenes analyzing health and public policies. They often work at research firms, legislative offices, or hold elective office.
There are numerous options available if you want to go into nursing. Taking the time to sit down with yourself and analyze what you’re passionate about, what your goals are, and how much time you want to commit to education and your job will lead you to the best choice for your nursing career.
Learn more about a career in nursing here.