There are a lot of reasons why nursing is a rewarding profession with a bright future. If you want to help sick and injured patients, have the opportunity to work in a variety of settings and be a role model for those around you, nursing is a good choice.
Do you need more reasons to be a nurse? Look no further.
We’ve compiled a list of the top reasons why right now, today, is the right time for you to start on your educational path toward a career as a nurse.
1. Industry demand for registered nurses is growing
Registered nurses (RNs) are one of the fastest growing careers in the United States. The profession is expected to grow by 26 percent through 2020 according to O*Net. This steady, booming growth is just one reason a career as an RN has been identified as the second-best healthcare job of 2013 by U.S. News, right behind dentists.
2. The affordable care act is adding to the shortage of nurses
As many as 41.3 million people will gain access to healthcare in 2013 through the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Experts believe the subsequent increases in demand could lead to as many as 400,000 job openings annually over the next 10 years.
Many of these job openings will likely be for nurses. Nurses who hold graduate degrees have licenses that allow them to practice many of the same basic functions of a physician, making them indispensable in solving the healthcare staffing shortage expected in coming years.
3. Aging baby boomers will need additional nursing care
Roughly 10,000 people are turning 65 every day from now until 2030, says Dr. Joan Rich, vice president of nursing at Rasmussen College. As this sizeable generation continues to age, they are going to require a great deal of extra care and medical resources. Nurses who specialize in geriatric care will be tapped to coordinate care plans, act as a healthcare advocate and identify common symptoms from critical ones.
4. Current nurses are reaching retirement age, creating more job openings
The median age of currently-employed nurses is 46, with 50 percent of the workforce “close to retirement,” according to the American Nurses Association (ANA). It is expected that by 2020, many of these nurses will begin their retirement, adding to an influx of nursing job openings. The ANA has issued a call to action to start educating nurses now in preparation for these changes.
5. Technology is adding new dimensions to nursing
Advances in technology are rapidly changing the scope of the healthcare industry, including nursing. One field in particular, informatics, has created a whole new career path for nurses. Informatics deals with measuring data where nursing informatics diagnoses that data and converts it into easy-to-understand information that can be used for patient treatment and care. Nurses that specialize in data analysis will be able to help forge this new frontier.
6. Specializations give nurses a variety of choices
Data is not the only place for new and interesting nursing specializations. Some of the more unique specializations include travel nurses, plastic surgery nurses and even cruise ship nurses.
One of the major benefits about becoming the nurse is that “the sky is the limit,” says Amy Matthys, dean of the nursing program at Rasmussen College’s Bloomington campus. If you lose interest in your initial specialization, Matthys says it’s easy to transition to a new one later in your career.
7. Nurses have more support for educational growth
As part of an initiative to increase the overall quality of nursing care, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Institute of Medicine released a report calling for 80 percent of nurses to hold baccalaureate degrees by 2020. Healthcare institutions are encouraged to support the educational growth of their employees with tuition reimbursement and “a culture that fosters continuing education.”
Nurses that take advantage of options to further their education will have access to more advanced in-demand jobs including nurse manager or nurse practitioner. Many institutions have RN to BSN programs that are designed to help RNs further their career, Matthys says.
8. Nursing careers provide increased flexibility
It’s a commonly-known fact that nurses have a lot of flexibility in their schedule, but that’s not the only place that nurses have a plethora of options from which to choose.
Flexibility in location is another reason to pursue a career as a nurse. Nurses can work anywhere from traditional locations such as hospitals and doctor’s offices to less-obvious locations such as home health care, schools and even in the air as an emergency flight nurse.
9. Salaries for many nursing tracks are growing
Salaries for nurses have grown at a rate significantly above inflation for years. The salary for RNs in particular grew by over $20,000 from 2000 to 2010 to an average of $63,944, according to a study published by the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Bureau of Health Professions.
10. The nursing profession is well-respected
Nurses have been consistently rated as the “most respected profession” by consumers according to Gallup research polls. Nursing is a career that you can be proud of – maybe it’s even a career where others will look up to you. People entrust nurses with some of the most significant moments in their lives, says Matthys. In addition, nursing provides unlimited opportunity for personal growth.
The time is now!
Reasons abound as to why now is a great time to begin a career in nursing. From solid reputations to skyrocketing demand, there truly has never been a better time than now. But perhaps an even more important motive for those that choose this honorable path is the everlasting opportunity for nurses to change lives, a purpose that will never go away.
Interested in learning more about a career in nursing? Visit our School of Nursing program information page or download our healthcare career guide to learn more about how a nursing program would fit into your life.