An education in nursing is a catalyst. With healthcare as one of the fastest growing industries in the United States, nursing offers its practitioners unmatched opportunities to both make a difference in other people’s lives and to be the driving force behind their own careers.
Nurses are in demand
As the first point of contact for most patients entering a healthcare setting, nurses fulfill an essential role, guaranteeing there will always be a need for nurses. In addition, highly competent nurses with advanced training are an integral component of evolving health care models. The result is ample opportunity for professional development, with continuing education and research situated at the core of this dynamic career path.
Employment for registered nurses is expected to grow 19% by 2022 according to the U.S. Department of Labor. To compare, the projected growth for all occupations is only 11%. The Dept. of Labor credits the growth in nurses to several reasons including an increased emphasis on preventative care; growing rates of chronic conditions, such as diabetes and obesity; and demand for health care services from the baby boomer population, as they live longer and more active lives.
Nurses serve their communities
Nurses are patients’ primary advocates, both inside a medical care facility and out. It is nurses who spend time with patients throughout a medical visit, caring for them as individual persons. It is also nurses who focus their research on improving patient care delivery systems so that the needs of the most ill are better met. Experiences with illness and modern medical treatment can be daunting, and it is nurses who help guide patients and their families through the process, making them feel confident about the care they receive.
Nurses choose how and where they apply their skills
Nurses develop skills that can be assets in a breadth of functions and settings. From assisting in the emergency room of a major hospital to providing free health education seminars in a community-based clinic; from writing a consultation plan at a desk within a multi-national corporation to rolling up their sleeves alongside newly trained nurse-midwives in Africa; from researching and developing population specific interventions to speaking with members of Congress about patient and nurse rights on Capitol Hill, nurses have the opportunity to practice where they want and in accordance with their interests.
The field of nursing isn’t for everyone. Nurses must be able to work under pressure and think on their feet. Nurses must integrate theory into practice, sometimes putting aside conventional wisdom for the sake of innovation. Despite these certain challenges – or perhaps because of them – nurses work and thrive on the front lines of healthcare, advocating for patients at all levels: in practice settings, in labs, in businesses, and in policy. Opportunities await, and applying to a nursing program is the first step down an exciting and fulfilling career path.