Nursing is the largest healthcare profession in the U.S., and registered nurses (RNs) make a median annual income of $75,330. During the pandemic, nurses have been spotlighted as frontline workers doing what they always do — care for the sick despite the potential risk to themselves.
Although there are many shortcomings to the American healthcare system, a nursing degree offers many benefits and options. On this page, we explore nine pros of a nursing degree that can make your life better.
9 Reasons Nursing Degrees Make Life Better
Although future nursing laws may require a Bachelor of Science in nursing (BSN) degree, people can currently become an RN with an associate degree in nursing (ADN). An ADN allows nurses to enter the field quickly and offers the chance to get a higher education while working.
After finishing a BSN degree, you may choose to complete a Master of Science in nursing (MSN) or the terminal degree, a doctor of nursing practice (DNP).
Since the pandemic, more programs are offering online nursing options for a higher education nursing degree. This increases job opportunities and salary potential. While higher education opens more job options, nurses have job security at nearly every level of education.
The healthcare industry must grow to meet the demands of the baby boomer generation, all of whom will be 65 and over by 2030. Until then, it’s estimated that roughly 10,000 baby boomers reach retirement age every day.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention six out of 10 adults in the U.S. have at least one chronic illness, and four out of 10 have two or more. As the healthcare industry grows to care for the needs of a rising number of seniors and people with chronic illnesses, the need for nurses also expands.
Nurses have the potential to work in many different positions within the industry. To become an RN, a person must be hold an ADN or a BSN to be licensed. Most employers are looking for BSN-prepared nurses, which opens more job options in many settings, including:
- Doctors’ offices
- Community health nursing
- Home health nursing
- Long-term care
- Birthing centers
- Correctional facilities
After becoming an RN, the career options for nurses expand with higher education. For example, depending on the focus of an MSN or a DNP, nurses can work as:
The ability to work within several fields with a nursing degree is one benefit found in very few other career options. Nurses may start their career in patient care but choose to move into research, nurse administration, informatics, or education as their career develops, without switching careers.
Nurses Are in Demand
The nursing shortage is expected to grow in the coming years as baby boomers retire and the need for healthcare intensifies. Burnout and loss of nursing retention during the pandemic also contributed to nurses leaving bedside nursing to opt for other career paths. There is also a faculty shortage in nursing programs across the U.S. This significantly impacts the number of students that programs can admit and graduate.
Online programs are helping to ease some of that burden, but nurses continue to need clinical preceptors who can guide their patient care application. One reason to pursue a BSN is because BSN-prepared nurses are in high demand in patient care areas and other areas of healthcare where the nursing skill set is highly sought after.
A BSN-prepared nurse has a broader education in nursing that opens opportunities in:
- Patient care
The degree is also becoming a requirement for patient care. New York passed a law in 2017 that requires all nurses to have a BSN within 10 years of their initial licensure.
While most positions are in high demand, several have seen more growth than others. These include:
- Critical care
- Operating room nurses
- Nurse practitioners
Your Job Is Never Boring
There are several reasons why nurses are rarely bored in their job. Nurses work in a changing environment, must think on their feet, and one day is never the same as the last.
Since nurses’ skills are transferable, they can move from one nursing specialty or career position to the next with little extra education or on-the-job training. A nurse’s patient population also changes nearly every day, and there’s never a shortage of something to do, so it’s highly unlikely you’ll ever be bored.
Nurses Are Respected
In 1999, Gallup began an annual survey to determine public perception of the most ethical and honest profession. In December 2020, for an impressive 19 years, Americans ranked nurses in the number one position.
At the end of 2020, one year into the pandemic, nurses earned 89% “very high” or “high” score, which was a record 4% higher than the previous record high recorded in 2019. With this high amount of respect has come the glorification of nurses’ sacrifices each day to care for patients.
For some, the praise from the media calling them “healthcare heroes” has had potentially negative consequences. One of those consequences is imposter syndrome.
It’s more commonly found among high achievers who have difficulty accepting their success and attribute success to luck rather than ability. This leads to fear that they will eventually be unmasked as a fraud. It’s crucial for nurses who may be struggling with these feelings to talk to nurse mentors and recognize that no one is perfect.
Another strategy that can help is to work with younger students. This can help nurses realize how much they know and take an honest and accurate assessment of their abilities. Nurses also find it helpful to get support from their peers. They can also speak with a therapist who can give them the tools to break the cycle.
You Can Choose From a Variety of Specialties
There are over 100 different specialties, and you can choose from some of the best nursing specialties. Nurses can focus on general healthcare such as medical-surgical nursing, gerontological nurse practitioner, or adult nurse practitioner.
You can also specialize in patient care areas such as:
- Correctional health nursing
If you want to move away from patient care, you could consider:
One of the pros of a nursing degree is that it is a generalist education, which means you learn your patient care specialty after graduating. A nursing education can give you the foundation to move from one specialty to another without requiring another degree program.
Nursing Is a Satisfying Career
Satisfaction in the workplace can be measured using two different criteria. Job satisfaction measures how well you are satisfied with the facility or job applying your skills. Career satisfaction measures how satisfied you are with your career choice.
American Mobile Nurses Healthcare published a survey in 2021 in which they found 81% of nurses asked were “extremely satisfied” or “satisfied” with their career choice, and 75% were satisfied with the quality of care they provide.
Most nurses understand their career choice to be a nurse is not an easy one, but it is highly satisfying and a personally rewarding career. Nurses who have high job satisfaction strive to connect with their patients and families so they are better positioned to make a real difference in their lives. They also intentionally work to find their niche in healthcare and seek out professional growth and development opportunities.
Some nurses, however, are reconsidering the nursing profession due to the pandemic, nursing shortages, and a feeling that administration under supports nurses. Consider asking yourself these four questions if you’re reconsidering nursing.
Benefits are a valuable part of your employment package as a nurse. They help boost the financial value of your salary and provide you with options to care for your mental health. The most common types offered to employees are medical, disability, and life insurance, paid time off, and retirement benefits. Many employees from small companies don’t receive medical insurance as it can cost an employer several hundred dollars each month.
It’s important to consider your benefits package as part of your total compensation. Hospitals, clinics, and doctor’s offices typically offer excellent benefits to their nurses. Travel nurses get additional benefits to compensate them for living away from home.
In addition, nurses may also receive:
- Bonuses for working extra shifts
- Tuition reimbursement
- Wellness programs
- Subsidized travel
- Student loan repayment
- Paid family leave
Nurses can learn many highly transferable skills sought after by employers outside the healthcare industry. This means that if you decide to leave healthcare one day, you will have skills that attract other employers.
Nurses must be highly skilled communicators, adept at conflict resolution, able to adapt to changing priorities, and understand and incorporate the factors of risk management. These are highly valued soft skills nurses learn in school and on the job.
Nurses have earned the trust of millions for 19 years running, consistently being recognized for their ethical standards and integrity. You can see this dedication firsthand daily as they assist people with various illnesses and injuries.
Nurses are renowned for their commitment and perseverance. These traits are essential in working in such a demanding field, and can make all the difference when it comes to succeeding as a nurse.
1. It’s rewarding
Nursing is one of the most rewarding careers available. It allows you to form meaningful connections with patients and assist them through some of life’s toughest moments.
Finding a career that provides such an intense sense of meaning and fulfillment can be hard, but nurses do it every day. Their work revolves around connecting to people and making them feel like part of an extended family.
Nurses have the unique opportunity to work in a variety of settings and specialty fields, which keeps their jobs exciting and prevents burnout.
Anyone seeking to make a positive impact and contribute to society will find this profession an ideal choice. Additionally, it provides ample opportunity for networking with colleagues and building your professional network is an invaluable asset.
2. You can make a difference
One of the rewarding aspects of nursing is that you have the power to make a difference in people’s lives. Whether in an institution such as hospitals, clinics or laboratories, nurses help patients feel more at ease and secure in their surroundings.
Though you may not always realize the far-reaching consequences of your actions, those affected by them will remember your kindness for years to come. Empathizing with others helps us identify their vulnerabilities and needs so that we can work toward solutions together.
Nurses have the unique opportunity to advocate for the health of their community and ensure everyone has access to high-quality healthcare. Furthermore, you can help people comprehend and process information they receive about their wellbeing.
A nursing degree can make you more contented in your job, as you have more freedom and options for growth and development. The variety of patient cases you deal with will sharpen your skills and encourage you to find new solutions to enhance healthcare quality in your community.
3. It’s challenging
Nurses typically work long hours and must be able to adjust their schedules quickly. Shifts often alter from week to week, disrupting sleep patterns and creating stress for nurses.
Nursing school can be challenging, but it also offers the chance to learn and build a career in an ever-evolving field. With your nursing degree, you could work in hospitals, hospices, GP surgeries or provide one-on-one care at home.
When applying to a nursing program, it’s wise to begin by speaking with an admissions adviser and learning about all of the program requirements. They can then assist in determining if you meet those qualifications and are eligible to apply.
4. You’re flexible
One of the greatest advantages to nursing is its flexible schedules. Nurses can work part time or full time, with some even enjoying seasonal shifts. This freedom gives you control over your own life and the chance to find a job that fits perfectly into your schedule.
In addition to flexibility, you may be fortunate enough to work at a hospital or clinic that offers specialty nursing programs. This could give you the chance to explore various medical specialties like paediatrics, intensive care, geriatrics, mental health and oncology first-hand.
A quality nursing program will offer you the chance to explore and hone your interests in a nurturing atmosphere. You’ll gain the necessary skillsets for success, as well as access to like-minded peers who can assist in realizing goals and dreams. Most importantly, you’ll receive rewarding satisfaction knowing that you are making a difference in people’s lives.
5. You’re a people person
Nursing is a profession that necessitates compassion and excellent communication abilities. Nurses are frequently responsible for guiding patients through various healthcare environments such as hospitals, private practices and nursing homes.
They possess advanced training to administer medication, monitor patient health, perform diagnostic tests and educate their patients on relevant medical topics. Furthermore, they collaborate closely with other health care professionals in order to deliver quality care.
A nursing degree can provide the basis for a rewarding career in healthcare. It could lead to various positions, from direct patient care to research, education or public health.
When working and studying simultaneously, it’s essential to stay organized and on track. Prioritize tasks and clear away any clutter that may be hindering your performance; this includes keeping your laptop charged, storing necessary supplies centrally, and eliminating unnecessary items from your life.
6. You’re always learning
As a nurse, you must constantly learn something new every day – whether that’s reviewing anatomy or taking an exam. Your ability to apply what you learn in real-world situations is paramount for your success as an administrator.
Everyone learns differently – some are visual learners, while others excel at writing notes and flashcards. Understanding your individual style of study can help you study more efficiently and retain more information.
One of the most essential steps you can take to be successful in nursing school is dedicating time for studying and homework. You won’t get much accomplished cramming a week’s worth of reading into a few hours on Saturday or Sunday; so create an organized study routine and stick to it consistently.
Another effective way to stay motivated in your studies is by connecting with classmates to exchange learning experiences and strategies. Having peers who are also going through nursing school provides encouragement and accountability, helping you stay on track.
7. You’re a team player
Nursing is a demanding career that necessitates working closely with others. Teamwork can help reduce medical errors, enhance patient outcomes and create more efficient workflow processes.
One way to foster teamwork is by appreciating each member’s individual skillsets. If one nurse excels at placing IVs, for instance, you can draw upon her expertise to ensure your patients receive comfortable and secure care.
Expressing gratitude for the work of all of your teammates in school and at work can help build rapport with them. Furthermore, they may be more willing to offer assistance when you’re busy or require extra assistance during a shift.
Gratitude can also make it easier to stay motivated towards your career objectives. For instance, if you aspire to move up into management in the future, earning your BSN may provide you with many more possibilities and enhance your prospects.
8. You’re a hero
One of the greatest rewards of a nursing degree is that you get to help people. Being on the front lines every day, it’s essential that you understand patients’ needs and how best to provide support.
You get to witness the positive outcomes of your efforts every day. For instance, you might observe a patient improving after receiving new treatments or witness their condition improving over time.
Nurses must possess the capability of performing more complex tasks and using advanced tools, such as ultrasounds or digital medical devices. A nursing degree is a great way to acquire these abilities and prepare for a career in this competitive field. Your local university likely offers various programs in this area – bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees included – which may allow part-time work alongside your studies for maximum benefit. To maximize your education experience, consider joining an integrated part-time work program alongside studies.
9. You’re never alone
By joining Nurse.com, you’ll join an expansive community of nurses with similar interests and goals. This support network can help you cope with challenges and give you the drive to overcome them.
Nurses make excellent time managers, understanding how to prioritize their tasks and meet deadlines. Discipline is also essential since you will likely be working in high-stress environments during shifts; maintaining a cool head while completing tasks will be essential.
Your family and friends can offer endless encouragement when times get tough. They’ll assure you that everything will be okay in the end, and there are always positive outcomes from even difficult experiences. This truth cannot be overemphasized; it’s one of many reasons nursing is such a great major for those who want to make an impact on society.