There are so many great reasons to become a nurse. No job is going to be all bad or all good, but a mixture of the two. And nursing definitely has it’s good and it’s bad qualities. But, let’s talk about the good things. The reasons why you should become a nurse.
Top Reasons You SHOULD Become a Nurse
Hey you guys! Welcome back to the Nursing School Week by Week Podcast. I’m your host Melanie, and today I want to talk about some reasons why you should become a nurse. I know my last episode was all kinds of reasons why you should not, so I want to balance it out a little bit, because no job is going to be all bad or all good, but a mixture of the two. And nursing definitely has it’s good and it’s bad qualities. But, let’s talk about the good things. The reasons why you should become a nurse.
First of all, nursing school is, yes, a lot of work, but it’s super interesting. If you’re listening to this podcast then you’re probably already interested in the human body, and you get to go to school and learn all about the human body and how it works. And what kinds of things can go wrong, and what to do when the human body stops working. And that’s pretty cool. Seems much more interesting than say, finance, or accounting.
Another thing is, you’re always gonna be able to find a job. The nursing field is very stable. We always need nurses. I mean, if you have your mind set on a very specific field, or if you want to go work in a clinic on a day-time shift, that might be a little difficult, but if you’re just looking for A nursing job, you won’t have any problem finding a job cause they’re always hiring. Now you may want to ask yourself why they’re always hiring, and look at the turnover rate at place that you’re thinking of applying to, but they’re always hiring nurses somewhere, so it should be relatively easy to get that first nursing job, as opposed to like an ultrasound tech, sonographer, radio tech, some of those more specialized jobs can be difficult to find that first job to get your foot in the door. Often times they have to work PRN for years before they can land a permanent job. But you shouldn’t have that problem as a nurse.
Also, now if you pass the NCLEX, you are certified to work in most states, not just one. I am a registered nurse not only just in the state that I’m in, but I think in pretty much all if not all the state. Which is nice, especially if you live a more nomadic life. Like say, your spouse is a military member, or for some reason you guys just like to move around a lot. Nursing would be a great job for you to have because you can move to a different state and get a job wherever you are. There’s also the travel option. If you really want to see the world and travel around, you could be a travel nurse and that pays so well. I know some of the travel nurses that work on the unit I’m in are getting paid probably 4 times more than what I’m making. Which, you know, I don’t want to think about that too long. But if you’re interested in traveling; you can’t always do it as a brand new nurse, but once you’ve been a nurse for a couple years, it’s definitely something to look into. And I’ve even heard of travel nurses, because the pay is so good, they don’t have to work the whole year, some of them will work for a few months of the year, and then take a few months off, and then take another contract for a few months, and then take a few months off. Go visit family, whatever they want to do. So there’s a lot of flexibility in that.
There’s also a lot of flexibility as a non-traveler, just working at the same hospital. There’s a lot more flexibility in your schedule as a nurse than I have seen in any other job that I’ve had. Most jobs are 8-5, 9-5, (working 9 to 5, what a way to make a living), um, you know monday through friday. But nursing is usually self-scheduling, so you log on to the computer system and you can choose your own shifts. You are usually either day shift or night shift, sometimes you can do both. Like I started on day shift, and now I’m doing mostly night shift, but since I did day shift for a while, sometimes I’ll pick up a day shift here and there, just if it’s better for my family's schedule. There’s a lot of flexibility in that. Also, I know some nurses that normally work a 12 hour shift, but sometimes they’ll come in and work for just 4 hours to help out. And this would be ideal if you have school-age children. You could drop them off at 7:30 in the morning, pick them up at 2:00 in the afternoon, so you’ve got about 5 hours to kill. You could just go into work for a few hours and then pick up your kids from school.
Another pro for nursing is the pay. The pay is pretty good, especially when you consider that you can get into the nursing field in less than two years. They call it a two year degree, but really, it’s like 18 months, so a year and a half, and you’re in. So when you consider that, nurses do get paid pretty well if you compare it to other two year degrees. Now, when you look at the actual work that nurses do, depending on your specialty, it can often feel like you don’t get paid enough, because just the nature of our jobs. It’s very hands-on and very sometimes back-breaking work. And you’re always on mentally. So it is definitely hard work, but looking at the amount of time you spend in school trying to get into the field, then it does seem like nurses are compensated adequately.
Nursing comes with great benefits. Most of the hospitals now offer tuition reimbursement benefits. You can get your two year nursing degree, start working, and then the hospital will pay for you to go on and get your bachelor’s degree.
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One of the main benefits of nursing is the feeling that you take away most days after your shift. Yes, you might be exhausted, but overall, you take away this feeling like what you have done during the day mattered. You really helped people. Before I was a nurse, I worked at a bank, and sometimes I would leave feeling a little icky. Like we were encouraged to upsell loans and more and more checking and savings accounts, trying to get them to take out personal loans, and house loans. To refinance, and it didn’t really feel like I was making a difference in people’s lives, and helping people. And I do feel like that in my role as a nurse. Yes, you’re gonna have some rude patients, patients that will tell you, “You’re doing a terrible job”, or make you feel like they aren’t grateful. But that’s the exception. Most of the patients are very grateful for what you’re doing as a nurse. And tied in with that is that nursing is, year after year, the number one top respected profession in the United States. I think the only time in the last 20 years that it didn’t come in at number one as the most respected job was after 9/11 when that spot went to firefighters. Which makes sense. But it feels good when someone asks you, “What do you do for a living?” Say, “I’m a nurse”. Everyone knows what that is, and everyone thinks highly of that profession. It’s something that you can be proud of and hold your head up a little higher.
There’s also room for growth in the nursing field. Let’s say you start out with just a two year degree, then you get the hospital to pay for your four year bachelor’s degree. Then, if you still want to move up the ladder, you could look into becoming a nurse practitioner, or a nurse anesthetist, or a nurse educator. There is always room and opportunities for further education, and increasing your salary as well.
Also, you’re never going to be bored as a nurse. If you do get bored on one unit, you can easily switch to another unit or specialty. There is a lot of cross-training that goes on in the nursing field. And if you work at a hospital, they tend to hire from within first before they’ll look at outside applicants that don’t work at that hospital, so you have a very good chance of landing the job you want to try out in a different specialty. And you can choose a specialty that always has something going on. Like, if you’re an adrenaline junkie, you could choose to work in the ER, and then you’re gonna see some stuff. You’re always gonna have a story to tell, whether people want to hear it or not.
Also, let’s say you don’t want to work in the hospital at all. Let’s say you want to work at home. That is definitely an option once you’ve been a nurse for a couple years. Telehealth nursing, or utilization review. I’m gonna do a whole episode on alternative, work from home nursing jobs. Another thing is that, because nursing is so fast paced, and there’s always something that needs to be done, your day goes by really quickly. Yes, most of the shifts are 12, 13 hours. But it doesn’t feel like 12, 13 hours would in another job. Cause it just goes by so quickly. Especially those first 4 hours, just fly by. It feels like 30 minutes.
Another benefit of nursing is that you get to wear scrubs, which are super comfy. I know a lot of the scrubs now, like the FIGGS are really tight fitting, and you can go that route if you want, or you can get loose fitting scrubs that feel like pajamas. When you’re in the middle of a shift, you definitely want to be comfortable and you want your uniform to be functional. So you gotta have some pockets to carry all your stuff. But the fact that you can just wake up before your shift, go to your closet, grab one set of scrubs, and you don’t have to worry about matching or looking cute. Just grab your scrubs, they look professional as a nurse, and you’re good to go.
As a nurse, you’ll feel like you are part of a team. Taking care of a patient is not a single-person effort. It’s a team effort. It takes the nurses, it takes the doctors, it takes the respiratory therapist, and the physical therapist, and the case workers. It’s definitely a team effort, and you feel that. And it’s really cool to be able to work with and talk to the doctors. The doctors will come around and ask you questions about what you’ve observed and you can even make recommendations to the doctors and it’s neat to feel like you’re an important part of that patient’s care team.
As far as always being able to get a job, there’s also always a hospital nearby. A hospital or a clinic, so you probably won’t have to drive very far to get to your job. And as far as going to school to get your nursing degree, there are always colleges and community colleges nearby, so you won’t have to go far to get your nursing degree. And then nursing education is usually quite affordable compared to a lot of other degrees.
You have a lot of autonomy in your day, during your nursing shift to kinda make it what you want it to be. No one’s telling you exactly what to say to your patients or the exact order of what to do when you go into a patient’s room. I mean, I’ve heard of nurses that will come in and sing to their patients, or you could tell jokes. You could really make your nursing delivery whatever you want it to be. And you could try different things and see what you like. See what works. There are definitely certain things that you have to get done. You have to get your medications passed and your dressings changed. You have to complete the doctor’s orders, but within that there is a lot of space for creativity and bonding that you can do with your patient. You know, there’s not gonna be a doctor’s order that says, “make eye contact with the patient and pat the patient on the back when they’re crying because they just got a diagnosis of cancer.” That’s not a doctor’s order, but that is something that you as a nurse can choose to do, and how much healing does that provide for the patient. No, it’s not a medication, but it’s a connection that maybe that patient needs in that moment, and you are there to provide that connection and that empathy.
I have another degree that I got before my nursing degree. It’s an education degree, and in a way, there is a lot that I can take from what I learned in that degree and apply it to my nursing, cause there’s a lot of education that goes into nursing. Educating the patient on how to continue their care once they get home. Say, they have a dressing, they’ll need to learn how to perform dressing changes when they’re at home, and you’re educating often not just the patient, but family members as well. And you get to choose how you do that. What you say to help them. How you demonstrate that. I’ve seen some nurses and doctors come in and use the white board on the wall and draw actual pictures of the human body, of the organ that’s not working quite right for that patient. They’ll draw pictures, and I’ve seen nurses come up with catchy little phrases to help the patients remember certain things. So that’s kind of nice, just to have that autonomy to make your day what you want it to look like, as much as possible, and to infuse a little bit of your own personality into the interactions you have with your patients. And, no I haven’t had a single nursing shift that went totally according to plan. There’s always something unexpected that’s gonna pop up.
You also get to choose your own brain sheets. There are so many options on Etsy and all over the internet. You can try different ones and see what you find that works best. One of my friends has this adorable little spiral bound book with laminated sheets that she can write in with a dry erase pen, and that works really well for her. I came up with my own brain sheet that I made on Google Docs that’s totally perfect for my own unit. And you can come up with your own brain sheet that works for you once you get to your unit. There are a lot of ways that you can make your nursing shift personalized to what works for you.
Alright, you guys. I hope all these reasons for why you should become a nurse were helpful to you. Maybe you are on the fence about going to nursing school, or maybe you’ve already been accepted and are getting more and more excited about it. Please leave a comment in the review section letting me know where you are in your nursing school journey. I love hearing from you all. Have a great week, and I’ll talk to you again soon.
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