Nursing can be a challenging career route to take and requires someone who is strong, benevolent and passionate about maintaining the health and well-being of a population.  But it is also one of the few careers that can be rewarding both emotionally and practically.

If you feel you’ve got the right characteristics and want a career which makes you feel like you’ve made a difference to people’s lives every day, then a career in nursing might just be the perfect fit.  The challenges of nursing have been in the spotlight for a long time, but the COVID-19 pandemic brought these into sharp focus. When most of the world’s population was told to stay at home, nurses and other healthcare professionals had to keep working. Since nurses have been hailed as the heroes of society, the pressure of the pandemic has seen nurses leave the industry in large numbers, meaning there is a shortage of people joining the profession.   With a predicted 16% growth in employment for registered nurses throughout the decade, now is a better time than any to sign up to a nurse practitioner doctorate degree.  Here are five more reasons it’s worth considering this career route.

  1. Make a Difference to Someone’s Life

Nursing is a versatile profession and there are varied ways to make a difference. Teaching patients more about their illness will provide them with a better understanding to help them cope.  Showing genuine compassion and developing rapport with patients can significantly improve their mental health whilst they are in hospital.  Many people claim that the nursing staff are the reason they got better, not only due to the practical help but also because of the support and care they displayed to the patient.

Nursing is a varied but rewarding role, whether it’s looking after patients in their final moments of life, providing comfort to those facing scary surgeries or treatments, or visiting people’s homes to give vital aftercare in changing and cleaning dressings. Nurses truly make a difference in people’s lives when they are at their most vulnerable, which means that nursing is a profession that gives someone a strong sense of purpose. Nursing is a career that should not be done for the attractive salary alone. Nursing is a selfless profession that is all about giving back to people and making a difference in the lives of others. You have to really care about what you do to support patients and their families through difficult situations.

  1. Opportunities for Personal Growth

Nursing is a profession in which you are constantly learning both academically and personally.  In order to be the best in this industry you need to understand yourself and learn how to be truly empathic and compassionate towards others. Gaining these skills and knowledge can benefit you in your personal life as well as your career.

As previously mentioned, nursing is a rewarding but incredibly challenging role, so it is important that nurses look after themselves to allow for personal and professional growth to happen. In order to do this, it is vital that nurses strike a work-life balance to thrive in their roles. One way to do this is to make self-care a priority – making time for hobbies and interests that offer a form of escape from their work lives is very important. Painting, reading, journaling, walking, and yoga are therapeutic hobbies that encourage personal growth and exploration. Nurses who take the time to pursue these interests will avoid burnout and feel refreshed and inspired to take on the next challenge in their professional lives.

Personal and professional growth are often linked. For some nurses working in the industry, rising up the ranks of education is part of their personal growth and is something that will give them the confidence to reach for the higher level jobs within the nursing sector. For example, if you are a nurse who would like to work in a leadership role or move into a research role that will improve the profession for the generations to come, you might consider taking a Ph.D. to do this. The good news is that dedicated nurses don’t have to take time out of their jobs to achieve this. Wilkes University offers a PhD in nursing that is being provided on a part-time basis online that allows you to balance your personal life, education, and career. The expertise gained from completing a Ph.D. can boost levels of self-confidence and improve your decision-making as a nurse and as a human being.

  1. An Evolving Industry

There are constant changes and advances in medicine and technology which creates challenges for healthcare professionals but can also offer new opportunities for nurses.  Nursing informatics is a relatively new field which incorporates knowledge of patient care with the latest technologies, enabling nurses to more effectively care for patients in medical facilities.  If you’re contemplating studying an online doctoral nursing program then the chances are you’re more than happy traversing the land of technology so this career route might be perfect for you.

  1. Flexible Working

Nursing is known for being a flexible career option. Firstly, the healthcare setting where a nurse can work is incredibly varied. As a nurse, you might be working at a large specialist hospital with thousands of patients located in a big city or at a small hospital with only a few units in a rural location. While it is true that more than half of all nurses work in hospitals, there are other settings where nurses can work. You could work at a private practice, or doctor’s office, work providing outpatient care, or even be a local nurse that visits patients to provide care in their homes. Traditional medical settings like these are the first places that spring to mind when it comes to the setting in which a nurse could work. However, nursing isn’t limited to just these. Educational facilities and schools also require nurses, as does the military and travel industry; you could be a nurse stationed on a cruise ship or at an airport, for instance.

In addition to the varied locations where a nurse could work, there are many different specialties in nursing, which is another way that this is a flexible option. Cardiology, oncology, critical care, ER, geriatric, and family care nursing are popular areas of nursing that each require different skills and patterns of working. A family nurse or a nurse working in an oncology unit will likely get to know their patients as they could treat them over many years. In contrast, a nurse who works in the ER may not have the same opportunity to build a lasting relationship with their patients. The wide variety of nursing specialties means that you will be sure to find an area that best fits with your skills and nursing style. It also means that there is always an opportunity to try something different and broaden your knowledge in other subject areas.

Most employers are keen to offer employees flexible working patterns tailored to an individual’s needs and requirements because it is key to building a happy workforce and working environment.  It also helps the individual to achieve a successful work-life balance or meet the demands of being a working parent. Nurse rotas are flexible. Unlike a traditional 9 to 5 job, nurses are required around the clock. In a hospital setting, nurses might work longer shifts but work fewer days per week, or they might work night shifts for one week but then have the following week off, or with reduced hours, which gives nurses flexibility.

If travel is important to you, the flexible nature of nursing means that there are also travel opportunities on the job. There are specialist nursing agencies that help nurses find jobs that fit their interests. Whether you want to travel and work somewhere new in your home country or you wish to travel abroad and work as a nurse, there are opportunities for everyone. Lots of agencies will pay for a nurse’s travel and accommodation expenses, too, which is a great benefit.

  1. A Good Salary

Nursing salaries can depend on many factors such as hours, environment and travel. Your level of education can also influence how much you earn so progressing from a BSN to a DNP executive leadership program could be a good career choice.  The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the average annual salary for registered nurses was $67,490 in 2015 with the top 10% earning more than $101,630.

Nurses are advocates in their field by educating and helping others strive for a better quality of life.  There are many reasons why nursing is a great career option to consider. This article outlines five main benefits of nursing as a career path. It is a rewarding career and one that offers many exciting opportunities for personal and professional growth. If you have a passion for helping others in an always-changing industry, nursing might just be the career you are looking for.