Studying for a career in nursing and obtaining a nursing degree is not something everyone will be able to do, nor is it something everyone should do. In fact, nursing is a highly specialized job, and although it is technically open to anyone who might want to try, it does take a certain type of person to truly succeed. That person must be hard-working, flexible, empathetic, punctual, great at teamwork, and not at all squeamish, among many other things.
Yet if you are all those things – and more – and you do want to go into nursing, you’ll need a degree. With that in mind, what are the benefits of having a nursing degree, and how can you use it to your advantage? Read on to find out.
You’ll Be Able To Help Others
One of the biggest reasons anyone wants to become a nurse is to help others. They won’t be helping them in a vague sense, and it won’t be a haphazard kind of help – this will be real and recognized assistance. A nurse will learn how to look after a patient in many different ways, from treating wounds to administering medication to talking to someone about a procedure they might be having. Nurses can even help just by being a listening ear.
A hospital visit without a nurse would not be a pleasant experience in the least. The patient might recover, but they wouldn’t have the same level of care – doctors are there to carry out the work, but nurses are there to be a more human side to healthcare, and this is crucial. It is even said that a more positive, happier patient will recover more quickly compared to one that is scared and anxious. If a nurse can turn a scared patient into a positive one, this is a big part of the job done.
If you want to help others in a way that truly makes a difference in their lives (and might even save lives in some cases), obtaining your nursing degree will allow you to see that ambition come true.
It’s Just The Start
When you start your nursing career, you’ll need a degree – that will enable you to start work as an RN or registered nurse. However, although many nurses do choose to stay at this level, if you want to move forward, this is, of course, just the start. It’s a crucial start, though, because, without your RN qualification, you won’t be able to do anything else.
If you want to become a family nurse practitioner, for example, you’ll need the right qualification to enable you to take that step. You might think this would be impossible; how can you go back to school when you’re a full-time nurse without damaging your career, even if the step you’re taking is meant to boost your career? The fact is that, thanks to technology, you can do both. If you were to take an MSN FNP online, this would enable you to move forwardwhile working. It would still be a lot of hard work, and you would need to fit your studies around your shifts, but it would mean you didn’t have to sacrifice anything other than your time – which you would have done anyway.
No matter what kind of nurse you want to be or where you want to end up, the first step in your career path is the initial nursing degree. Once you have that, you can move in any direction you want to once you feel ready.
You’ll Get A Job
Another excellent benefit of having a nursing degree is that you’ll get a job. When you consider many other career paths, you’ll see that even with a good degree, there aren’t the jobs available for everyone. This is why people take jobs that don’t relate to the degree they studied for or even any interests they might have. This can be very disappointing, and in some cases, it can even lead to mental health issues like depression.
Although we’re not saying the ideal nursing job will be available when you want it, there will certainly be a job for you once you have your nursing degree. It might be further away from home than you would like, making the commute longer, or it could be in a hospital when you wanted to work in a clinic (or vice versa), or perhaps it’s not in the healthcare facility you wanted to work in. However, there will still be a job, and you will be able to put all your nursing skills to the test. If you don’t enjoy that job, you’ll still be able to help people and gain that all-important experience so that when the ideal job does come up, you can apply for it with confidence.
In a world where the job market is not stable and can be quite traumatic to look into, nursing allows you breathing space to find work and start earning as soon as you graduate.
Freedom To Work Anywhere
In some jobs, you have to work in a city. In others, you have to work from home (which is often less of a strain but still needs some thinking, especially when setting up a home office and ensuring you have all the equipment you need). When you are a nurse, you won’t be working from home, but you can effectively choose where you work. You can work in a city if you prefer cities over the countryside. Or if you want to avoid cities, that’s possible too.
Maybe you’ve always wanted to live in a specific state because you love the climate or the facilities or because a loved one lives there. As a nurse, you have absolute freedom to decide exactly where you want to live, as long as there is a job there for you. As we said above, nurses are needed everywhere, and nursing jobs are not in short supply. So even if you need to compromise a little, you can still choose anywhere in the country to live and work once you have your RN qualification.
Yet there is more to this idea than simply picking your favorite new city or state. What if you could work in any country in the world? When you are a nurse, this could be possible. There might be additional qualifications that you’ll need. It will usually be necessary to be able to speak the local language – communication is a massively important part of nursing, and if you can’t speak to or understand your patients, then you won’t be able to help them in the right way – but if you can do these things, you can travel the world as a nurse. There would even be a career choice of travel nurse if you wanted to work while you explore new places.
Job satisfaction might not be high on your list of priorities when you are thinking of becoming a nurse – or thinking of any other career, come to that. Many people often don’t think about it until it’s too late and they are already working. At this point, they’ll either have good job satisfaction or they won’t, and not having it can be extremely detrimental to their health and wellbeing.
You can imagine how it would feel, and maybe you’ve already been in this kind of situation, when you don’t enjoy your work and get no satisfaction from it. You’ll only do what is absolutely necessary, and you won’t go above and beyond. While this might seem fair from your point of view, it could mean that you miss out on career opportunities which might include more money, for example. You’ll also find that other areas of your life are affected when you dislike your job and get no satisfaction from it. You’ll be irritable and down, and even when you’re away from work, you’ll worry about it. Work is a big part of our lives and should make us feel good, not depressed.
That’s why nursing can be an excellent choice and is another benefit of having a nursing degree. In surveys, nursing often comes out near or at the top regarding job satisfaction. There are many reasons for this, and it will depend on whether you have the traits that make a good nurse. Still, it will be down to a combination of rewarding work, being able to help people, the right pay, opportunities for career progression, and flexibility, among other things.
The great thing about a nursing career is that it can be anything you want it to be. You can work where you want, your hours can be tailored to you (once you have experience and more seniority, anyway), and there are numerous specialisms you can work towards. So, of course, job satisfaction is sure to be high.
Nursing is hard work, and the hours are long. That is a fact that cannot and should not be ignored. You need to be able to handle this kind of work, which may well be 12 or more hours at a time with relatively few breaks. You’ll be on your feet for most of your shift, and a lot of physical labor is involved.
Those are the negatives – or they might be positives if you love that kind of challenge. However, the shiftwork you need to do means that the hours you work are fairly flexible. You might have to work a weekend, but it won’t be every weekend, and when you do work Saturdays and Sundays, you’ll have time off in the week, which can mean things like going to the gym or the grocery store are much easier as they are less crowded.
Shifts can also mean working overnight, and although this will take some getting used to, it also has its advantages. Your commute to your place of work will be easier as you’ll usually be going against the stream of traffic. If you take public transport, there is more likely to be somewhere to sit. Plus, if you have kids, you’ll be able to spend time with them when other working parents might not.
As well as this, if you did want to start a side gig, you will be able to do so around your shifts. This is not always easy to do when you have a regular Monday-to-Friday nine-to-five job.
When you are a nurse, you need to be flexible – shifts can change, and emergencies can come up. You might even choose to take someone’s shift for them so they’ll take one of yours in the future when you need it. However, if you can be flexible (something you’ll need to be able to do anyway because no two days of nursing are the same), then it will work out well. In this case, a nursing degree is definitely worth working for.
Day To Day Variety
We mentioned above how no two days of nursing are the same, which is an important point. Sometimes people get very bored doing the same thing, day in and day out. Although routine in life is good, too much can make things seem stale and dull. If you are the kind of person who hates having to get up at the same time each morning, leave the house at the same time, take the same route to work to do the same things only to leave at the same time each day, come home, and repeat the cycle all over again, nursing could be a welcome surprise; perhaps literally.
Some people truly thrive on routine, and their entire day is negatively impacted if anything has to change. If that sounds like you, nursing won’t be an ideal choice. You just never know what patients you’ll see and their injuries or conditions. You don’t know if and when an emergency situation will arise. You won’t know anything apart from your start and end times and perhaps who you’re working with. Everything else will be a mystery; for some people, that’s what makes nursing and getting that degree so much fun.