With more than 3 million active registered nurses in the United States today, nursing is one of the largest professions in the country. It’s also one of the most rewarding, no matter what specialty you work in.
Whether you’re a brand-new nurse or nearing retirement and taking only part-time travel nursing jobs, a career in nursing can be fulfilling and allow you to make a difference in thousands of patients’ lives. Here are 10 reasons it’s great to be a nurse.
You can find a job almost anywhere.
While most nurses work in hospitals or doctors’ offices, there are opportunities with home health agencies, assisted living centers, correctional facilities, schools, military bases, outpatient care centers and community clinics.
As long as you have a nursing license for the state in which you work (or are working in one of the compact states), you can find a job anywhere in the country in your pick of facilities. Nurses who tire of clinical work can even find employment at a magazine or newspaper, offering their medical expertise to
You set your own schedule.
An 8-5 workday Monday through Friday doesn’t work for everyone (though some nurses at doctors’ offices can enjoy this schedule). As a nurse, you can work only on the weekends, take three 12-hour shifts throughout the week or even choose a part-time job working less than 30 hours a week. Though you may have to compromise with other staff members or make adjustments to fit the office, you generally have more flexibility as a nurse when setting a work schedule.
You put patients at ease.
Walking into a hospital or clinic makes many people nervous, especially if they’re not sure what to expect or what the diagnosis will be. Your friendly face and warm greeting can instantly calm a patient’s fears and help him know he’ll be cared for.
You can wear comfy clothes at work.
No suit and tie or skirt and blouse required (unless maybe you’re a supervisor)! One of the best parts of being a nurse is wearing scrubs that feel like pajamas to work and not having to worry about a professional wardrobe. If you want to stand out, mixing and matching scrub tops and bottoms or wearing seasonal colors (such as red in February or black in October) if your facility’s dress code allows it. Even if you’re required to wear company-issued scrubs, dressing for work becomes far less complicated than it does for a desk job.
You always get free medical advice.
Sure, you need to get checkups and tests just like everyone else, but a bonus to being a nurse and working with other nurses, doctors and technicians is that you always have someone to consult if you’re worried about something — and you can always get a second opinion when you’re evaluating patients’ health problems.
You can choose who you want to work with.
While you can’t choose your coworkers or your boss, you can choose the type of patients you’d like to care for. If you enjoy taking care of the elderly, you might become a geriatric nurse or work in an assisted living center or with a home health company. If you prefer taking care of babies, you may decide to become a labor and delivery nurse or work in the NICU. And if you enjoy the challenge of not knowing what to expect, you might work in the ER or as a med/surg nurse.
You get great exercise.
Nurses are known for working long hours on their feet — but this also means that you burn plenty of calories walking from room to room, lifting or moving patients and pushing equipment around the facility. You’re not going to get a lot of down time, but you’ll probably be in great shape.
You are always in demand.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the nursing profession will grow 19 percent by 2022, with an estimated 1.05 million nursing jobs open that year, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, which provides more Americans with health insurance, and aging Baby Boomers in need of care. Though the shortage means nurses in underserved areas will be overworked and prone to burnout, it also means that there are many opportunities for new nurses throughout the country.
You earn a generous salary.
The median annual wage for registered nurses was $66,000 in May 2012, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Your salary depends on the facility at which you work and the region you live in; the highest-paid nurses made $96,000 per year, while the lowest-paid nurses made less than $45,000 per year. However, with many opportunities for advancement through continuing education, nursing remains a steady, well-paying career.
You save lives.
Perhaps the best part of being a nurse is knowing that you save patients’ lives through your work. Your quick thinking and years of medical training allow you to make a big difference, even if you simply record their vitals and ensure that a doctor diagnoses their medical issues. It’s rewarding to hear gratitude from someone you cared for and know that your job has meaning.
There are many reasons to become a nurse. Tell us why you love your job in the comments below!