It is important to make lifelong investments now so you can live a fulfilling and satisfying life. Investing in a college degree like nursing is all about opening up opportunities in life. According to a nationwide study by the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association, high school graduates earn an average of nearly $30,000 annually. Meanwhile, bachelor’s degree holders average more than $50,000 annually.
The increasing demand for registered nurses in the health sector makes a nursing degree one of the best future investments. Nursing offers many benefits, like job security, diverse career opportunities, and better-paying jobs. This article will explore the benefits and factors that make a nursing degree a great investment. It will provide you with all the information you need to know about the nursing sector in the US.
Understanding the nursing sector and the rise in demand for nurses
The Bureau of Labor Statistics and other organizations predict that the demand for nurses will increase over the years. The growing need for skilled nurses equals several available job openings. This provides the opportunity to do your part in providing much-needed patient care. Having in-depth knowledge about the nursing shortage and the demand for nurses can help you understand the importance of pursuing a nursing degree. Approximately 4 million Americans have chosen nursing as a profession, with over 300,000 being nurse practitioners.
Cause of nursing shortage
According to NurseJournal, about ten states in the US are projected to have a shortage of registered nurses by 2035. Several factors are causing the nursing shortage in the United States, and some of these factors include:
The baby boomer generation is nearing retirement age. This results in increased demand for nurses as there is a rise in the need for health services. The United States currently has the largest adult population above the age of 65 in its history. Due to the current advancement of the healthcare sector, the population is surviving longer as a whole. This is ultimately causing an increased use of health services. Several diseases, once terminal, are now treatable or can be managed for the long term. Treating these long-term illnesses can put a strain on the nursing workforce.
Some individuals graduate with a nursing degree and start working in healthcare with unrealistic expectations. The nursing sector is one that demands you actively take steps to prevent work burnout. Several factors in the American healthcare sector increase nurses’ risk of experiencing burnout. Aside from the high-stress work environment, other factors that cause burnout in nurses include working long hours and emotional strain from patient care.
Nurses start working and realize the profession is not as rosy as they thought it would be. When nurses experience burnout, while some are able to stick it out, others end up changing their profession. This leads to added demand for experienced nurses to fill the vacant positions. The national average turnover rate for nurses as of February 2022 was between 8.8% and 37.0%. The stress level, increase in burnout, and other factors impact this rising turnover rate.
The COVID-19 crisis worsened the nursing shortage. The number of nurses per patient during this period increased. Even with the decline in COVID-19 cases, the nursing shortage is still present. The burnout and stress nurses felt during the pandemic meant that some changed professions, leading to an urgent need for more. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it is projected that there will be about 203,200 openings for registered nurses per year.
Several of these openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers. The current situation has led to a nurse shortfall, making it harder to deliver top-notch patient care in certain locations. The rise in demand for nurses stems from the need to compensate for this deficit. The rising demand for nurses in the US healthcare sector provides an excellent opportunity for you to pursue a career in healthcare. By studying for a nursing degree, you can position yourself as a professional in an industry that is constantly evolving and in demand.
Why a nursing degree is an investment
Nurses are significant contributors to the success of the US healthcare industry. They collaborate with doctors and medical personnel to give patients the most effective treatment plan. Due to an aging population and several other factors, nurses will become even more crucial to the healthcare system in the US in the coming years. Here are several benefits of nursing that make it a great investment.
Diverse career opportunities
The nursing field offers several areas of specialization and work settings. The American healthcare system is constantly evolving and adapting to innovations and new technologies. The workforce must also adjust and develop skills in different areas where needed.
There are several career paths available to nurses. They can choose to get into the action by working in a hospital trauma unit or by becoming a legal nurse consultant in an office setting. The career flexibility of nursing is vast. Some of the top job opportunities for a specialized nurse include:
- Pain management nurse
- Nursing educator
- Nursing administrator
- Medical-surgical nurse
- Informatics nurse
- Health policy nurse
- General nurse practitioner
- Certified registered nurse anesthetist
You can choose to work in different settings aside from a hospital. Other nursing work settings include schools, rehab facilities, government entities, and nursing homes. If you love kids, you can choose to work at a children’s hospital or as a school nurse. You can also choose to freelance by working temporarily with organizations that urgently need extra staffing.
Financial stability and job security
When you invest in a nursing degree, it offers huge returns. The money and time you will spend on learning is a worthwhile investment. The financial benefits of a nursing career can help you achieve financial security. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in May 2021, the annual median wage for registered nurses was $77,600. Also, in May 2021, the highest ten percent earned above $120,250.
Apart from the high wage pay, several organizations and work settings offer nurses benefit packages. These usually include health insurance, paid time off, wellness and mental health services, and retirement benefits.
Nursing also offers several opportunities to advance your career and earn more. Here are some areas of specialization in the nursing field and their average annual salary as of November 2022:
- Nurse midwife- $100,600
- Family nurse practitioner- $98,740
- Nurse anesthetist- $167,870
- Psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner- $113,870
- Clinical nurse specialist- $94,800
Healthcare is an essential sector of the economy. Even when there is economic uncertainty, the demand for nurses and other healthcare professionals is still high. The United States BLS projects that in healthcare, there will be a 6% job growth between 2021 to 2031. The growing demand ensures that job security is high in nursing. Besides, the nursing sector is not easily subject to economic crises and fluctuations.
Flexible schedule and work-life balance
Nursing offers a flexible schedule that helps you achieve an excellent work-life balance. Instead of specific hours each week, work in nursing is often organized into shifts. This means you will be working different days throughout the week. For example, working 10-hour shifts, you will work from Monday to Thursday and have the weekends off. Nursing shifts vary in length and time, and you can work morning, afternoon, or night shifts.
One major benefit of the structure of nursing schedules is that you can choose one that fits your lifestyle. You can also choose to work temporarily and be a travel nurse. As a travel nurse, you will work in different locations and experience new cultures. Travel nursing offers you several opportunities for personal and professional growth.
Nurses also have the opportunity to work remotely. With the advancement of virtual care, working in remote nursing positions provides you with greater flexibility and scheduling options. The possibilities in a nursing career are extensive. A great work-life balance will increase your productivity and can lead to a better and more fulfilling life.
Fulfilling and impactful career
Investing in a nursing career can bring you a lot of personal fulfillment. Nurses play an important role in providing comprehensive patient care and increasing positive health outcomes. Nurses are the first healthcare professionals that patients encounter in the healthcare industry. Nurses’ roles and knowledge positively make a difference in many individuals’ lives. During the COVID-19 pandemic, nurses were referred to as healthcare heroes by the media and hospitals.
As a nurse, you are responsible for several patient care activities. Some of these activities include medication management, providing emotional support to patients and their loved ones, and monitoring vital signs. The patient care activities that nurses are assigned depend on the area of specialization.
Nurses also provide patient education, including informing the patients on healthy living and disease prevention. The impact of nursing practice is felt beyond patients’ physical health. The satisfaction one feels from making a difference in people’s lives through a nursing career is immeasurable.
As a nurse, you provide care and support to individuals during their life-challenging moments. You have the opportunity to impact several individuals’ lives positively. The relationship you build with patients as a nurse can be long-lasting. You will be able to create a sense of community and connection that goes beyond the hospital and work environment setting.
Professional development and lifelong learning
In nursing, there are several opportunities for career growth and personal development. You can start as a staff nurse and progress to leadership positions like ward manager and director of nursing. These positions require experience and advanced knowledge. This means you have to set clear goals, work hard, and take advantage of opportunities for promotion and increased pay. Also, you should work on things you see as an obstacle, like job applications or portfolio preparation.
One of the best ways to improve professional and personal development is through education and research. In the nursing field, it is important to keep learning and developing your skills to stay at the top. Nurses must keep up with the latest nursing trends, medical innovations, and technology to continue providing the best possible care to patients. At Spring Arbor University, students will be taught how to access the latest medical data to stay up to date with the latest trends. Also, with expert medical advice, student nurses can keep informed about advancements in healthcare by pursuing advanced nursing degrees and attending conferences and workshops.
Most advanced nursing degree curricula cover a lot of theory and practical aspects of nursing. They also provide you with the knowledge you can continuously and currently apply in the field. A master’s or doctoral degree in the nursing field will enhance your career prospects and pay with comprehensive benefit packages. A career in nursing offers various opportunities for continuous learning and skill development.
If you are looking for a rewarding and fulfilling career, you should invest in a nursing degree. Nursing offers several benefits and opportunities, such as diverse career opportunities, financial stability, personal and professional development, and job security. Nurses have an important role in providing comprehensive treatment to patients and promoting positive patient outcomes.
The flexibility of the nursing field allows you to explore various healthcare settings while maintaining a good work-life balance. A nursing degree is a wise investment that offers long-term benefits. The nursing profession is a growing sector that offers several opportunities, including the chance to make a meaningful impact in people’s lives.
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