Finding a career that is truly satisfying for us on a personal level as well as a professional one can be surprisingly difficult. For some people, there is an obvious career path that they know they want to pursue from a young age, but most of us have to spend some time working it out, and trying different things, until we find the one that speaks to us the most.
Nursing is an excellent career choice for anyone who is uncertain about what they want to do and studying for a nursing degree will teach you more than about just how to look after patients. Nurses are needed in just about every kind of healthcare facility you can think of; they are an essential part of the system.
Why Study a Nursing Degree?
As a career, there is a lot to like about nursing. If you’re someone who is passionate about helping other people and you want to get paid to do it on a daily basis, there aren’t many better choices than nursing. Nurses are essential for ensuring that healthcare operations are able to function properly and they provide vital assistance to doctors and other medical staff. Without nurses, hospitals and other facilities wouldn’t be able to operate.
As a nurse, you may work with different patients on a daily basis or you might work with the same patients for extended periods of time, depending on the role you are working in. In either case, you will be making a real difference to a large number of people over the course of your career. As a profession, nursing has a very high satisfaction rating; nurses are among the most satisfied workers in the American workforce.
A big part of the reason that nursing is such a satisfying job to do is because it presents those in the role with a constant stream of opportunities to help other people in a meaningful way. If you are feeling stuck in your current job and want to feel like you are working towards a career rather than just a paycheck, studying for a nursing degree could enable you to make the change that you need to to reconnect with your life and find your drive again.
Once you have earned your initial nursing degree, you can then advance through the subsequent levels of seniority at your own pace, studying each stage as and when it suits you. Nursing is a solid career choice because it is a recession-proof industry; we are always going to need nurses. In fact, there is a national shortage of nurses, meaning that you can take a nursing degree just about anywhere in the country and find work.
In fact, while nursing degrees do vary somewhat from country to country, you will find that a US nursing degree can be used to land you a job in an entirely different country. You might have to complete some additional local training, or convert your degree by passing certain criteria, but most healthcare systems will consider a nurse who is qualified in the US to be qualified to work for them.
One of the most common reasons that students who would make excellent nurses, and who want to enter into the profession, ultimately do not do so is because they are concerned about the financial commitment required. However, there are a number of options available that can make a nursing degree more affordable. For one thing, there is a range of grants and scholarships that you can apply for.
In addition to financial aid, you can also save money on your studies by completing your degree online. Studying your course online won’t disadvantage you in any way – you will still earn the same qualifications and the university that ran your course will organize any placements that you need to complete. Studying online is also cheaper than studying a regular campus course; universities also tend to be more flexible about how you pay for these courses.
If you already have other commitments, such as parenting or caring for someone, you can choose to study your online degree on a part-time basis. If you take this route, it will take you longer to complete, but you will be able to study at a much more manageable pace. You can choose to study a nursing degree with any one of a number of leading universities in the country, such as Carson-Newman Online, so the degree you earn will carry the same weight as a traditional campus course in most cases.
With a nursing degree, a whole range of potential career paths will open up to you, and you’ll find plenty of opportunities to indulge not only in your love of nursing but any other passions and interests you have as well.
The following careers are just a small selection of the many and varied things that you can do with a nursing degree. If you don’t know what you want to do yet, don’t worry – you will have plenty of time to work it out. Many nurses make this decision after they gain some actual experience in the workplace.
The hospital environment is not an ideal work environment for many people. Some people don’t like that kind of pressure or the potential for them to be the only thing standing between a patient and the howling void of inevitable death. If you don’t think that the hospital is the right place for you, you might want to consider working in a physician’s office instead.
In this role, you will still be involved in supporting medical staff and ensuring that patients’ needs are met. You will also undertake some routine examinations of patients and conduct initial interviews with them to establish what their health is currently like. You will also be responsible for administering vaccines and collecting blood samples.
All in all, working as a physician’s nurse is an excellent way to begin a career in nursing. You can gain experience here before moving into the more kinetic hospital setting if you like. This is also an excellent nursing role for those that still aren’t 100% certain that this is the career path for them. This is a relatively relaxed environment in which to learn the ropes and develop your skills.
Nurse Informatics Specialist
Many of the roles that qualified nurses can take on don’t conform to our stereotypical idea of what it is that nurses do. Not all nurses work directly with patients all day. The vast majority of nurses will obviously be working with patients to varying degrees, but many roles have another significant component to them that can sometimes require almost as much of the nurse’s time as their main duties can.
A nurse informatics specialist is one such role. In this case, nurses will be gathering data during their work and using it to help shape the future of US healthcare. The landscape of US healthcare is shaped by a variety of forces. There are large organizations like the American Medical Association, but the field is mainly led by the efforts of researchers and scientists whose understanding of statistics and data, coupled with an understanding of the medical field, make them potentially very powerful instigators of change.
In order to work as a nurse informatics specialist, you will need to earn a relevant degree, along with being an RN. If you have a more senior nursing degree, you should find it even easier to find work. However, you can start working in the field as an RN and then advance through the ranks as you would if you were working in a hospital.
Ever since technology and computers were introduced into hospitals, nurses have played a pivotal role in shaping the design of IT systems. In order to help engineering and technology businesses to make the right decisions when designing products to be used in medical settings, good data is needed. But data alone means nothing, data also needs to be interpreted. As a nurse informatics specialist, you will be responsible for turning raw data into plans of action.
If you really enjoy working with children, working as a school nurse can be a very rewarding experience. There is a lot more to the job than many people realize looking in from the outside. Lots of people assume that the school nurse just sits in her office all day waiting for sick children to come to her. In actual fact, the role of a school nurse is much more multi-faceted than this and, while there is generally not much threat of death in schools, there can be some surprisingly intense moments.
Depending on the age of the children at the school, you might end up having to help them navigate the murky waters of puberty. Whether it’s a boy concerned about the excess of hair that is appearing everywhere, or a girl whose body decides the middle of the school day is definitely the best time for her first period, you will need to be able to handle these situations sensitively and reassuringly.
As well as providing care to students when they need it, school nurses will also take a role in educating them. In some of the more conservative parts of the US, there is a real problem with children and teenagers, girls in particular, being uninformed or misinformed about their own bodies. The quality of sex education varies wildly throughout the US, in some areas it is virtually non-existent. You can help make a difference to a difficult time in their lives by ensuring that they have all the information they need to properly prepare themselves for it.
You can also do your bit to help combat America’s obesity epidemic by giving kids the advice and guidance that they need to eat healthily and exercise properly.
Working as a research nurse is similar to working as a nurse informatics specialist, but it is a much broader role. Many research nurses work in a hospital just like any other nurse, the only difference is that they are also compiling research as they work. These nurses might be employed by pharmaceutical or medical companies to help field-test new products, or to provide nursing services to trial subjects who are trying new drugs.
If you are passionate about science and you want to not only help patients with your nursing, but also help the entire profession by providing valuable insight into important questions, this is a fantastic role for you to choose. In addition to obtaining your nursing degree, if you want to work as a research nurse then it is worth investigating certification from the Association of Clinical Research Professionals.
Combatting drug and alcohol addiction is a major public health challenge, one that the US has had particular difficulty with in recent years. The opioid epidemic continues to grip large parts of the country while the emergence of fentanyl-laced heroin has meant users have been dying at a much higher rate throughout the nation. The provision of rehab services to drug addicts can vary greatly depending on where in the US you are.
Working as a rehab nurse, you will be responsible for helping to look after patients while they detoxify from addictive substances and undertake counseling and other therapies to help them prevent a relapse. This is another nursing role that is very different to what most people assume it will be. Patients in rehab are often vulnerable; drug addiction goes hand in hand with depression, PTSD, anxiety, and other mental health issues.
Whatever your passions and interests in life, nursing provides you with opportunities to indulge in them while also helping other people in a meaningful way. Nurses are needed in just about every kind of healthcare facility so if there is a certain setting that speaks to you on a personal level, or which appeals to you on a professional level, you should look to see what nursing roles are available – you might be surprised by the range.
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