9 Reasons Why You Should Become a Nurse

An RN working with her patient with husband looking on
An RN working with her patient with husband looking on

Magnified by the COVID-19 pandemic, nurses are in the global spotlight like never before. The vital role they play in our health care system is clear, and they are getting some well-deserved recognition for it. As nursing gains recognition, perhaps you’re beginning to consider a career shift. 

Why should you become a nurse? There are many compelling reasons why you should become a nurse, so the answer is different for everyone. Like any field, nursing has its pros and cons that are important to understand. To help you build that understanding, here are 9 reasons why you should become a nurse. 

 

1. The chance to make a difference and live with purpose in your career 

Nursing is a career that can provide purpose and fulfillment. Nurses take care of patients, even in their most vulnerable states. Nurses have the opportunity to change lives every day, which makes for meaningful work. This is one reason why job satisfaction is high among nurses, despite the challenges they face on a regular basis. 

Job satisfaction is a leading factor not only in creating a successful career, but also a successful health care industry. Evidence shows that employee job satisfaction impacts the bottom line, provides higher levels of productivity, and decreases staff turnover.

 

2. Flexibility and career mobility

While nursing positions can vary based on the environment or specialty, some will have schedules that provide more flexibility than a traditional 9-to 5-job. This gives nurses the opportunity to spend more time with their families, get errands done, and engage in hobbies or self-care. Surveys of workers who have recently left their jobs suggest that flexibility is one of the most important factors when considering a new career. 

Nurses may also be able to choose between a day or night shift. If one position does not provide the necessary flexibility, nursing also provides good career mobility in general. This may involve being able to change to a different facility, specialty, or career path all together. Nurses have the option of working at the bedside directly with patients or moving into a more educational or administrative role, such as clinical nurse specialist, case manager, or quality improvement manager. 

 

3. Stronger connections with people

Nurses serve as advocates and confidants for their patients. This dynamic helps to develop positive relationships between nurses and their patients that have been shown to affect health-related outcomes and improve overall quality of life. Most nurses identify positive relationships with their colleagues as a major reason for staying at a job, which is important because health care requires developing a cohesive team to achieve the best patient outcomes

 

4. Nursing constantly evolves

Working as a nurse provides the chance to meet new people and learn new things on a regular basis. Even decades into their careers, experienced nurses continue to see a variety of diagnoses and learn new concepts, keeping their knowledge and practice up to date. Medical advice and evidence changes constantly, and nurses are often on the front lines and the primary actors when implementing a change at the bedside. Due to this, nurses have to be as informed as the evidence itself and be comfortable with their skills and knowledge. 

 

5. Steady industry growth in the health care system 

Health care is a high-demand industry with ongoing physician and nurse shortages. An aging population will apply even greater pressure on the health care system, meaning there will be an increasing need for nurses. This is evidenced by the health care industry's steady growth. In 2018, the health care industry was worth $8.45 trillion, with an annual growth of over 7%. In the United States alone, it has grown by $808 billion as of 2021. This demonstrates huge growth potential for the health care market over the next few decades, which offers employment stability and career mobility into the future. 

RNs consulting with a doctor and nurse practitioner

 

6. Nursing is highly respected and trusted work 

Being a nurse is something to be proud of, as it’s among the top 10 most respected careers in the world. In fact, U.S. News & World Report ranks registered nurse as the fifth-best health care job for 2022. Plus, Gallup surveys over the past 17 consecutive years indicate that nursing has been the most trusted profession in the country.

 

7. A competitive salary with supplemental income options 

According to 2020 data, the median pay for a registered nurse in the United States is $75,000 per year, with earning potential approaching $120,000. In comparison, the average college graduate earns only $55,000 after completing their degree.

There are also high-paying opportunities in all areas of health care for nurses. Travel nurses, for example, make an average of nearly $110,00 per year, with some travel nurse specialties yielding annual salaries as high as $140,000 per year. 

 

8. Endless learning opportunities 

Evidence-based practice evolves constantly. Nurses have an average of 45 continuing education hours required, which opens up opportunities to expand their knowledge about various specialties. Nurses also have the opportunity to earn specialty certifications. In the United States, there are 183 different certification tests in areas such as diabetes management, asthma education, geriatrics, electronic fetal monitoring, and many more. Throughout their careers, nurses have numerous opportunities to grow their skills and earn credentials. 

 

9. Leadership opportunities 

Nurses are the most prevalent component of the health care system, making up 30% of the health care workforce. Leadership and change are areas where nurses are uniquely positioned as frontline workers with direct patient care, as well as in leadership roles. 

Examples of some leadership roles that are commonly occupied by nurses and abundantly available include charge nurse, chief nursing officer, and patient care director. While these are most common, nurse leadership roles can vary anywhere from a unit nurse educator of each individual unit to the chief executive officer (CEO) of a large health care organization.

 

Nursing Risks 

While this list points to a number of reasons that make nursing a desirable career, it remains a challenging profession. Nursing is considered one of the more stressful careers with high levels of burnout, stress, and mental health illnesses. Burnout is common among nurses, with an ongoing prevalence of 30 to 40%. Burnout is characterized by mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion with a loss of interest or pleasure in the specific thing that caused the burnout, usually work. For nurses, not only does this affect their personal job satisfaction, it has been linked with more negative patient outcomes. 

While the risk for burnout and other mental health concerns is high, understanding these issues as you begin your nursing career can help prevent them from developing. Strategies for this can include things like maintaining good work-life balance, protecting individual emotional health, and making sure to rest between shifts. When registered nurses are well taken care of themselves, job satisfaction can be as high as 96%

 

Start your nursing journey with Marymount University

A good nursing education is the foundation for anyone seeking to thrive in the field. Students with a bachelor’s degree in another field of study who are looking to make a career change into nursing can take advantage of online programs, such as the Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) offered by Marymount University Online.

The program offers these benefits and more:

  • Students can pursue the majority of their coursework online and complete their ABSN in the time it would normally take to earn an associate’s degree.
  • A nursing program grounded in Catholic values emphasizing compassion, personal growth, and service to others.
  • Integrated, no-cost clinical placement within the state of Virginia makes it easier for students to undertake this critical aspect of their learning.

Marymount, located in Arlington, Va., and just across the river from Washington, D.C., also has an incredible reputation. It’s consistently recognized by U.S. News & World Report for its amazing diversity and number of international students, and has the top undergraduate Nursing program of any private institution in Virginia. Marymount is also designated as a Veteran-Friendly Yellow Ribbon School by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Most importantly, all of Marymount’s online classes are accredited by the CCNE (Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education).

You can enter the engaging, high-demand field of nursing by earning your ABSN in only 16 months. Get started by requesting your free ABSN program guide today!