Nursing as a Career
One must be careful and research properly before venturing forth into any new career. It is especially important to do so in the medical field because of the amount of misinformation, white lies, and myth that surrounds its professions. The most important thing is to have a realistic image of what nursing as a career entails and where popular belief is incorrect. Armed with this knowledge, you should be able to make a wise and informed decision.
One of the most commonly circulated myths is that a new graduate from a nursing program will surely be able to find a decent hospital job with fair remuneration. Though nurses are in demand, this is simply not the truth anymore. Hospitals are losing money. In many cases, there is simply not enough room in the budget to hire the ideal number of nurses. Those who are hired will tend to be those with years of experience, including decades long veterans of nursing forced to put off retirement by the recent economic downturn, in order to avoid the cost of training and educating new graduates of nursing programs. Despite the supposed shortage of nurses, finding a job without relevant experience can be difficult for new graduates. Unable to find work without experience and unable to gain experience without work, many face unemployment for months at a time. The demand for nurses will very greatly by region. Depending on where you live, there may actually be an excess of new nurses due to recruitment efforts. Not to be excessively negative, but you shouldn’t go into nursing with the idea that you will instantly walk into a high-paying, stable career following graduation.
This is a tough one. It really depends on you, your personality, and how passionate you are about the idea of helping people through nursing. As a nurse, you will most likely be underpaid, underappreciated, and overworked. In many hospitals, there is simply not enough money to hire the amount of personnel really needed to run things properly. It is extremely common for nurses to report that their units are understaffed. You will also likely have to work nights, weekends, and the like on a regular basis. If nursing is something that you are truly interested in doing for its own sake, you should certainly follow your dreams and look for work in the field. If you aren’t so sure, however, you should take your time and figure out if it is what you really want to do.
Pay as a nurse varies greatly depending on location, experience, type of work, education, etc. The median annual wage for a registered nurse was $62,450 in 2008. Depending on the factors listed previously, you could expect to earn a good deal more or less. Again, depending on the aforementioned factors, hours could be flexible and manageable or extremely difficult.
If your heart is set on nursing as a career, you should try to make it happen. If you aren’t sure, you should sort out what you want from your career before you arrive at a decision.