Registered nurses (RNs) are responsible for providing patient care and patient education regarding a variety of health conditions, as well as providing medical advice and support to patients and family members. In 2016, there were more than three million active RNs in the United States.
More and more students are choosing to pursue an RN-BSN program to become a registered nurse for a multitude of reasons. With that in mind, here are a few advantages of becoming a nurse.
Projected Job Growth
According to the National Center for Workforce Analysis, there will be an estimated 800,000 RN positions by 2020. Compared to the average projected employment rate of seven percent, registered nurses appreciate immense growth in the employment sector with a 15 percent projected employment rate.
A significant growth is projected among registered nurses for multiple reasons, including more emphasis on preventative care and education, as well as growing rates of chronic conditions, like obesity and diabetes. In addition, there is a growing demand among the baby boomer population for increased healthcare services, opening up thousands of careers for registered nurses.
In 2018, the median annual wage for workers in the United States was $38,640. In comparison, registered nurses earn a median salary of $71,730 per year, which averages $34.48 an hour. In other words, the lowest 10 percent of nurses earned less than $50,800, while the highest 10 percent earned over $106,530.
Because patients in hospitals and healthcare facilities typically require around-the-clock care, nurses work a variety of shifts, including nights, weekends, and holidays. Some nurses are on-call, meaning they’re on duty 24/7 and must be ready and able to work at a moment’s notice.
Contrary to popular belief, becoming a nurse does not necessarily mean you’ll need to be on-call at all times. Nurses working in schools and other locations that do not require 24-hour care often work normal business hours and have more flexibility in scheduling.
Flexible Work Environments
As mentioned above, becoming a registered nurse does not require being on-call at all hours. While state, local, and private hospitals are the biggest employers of nurses, other work environments include ambulatory healthcare services, residential care, government, and educational services.
Nurses are always needed, and many nurses take advantage of their skills by traveling throughout the country and around the world to help those in need, especially in places lacking a sufficient number of healthcare workers.
Multiple Educational Paths
The majority of registered nurses pursue one of three educational paths: a Bachelor of Science in nursing, an associate’s degree in nursing, or an approved nursing program. Each nursing program enables students to think critically, communicate effectively, and pay close attention to detail while learning the basics of nursing.
Pursuing a graduate program in nursing allows prospective students to become advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs). APRNS include nurse anesthetists, midwives, or practitioners, as well as clinical nurse specialists.
Regardless of the path chosen, all registered nurses require licensing, which can be obtained by passing the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN). Additionally, some positions require certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), basic life support (BLS), or advanced cardiac life support (ACLS). While many nurses begin their career in hospital settings, advancement is possible through continuous education and high-quality performance.
Choosing to become a registered nurse comes with a variety of career-related advantages. While nurses enjoy a great job outlook and higher than average salaries, they also save lives and make deep connections with patients daily. All in all, pursuing a RN-BSN can open a wide range of employment opportunities while allowing you to make a difference.