10 Reasons a Nursing Degree is a Good Bet in Education Today
There has never been a better time in the history of man to get a nursing degree. Not only are there many career options for the nursing students of today but there are plenty of excellent career opportunities as well. Students sitting on the fence and struggling to decide whether an investment in a nursing career is one that will pay off should consider these 10 wonderful reasons that nursing is a good bet in education today and tomorrow.
1) Job Security
Right now there is a global nursing shortage. With population booms around the world and baby boomers aging rapidly those shortages look to become more profound in the next five to ten years. Early predications are that the shortage will nearly double in the next five years and more than triple in the next ten.
That’s just the shortage of nurses that is predicted. Even today there is a huge nursing shortage. More importantly though what this means for nursing students starting their educations today is that by the time they earn a four year degree the job market will be wide open and available to them.
2) Income Potential
Nurses on average start out at very attractive wage. LPNs (Licensed Practical Nurses) have an average salary (at all career levels) of $33,500 per year, Staff RNs start on average at $37,000 per year, and Master Level RNs start at $49,700.
In an economy that seems to be shrinking by the hour these numbers are impressive and show many signs of growth as shortages become more acute. Keep in mind that these are just starting salaries also. Salaries tend to be much higher with three or more years of experience.
3) Choices and Options
A nursing degree opens the doors to a big wide world of career opportunities. There is so much more for a nurse to do than work in a hospital. That doesn’t mean that working in a hospital isn’t a noble calling. It’s just not the only game in town for degreed nurses.
Some of the career options that are available to nurses include home health care, volunteer opportunities, legal work, doctor’s office work, pediatric nursing, acute care nursing, surgical nursing, travel nursing…and the list goes on. The sky is the limit and nursing students can keep returning to school for additional training to become Nurse Practitioners, Nurse Midwives, and Nurse Anesthetists.
Most students don’t give this important career benefit enough serious consideration when selecting majors and deciding on a lifelong course of action or career. Nursing is one of the few careers that offers such a wide range of flexibility for work hours and work environment.
The huge nursing shortage has forced hospitals and medical centers to come up with creative incentives to make nursing a more attractive career opportunity. Some of the options include skipping benefits for additional wages, working 3 twelve-hour shifts or 4 ten-hour shifts per week instead of 5 eight-hour shifts, and working only weekend, only nights, or only swing shift hours for premium pay.
5) World Wide Demand
The nursing shortage isn’t limited to the United States. There is a world wide demand for nurses and a critical shortage of men and women that are qualified to provide safe medical care. Other countries like Canada, Australia, and the Philippines are in great need for nurses.
Students who have an interest in learning new languages (in some cases though many opportunities exist for English speaking nurses around the world as well) and seeing the world have an incredible opportunity to take their knowledge earn a substantial living almost anywhere in the world.
6) Multiple Degree Options
Perhaps one of the best things about a nursing education for students sitting on the fence is that there are different degree options that require a different amount of educational time and experience.
Students unsure who want a sneak peek at whether nursing is a good choice for them might want to consider the one year program that many community or junior colleges offer to become an LPN.
For those who are willing to invest a little more time and study higher income potentials and increased responsibilities are available to associate degree RNs. BSRNs (Registered Nurses who have a BS degree in nursing) have even greater income potential and are able to take on more administrative roles in medical care facilities.
There are also many opportunities to advance beyond the BS degree. The sky really is the limit for the nursing students of today.
7) Helping Others and Saving Lives
There are few reasons that go beyond the rewards of doing something that helps others. Nurses are on the front line when it comes to patient care in hospitals, doctor’s offices, and other medical facilities around the world.
Doctors may be the head of the operation in some cases but the nurses are the heart and soul. This is one of the few careers that really matters that also happens to allow people to earn a substantial income.
8) Attractive Benefits Packages
As the nursing shortage becomes more and more profound around the world medical facilities are beginning to offer more attractive benefits packages to nurses. These packages include flexible working hours, gym memberships, medical and dental insurance benefits, tuition reimbursement, continuing education opportunities, and additional comp or vacation time.
These benefits can add up and be fairly substantial. Since well over 80% of nurses are women the benefits that offer a more attractive life-work balance are very well received with women nurses with children or preparing to start families.
9) The Opportunity to Work for Worthy Causes
There are many opportunities and worthy causes available to Registered Nurses and nurses with advanced degrees and/or certifications. Not only do many charitable hospitals have a serious need for qualified and committed nurses but programs like Doctors without Borders are always in need of excellent professionals with a true call to help others around the world.
The rewards of opportunities like these go well beyond a paycheck and can literally change the lives of the nurses and other medical care providers they touch. Nursing students or potential students who really want to make a difference in the world and in the lives of people will be hard pressed to find a worthier career path.
10) Scholarships, Tuition Reimbursement, and Financial Aid
Perhaps one of the biggest benefits to struggling students when it comes to a nursing education is all the financial assistance that is available to nursing students. As the shortage becomes more and more widespread and severe these benefits will only improve.
Many hospitals offer a complete repayment of tuition for students who go to work for a slightly reduced rate of pay straight out of college. Others offer scholarships to nursing employees returning for advanced studies.
About the author:
Julie Blanche writes and blogs at her Nursing Blog.