When searching for a job or a new career path, people tend to make job selections by looking at location, salary, benefits and opportunities for professional growth. Often, equally essential things like work-life balance, company mission and vision, and general working environment—all key pieces to job satisfaction—are overlooked. Choosing a career with high job satisfaction can lead to a more fulfilling work experience. With nursing job satisfaction higher than that of the average American job, it is one career option that offers many benefits.
Pursuit of happiness
A 2013 survey from The Conference Board, a nonprofit research group, showed that a little more than half of all Americans are unhappy with their current job. According to that same survey, key drivers for happiness at work are colleagues and interest in the work. In contrast, a 2013 survey by AMN Healthcare showed 81 percent of nurses reported being satisfied or extremely satisfied with their job, and more than 90 percent reported being satisfied with their career choice. With its present demand across the United States (5,000 openings in Texas alone) and above-average pay ($60,000+/year), nursing lends itself to being a great career choice for those who wish for improved work-life balance.
Reasons nurses enjoy their jobs
Like most Americans, colleagues are a driving factor in determining a work setting. One individual who can heavily influence nursing job satisfaction is the nursing manager. A nursing manager can positively impact some of the traditionally difficult aspects of being a nurse, such as carefully scheduling shifts to counter the long hours, keeping open lines of communication to help reduce the opportunity for errors to occur, and being overall supportive of the team by facilitating a cooperative environment.
Additionally, many nurses enjoy their jobs because they are directly involved with the care and wellbeing of people almost on a daily basis. For those with a specific passion, there are many opportunities for growth, leadership and specialization through additional education.
For many, another key to happiness is flexibility. Nurses often work in shifts, leading to a variety of scheduling options. Many full time nurses work three, 12-hour shifts a week, allowing them four days off to spend with their families. Some choose to work night shifts, or work early in the morning to have their late afternoon and evenings free. Others work regular 9-5 hours, five days a week.
Happiness and long-term success
Registered nurses are in high demand across the United States, facilitating the ability for a nurse to relocate and find work in another state. This high demand has resulted in the creation of many fast track RN programs to help drive more nurses into the workforce. To support individuals entering these programs, a range of scholarships and other funding mechanisms have been developed. Some employers even offer loan repayment programs, providing funds to offset the cost of nursing school in exchange for years of service.
Nurses have reported higher job satisfaction than many other careers because of opportunities for work-life balance and nursing's high demand, competitive access to education, and robust scholarship and funding options. Some individuals are only looking for a higher pay when thinking about a career change. On the other hand, those interested in making a difference and being paid well while also enjoying their jobs may find nursing more to their liking.
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