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Why Choose a Career in Nursing?

Because of ongoing high demand for healthcare professionals, it is a great time to consider a nursing career. Jobs in nursing are plentiful, and the opportunities available are diverse and challenging. There are many advantages to entering the nursing field, including above-average pay, job security and a chance to make meaningful contributions to a rapidly changing healthcare system.

What Are the Benefits of the Nursing Profession?

Becoming a nurse in today’s healthcare environment yields an abundance of benefits. Nursing is a highly respected profession. In a 2020 Gallup poll, nurses received the highest rating for honesty and ethics in any profession. Nursing has consistently rated in the top percentile since Gallup first ran the poll in 1999.

Above Average Compensation

According to the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median pay for nurses in 2020 was $75,330 per year. To put that into perspective, the median pay for all workers across all areas during this same period was $41,950.

Within the nursing profession, earning potential increases with additional education.

  • Associate of Science in Nursing Degree or Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN/ASN) — $54,000 to $88,000 per year
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) — $57,000 to $130,000 per year
  • Master of Science in Nursing Degree in Nursing (MSN) — $65,000 to $196,000 per year
  • Doctoral-prepared nurses (DNP/PhD) — $106,000 to $200,000 per year

Job Security

Per BLS, employment for nurses is projected to grow 9% from 2020 to 2030. For each year, there is a projected 194,500 openings for registered nurses.

The high demand for nurses can be attributed, in part, to an aging American population and a rise in chronic illnesses such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and mental illness, according to The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, a report compiled by the National Academy of Medicine (NAM). Millions of Americans approaching their mid-60s will need complex care due to chronic conditions and advances in healthcare. Healthcare reform and retirement also play a big role in the demand for nurses.

An Opportunity to Make Meaningful Contributions to an Evolving Healthcare System

In its The Future of Nursing report, NAM calls for nurses to work with physicians and other healthcare professionals as full partners. Nurses are not just assistants; they are professionals who are an essential part of our healthcare system. As patient advocates, nurses are at the center of healthcare. Their close interaction with patients allows them a unique perspective to see the everyday impact of practices and protocols, their successes and failures and opportunities for improvement.

High Diversity in Nursing Roles

DiscoverNursing reports that there are 104 nursing specialties, each requiring a unique set of skills. For instance, health policy nurses (HPNs) research, analyze and advocate for optimal public health policies. Nurse informaticists use their skills in computer science to help manage, interpret and communicate medical information. They may also help develop medical technology. There is not just an abundance of jobs in nursing, but a wide assortment as well.

How to Become a Nurse

The basics of becoming a nurse, according to DiscoverNursing, include getting a high school diploma or General Educational Development (GED), choosing and applying to a nursing school and then passing the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN).

Another important consideration is choosing the appropriate degree. You can choose from different levels of registered nursing degrees, including ADN/ASN, BSN, MSN or DNP/PhD. Career opportunities, job responsibilities and pay increase with the more education you have.

If you are unsure of which degree to pursue but are interested in becoming a nurse leader, consider that many BSN-prepared nurses are groomed for leadership positions in which they assume more complex roles. Earning a BSN is also a solid foundation for graduate nursing studies.

The nursing profession has changed rapidly in recent years, propelling a demand for nurses with varying levels of skills. The pay, benefits, respect of the position and career growth make nursing one of the best career choices available. The online Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program from The University of Texas at Arlington College of Nursing and Health Innovation prepares students to thrive in this new healthcare system.

Learn more about The University of Texas at Arlington online BSN program.

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