Thursday, December 21, 2006

What To Expect From A Nursing Career

Nursing can be one of the most demanding and rewarding careers around. If you love making a positive difference in people’s lives, it may just be the job for you. Here are a few things to expect from a career in nursing.

Expect to get certified. To be a nurse, you’ll need to graduate from an approved nursing program and pass the NCLEX-RN, the national licensing exam. Once you’ve done that, you’ll be an R.N.—a registered nurse. Many states will allow you to practice in their state with a license from another state, but some will require you to recertify—check the policies in the state you intend to work in to be sure. How long it will take you to get registered depends on the program. A BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) program will generally take you four years to complete. ADN (Associate Degree in Nursing) programs take three years, and are usually offered by community and junior colleges. A nursing diploma offered by a hospital will also take around three years. All three paths qualify you to become an R.N., but most ADN and diploma graduates will go on to pursue their BSN for a broader education. Many hospitals offer tuition reimbursement for nurses who decide to choose this route.

Expect to be in demand. Nursing is definitely a growing field, and now is a good time to get into it. If you choose to go into nursing, you should be able to find a job—no matter where you live. With one of the most numerous generations in American history getting ready to retire, demand for nursing is only expected to increase in the years ahead. As a nurse, expect to have the upper hand in salary and other job negotiations for decades to come.

Expect high pay. Because of the high demand for nurses, pay in this industry has never been better. Depending on the area, many nurses can expect to make upwards of $20 to $36 per hour to start. Many hospitals offer significant hiring bonuses, some as much as $10,000, as well.

Expect flexible shifts. Because of shortages in the field, hospitals are doing everything they can to make the job easier on the employees—including offering flexible shifts. It’s not unheard of nowadays to find hospitals willing to be flexible in terms of when you work.

Expect a demanding job. No matter what field of nursing you choose to go into, the truth is that nursing is not for the faint of heart. Your shift will no doubt be busy and eventful, and you’ll need comfortable shoes. You may get called in to cover extra shifts—those nursing shortages can be a challenge as well as a blessing. The nursing industry is taking great pains to improve working conditions for nurses, in order to improve retention and raise recruitment rates. However, nursing isn’t an easy job—you will face challenges every day.

Expect a lot of choices. One of the biggest growing fields in nursing right now is nursing home care. However, there are over 200 other specialties you can choose, from midwifery to cardiac nursing, in-home to hospice care, child, palliative, and travel nursing. Nursing truly is a career that can be tailored to fit your interests, whether those include children, education, travel, case management, grief counseling, or any number of other specialties. Some require extra certification, while others simply require the usual R.N. certification.

Nursing can be a big challenge, but it can also provide big rewards. Hospitals are under a lot of pressure to keep their nurses satisfied while attracting new ones to the field. Now has never been a better time to get into nursing—it’s a stable career with a high demand that should last for decades.

About The Author: This article was written by, offering classes for nursing continuing education credit. Please visit for more information.

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