Choosing Nursing Might be the Best Decision of YourLife

April 10, 2008
By Iwona Leger, Tolland, CT

Have you thought about what you want to be when you grow up? Are you set on your choice or are you still searching? Do you have no idea what to do with your life, because it is so difficult to make a choice for your lifetime career when you are just 16 or 17 years old? Nursing might be the answer for you. Would you like a profession with the ability to get a job the day after you graduate? Would you like to have a very flexible schedule? How about a great salary? Wouldn’t it also be nice of your employer to pay for you to go back to school to earn an advanced degree? Wouldn’t you love to have a profession that will allow you to travel all over the country, meet new friends and most of all, help people? Again, Nursing might be just what you are looking for.
There are a lot of wonderful things about being a nurse, and I will try to explain some of them, so you can decide if this is something you might be interested in. There is a lot of wrong perceptions about nursing out there. Some people still think that all nurses do is hand bedpans and give pills to the patients. That is no longer true and it has not been for many years now.
Let’s start by talking about getting a job after you graduate from college. If you choose a career that is not in high demand, chances are that it will take you a while to find a job and you will have to compete with 30 or 40 other candidates applying for the same position. As a nursing student, you will have a very good chance to interview for a job even before you graduate, and start working the day after graduation. This is because of a huge nursing shortage, which is predicted only widen in the upcoming years. The hospitals, clinics, doctor’s offices are competing for nurses and many offer very good benefit packages to attract nurses. Some hospitals offer large sums of money (up to $10,000) as a signing bonus for new nurses. You might not be able to find that with any other career. Another great benefit of becoming a nurse is the salary. According to information posted on, the salary for new graduates could start around $22-$31 per hour depending on the state. This is a great starting salary and it would increase each year after the nurse gains experience. The salary would be very similar whether you graduate from 2 year college with an Associate degree or from 4 year University with a Bachelor’s degree.
There are many different settings in which nurses could work. You might be interesting in working with sick people, or sick children and you might choose a hospital setting to find satisfaction in your job. If you are very good at managing people and recourses, you might choose to become a unit manager or even a VP of Nursing in a hospital. If you think that teaching is what you could excel in, you could become a teacher and teach in nursing school or become a nursing educator in the hospital setting. Another option for teaching could be becoming a patient educator in a specific field like diabetes or heart disease. You might also choose to work in a doctor’s office or a clinic and help people live a healthier lifestyle and prevent diseases. Many nurses do Home Care and see patients in their own homes. They help them with their medications and teach them about staying active and healthy. A lot of nurses who are mothers of school age children prefer to work as school nurses, because they have the same schedule as their kids. They get all holidays, all weekends and all vacations off just like their children. Some nurses who do not have families chose to do Traveling Nursing. They sign a contract for 13 weeks at a time with an agency and relocate to another city for that amount of time to work at local hospitals. The assignments for the traveling nurse are very attractive and might include such states as Hawaii, California, or Nevada. The room and board on those assignments is paid for by the agency, not by the nurse. It is a great way to gain new experience, travel, and meet new people without spending your own money. If research is what you would like to do, there is a place for you in nursing. If you want to work at an insurance company, there could be a position for you there also. How about working for the State or for the Federal Government? If those are your ambitions, there is a way to make those dreams come true as well.
Another great perk about being a nurse is the flexibility of the schedule. There are options to work Monday to Friday, or weekends only, or day shift only, or nights or evenings. If you are not a morning person, you might choose to work evenings. If want to go back to school and continue working, the night shift might be for you. If you need to work only weekends to accommodate a family schedule, you can do that too. Nursing will also offer you flexibility with the numbers of hours you might want to work per day. You can work 12 hr shift, 3 times per week, thus having 4 days off a week. Or an 8 hr per day schedule 5 days a week. Both of these are considered full time. If you are working part time, you might be able to work 4 hr days if that’s what fits your schedule best. Or best of all, you can mix and match to accommodate your life. Not many careers offer that kind of flexibility.
One of the biggest reasons people decide to become a nurse is the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives and leave them with a lasting impression in their memory. Patients almost always remember their nurse; rarely do they remember the doctor. They appreciate all that nurses do for them and the help they receive in regaining the optimum of well being. It is never boring, exciting things happen all the time and you will learn something new every day.
Getting into a nursing program might not be very easy, and this is due to a shortage of nursing faculty. But if you set your heart on it and if you are very determined, you will find a way to become a nurse. There are many options with education as well. There are community colleges offering nursing program and you would graduate with an associate degree. There are 4 year institutions, which will give you a Bachelor’s degree upon graduation. Some people choose to complete an LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse) School which takes about 9 months and then they go back to finish their education for an RN. The Nursing Career Center in Hartford is a great place to visit to have someone help you figure out the best path for you.
Nursing is an extremely rewarding career. The benefits and flexibility in this career cannot be matched by any other career I know of. If you doubt yourself or are unsure if you can do it, let me tell you: You Can Do It. I say that because I did it, and if I could do it, so can you. I came to this country from Poland at the age of 21 and only then started to learn the English language. Now, 14 years later, I have been a nurse for 8 years and would not change that for the world. Choosing Nursing was the best decision of my life. Could that be true for you as well?

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