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Home  > Article

6 Excuses That Keep People Out of Nursing

By Kate Lorenz, Editor

Interested in becoming a nurse but finding excuses not to take the next step? There's no time like the present to explore opportunities in nursing.

With the world's population living longer and needing more care, the healthcare field is one of the best places to get a job, and will likely stay that way for many years to come! So what's your excuse for not going after nursing? It's probably not a good reason.

Excuse #1: It's hard to get a job.
Opportunities are plentiful. Registered nurses (RNs) make up the largest healthcare occupation with 2.3 million jobs. More new jobs are expected to be created for RNs than any other occupation between now and 2012. And, by the year 2020, there will be an estimated shortage of 434,000 nurses. This is due to the growing elderly population needing healthcare, vacancies from people leaving the occupation, advances in technology, and increased preventative care.

Excuse #2: It doesn't pay well.
Salaries are competitive. According to the BLS, registered nurses garner $48,090 in annual earnings. And, an average starting salary for an RN is almost $39,000, according to the National Association of Colleges. On the higher end of the nursing pay scale, salaries can go beyond $70,000 for administrators and managers. And because nurses are in considerable demand, job stability is high.

Excuse #3: I don't want to do the same thing every day.
Nursing is never dull, no patient is the same, and you can choose a specialty. Can't get enough of "ER?" Try emergency nursing. Adore kids? Look into pediatric nursing. "I have never had a chance to be bored," says Susan, an RN in New Jersey. She has assisted on open heart surgery, delivered babies, taught La Maze classes, and counseled pain management patients. "I've made room for the out-of-the-ordinary assignments, as well. Being a technical advisor on a daytime soap opera, I put my nursing expertise to work guiding the medical scenes. I even played a nurse on a diaper commercial!"

Excuse #4: I don't want to work in a hospital.
You aren't limited to hospitals and doctors offices. Home health nurses provide services at home to patients recovering from illnesses and accidents, cancer and childbirth. Forensics nurses investigate perpetrators and treat victims of abuse, violence, criminal activity and traumatic accidents. Public health nurses work in government and private agencies, including clinics, schools, and retirement communities. Occupational health nurses deliver care at worksites giving emergency care, preparing accident reports, and arranging further care if needed.

Excuse #5: It's a woman-only profession.
Although nursing is a historically "pink-collar" profession, there are indications that the demand among men may be increasing. Men make up 5 percent of the nursing population but more are entering the profession every day, and the Army's nurse corps is already 37 percent male. "I'm not hung up on what it means to be a male nurse," says Robert, a perioperative nurse. "I've even done a rotation on a labor and delivery ward and I can tell you that those women in labor don't care if you are male or female, they just want to know if you can help them out."

Excuse #6: I'm too old to start a new career.
There are numerous academic programs available specially geared toward college graduates. These programs are called post-baccalaureate, second degree or accelerated degrees. Post-bac programs (BA to BSN, or BS to BSN) recognize your previous education and build on it, without repeating it. Marian, an adult emergency acute care nurse, left her job in advertising to go into nursing when she realized she enjoyed her volunteer work more. "My company let me go with an offer to come back if nursing was not everything I thought it would be," she said. "I made it through nursing school and now I am an RN and have never looked back."

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