It seems like news about the economy just keeps getting gloomier and gloomier. Jobs are being cut, practically all across the board. There is at least one field where the need for employees never seems to diminish, however: medicine. If you have long been interested in earning a nursing degree to further or start your career, then the economic recession may be just the motivation you need to set the wheels in motion.
Why are there Still Nursing Jobs?
Everyone from CNN to Kiplingers is calling nursing the “recession-proof” profession. While other job markets are shrinking, it seems that the need for nurses has continued to grow during this economic downturn. This is great news for those who have already made nursing their profession and excellent food for thought for those who are trying to decide where their career path should take them.
One of the main reasons that the need for nurses has continued to grow is because the “baby boomer” generation is aging. This means that a large number of people are reaching a point in their lives when more medical attention is generally needed, and they’re all doing it at about the same time. In order to accommodate this influx of patients, the medical field has to expand. Current statistics say that the United States is already more than 125,000 nurses short, with that number expected to grow to 800,000 by the year 2020.
How to Become a Nurse
Becoming a nurse requires education and job training. Entry-level nursing jobs can start at a very basic Licensed Practical Nurse level, with as little as about a year of training at a technical school. This is not the only route to becoming a nurse, however. In some cases, an individual may earn a diploma in a hospital-based nursing program. This may be done in conjunction with a tech or junior college in order to earn a complete Associate’s degree. Of course, you may just wish to start out at a technical school or junior college in pursuit of an Associate’s degree.
A Bachelor of Science Nursing will generally take four years at a college or university. This type of degree not only prepares students to work in more places, but it also creates an opportunity for them to carry on with a Master’s degree for further specialization. While a BS degree is not required to be considered a nurse, it may be a prerequisite to work in a variety of positions.
Once you have gotten your education, you will need to be licensed as either a LPN/LVN, and Advanced Practice Nurse, or a Registered Nurse (RN). In order to qualify, you must pass your state’s examination. Many RNs will also choose to get certifications in their specialty areas.
In order to enter a nursing program, you will need to have a high school diploma or equivalent. By talking to the admissions office at the nursing school of your choice, you will get a better idea of what you need to do in order to best prepare for your educational experience. Some programs may take place in the evening to allow you to keep your current job while studying. Others, however, will be too time intensive to allow for an outside job. Again, these are things you can discuss with the admissions office at the schools you are considering.
Other Considerations to Becoming a Nurse
If you’ve determined that the current economic climate is just the motivation you needed to pursue an education for a new career, then you will definitely want to choose a field where you have the best chance of success. Nursing is a great choice for those who have solid people skills and are very patient. Obviously, compassion is an important trait for those who want to be good nurses, as is flexibility. Good problem-solving skills and the ability to stay calm in difficult situations will also be a great help to those who pursue this career path.
In order to improve your chances of getting into a good nursing school, consider the grades you earned in high school or college. These are not the only factors influencing whether or not you are admitted, though, so do not let that keep you from pursuing your dreams. If necessary, consider spending some time volunteering at a hospital to demonstrate your dedication. This can also be a good way to “test drive” the field before investing in your education.