A vital calling
In the health care sector, registered nursing is the most common occupation. An RN is typically the first point of contact for medical patients. The nurse will treat and educate patients and also deal with family members. Many patients consider their nurse more approachable and available than their doctor, and so prefer to address their questions and concerns in that direction. The position requires either an Associate's or Bachelor's Degree, or an RN diploma.
There are lots of opportunities for specialization in the registered nursing field. You can customize your education and your career to exactly where your interests lie. You can choose the type of medicine you'll go into, the area you'll work in and even what type of doctors you'll engage with. Some of your choices are:
- Ambulatory care nursing: treating patients outside of a hospital. This might include clinics or doctor's offices.
- Critical care nursing: working in intensive care wards.
- Home care nursing: providing care in a patient's home.
- Long term care nursing: treating patients with long term or chronic illnesses, usually outside of the hospital.
- Occupational health nursing: maintaining workplace nursing stations and employee care.
- Palliative care nursing: caring for terminally ill patients outside of the hospital.
- Perianesthesia nursing: assisting the anesthesiologist during surgery.
- Perioperative nursing: assisting surgeons.
- Radiologic nursing: working in radiology (i.e. completing ultrasounds and x-rays).
- Rehabilitation nursing: assisting patients with recovery from physical injury.
- Telehealth nursing: providing consultation either over the internet or via telephone.
- Trauma nursing: working in emergency wards.
Keep in mind, this is certainly not an exhaustive list. There are numerous paths down which your registered nursing education can lead you, in the end the choice is yours!
The Future of Nursing
Rest assured, there will be lots of opportunities for qualified nurses over the next few years. Currently, there aren't enough adequately trained people to fill all the positions available; and further, the average age of the American population is on the rise, so even more jobs will be created as more long term care is required.
The health care field is looking for dedicated people who want to focus their career on helping others and caring for those in need. There is a particular demand for men in the field, to dispel the stigma of nursing as a female-dominated profession.
Like job prospects, salaries for nurses are also currently on the rise. Right now, most registered nurses can expect to earn between $40 000 and $80 000 a year, with the average salary coming in around $52 000 a year.