After a year of uncertainty, 2021 has brought new hope and a fresh start for many of us. As we all strive to get back to normality, and use the past year as a springboard into bettering ourselves, it’s the perfect year to consider a new career.
From the ashes of the pandemic rose not only a distinct awareness of a global shortage of nurses, but also, a focus on healthcare technology and staff wellbeing. As such, there’s never been a better time to join the industry.
More and more people are now looking at nursing as a second career in later life, while those just coming up to university age are also seeking ways to study for a future-proof career.
If you’re looking to switch your current career, or want to choose a profession that is rewarding, challenging and secure, 2021 is the perfect year to become a nurse.
Studying is easier than ever
While there is still plenty to learn, it is now much easier to study to become a nurse. If you’re not interested in studying on campus, accelerated BSN online programs empower students from all walks of life to access course materials no matter where they are based. ABSN courses are available to those who already have a degree – making them a great choice for anyone looking to retrain for a second career.
The past year has certainly shown how much can be done remotely, and as such, some of the best universities in the world are now offering long-distance students the chance to qualify without the additional cost of accommodation and commuting.
Online courses are often more affordable and allow the flexibility a full-term in-person course can’t. Online students can schedule their modules around other engagements such as child care or work shifts.
Varied specialisms are available
While the standard image of a nurse is someone based in the hospital, caring for general patients, nurses actually have a huge number of specialisms available to them. During your degree, you will be required to take part in clinical placements – giving you a better idea of different working environments.
Once you’re trained, you’ll be able to look into additional qualifications for pediatrics, midwifery, anesthetics, ICU or areas outside the hospital. Nurses also work within the community, at schools and can even go onto being Nurse Practitioners who have their own clinics.
Nurses are in high demand
Whether you study the ABSN or a BSN, there will be plenty of work available when you graduate. The ‘baby boomer’ generation is now close to retirement, meaning there’s a huge number of jobs needing to be filled. As such, no matter where you end up, you’ll be welcomed with open arms into the workforce.
With threats like the pandemic highlighting the need for support systems, healthcare establishments will also be looking to increase the number of nurses available, to prevent staff suffering from burnout. You could be the difference between a nurse feeling obliged to take on overtime, and them having a much-deserved break.
Overall, the job prospects for newly qualified nurses are great, and this isn’t likely to change any time soon.
Working conditions are improving
On the topic of burnout, more is being done to support nurses and their mental wellbeing. The job is incredibly taxing – both physically and mentally – with the health of nurses often going overlooked. Compassion fatigue causes serious issues for individuals and managers, as they find themselves without the staff they need each shift.
Luckily, more support is being put in place to promote health, wellness and positivity within the industry. Workplaces now need to ensure nurses receive their designated number of holidays and have the opportunity to take breaks within the working day, without feeling guilty for doing so.
It pays a pretty penny
While money should never be the primary reason to become a nurse, the salaries are nothing to scoff at. In the US, the average salary is $53,000 with nurses earning an average of $73,000 in 2019.
The industry is in a period of change
It’s an incredibly exciting time to join the industry. The Centres of Disease Control and Prevention has found the leading cause of death in the US is overdosing on prescription medication. As such, rather than relying so heavily on pain medication and focussing on remedies, healthcare services are now looking at ways to prevent issues like chronic pain and other long-term ailments.
Nurses and physiotherapists are now an integral part of understanding where the route of a patient’s pain comes from instead of just how to suppress it. This significant shift aims to reduce people’s dependence on long-term medication while also finding ways to better treat or cure illness.
As a result of the change, there are more opportunities for nurses to work within the community and in outpatient settings.
It’s an exciting time for healthcare technology
Healthcare is now more widely accessible across the world thanks to advancements in telemedicine.
Using video technology, nurses and practitioners are able to treat patients that can’t visit the clinic. This has been a life-saving tool during the pandemic but will continue to make a difference to society’s most vulnerable people.
Portable screens and automated IV drips are now allowing nurses to monitor their patients while on the move, giving them the chance to prioritize workloads more efficiently while attending to the patients that need the most help.
From pay and job prospects, to prevention research and technological advances, there is no better time to join the nursing workforce. No two days are the same and with so many opportunities to specialize available, you have a real chance to carve your own career path just the way you want. And, with online courses becoming more popular than ever, studying or retraining has never been easier.
If you’ve been impacted by the pandemic, or are looking for a rewarding and fulfilling, life-long career, you might just find nursing to be the perfect choice for you.