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The nursing career opportunity

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Image: © iStockphoto.com/Jacom Stephens

We had a high school student visit our department (some time ago). She spent a couple hours with us and other areas of interest as part of her ‘job-shadowing’ project.

I never did this as a high school senior, but it seemed like a great way to get a better ‘idea’ of what direction you’d like to take post-high school.

She got to choose what career’s interested her and then visited those areas. She visited different areas of ‘nursing’ on this particular day. She stopped by the medical-surgical unit, the OR and then with us in the PACU.

I guess this project was to help assist the student in their career choices they may or may not make. A down and dirty version of hearing it from the horses mouth.

It was more of a Q & A type visitation. The student asked questions and we provided the best answers we thought would help them. The only problem I saw was the lack of ’structure’. The student came up with questions that they thought would help them make a better informed or ’sound’ career decision. Unfortunately, most high school seniors don’t have what I would call ‘a firm grip’ on what ANY workplace environment is truly like. Not that that is a bad thing or a good thing. Just reality.

I mean most students who have worked, worked a part-time job as in the fast-food arena, department store retail, or maybe some office work. In all these scenarios I can’t say they get a good ‘taste’ of what ‘career work’ can and could be.

Most of us these days work for a living, and some of us actually get lucky enough to find the career that we both love and provides for us. A career instead of a ‘job’ -perse’.

So she asked the typical questions:

“What do you love about your job (nursing)?”

“What do you hate about your job?”

“What do you get paid?”

Ya’ know the good, the bad and the ugly questions.

Then the student asked my favorite question, “Why go into nursing?” “Why become a nurse?”

Here was my answer:

Nursing is hands down the single best career choice anyone can make. Aside from the oh-so obvious national nursing shortage that is impacting everyone, and the almost guaranteed-job status for the next decade. (Now remember, I said a guaranteed job, not guaranteeing you’ll get the job you prefer or desire) – Nursing is the only career with unlimited opportunity at almost no cost.

It’s a career where after you attain your license as a Registered Nurse(RN), the sky is the limit. The only thing that will stop you from being happy as a nurse is your will to try and your flexibility to change.

As an RN you can change jobs, change environments, change responsibilities, basically change your ‘career’ in a sense without having to go back for additional formal schooling (that you will have to pay for).

Granted, you may have to endure additional on the job training, and even acquire and maintain an additional certification, but you will not have to attain another degree and/or diploma.

This is the key. Most individual feel land-locked once they choose a path. They find out how much they may not like their current job/career, but never change due to the massive amount of time, energy and MONEY it would take to change their job or change their career.

As an RN:

You can work in a physicians’ office – change you mind – and work in the hospital as a staff nurse

You can work as a med-surg nurse – change your mind- and work in the critical care area

Interested in dialysis? All you need to do is apply.

How about surgery? Apply

The list is endless.

Now I am down-sizing the supply and demand shift here just a little. In order to move into another area of nursing, especially a specialty area (critical care, emergency, surgery) you will need to have a certain amount of experience. Some areas of nursing have definitive requirement due to the nature of the work you would be doing.

As an RN you also have room to grow and room to further your education and training. And this means more than just attaining your Bachelor’s, Master’s, or Doctorate in the nursing field.

With additional education you can strive to be a Nurse Practitioner (NP), or a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist(CRNA). Ever heard of a Flight Nurse?

The most awesome part of nursing is this: you get out of it, what you put into it.

Name me another career that affords this amount of opportunity with such minimal personal effort and sacrifice.

The Nursing Career Opportunity originally posted on My Strong Medicine.

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Sean Dent

Sean Dent is a second-degree nurse who has worked in telemetry, orthopedics, surgical services, oncology and at times as a travel nurse. He is a CCRN certified critical care nurse where he's worked in cardiac, surgical as well as trauma intensive care nursing. After five years practicing as an RN, Sean pursued and attained his Masters of Science in Nursing. Sean currently practices as a Board Certified Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (ACNP-BC) in a Shock Trauma urban teaching hospital. He has been in healthcare for almost 20 years. He originally received a bachelor's degree in Exercise and Sport Science where he worked as a Certified Athletic Trainer (ATC).
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