The Nursing Shortage Means More Nurses Are Needed Than Ever Before: Is it the Right Career for You?

If you are still settling on a career, becoming a nurse is an attractive option. It can satisfy your need to perform meaningful work. Nursing can also provide a lifelong career with plenty of room for rising to the top of the profession. So, if you are undecided, carry on reading and see why a career in nursing may be perfect for you.

A Critical Shortage of Nurses

Nurses are an essential part of the health profession. In the healthcare field, nurses account for the biggest portion of all jobs. Currently, around the globe, there are over 29 million nurses and midwives as estimated by the World Health Statistics Report. In the United States alone, nurses number almost four million.

The American Nurses Association (ANA) states that in 2022, vacancies for nurses will outstrip all other job openings in America. The crisis caused by the nursing shortage is so severe that the US Bureau of Labor Statistics has predicted that a further eleven million nurses will be required to cope with this immense shortage and that work opportunities for nurses will continue to increase by fifteen percent between 2016 and 2016, faster than the growth in any other sector. Even in states with an anticipated lower growth rate, there is still a projected rise in vacancies of at least eleven percent.

The Affordable Care Act has made healthcare more accessible to many more Americans. As the healthcare field has developed initiatives to provide for all its citizens, the priority is on providing primary care, community-based services, the management of chronic conditions, and increasing its focus on wellness and disease prevention. Thus, the nursing profession abounds with opportunities and nurses have the option to choose an aspect of nursing that they want to specialize in.

There are multiple reasons for the shortage of nurses. For one, people are living longer. This means that older patients often have comorbidities instead of a single condition requiring holistic treatments. Diseases that once proved fatal have been overcome and patients are surviving and having an extended life span, but still require medical attention. Likewise, nurses are also aging and retiring, leaving a gap that was filled by experienced professionals.

Being Involved in Meaningful Work

Nursing is nothing less than a calling. It enables incumbents to truly make a difference in people’s lives. Whether it is sharing the joyous occasion of childbirth, providing empathy to the patient diagnosed with cancer, or giving support to family members coping with the loss of a loved one, nursing is a profession that truly engages participants. It involves a commitment to caring for others and upholding the highest ethical standards of nursing. And nursing often brings the real satisfaction of helping to save a patient’s life.

Nursing is a profession, not just a job. Patient-centered care is at the heart of nursing. Nurses are very aware of the need to place the patient at the center of treatment. This includes being conscious that patients come from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds and that care must be tailored to the individual. Every patient is different.

Meaningful work means that it provides a sense of purpose and adds meaning to the nurse’s life. It is motivated by a need to benefit the greater good by being fully immersed in one’s job and knowing that it is appreciated by the recipients of that care.

Even as many nurses consider leaving the profession because of its immense challenges, exacerbated by the critical nursing shortage and the extra demands placed on the remaining staff, knowing that the work being done is an essential service that touches people’s lives makes many nurses determined to stay and give their best.

The positive contribution of nursing to meaningful work is supported by statistics. 85% of nurses have indicated that they find their work to be meaningful. This is compared to 78% of people in other jobs in the healthcare field.

Progressing Your Career as a Nurse

Nurses have plenty of opportunities for a rich and varied career. For one, a nurse can start her career in a specialized niche. From there, it is possible to get trained up in a different area or to seek career advancement to a senior position.

A neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) nurse works with babies that are born premature or have special health care needs from birth, for example, a congenital heart condition or fluid on the lungs. For this, and most other specialties, you will first need to obtain one or the other of an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). You will also have to pass the NCLEX exam developed by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) to show that you are competent.

Another exciting specialty is a critical care nurse where patients are struggling with life-threatening conditions. In addition to the standard nursing qualifications, there is also a requirement to have some practical experience behind you as a registered nurse.

A career as a nurse educator involves training other nurses, either in the clinical setting or in a classroom. This specialty is perfect for someone good at conveying new information and coaching others. With a track record as a registered nurse, or with a Master’s degree, you can enter this field.

If you choose a career as a perioperative (OR) nurse, you will be working in the operating room, preparing it for surgery, assisting during operations, and providing post-operative care. As surgeries vary, you will always have something new to experience.

Finally, getting to the top of the nursing profession is a worthwhile goal. You can qualify for a degree that will get you there through Baylor University Online, which enables you to study while you are working.

Nursing is enjoyable, rewarding, and challenging and will provide you with a real sense of purpose and a mission to help others. It is also a respected profession with plenty of room for advancement, and many exciting possibilities along the way. Openings are plentiful in every state in the US. Once you make up your mind to pursue a career in nursing, you won’t look back.

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Libby Austin

Libby Austin, the creative force behind, is a dynamic and versatile writer known for her engaging and informative articles across various genres. With a flair for captivating storytelling, Libby's work resonates with a diverse audience, blending expertise with a relatable voice.
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