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Why Nursing?

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There are many reasons that people choose a career. Some people choose because they like doing certain things and this guides their choices. Others look at earning potential or length of training. As far as the career of nursing-if chosen for the wrong reason, the outcome will not be pretty.
Earning potential-This is a great consideration for choosing any career. This is simply due to the fact food and shelter costs money. Most everyone wants a decent paycheck that affords them to enjoy a life of wants and wishes. The career of nursing affords a very nice lifestyle even in today’s economy. Starting pay is around $16.50-$25 per hour. Today’s average RN earns $32.56 (based on years of experience and qualifications).[1]
Opportunity-Large number of jobs and varied opportunities worldwide, ongoing and increasing is another reason people look at nursing as a career choice. By 2016 service providing jobs in education and health services are expected to increase by about 18 percent-that is about 5 million jobs in the US. This translates into 3 out of 10 new jobs will be in healthcare or education. [2]
Educational Requirements- The minimum requirement to obtain a license as a registered nurse is an associate’s degree (ASN). Once an education has been completed, a state license is required-this requires the passing of the NCLEX exam. [3] Many community colleges offer nursing programs. Many hospitals reimburse educational costs in return for service contracts. These facts make acceptance into nursing programs highly competitive.
Looking at earning potential, opportunity, and the feasibility of the educational requirements the question is WHY NOT nursing? The real answer is CAN you really BE a nurse? The daily activity of a nurse is the answer. Nursing is not simply wearing a professional uniform and passing out medication. A nurse interacts with a human personality from A to Z. Here are some common examples: The demented elderly person that smells of urine, the addict that appears in the ER under the influence of bath salts and is spitting, the morbidly obese patient that needs to be wiped after defecating and the 2-year old that is screaming due to the sting of the burnt flesh on his hand. What about that patient that uses the call bell like a princess beckoning her personal servants? Not so pretty huh? Nursing has its moments. The demented elderly person that grabs your hand after you just finished bathing away the smell of stale urine and states, “thank you” and you realize she is lucid at the moment. The four-point restraints are removed for the bath salts addict and the patient squeezes your hand and says “I think I need help”. The nurse’s aide says “thank you for getting that call bell and helping Mr. Jones in the bathroom”. The 2-year old that is asleep in his mother’s arms because the pain medication is starting to work and the mom looks at you and says “he’s going to be ok isn’t he?” Nursing is NOT about what you do how you do it to assist and help a patient. How you do it is with compassion, empathy, expertise and simply seeing through the nasty to feel humanity.
Most anyone can apply themselves and achieve success in school, past a test, but only a few select can work with people in most unpleasant situations and be a positive productive influence on a daily basis. Some people do choose nursing as their employment because of the potential income and job outlook, others are employed because they are nurses-it is their nature. So, to answer the question, why nursing- it is not that one chooses nursing as a career–it chooses one based on a sense of character-these are the people that are in it for the long haul. Myrtle Aydelotte, Ph.D., RN, FAAN stated it best, “Nursing encompasses an art, a humanistic orientation, a feeling for the value of the individual, and an intuitive sense of ethics, and of the appropriateness of action taken.” Now go answer that call bell for the umpteenth time with a smile:)!
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