The COVID-19 pandemic continues to highlight the importance of educating and growing the nursing workforce.
Here are seven reasons why it is still the best time for nursing school.
Nursing is the #1 most trusted profession in America, and that won’t change any time soon.
For the past 18 years, nurses have been the most trusted profession in America, according to the Gallup Poll. About 85% of the public have rated the nursing profession as “high” or “very high” regarding honesty and ethical standards.
As a nurse, you can save lives, give your patients a better quality of life, and provide compassionate care with dignity. Most importantly, you are directly contributing to making the world a better place.
By going to nursing school or obtaining an advanced nursing degree, you will have more opportunities to work with people who share your same ethical values and beliefs. You can be a role model in your community and, in the words of Gandhi, “be the change you want to see in the world.”
The career outlook for the nursing profession is excellent.
While many professional occupations are being furloughed, laid off, or taking pay cuts during the COVID-19 crisis, the future of the nursing profession has never looked brighter. In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of registered nurses “is projected to grow 12% from 2018 to 2028, which is significantly higher than the average for all occupations.”
Reasons for the growth include a higher need for preventative care, an increased number of chronic conditions, and an increased need for baby-boomer healthcare services.
Online education makes nursing education more attainable.
Not so long ago, attending a nursing program meant losing control over your schedule to participate in a brick-and-mortar program. Fortunately, a rise in accessibility through online education has made it possible for busy parents and professionals to balance advancing their careers.
In fact, some BSN Pre-licensure nursing programs have moved into the virtual space to avoid disruption among growing social distancing requirements. For example, Phyllis James, BSN Pre-Licensure Program Director at Aspen University was “tasked with overhauling parts of their online nursing program that included in-person clinical rotations to prevent disruption of student learning during the current shutdown.” Aspen’s prerequisite courses already took place online, and now they can continue during the COVID-19 pandemic without disruption.
You still have options for your RN educational path
If you are an aspiring nurse, you may want to consider a BSN pre-licensure program (as opposed to a pre-licensure RN program). With a BSN, you will advance your clinical and critical thinking skills, and be more marketable when you apply for new positions. According to Nurse.com, “Many studies show nurses who work at hospitals that are designated under the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Magnet Recognition Program® typically work in happier, safer and more patient-focused facilities … Magnet hospitals employ a large percentage of nurses with BSNs, MSNs and DNPs, highlighting the growing need for advanced practice registered nurses for the future of healthcare.”
While both the pre-licensure RN program and BSN pre-licensure program prepare you to sit for the NCLEX exam, only in a BSN Pre-Licensure program do you earn a BSN. What’s important to know is that you do have options. If you’d like to enter the workforce as an RN before earning your BSN, you can also consider an online RN to BSN program later on.
You can thrive as a travel nurse.
Nurses are being recruited to work in coronavirus “hot spots,” such as New York and Los Angeles, to keep up with staffing needs during the pandemic. As the virus makes its way to other parts of the country, staffing needs will continue to increase. As a result, travel nursing agencies have been busier than ever trying to keep hospitals staffed around the country.
Nurses who are willing to jump out of their comfort zones have had the opportunity to travel to new locations for as long as they desire.
Although travel nursing has become very active during the COVID-19 crisis, conditions will be less stressful once we get ahead of the pandemic. By the time new nursing students complete their schooling, there should still be plenty of opportunities to visit new places as a travel nurse safely.
There are so many opportunities for travel nursing, and at an excellent pay rate.
There will be more remote nursing opportunities for nurses.
The CDC now recommends that healthcare facilities find alternative ways to have face-to-face patient appointments. Telehealth is offering nurses a way to give patient care remotely – and it is here to stay. This gives nurses an alternative opportunity to provide valuable patient care without having to work at the bedside.
Telehealth often allows nurses to work from home and maintain a more flexible schedule than the regular 12-hour-shift schedule. Many telehealth shifts are 4 to 8 hours, during both the day and night.
Even after the pandemic slows down, telehealth will remain a more flexible and functional way for patients to receive care and medical guidance.
Did you know there are nurse recruiting agencies who specialize in placing nurses in telehealth positions, similar to travel nursing agencies?
Being a nurse will make you more curious.
Nurses — both new and experienced — never stop learning. Within the profession, continuing education is expected, so nurses stay current on protocols, clinical skills, and changes within the healthcare profession.
But more than anything, becoming a nurse will make you more investigative. You will care for patients with so many different diagnoses and medical conditions that you never even knew existed. Building on your knowledge will, in turn, make you more capable of taking on additional responsibility and education.
Even during a global pandemic, attending nursing school is not only attainable but offers aspiring nurses the opportunity to build a career of a lifetime. There are so many career opportunities that nurses can pursue – at the bedside, away from the bedside, and within their communities.
Where will your nursing career take you?
Guest author Sarah Jividen, RN, BSN, SCRN is a second-career nurse, freelance writer, mother of two, and founder of Mother Nurse Love, a resource for busy mom RN’s. Her nursing specialties include emergency room, neuro/trauma, and critical care. In a rare moment of spare time, you might find Sarah practicing yoga, writing, or attending a local concert venue with her husband.