When you are considering why should I be a nurse, it’s important to take into account and ask yourself the following questions and study the background to come up with the right life decision.
Is Nursing Right for me?
I wrote an article earlier on “Do I have what it takes to be a nurse?” Now let’s look at this this from another angle: Should I be a nurse? Does being a nurse make sense for my life? Is Nursing Right for me? I’m writing this as a male in his late 20’s with 0 debt and I have been saving like crazy knowing that I will have 0 income during CRNA school. I’ll dive more into my future plans later, but let’s see if realistically nursing is the right profession for you?
Nursing isn’t a glamorous job. It is making strides as a being a well-respected profession, but there is certainly still a negative stigma with nurses being highly paid waiters or doctors’ servants. There are times when I pause for a second when someone I meet asks what I do. And I pause because I’m creating their possible reactions in my mind before I tell them I’m a nurse. I’ve received the whole spectrum of responses from amazement and praise to laughter and disdain. It’s certainly not the reactions one would get majoring in say finance, computer science or engineering.
Aside from society’s perception on nursing, let’s look at the concrete numbers of nursing.
Nursing Job Prospects
This is important because it better ensures you will have a job when you graduate. According to projections by the Bureau of Labor Statistics: by 2022 there will be more than one million job openings for RNs. Plus one for nursing.
This is tough because it’s dependent on location and a starting nurse salary can be quite different from the median salary.
From personal experience, I started at $20/hour in a doctor’s office. My first med-surge position was in rural PA and netted me around $25/hour. As a travel nurse, I have netted anywhere from $1500-2000/week after taxes. I know many new nurses fresh from school starting anywhere from $30-$40/hour.
Different sources will give you a slightly different range, but the 2020 Bureau of Labor Statistics quotes the average RN salary at $73,300 or $35.24/hour. This information was updated in April 2020 so it very accurate.
Nurse Journal also does a great job listing average RN salary by state. Room for Improvement for Nurses Nurses who wish to continue their studies can look at an even higher pay. According to U.S. News in 2020:
- Average Nurse Anesthetist salary of $167,950 in 2020. This is up substantially from $157,140 in 2017.
- Nurse Practitioners made a median salary of $107,030 in 2020. This is also up substantially from $98,180 in 2017.
- Nurse Midwives made a median salary of $103,770 in 2020. This trends well with median salaries of the nursing industry as Nurse Midwives median salary was $92,510 in 2017.
Every year, the U.S. News ranks jobs according to salary, employment rate, job growth rate, future prospects, stress level and work-life balance.
In 2017 nursing takes four positions in the top 25 with Registered Nurse at #22, Nurse Midwife at #15, Nurse Anesthetist at #6, and Nurse Practitioner at #2.
In 2020, these rankings were more or less the same for nurses. Nurse Practitioners were #5, Registered Nurse at #13, and Nurse Anesthetist at #17. The main differences from 2017 and 2020 were Software Developers and Statisticians moving up. In addition, other health care workers like Dentists, Physician Assistants, Orthodontists went up in ranking as well.
Getting your foot in the door
Registered Nurses can hold an Associate’s or Bachelor’s to be eligible to sit for the national licensure examination by the Board of Nursing. Additionally, with such a high demand for nurses, the school you attend does not hold such a heavy weight for employment as more emphasis is placed on experience and license status. This is an opportunity for high school students to make a more cost-effective decision with colleges. It may not be worth spending $100,000 in tuition to make the same salary as the nurse who went local and spent $60,000 less. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with going to your top choices for college, but I am saying you should have a plan on how to get out of that overwhelming debt.
Here is a list of rankings of schools with the highest starting salaries. While it is extremely generalized, the nurse’s salary is very competitive compared to graduates from these top starting salary schools.
Why Should I be a Nurse Conclusion
In a time where there are massive amounts of people holding college degrees with a painful amount of debt, nursing appears to be an all-around very intelligent career choice. It may not be the most glamorous job. And I admit there are really tough days where I question my sanity and life choices. However, at the end of the day, it is a job with a lot of benefits and doors that lead to better opportunities and experiences. I hate making nursing sound like a great financial decision because it is so much more than that to me, but it’s a facet of the profession that should be analyzed and not ignored.