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Exploring Nursing Careers: Which One is Right for You?

Update Date: Nov 05, 2020 03:11 PM EST
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Exploring Nursing Careers: Which One is Right for You?
(Photo : Exploring Nursing Careers: Which One is Right for You?)

Nursing careers span a whole range of specialties, meaning there is a sector for each type of personality. If you are a person who dreams of working in healthcare, then there is sure to be a nursing career for you. One of the great things about nursing is that there are endless opportunities to climb, so, if you start as a registered nurse, you can then zoom in on a specialty and work towards your nursing certifications from there.  

One of the difficult parts of getting into nursing is deciding which sector you want to fall into. Some factors that will influence your decision include:

  • Work Environment Preference
  • Your Personality Type
  • Skills and Talents
  • Education/Experience 
  • Preferred Salary
  • The Age You Want to Care for

Each of these factors will play a role in determining which area of nursing would best suit you. There is far more to nursing than working by bedsides in hospitals (although that can be a huge part of it!). If you are struggling to figure out whether you should jump in and get your nursing certifications, then read on for inspiration for which nursing career suits you best. 

Registered Nurse 

A registered nurse is what most people picture when they think of a nursing career. This is the one that includes working by a patient's bedside, administering medications, and generally looking after the sick. To become a registered nurse, you must acquire nursing certifications from an associate's degree or a bachelor's degree, on top of a certain amount of work experience. This education takes around two years and provides a path into a job that pays an average of $70K per year. 

As a registered nurse, you would be responsible for the care of many patients throughout the day who are suffering from a wide range of illnesses and diseases. Many registered nurses also specialize in certain areas. You will be working as part of a team, and generally making sure the patients are well looked after both physically and mentally. 

Those who work best as registered nurses are those who have a genuine desire to give care to those in need, and they must be willing to communicate and look after a large number of people each shift. The number of years spent in education is fewer than in other nursing sectors, so if that is something that bothers you, becoming a registered nurse could be the way to go. 

Research Nurse 

Research nursing isn't a typical nursing career. These nurses don't tend to see sick patients; instead, they play a pivotal role in the future of scientific medicine. Once they have acquired their nursing certifications, MSN degree, and have attained specialized training in research medicine, then they would be able to work as a research nurse in universities, pharmaceutical companies, research centers, and more. 

Research nurses work on new treatments, medications, and cures, testing them out and seeing which ones will contribute well to the future of healthcare. Not only do they study past medicine, they actively engage in clinical trials to witness the outcome of treatments. The career is all about pushing medicine forward, with a routine of studying, observing, and testing. The education doesn't stop once you've completed your nursing certifications! While the career sees you taking part in a variety of research projects, it is not as stable as other nursing careers, as there isn't a fixed setting.

A research nurse would best suit an intelligent student who wishes to make an impact on the future of medicine. Many times, you won't be able to predict the outcome of the research, so you must be able to handle surprises and challenges. It takes resourcefulness, a keen interest in science, and excellent communication skills. 

School Nurses 

School nurses, of course, work in schools. A school nurse is a job mostly with a fixed setting, although some are required to move from school to school if there a lack of school nurses in the area. Generally, a school nurse works alone and deals with a variety of injuries and illnesses daily. They are paid between $57-59K per year and get their jobs through acquiring an associate's degree alongside their nursing certifications. 

A school nurse has a lot of responsibility, as they are the main provider of medical care for a whole school of children. The illnesses and injuries they have to deal with include:

  • Stomach aches
  • Head injuries
  • Strains
  • Broken bones
  • Asthma attacks
  • Seizures

For the more serious ones, like seizures, it is the school nurse's responsibility to contact emergency services while looking after the child until they get there. They will also have a range of students to who they administer medication regularly. One of the greatest benefits of being a school nurse is they get to enjoy the weekends and school holidays to themselves, and not many nursing careers allow that!

The best people for school nursing are those who work well with children and can communicate clearly while lessening the stress of the sufferer. They must also be able to handle a wide range of sicknesses and are readily prepared to deal with anything, as they will have no clue what sickness is going to walk through their door that day! 

Mental Health Nurse 

Mental health nurses specialize in working with the mentally unwell and earn an average salary of $64-95K, depending on their area. It's a career that requires a masters or doctoral degree for their nursing certifications. Mental health nurses work with a wide range of ages, and with people who suffer from a number of different mental health issues. These include: 

  • Depression
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Dementia 
  • Psychotic disorders 
  • Substance abuse

Due to the nature of the career, mental health nurses must be patient, understanding, and able to give great care when they are feeling stressed. They will, at times, be working with difficult patients, so keeping calm and patient is a particular must. Day-to-day, they would assess patients, prescribe medications and therapy, and sometimes deal with crisis interventions. Their main goal is to help those suffering live their lives most comfortably, so it requires a person who is willing to give 100% to their job each day and provide excellent care for those who are most vulnerable. 

Family Nurse Practitioner 

Family nurse practitioners mainly work in clinics and family practices. They have more responsibility than registered nurses, as they can both diagnose and prescribe medications to patients. Working with adults and children, family nurse practitioners deal with a wide range of diseases and illnesses, and so they have a wide range of knowledge about healthcare. To become a nurse practitioner, you must achieve an MSN degree, and many go on to acquire their post master's nursing certifications

Family nurse practitioners tend to create deep bonds with their patients, especially those they see time and time again over the years. Often, they will be working with families for a long period and will see the children grow up, and the elderly grow sick. 

This is a job for those with particularly strong relationship building skills, as well as those with deep empathy and understanding. It is not generally set in an area where there are emergencies, so it would benefit a nurse who doesn't want to work in a high-risk environment. It does, however, require high organizational skills and the ability to deal well with both children and adults. 

Nurse Educator 

Without nurse educators, there would be no nurses at all! Nurse educators prepare students to enter the world of nursing, providing vital knowledge to a new generation to go out there are help the sick. They earn around $70-80K per year, and they usually work in a nursing school. 

For this role, there is rarely any treating actual patients, but rather guiding others in the direction of treating patients. It's a career that requires nursing certifications from an MSN and advanced degree. It makes sense that the education required is so high, as they are the ones passing on their wisdom to the people who will be future nurses. 

The role would suit an enthusiastic, educated nurse who has a desire to pass on their knowledge and watch a new generation of nurses thrive. They must have strong leadership skills, as well as be a fantastic communicator, as they are providing inspiration and a role model for future nurses. 

Nurse Midwife 

Midwives take care of babies until they are born, and sometimes if the mother is struggling, for a little while after that. This role requires a large amount of responsibility, as they are looking after both mother and baby, and ensuring that the pregnancy and birth go as well as possible. Midwives need an associate's degree and earn around $64K per year working in both hospitals and patient's homes. 

Midwifery is not just about helping during the birth; they also deal with any pre-birth anxieties, providing new mothers with essential education and help with any post-birth issues such as postpartum depression. They play a vital role in the mother and baby's health. 

This role is for people who are interested in women's care, and those who seek to bring new life into this world. It is not a job for the faint of heart - there is a lot of blood and other bodily fluids! It is, however, one of the most rewarding careers out there, as it helps bring new life into the world. 

Pediatric Nurse 

Pediatric nurses are nurses who specialize and work solely with children. They earn an average of $72K per year and work in a wide variety of environments, such as clinics, hospitals, and doctor's surgeries. An associate's degree is needed to become a pediatric nurse, as well as the ability to deal well with children!

As this is a role that works with children, a person who wants to be a pediatric nurse must first ensure that they are great with kids, as this is who they will be around most of the day. It takes a lot of patience, as children can be fidgety and aren't the easiest to work on. It is, however, a rewarding role, as it is one that provides essential care to children.

Geriatric Nurse

A geriatric nurse is the opposite of a pediatric nurse, as they care solely for elderly patients. This is a career that is in constantly high demand due to the aging population and the number of illnesses that are present in the elderly. Geriatric nurses must deal with a range of complex illnesses day-to-day, both physical and mental, and ensure that they are giving their patients the best quality of life. 

As a geriatric nurse, you must first want to deal with old people. You must also be a clear communicator who deals well under pressure. As well as tending to the patient, there will be times where you must deal with the family of the patient, and at times, they can be difficult. It is a job for someone who has built up strong nursing skills with their nursing certifications and can provide excellent care to the vulnerable elderly. On top of this, dealing with death is another must for those who work as geriatric nurses. Unfortunately, they will see a lot of death, and while they may never grow used to it, they must be able to deal with it well. 

Manager Roles

Manager positions can span a whole bunch of roles. Generally, they receive salaries upwards of $75K and must complete their bachelor's degree for their nursing certifications. In a manager role, you would not just be tending to patients; you would also be leading a group of nurses. It is a role that involves confidence, leadership, and a lot of experience. 

If you dream of becoming a manager in your nursing career, then you must be a great leader, have excellent communication skills, and can handle a lot of responsibility. It is an ambitious role and one that would fit someone who loves nursing and likes to climb the ladder. 

As you can see, nursing careers involve a great variety. With such a range, anyone who is interested in a medical career will find a nursing role that suits them perfectly. 

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