There are many good reasons to enter the nursing profession, and some are more obvious than others. Most people who are thinking of becoming a nurse will talk about the feeling of satisfaction from having a job where you get to help people, and of the opportunities to learn new skills and work as part of a dynamic, supportive team. Similarly, while money is rarely the main motivation for becoming a nurse, it’s well-known that in the US, the role is well-paid and that you will always be in demand. When you become a nurse, you have a career for life.
However, there are also many other advantages to working as a nurse, and some are more surprising than others. Some are welcome fringe benefits that you might not have immediately considered, while others are the kinds of perks that you only discover once you actually begin working in your vocation. Here are a few of the more atypical ways that being a nurse pays off.
There’s always something new
Until you’re working as a nurse, you may not appreciate the surprises that the profession has in store. Every day is different, with new challenges, new skills to learn, and, of course, new patients to work with. The healthcare industry is always changing, with new technology, new ideas and new opportunities arising all the time. In addition, the variety of conditions and human experiences you’ll encounter can be enriching and will help you to grow, both as a person and as a professional. At the very least, you’ll never be bored at work.
You can continue your studies
Once you qualify as a nurse and begin your working life, that doesn’t have to be the end of your academic path. There are always opportunities to advance your career by studying for higher qualifications or specializing in different areas, from midwifery to anesthetics. Many of these courses can be taken online, meaning that there’s no need to take time off work in order to learn.
To get started, the Louise Herrington School of Nursing at Baylor University offers a selection of accelerated BSN online programs for Texas residents outside of the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area with a non-nursing bachelor’s degree. 90% of students are offered a job on graduation, and the full-time program includes 62 hours of online coursework plus clinical placement.
The appreciation of the public
Nursing is seen as a selfless career choice, and it’s true that the job is all about giving. However, nurses are rewarded for their work in many ways, emotionally as well as financially. From hugs and heartfelt handshakes to homemade gifts and cards, often from children, patients and their families are always finding new ways to show their gratitude.
Nurses work on the front line of patient care and as such are often the immediate recipients of public appreciation. The feeling inside when they let you know how much your work has meant to them is priceless and needs to be experienced to be believed.
The opportunity to travel
Not everyone thinks of nursing as a career that enables you to live and work all over the US, and sometimes even abroad. However, nurses frequently get the opportunity to work in different locations to meet demand for 13 weeks at a time, with travel expenses and board fully covered.
If this idea appeals to you, you could become a travel nurse by trade, working contracts of between one and three years in a location of your choosing. This role is well-paid and you’re fully in control of where you go and what kind of work you do.
Work in different settings
Most people think of nurses as working in hospitals, and, of course, this is the most common location for nursing to take place, but it’s far from the only one. Private or outpatient clinics, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers and physician’s offices are just some of the different settings where you might find employment as a nurse. You could also become a public health nurse, visiting patients in their own homes, or a school nurse, taking care of children’s wellbeing.
Nurses can also work as consultants, educators or administrators. You might choose to go into research rather than direct patient care or work privately as a personal caregiver. The options for a variety of roles and settings are almost limitless.
You don’t have to buy your own work clothes
This one is obvious when you think about it, but it isn’t necessarily the first advantage of being a nurse that springs to mind. Nevertheless, the fact that for nurses, scrubs are provided is a distinct plus. There’s no need to go shopping for your own outfits and no need to worry about having clean, pressed clothes ready for the next day. By design, scrubs are hard-wearing and stain resistant. Getting ready for your shift couldn’t be easier: just throw on the next set in your drawer, slip on a pair of white sneakers, and hit the ward.
Most budding nurses are aware of the great in-work benefits available to them, from holiday pay to health insurance, but what about the benefits offered by companies you don’t even work for? Nursing is one of the most respected professions in society, and many businesses offer generous discounts to working nurses as a token of their gratitude. From clothes and car insurance to gym memberships, entertainment venues and restaurants, being a nurse can mean never having to pay full price for anything ever again!
Becoming a better person
Some of the most significant benefits of nursing are surprising because they are intangible. Working every day with human beings in extreme circumstances can make you more aware of what’s really important in life. Love, death and mortality stop being abstract ideas and become the stuff of every working day.
You may find that you become more patient and appreciative of diversity, as well as the value of each moment. You may even find that nursing rewards you with a degree of spiritual insight. Certainly, you’ll find deeper reserves of compassion and empathy within your soul. You might think that you know what to expect, but when these moments hit, they will always take you by surprise.