Are you interested in making a difference in the healthcare world? Do you want to work with patients one-on-one, helping them overcome illness and injury? You may be meant to become a registered nurse (RN).
Nursing is an incredibly challenging, yet rewarding role. For many nurses working in the field, the personal connections made with patients make every day well worth the effort. Not to mention, the field offers great professional reward as well.
Registered nurses earn a very comfortable salary. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, RNs earned a median annual salary of $73,300 in 2019. They also have a great job outlook. Employment of registered nurses is expected to grow 7% over the next several years, faster than the average for all occupations. There are many benefits of becoming a nurse, and the pay and opportunity barely scrape the surface.
If you’re thinking of becoming a registered nurse, you’ll want to know what you’re getting into first. Read on, as we share what to know before getting started on the path to becoming an RN.
- Hollywood Gets Medicine Wrong
If Grey’s Anatomy sucked you into the idea of becoming a nurse, you may be looking forward to the dramatic relationships among coworkers and patients. But the truth is, many popular TV series and movies get it wrong. You can ask any nurse friend for verification. In real life, nurses are independent, critically-thinking healthcare workers who are well-respected among the greater healthcare team. While RNs do report to doctors, they are not seen as subservient, and in fact have great responsibility when it comes to patient care. Registered Nurses are responsible for assessing patient conditions, performing tests, administering medications, coordinating treatment plans, and more.
- There are Male Nurses, Too
Nursing has been unfairly stereotyped as a female-only profession. This likely goes back to Florence Nightengale, the heroic female nurse who is considered, by many, the founder of modern nursing. The truth is, however, right up until the 19th century, the majority of nurses were men, and it was men who tended to the wounded during wars. Of course, today there are many more women working as nurses in the U.S. than men. But there are more men in nursing today than ever before – a good sign of the changing times in the workforce. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 12% of registered nurses are now men. It may seem like a small percentage, but that number is up from just 2.7% male RNs in 1970.
- …But Not Everyone is Cut Out for the Job
Nursing is not for the faint of heart. This role requires some serious strength – physical, mental, and emotional. Depending on your setting, you may witness and treat critically injured patients. You may work with geriatric patients and feel the emotional pain of their loved ones. You may work with stubborn and difficult patients at times. If you work in a hospital setting, you may work long hours that keep you on your toes – literally and figuratively. Nurses experience the human condition at its most vulnerable points, and not everyone can handle the challenges. However, as noted above, the work is well worth the reward.
- Good Footwear is Important
Speaking of long hours on your feet, there are some tricks that experienced RNs have learned along the way. Compression socks are helpful for those who are on their feet for hours at a time. Supportive shoes are just as important when it comes to walking all those hospital floors. Forget fashion – find a good quality shoe that can keep your feet from blistering. You will also need to consider color. Many hospitals and other healthcare facilities require staff to follow a certain dress code. Just as you will have to wear a particular color scrubs, you may be required to wear all black or all white shoes.
- There Are Many Ways to Be a Nurse
When people think of nurses, they typically picture a nurse in an ER, running about with a stethoscope around their neck. In reality, nurses work in a variety of settings and with different responsibilities. If you are serious about becoming a registered nurse, you likely have long-term goals. The thrill of the hospital floor is exciting, but maybe you would like to eventually work as a medical journalist or research analyst. It is no secret that there is a ton of opportunity in nursing, but many RNs don’t realize how many more doors can open for you once you become a nurse. You can learn about the different types of nurses here.
- Becoming a Registered Nurse is Easier Than You Might Think
Of course, before your journey to becoming an RN can begin, you will need to start with a great education. A reputable nursing program, like the many available at Goodwin University, can give you the foundation you need to launch your new career. Although nursing school may sound intimidating, rest assured a nursing career is attainable. Goodwin offers flexible options that allow students to study and maintain their jobs and family responsibilities.
Classes for the Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN), for example, are offered days and nights, with clinicals offered on weekends, too. This program may be completed in as little as 20 months part time, so you can get going on your career as a nurse within two years’ time.
Pursue your dreams and start your journey to becoming a registered nurse today! Contact Goodwin College at 800-889-3282 to learn more about our flexible nursing programs, or visit us online to learn why we’re a leader in nursing education in Connecticut.
Goodwin University is a nonprofit institution of higher education and is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly known as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Goodwin University was founded in 1999, with the goal of serving a diverse student population with career-focused degree programs that lead to strong employment outcomes.