Considering a career in nursing? The ability to make a difference in others' lives probably attracted you to this profession, but did you consider how much it can benefit your own life? Becoming a nurse offers great rewards in addition to helping those that are ill.
The most obvious personal benefit of a nursing career includes competitive salaries and the widespread availability of jobs compared to many other professions. Hospitals are always looking for skilled nurses? With hospitals, home health agencies, long term nursing facilities and management jobs, there are many opportunites to find a position in nursing. The 2012-13 Occupational Outlook Handbook for Registered Nurses, published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, reports there were an estimated 2,737,400 Registered Nurse jobs in 2010. There is an expected growth rate of 26% for the years 2010-20.
Because of the sustained demand, salaries for Registered Nurses remain strong nationally, with a median hourly wage of $31.10. The annual median of $64,690 is more than $30,000 above the average median of all occupations. For a Licensed Practical Nurse, the median hourly wage is $19.41 and $40,380 annually accross the country.
With generous salaries, some nurses choose to work part-time, particularly if they have small children at home or want to pursue other interests or even own a small business. The BLS reports that 20 percent of nurses in 2010 worked less than full-time. Nursing provides a great way to balance your professional and personal life by working fewer hours if you so choose.
Another benefit of the profession is flexibility of your shift times. Depending on your needs, you'll find shifts at all hours of the day. You can also choose to work "per-diem", where you pick up vacant shifts or cover for regular staff nurses who are in need of a day off. You probably won't get benefits, but if you have a spouse who has them, this is a great way to have the best of both worlds professionally and personally, as you only work when you choose to.
No matter where you choose to live in this country, you'll almost always find nursing jobs available. If a spouse's job transfers or you move with the military, you can usually find a nursing job in your new city. You may like to move to a city with a low cost of living and low crime rates, yet you'll be able to keep your comfortable living wage.
If you simply love to travel, consider travel nursing, where you fill temporary vacancies in hospitals, long term care facilities and home health agencies all over the country for anywhere from eight to 13 weeks. Depending on what company you work with, benefits range from free housing to food stipends and completion bonuses.
Becoming a nurse lets you provide an invaluable service to many people and can enrich their lives during an illness or after an accident. Be sure to consider choosing this career to take advantage of the many benefits for you and your family, as well.
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