If you’ve been considering the pursuit of a career in medicine for some time, you probably already know about a few of the perks. It’s common knowledge that many medical professionals are paid well compared to those in other fields, and most people respect them for working in a field dedicated to helping others. Becoming a nurse also unlocks a range of career opportunities, including medical specialties that can help you earn more for your time. The right place to start, in many cases, is as an RN. Here are some of the reasons why:
Wide Variety of Specialties
In medicine, there are few fields that offer as much flexibility as nursing. Nurses are able to work with a huge range of patients, and some nursing specialties even focus on areas outside of direct patient care. Forensic nurse investigators, for example, are often responsible for assisting medical examiners and coroners with uncovering the circumstances surrounding unusual or violent deaths. Other nursing specialties are involved heavily in research, information technology, education, and more. You can also become a nurse practitioner and open your own primary care practice.
If you enter the nursing field, there’s a good chance that you’ll be able to find a specialty in line with your personal and professional interests.
Considering the fact that it’s possible to start working as a nurse with just a 2-year degree, most nurses are paid quite well. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average pay for a nurse in 2021 was $77,600 per year
or $37.31 per hour. For nurses with experience and additional training, annual salaries above $100,000 are not uncommon. Other workers in the medical field who aren’t required to have 4 years of postsecondary education, like paramedics, are paid significantly less and have less upward mobility. So, if you’re thinking about starting a worthwhile career in the medical field but don’t want to spend years and years in school, nursing is a great choice.
While employment perks vary from one employer to another, the average nurse receives excellent benefits. Nurses working at the VA, for example, have the following benefits:
- 26 days of paid annual leave per year
- 13 days of sick leave per year
- A variety of partially paid health insurance plans to choose from
- Affordable life-insurance plans
- Some of the best retirement options in the United States
While the high number of new nurses entering the field in the last few years has made getting a job as a new nurse slightly more difficult than it used to be, the job outlook for nursing is still quite good. Between 2020 and 2030, employment for registered nurses is projected to grow by 9%. The industry is expected to add 194,500 openings for RNs each year for the next eight years. If you enter the nursing field now, you can rest easy knowing that you’ll likely be able to get and keep a good job without too much difficulty for the foreseeable future, something that can’t be said for most careers.
Endless Learning Opportunities
As an RN, you’re constantly learning and growing as a professional in the medical field. Once you finish your RN program and start working, you’ll have endless opportunities to pursue additional certifications, and you can also work toward higher degrees in nursing if you elect to do so. Also, depending on the size of your facility, there’s a good chance that certain educational expenses can be covered or reimbursed by your employer.
Unrivaled Patient-Care Experience
Even if you have your heart set on working as a doctor, starting as an RN still makes a lot of sense. MD programs are incredibly competitive these days, and having great patient-care experience is something that will ensure your application really stands out. As a nurse, you’ll have more direct patient-care experience than most, and you’ll pick up a great deal of the knowledge that MDs are expected to have. After a few years on the floor, you’ll have nearly all of the tools needed to excel in medical school. Additionally, if you elect not to attend medical school but still want to work in a capacity similar to that of an MD, you can always obtain an advanced degree in order to become a nurse practitioner.
Do you have other reasons for wanting to start your medical career as an RN? If so, do you plan to continue working as a nurse for the foreseeable future, or do you plan to branch off into something else within the medical field? Let us and our readers know by leaving a comment below!