Students who wish to learn how to be a nurse in the era of COVID-19 can enjoy lifetime career stability, good salaries, and increased job opportunities despite — and sometimes because of — the nation’s current health crisis. Many schools offer accelerated programs, online degree programs, and hybrid programs that allow nursing students to complete coursework quickly while working or caring for families.
Perhaps you’re a first-year college student who has always been interested in healthcare, or maybe you’re working in an unrelated field and you’ve been itching to switch careers after two years of pandemic-fueled headlines. You may even already be a nurse who wishes to switch specializations but doesn’t know how to choose a school that would allow time for work, education, and family responsibilities. Learn more about the benefits of being a nurse as well as tips for succeeding in your career.
Good nursing is the backbone of the healthcare field, and the healthcare system needs qualified nurses now more than ever. While doctors focus on diagnosing and treating disease, nurses are experts inpatient care. This doesn’t mean that nurses are relegated to just changing their patients’ bedsheets and giving shots to kids at their yearly checkup appointments. Nurses at various levels may participate in the following activities during their time on the job:
There are many options for learning how to be a nurse, including in-person coursework, accelerated programs, and bridge programs that help you achieve a new level and certification after you have already completed your basic nursing training. Consider the following seven benefits of becoming a nurse during the era of COVID-19 and learn a few tips for finding the right degree program, or choosing your next job assignment, for your career goals.
There are nearly 4 million nurses working in the United States — and it’s not enough. Nurses work long shifts, manage patient records, and shoulder the bulk of patient care in hospitals, nursing homes, and more. Many of these men and women are tired and burnt out, and this fatigue can lead to dangerous bedside mistakes. Reducing these errors and alleviating the stress of many nurses in part comes down to hiring more qualified nurses and improving training for those in school.
People will always get sick and need care. This unfortunate reality makes nursing a great career choice, as hospitals and other care settings will always need to be fully staffed with well-trained nurses. You can be a nurse nearly anywhere if you hold a license, and many states allow license reciprocity and licensure compact agreements, which means that you do not have to become recertified if you move to a new state. Your salary is likely to remain steady throughout your career.
Do you like kids? You could learn how to be a nurse at a pediatric office or a children’s hospital, or you could work as a school nurse at the elementary school down the street. You may want to work in a home health care setting with senior citizens, or you may enjoy the rush of the emergency room. Jobs for nurses are almost everywhere, so even if you or your spouse has to relocate, you will surely be able to find work.
The current nursing shortage isn’t new, and federal officials do not expect it to disappear anytime soon. This staffing crisis combined with the pandemic has led many universities and community colleges to offer reduced tuition, scholarships, and reimbursement for students who sign up for nursing programs.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth is likely here to stay. Though long-distance care is not a preferred or ideal situation for many practitioners, it can fill gaps in the healthcare system by serving patients in rural areas as well as those too sick to come into the doctor’s office. There is much to learn — and many advances on the horizon — in this exciting field of development.
Those interested in learning how to be a nurse on the job as soon as possible can begin by obtaining a license as a certified nursing assistant. If you want to go to school first, you may opt for an entry-level position after completing a licensed practical nurse or registered nurse degree program. LPNs may opt to complete an online BSN program later in their careers, and RNs may move up the career ladder by becoming nurse practitioners, who take more active roles in diagnosing and caring for patients.
Finally, nurses of all types have the opportunity to provide comfort, compassion, and education to their patients who may need help navigating complex medical issues. Perhaps one of the most rewarding things about becoming a nurse during the era of COVID-19, when skilled care, public health knowledge, and patient education are so important, is that you can see the direct impact of your hard work in your patient’s lives.
Qualified nurses are essential individuals in any great healthcare system. Without nurses, patients suffer — and so does the rest of their healthcare team. Become a nurse and give yourself, as well as your patients, a better future. For more information on nursing programs, browse Academia Labs’s nursing education resources and gain a better understanding of how to be a nurse in this unique time in history.
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