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How a Nursing Career Can Offer Growth, Flexibility and Diversity

17 OCT 2012
Career Path : Healthcare

Deciding on a set career path can be pretty scary, especially if the path will include quite a few years of schooling. Is a degree in nursing a worthy investment? Will it lead to a career that is fulfilling, challenging and rewarding? Let’s take a look at a few reasons why enrolling in nursing college actually is a wise career move.

Of course, the crux of any nursing career is patient care, and being able to dedicate your days to helping people. But we’ll be looking at three more logistical qualities of a nursing career.

1. Increasing demand

It’s no secret that the healthcare system rests on the shoulders of dedicated nurses. Without them, the day-to-day at hospitals, clinics, or other care facilities would not be able to function. Needless to say, we can’t live without nurses, and this dire necessity will only become stronger. The already high demand for nurses is expected to increase as the Canadian population continues to grow as rapidly as it already is. According to a May article in The National Post, “By 2031, 22.8 per cent of the population will be 65 and older. The proportion will jump to one quarter — 25.5 percent — by 2061.” In addition, the largest age cluster of nurse practitioners is 45-49, meaning that there are more nurses reaching retirement than there are nurses just starting out there career (Canadian Nurses Association, 2009).

In sum, an aging population and an expanding workforce will definitely contribute to the increasing demand for nurses. And although no job is one hundred per cent ‘recession proof’, the employment prospects for nursing graduates are widely reported to be good. In fact, some estimate that there continues to be tens of thousands of unfilled nursing positions in Canada.

2. Flexibility

Don’t confuse flexibility with an easy ride. Nursing is tough, but the schedule is considered a perk. Laws and structures differ from province to province, but typically floor nurses alternate between 12-hour day and night shifts. While this may sound awful to some, there are many people who would prefer to work four stints of 12-hour shifts and then have 3 days off in a row. A nursing schedule is definitely its own kind, and is not likely to suit everyone, but for many the long stretches become as easy as sleeping in on a Sunday.

Keep in mind that there are other schedule options. Some nurse practitioners take on a regular 9-5 work schedule, but that would require them to work in a nursing capacity that does not involve direct patient care, such as a nurse researcher or an Infection Control Practitioner. If you love the idea of nursing but loathe the concept of 12-hour night shifts, then you may want to look into other streams within the profession, most of which you can learn about in nursing schools in Canada.

3. Professional diversity

One of the most appealing qualities of a nursing career is the professional diversity that it offers. To this end, students in nursing college are typically given a broad education in order to prepare future nurses for a career that will touch on every aspect of nursing healthcare.

Primarily, the diversity comes in the fact that nurses are able (and likely encouraged) to switch specializations. It is not uncommon for nurses to thread through departments. For example, one year you could be working in the Cardiac department and the next you could be in the Dialysis department, or in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

Nursing is definitely one of those professions that offers employees the ability and freedom to shift their professional focus many times throughout the span of their careers.

Choosing to go into nursing is a commitment like no other. Hopefully this list has helped you move toward your chosen path, wherever that may be.

Visit Mohawk College for more information on nursing school.