A nurse is a health care professional who is engaged in the practice of nursing.
Nurses are responsible—along with other health care professional for the treatment, safety, and recovery of acutely and chronically ill or injured people, health maintenance of the healthy, and treatment of life-threatening emergencies in a wide range of health care settings. Nurses may also be involved in medical and nursing research perform a wide range of non-clinical functions necessary to the delivery of health care.
Healthcare is one of the fastest growing professions throughout the world. As the population ages, and healthcare costs rise, the demand for nurses will continue to increase. The health care delivery system is shifting, and nurses, particularly those with advanced education, will be in demand for quite some time.
* Nursing Role Expanding
With the rising costs of healthcare, physicians are spending less time with patients, and nurses are shifting into an ever expanding role of health educator, as well as providing more direct care to the patients.
* Effects of Nursing Shortage
The present population of nurses is aging and approaching retirement. This will compound the current shortage of nurses worldwide. The shortage of over 300,000 nurses worldwide is expected to grow to over 800,000 in the next 15-20 years.
This shortage is causing a dramatic increase in salaries for nurses.
Hospitals and other facilities are competing for nurses with sign-on bonuses, and packages including cars, childcare and/or eldercare assistance, and housing assistance.
* Benefits, Job Security, and Rewards
Attractive salaries, bonuses, and job security are not the only benefits for nurses. Caring for others and making a difference in the lives of others everyday is a rewarding aspect to a career in nursing. It's something that can be said to be missing in many careers.
* Second Degree Options
As the population ages, we also find ourselves looking for second and even multiple careers. It is becoming more and more common for those with bachelor's even master's in other fields to enter nursing programs for a second degree. In nursing, many schools are now offering accelerated 12-18 month programs for a BSN.
* More Men Becoming Nurses
Men are joining the nursing profession in growing numbers as well. This is due in part to the rise in salaries and job security that is lacking in other fields. Patients are accepting of men as their nurse, and facilities offer options to anyone objecting to a male nurse.
* Flexible Schedules
The shortage of nurses has forced employers to not only adjust salaries, but to look outside the box at alternative and flexible working conditions. Many more opportunities are available for per diem, part time as well as full time employees. Flexible work schedules and job sharing opportunities are emerging in the field to help nurses meet the demands of their families while managing a rewarding career.
* Where Do Nurses Work?
Nurses work not only in hospitals and clinics, but in physician's offices, schools, private duty and home health. Nurses also work in the legal arena as consultants and lawyers with a nursing degree, for insurance companies, and as clinical researchers, and sales reps for drug companies and medical equipment firms. Occupational nurses work in industry all over the world. Nurses such as Diabetic Educators and Wound Ostomy nurses educate other nurses in new medications, treatments, equipment, and treatment modalities. There is a rapidly growing field of nursing informatics which involves computerizing medical records and health information. Nurses are also teachers in nursing schools at all levels.
Nurses can also travel extensively and work by working for travel nursing agencies who place them for short and long term assignments in various facilities throughout the world. Military opportunities for nurses exist in most nations with active militaries. The military will often pay for your education based on a work commitment afterwards.
* Advance Practice Opportunities
Advance practice nurses work under the supervision of physicians in such areas as nurse practitioners, midwives, and nurse anesthetists. Nurse practitioners specialize in areas such as geriatrics, mental health, OB/GYN, palliative care. Some of these require advanced degrees and some certification programs.
Nursing is a constantly emerging profession. Consider the opportunities when choosing a career.
* Kathy Quan, http://www.nursing.about.com.