America is in the midst of a nursing recruitment crisis. Studies show that there’s likely to be a million openings for nurses in the US by 2024 – and given that there’s a shortage in supply of nurses, this is a real challenge. If you think that you’ve got the skills required to do a good job in this sector, then you’ll be more than welcome if you consider it for your next career move.

Healthcare Careers

The advantages to doing so are numerous, after all. There are plenty of options when it comes to studying to get your healthcare qualification, for example, while it’s also possible to derive strong job satisfaction from looking after others and empowering them to achieve their health outcomes. Nurses and other healthcare professionals are also in demand pretty much everywhere and likely will be for as long as people fall ill, so for talented professionals, there’s the scope to move anywhere in the country or even around the world. Here, then, is a summary of why it makes sense to choose health care as a career.

Options for studying

As part of the response to the nursing shortage, there are lots of healthcare qualifications available. Some nurses take the LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse) or LVN (Licensed Vocational Nurse) route, though others choose to sit a bachelor’s degree. The practical nursing diploma is ideal for nurse practitioners, though there are plenty of other qualifications out there that suit those who are looking to specialize in a particular area of nursing, such as mental health nursing. Depending on your circumstances, there may also be funding available from charities or even the government to fund your studies.

In demand

America’s nursing shortage is bad news in a political and societal way, but for those entering the profession, it does mean that there’s some leverage on offer. Nurses and other healthcare professionals are in high demand, and there’s evidence to show that health care providers are increasingly responding to this by trying to persuade nurses to join their ranks. Some private clinics, for example, offer flexibility in terms of working hours, and other places offer accommodation on site.

More generally, the fact that the nursing shortage exists all over the country means that it’s usually possible for nurses to practice their profession anywhere they choose. Studying at a college in a particular area doesn’t mean that you’ll need to stay in that area in order to live out your nursing career, and you can move across the country if you like in order to work elsewhere. There are also exchange schemes in place, which means that American-trained nurses can go abroad to work, though these can be competitive and are not necessarily suited to everybody.

Benefits to the community

Usually, career choices tend to be based around the important things such as salary level and the ease with which the profession can be entered. All of that applies to nurse, of course – and so it should do, as nurses and healthcare professionals deserve to be able to find a well-paying career. However, in nursing, there’s an additional element that draws many to the profession, and that’s job satisfaction. In some cases, job satisfaction may even make up for the fact that salaries in this profession aren’t quite as high as they are in other lines of work.

When working as a nurse, you’ll be interacting with people who are in a vulnerable position and helping them to recover from whatever medical problem they’re experiencing. This will be a challenge on an emotional level: some patients may exhibit symptoms of significant distress, for example, while nurses who work in geriatric and palliative care wards regularly find that patients with whom they have built up a good relationship pass away. However, the level of job satisfaction is high: nurses and healthcare professionals are aware every day of the impact that they’re having on others, and there’s no greater joy than seeing someone you’ve cared for getting better.

Nursing and other similar healthcare roles are great options for those who are both compassionate and hard-working. Despite the challenges involved, it’s possible to build a really rewarding career out of health care – and with lots of qualification options available, the barriers to entry aren’t high, provided you’re willing to study hard and learn. Once you’ve qualified, the benefits continue: from the feeling of satisfaction that you’ll experience at the end of a long day helping others to the flexibility that it can offer in terms of moving around, there are plenty of reasons to consider it.