According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the nursing field is expected to grow by 19% between now and the year 2022, which is much faster than average. It’s also a field with one of the highest earning potentials with RNs earning, on average, more than $65K per year. (Source: BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook)
The Wall Street Journal says that there is still a massive amount of opportunity available at the entry level of the nursing field, though the same article talks about how the opportunities for career advancement are starting to wane. Many nurses are finding themselves stagnating in the middle of their fields, particularly those who are employed at private medical offices (as opposed to hospitals, where the ladder is still relatively available to climb).
So what do you do? You want to make sure that you have a good job and, if you’ve been out of work for a while, you’re probably looking at changing careers. How do you ensure not only your own employability within the nursing field but your advancement as well?
1. Get The Right Degree
While lower level nursing degrees are available (you can still, for example, get an associate’s degree in nursing), LPN jobs are largely being split up between assistants and RNs. It’s worth taking the time to get your bachelor’s degree.
2. Switch to a New Specialty
Are you already an RN but want to specialize in a different field of nursing? For example, have you spent the last ten years as a pediatric nurse but now you think there are better opportunities in cardiac or intensive care units? Go back to school to get your bachelor’s degree. Certain schools offer specialized course offerings, such as the accelerated programs at gmc.edu, that are designed to accommodate RNs with already busy work schedules who want to explore new specialties within their field.
The wider your nursing experience and education, the more employable you will be and the more opportunities for advancement will be available to you.
3. Refresh Your Knowledge
It’s easy to assume, if you’ve been on the job for a while, that the process for moving up or even laterally is the same as it was when you got your first job. This isn’t true! Hiring practices change. For example, some employers are checking out potential employees’ online reputations—looking at Facebook profiles, blogs, etc. “Bone up” on what’s expected of today’s new hires.
Have you felt called to serve as a nurse or other medical professional? What did you do to ensure your employability and advancement?