Whether you’re interested in joining the healthcare sector or are simply a concerned bystander, you’ve likely heard about the widespread nursing shortage sweeping the nation. Several factors contribute to increasingly low numbers, like the need for additional care as the population ages, mass retirings, and a lack of educational resources and facilities. While current RN’s and those undergoing a nursing degree can help reduce shortages, significant change will come from a new generation of willing nursing students.
Unfortunately, some potential candidates are on the fence about pursuing a degree in nursing due to inadequate salary and possible mistreatment. However, with the proper specialty, place of employment, and attitude, joining the league of nurses can be a fulfilling, inspirational experience.
Why should you become a nurse?
While there are challenging aspects of nursing, ultimately, becoming an RN is an excellent career path, especially for those looking for job security. Because there’s a shortage of qualified personnel, those who bite the bullet and pursue a nursing career can rest easy knowing their job is safe from cuts. Additionally, nurses can specialize in diverse fields, making a tangible difference in healthcare.
If you’re looking to help reduce shortages, read on for five ways you can do your part in suturing the current healthcare wound.
Join the Team of Travel Nurses
One way to help mitigate the overwhelming shortage of RN’s is by signing up for a traveling position. Rural areas are some of the most heavily impacted places, with nursing positions dropping far below the national level, forcing hospitals to rely on remote staff to care for patients properly. Thankfully, you can apply for travel nurse positions on sites like Fusion Marketplace and help out struggling facilities across the country.
However, before you jet off, you’ll need to obtain a BSN degree, Pass the NCLEX exam, ensure correct licensure, and gain experience to increase your chances of landing your dream position as a travel nurse.
Choose a Specialty
Although obtaining a general nurse practitioner license can aid efforts to reduce RN insufficiencies, specializing in a specific area gives you supplemental knowledge that will come in handy with shortage-induced educational gaps. Along with improved patient outcomes, you can also increase your yearly salary and professional growth opportunities. Between Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNA), Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNS), or ER Nurses, countless specialties are yours for the taking.
Become an Educator
One of the most significant reasons for the prolonged nursing shortage is the limited number of seats available in programs, stemming from a lack of educators. That said, an excellent way to remedy the situation is by applying for teaching positions, especially if you’re finding yourself burnt out due to long hours and physical labor. Not only will you help mold the future of nursing, but you’ll also gain schedule flexibility and enjoy a high-reward career.
Finding the right program for your specific needs can be challenging and time-consuming— especially if your local colleges lack the resources you need or have low admittance rates. Thankfully, there are online avenues to obtain a high-quality nursing degree without having to relocate. While there are clinical components to every program, you can often schedule time with your community college to take in-person examinations.
While the nursing shortage is far from over, there are several ways you can move along efforts to reign in deficiencies. Whether you’re an RN diving into a specialty, a long-time practitioner swapping out your scrubs for a teaching cap, or a fresh-faced student taking online courses, you’re dedication can improve patient care and reduce healthcare gaps.