I'm turning fifteen in a few days and I am a freshman in high school. I sense a turning point; I feel that this year is a landmark year. I believe that it is a good time to start thinking about my future. What will I be ten years from now? What kind of work am I doing? What will make me happy? I know I want to have my own family. I know I want to have a job. I don’t need to have lots of money; I just want to have a job where I will earn enough so my family will be comfortable. I feel sad for many people nowadays who have lost their jobs, jobs that promised long-term employment for them. I feel the pain of people losing jobs that they have had for ten, fifteen, even twenty years. I want a career that will promise me long-term earnings as well as a potential to branch out in other avenues so I don’t become stuck in a rut for the rest of my life. What career would I be in where I will feel like I am contributing to society? What can I do to make a difference in the lives of people? Where will there be a need for me?
Statistics show that “by the year 2030, about one out of every five Americans, or 20% of our population, will be a senior citizen” (Anonymous G 2005,1). People who are senior citizens have the most risk of getting sick and being hospitalized. Hospitals will need more nurses to care for the elderly who are at high risk for pneumonia, infections, heart attacks and strokes. Many are suffering from chronic conditions like diabetes, lung and kidney diseases. From observation, the field of nursing is a profitable as well as fulfilling profession for someone looking for a career that gives both economic stability as well as emotional fulfillment.
Registered nurses can work in a variety of environments to treat and assist patients to wellness. They assess their patients, identify their needs, and write a plan of care to help patients get well and stay well. Registered Nurses chart progress and problems, go over tests, and help patient's understand and prevent illnesses. They change dressings, prep for surgery, and educate their patients on how to take care of themselves properly. RN's in the acute hospital setting help identify their patient's illnesses, and help ensure their speedy recovery. Once they are home, there are nurses who will check up on them and educate them on their conditions so as to recognize emergency situations as well as signs of symptoms of illnesses. In the chronic setting, the RN's primary responsibility is managing the patients care, but will also do bedside care like tube feeding, assisting in personal care like bathing, and washing and any other assistance the elderly or chronically impaired patient may require. For patients who are dying, hospice nurses help with pain control and the emotional well being of both the patient and their grieving family. Fast forward a few more years, nurses will be holding classes for people who are interested, teaching them how to prevent heart disease, stroke, and obesity. In fact, the nursing field is now big on safe methods of weight loss as well as long term maintenance of lost weight (Crotti 2009, 1).
To become a registered nurse, one starts by fulfilling all the usual general education (GED) requirements at a community college or a university. Then one must apply to a nursing school where there are four semesters of nursing classes with classroom skill competency classes as well as clinical practicum at real hospital settings. One must pass all required classes. Having done this, one earns an Associate Degree in Nursing and is able to take the NCLEX licensure exam, pass and work as a regular RN (Anonymous H 2011, 1).
There is an opportunity for further education which opens doors to Administrative Nursing, (nurses who become hospital directors or supervisors), Nursing Instruction (those who want to teach in Nursing school), Public Health Nursing (those who keep track of diseases that can threaten large groups of people like the influenza, Valley fever, tuberculosis etc). There are also paths that can lead to Nurse Practitioners, Nurse Anesthesiologists to name a few. One can even have a career as an RN in System Analysis. Overall, there is a myriad of other paths that a nurse can pursue after a basic two-year Associate Degree (Smith 2010, 1, 2; Galang 2011, 1).
Some possibilities of colleges and universities that offer nurse training are Riverside Community College, University of California in Riverside, and Kaplan University. The yearly cost of going to Riverside Community College is $1080 (Anonymous I 2011, 1). University of California in Riverside has a much more costly tuition of $13,607 a year (Anonymous J 2011, 1). It is comparable to a year at Kaplan University, a private school, which is, $13,324 (Anonymous K 2011, 1).
Salaries one can expect for a registered nurse are reasonably high. They earn $43,000- $63,000 dollars a year. With eight years in the field, they get a median hourly rate which adds up to $60,200. In Riverside, starting pay is between $31 to $38 per hour with a $4 differential per hour for evening shift nurses. With 8 or more years of experience, one can earn up to $54400- $76100 (Nemko B 2008, 2).
At Riverside Community Hospital, RN's who work full time get full medical, dental, vision and lifetime benefits for themselves and their immediate family. They have a 401-K and life insurance. Registered Nurses usually work 12-hour shifts 3 days a week and get 2 days off, not including weekends. They get extra monies if they work during a holiday. (Galang 2011, 2).
The future of this occupation is very positive. Nursing is anticipated to develop faster than other jobs by the year 2012. Advances in medicine have created many more nursing jobs. As our country develops and increases, even more nurses will be needed in nursing care facilities. Due to many technological advances, house healthcare and outpatient care centers will also need more registered nurses (Anonymous E 2011, 2).
There are also some innovations at the forefront of the registered nursing field. One study was of the use of initial risk assessment and recording as the main nursing intervention in identifying risk of falls. The control group did not have any care plan for patients and did not record patients' falls and/or the causes reliably. The experimental group had more records of patients' falls and the causes. When looking at the results, they found that the proportion of injuries in relation to the falls was actually higher in the control group. This led them to believe that when nurses record falls and causes, nurses on later shifts could take note and prevent it from happening again (Udén et. al. 1999, 2).
Another study was done in Poland on the quality of nursing care of colorectal cancer patients undergoing first line palliative chemotherapy. Research was done on what more nurses could do to help relieve their patients' pain and improve their lives. They decided that although the nurses were adequate in providing psychological and social help and patients found their nurses highly qualified, they could still do more. One of the solutions was that they should increase the amount of nurses working in the center. Nurses would have less patients each and therefore could pay more attention to their patients' needs. This way, patients would feel more comfortable asking for help and feel like they're in a safe, happy atmosphere (Sierko et. al. 2011, 1, 2).
There are many advantages to the nursing profession like reasonable pay, a sense of accomplishment, being able to work anywhere, days off, and not having to bring work home. However, being a nurse is a stressful job with long hours and sometimes unstable patients. To be a nurse, one has to be able to pay attention to details and safety and work quickly and accurately under stressful situations. Nurses also have to be compassionate otherwise their patients will not get better. Showing compassion can be as simple as asking how they are, checking on their progress, watching for their safety, offering comfort when they are afraid, listening to their needs, answering their questions, alleviating their concerns, helping explain what the doctor tells them, and always giving them encouragement to wellness.
From what I gathered, advantages to the field of nursing for me would be, never having to worry about where to live because every state has hospitals, and every hospital needs nurses. I would be able to participate as people get better and be part of that fulfilling process. There is also good pay that would be able to keep me and my family comfortable. I would have days off which means I could spend quality time with my family. However, I read that a lot of nurses get burned-out because they get tired and lose enthusiasm for their job because they don't enjoy what they're doing. They know they can earn a lot of money, so they overextend their finances. This leads them to work more and so work becomes a chore. They have lost their passion for taking care of the sick. If I am going to be a nurse I would have to be aware of the danger of falling prey to greed. Personally, I believe that if I chose to be a nurse, I would lead a very happy life because I know that I could make a difference in another person's life. As Albert Schweitzer said, "Life becomes harder for us when we live for others, but it also becomes richer and happier."
Anonymous E. Registered Nurse Jobs [homepage on the Internet]. Articles Barn; 2011 Oct. 24. [cited 2011 Oct. 27]. Available from: http://www.articlesbarn.com/registered-nurse-jobs.html.
Anonymous G. Trends in the Elderly Population [homepage on the Internet]. Aging in the Know; 2005 Mar. 15. [cited 2011 Nov. 13]. Available from: http://www.healthinaging.org/agingintheknow/chapters_ch_trial.asp?ch=2.
Anonymous H. How to Get RN Certification [homepage on the Internet]. eHow; 2011. [cited 2011 Nov. 24]. Available from: http://www.ehow.com/how_5884609_rn-certification.html?ref=Track2&utm_source=ask.
Anonymous I. Why is Riverside Community College District a great choice? [homepage on the Internet]. Riverside City College; 2011. [cited 2011 Nov. 27]. Available from: http://www.rcc.edu/students/faq.cfm#7.
Anonymous J. How Much Does UCR Cost? [homepage on the Internet]. Regents of the University of California; 2011. [cited 2011 Nov. 27]. Available from: http://finaid.ucr.edu/UCRCost/Pages/default.aspx.
Anonymous K. Kaplan University: Net Price Calculator [homepage on the Internet]. Kaplan Higher Education Corporation; 2011. [cited 2011 Nov. 27]. Available from: http://online.kaplanuniversity.edu/Pages/Net_Price_Calculator.aspx.
Crotti. All In A Day’s Work: Registered Nurse [homepage on the Internet]. StarTribune; 2011. [cited 2011 Nov. 6]. Available from: http://www.startribune.com/jobs/healthcare/32370204.html.
Galang. An RN’s Profile [homepage on the Internet]. Gambassa; 2011 Nov. 27. [cited 2011]. Available from: http://www.gambassa.com/Collaboration/CollaborationView.aspx?id=4127&uid=.
Nemko B. Best Careers 2009: Registered Nurse [homepage on the Internet]. U.S.News & World Report LP; 2008 Dec. 11. [cited 2011 Oct. 30]. Available from: http://money.usnews.com/money/careers/articles/2008/12/11/best-careers-2009-registered-nurse.
Sierko et. al. [homepage on the Internet]. Via Medica; 2011. [cited 2011 Oct. 30]. Available from: http://www.advpm.eu/.
Smith. RN Wants to Further Career... Informatics? Education? Management? [homepage on the Internet]. allnurses.com INC; 2010 July 26. [cited 2011 Dec. 1]. Available from: http://allnurses.com/nursing-career-advice/rn-wants-further-493912.html.
Udén et. al.. Use of initial risk assessment and recording as the main nursing intervention in identifying risk of falls. [homepage on the Internet]. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.; 1999. [cited 2011 Oct. 30]. Available from: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1046/j.1365-2648.1999.00874.x/abstract