9 reasons why nursing should be your next career move

I chose nursing as my next career move for a simple reason: I wanted to gain additional clinical knowledge and expand my financial opportunities.


Allow me to start by making some objective remarks so we can talk on the same wavelength.

As a paramedic, I worked for very busy services working 24-hour shifts. Empirically, my nursing experience is somewhat limited, only being a nurse for six years. My nursing experience is isolated to the State of Missouri and is from some full time work, but mostly part time and per diem hours.

I have found fulfillment in various nursing assignments, but I can't say that I have ever experienced a nursing position that I "love." However, I have friends that work full time as nurses who claim just that. I admit that, since I have not engaged nursing full time, I may not have the opportunity to find that cherished nursing role.

But I've discovered one profound truth: I am a better paramedic because I am a nurse and a better nurse because I am a paramedic.

When I worked as a nurse, my paramedic friends all asked the same question, "So, what do you like better, working as a nurse or a paramedic?"

Working in the ED at the time, I answered honestly, "As a nurse I know when I will be working and when I will be asleep…..I also know that at the end of my 12 hour shift I will be completely exhausted. As a paramedic, I sometimes I feel that way one call!"

Your next career step may be based on personal or financial reasons. I chose nursing as my next career move for a simple reason: I wanted to gain additional clinical knowledge and expand my financial opportunities. As a mentor of mine once said, "You'll be surprised how many opportunities you'll have once you become a nurse." He was right.

A handful of bachelor's degrees exist in EMS management and EMS-related studies nationwide. Many of these are conveniently facilitated online, but may not offer the same kinds of economic opportunities s you'd get with a degree in nursing. I considered the curricula of several bachelor's programs in related EMS fields and they did not meet my personal goals. For me, nursing seemed like the next logical step.

So, is nursing a potential next step in your career development? Here are some observations to help you with your decision. First, the negative:

Negative:

1) The health insurance benefits are relatively poor in contrast to the health benefits I enjoyed as a paramedic. Someone once said that a nursing career is for "people whose spouses have good benefits."
2) The pension benefits are poor for nurses in my state. In fact, a paramedic friend of mine who worked in the ED as a nurse was once asked by a physician why he didn't work full time as a nurse. His response was, "Why would I want to work hard for 40 years and then eat peanut butter and jelly until I die?"
3) Having adequate help (staffing levels) is a serious long term issue in many nursing areas. As a paramedic, I rarely had to wait long for additional help to arrive.
4) Twenty-eight percent of nurses predict they will leave their jobs within a year. Contrast that with only six percent of paramedics intending to leave their jobs within one year.

Positive:

1) The pay is relatively good, especially considering the only requirement for an entry-level position is an associate's degree.
2) There are always plenty of hours for those who want to work and the work is very flexible.
3) Active professional participation is valued and expected.
4) Public perception continues to view nursing as the one of the most honest and ethical professions.
5) There are a wide variety of nursing areas to choose from. So if one area does not meet your fancy, you can move on to another.
6) You can often negotiate your wage. Many nurses would change jobs for more money.
7) It's a great fit for those who enjoy learning and implementing new procedural or technical skills. As a nurse, I have the opportunity to perform many technical skills that I would not perform as a paramedic.
8) There is a plethora of great literature to read in any nursing area. Much is written by nurses for nurses and most are peer-reviewed journals.
9) If you value evidence-based practice, then nursing is right for you.

What do you think? Do you ever see yourself going into nursing as your next career move?

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