As with choosing any career, it helps first to take a personal inventory of your interests, aptitudes, career goals, and financial situation. It's then essential to dive a little deeper and consider the other aspects of being an RN, such as the coursework in a degree program and how long it may take you to complete, licensing requirements, the work environment, and overall job satisfaction.
It may be beneficial to speak to RNs in the field that interests you. LinkedIn is always a great place to start connecting with others, and you'll be able to search for job opportunities. The resources we list below can also provide a chance to network and hear others' personal stories and perspectives.
Ashley also offers some insight into the pros and cons of nursing. "The biggest pros of pursuing a nursing career are by far the diversity of job opportunities and flexibility of work/life balance," she says. "There are so many different ways to use an RN license — from your own home, a clinical setting, in a hospital setting, in private homes, as an educator, a writer, a researcher, even as an expert witness." It can help to remain flexible and adaptable to change. "Nursing shortages come and go in waves," Ashley says, "so even when the market gets saturated, it will likely swing the other way, and new opportunities will arise."
"There are so many different ways to use an RN license — from your own home, a clinical setting, in a hospital setting, in private homes, as an educator, a writer, a researcher, even as an expert witness."
As for the cons of nursing, Ashley says, "The biggest con is that nurses are often overworked and underappreciated, both by employers and patients. This is more specific to certain specialty areas," she says, "but certainly a possibility in any setting." In addition, Ashley acknowledges that there has been a "mass exodus" of hospital nurses. "Some of those nurses have stopped working in health care altogether," she says, "but many have found other jobs with less stress, higher pay, and greater flexibility."