The COVID-19 pandemic has brought countless plans crashing to a halt. From shuttering schools and businesses to canceling weddings, birthday parties and other special gatherings, the virus has altered how we live our lives. It has also led to job loss and made many people reconsider their career goals.
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If you have ever dreamed of pursuing a career in nursing, the outbreak of a global pandemic may have made you think twice about your plans. Whether you are a recent or soon-to-be high school graduate looking to embark on a career or someone who is thinking about switching jobs and entering the healthcare field, though, now is still a great time to become a nurse. And thanks to advanced sanitation protocols and products like antimicrobial laundry detergent, you can remain safe while working in your desired field. Keep reading to discover a few reasons to still become a nurse.
We Are in an Ever-Growing Nursing Shortage
Even before COVID swept the nation, experts were already predicting a shortage of nurses. Between nurses needing to quarantine after testing positive for the virus or leaving their jobs due to the intense pressures faced in hard-hit areas, the need for incoming nurses is growing by the minute.
The American Association of Colleges of Nursing previously predicted a need for more than 203,000 new registered nurses every year through 2026. In light of the pandemic, the actual numbers will likely be much higher. If you are searching for an in-demand career, you can’t go wrong with nursing.
There Are Opportunities for Increased Pay
Because there is such a high demand for nurses right now, there are plenty of opportunities to earn some extra cash. This is especially true if you are in a spot where you can enter the field quickly. In areas where nurses are in especially high demand, many facilities are offering lucrative sign-on bonuses along with plentiful overtime for those who want it.
Working with a nursing staffing agency or becoming part of a nursing home staff network during COVID-19 could provide increased pay, too. Depending on your location and the agency, you may qualify for crisis pay, quarantine pay, sign-on bonuses and other perks. If you were willing to work as a travel nurse, the financial benefits may be even greater. Due to the on-going crisis, many agencies are waiving minimum requirements, making it possible to enter the field of travel nursing even if you do not have a lot of experience or only recently completed nursing school.
Being a Nurse Offers Income Stability
Even when the pandemic is over, you won’t have to worry about how to make ends meet financially. While no one truly knows what the economy will look like post-COVID-19, one thing is for certain: Nurses will always be needed.
Nursing – and other healthcare professions – are recession-proof. No matter what happens in the future, you’ll never have to worry about not being able to find a nursing job.
Getting into Nursing School Is Easier
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Due to the nationwide nursing shortage, some schools are waiving certain requirements for entrance, making it easier for students to pursue nursing degrees. For example, some schools have waived their requirement to pass an entrance exam. Many colleges and universities are also modifying their entrance requirements due to standardized testing centers that provide exams like the SAT and ACT being shut down.
With these modifications, nursing programs are more accessible than ever before. Whether you just finished high school or are looking to change careers later in life, now is an excellent time to further your education by entering nursing school.
More Government Aid Will Likely Be Made Available for Healthcare Training
While several COVID-19 bills and incentive programs are still in the works and have not been finalized yet, there will likely be ones that include increased government aid for healthcare training. Government-funded training programs are expected to be made available to people who have lost their jobs or been laid off due to the pandemic and its associated closures. Due to shortages in the healthcare industry, such programs will likely make training for nurses and other healthcare workers a priority.
There will be programs for entry-level certificates as well as more advanced degrees. Even if financial difficulties have prevented you from pursuing a nursing degree in the past, these programs will likely allow you to pursue your dream.
You’ll Get to Make a Real Difference in the World
During the first few weeks of the pandemic, you may have enjoyed lounging around at home. As the months have dragged on, though, you may have started wishing you could be one of those heroes working on the front lines. By becoming a nurse, you can. Each day when you put on a nurse scrub dress or your favorite pair of scrubs, you will get to be one of the healthcare heroes you have come to admire.
Even if you are one of the fortunate people to still have a job, changing careers and becoming a nurse will allow you to save lives and make a real difference in the world. You will play an integral role in caring for people on some of the most challenging days of their lives, and you will end your days feeling like your work has truly had an impact.
The Bottom Line
Becoming a nurse during a pandemic may seem frightening, but the rewards outweigh the risks. Keep in mind, too, there are plenty of sanitation tips for healthcare professionals, and by following them, you can protect yourself from the virus while mitigating the spread. If you are looking for a rewarding career that allows you to make a real difference in the world, nursing is always a solid option. And with the current nursing shortage, there are plenty of incentives to make entering the healthcare field even more worth your while.