Nursing Career Path

Labor Statistics reveal that nursing is not just comprising a big chunk of the workforce of the healthcare industry.  It has been projected that its growth rate will reach 22% by 2018, the fastest in any other industry.  Obvious reasons include the seemingly increasing shortage of nurses because of the graying population in most Western countries, rapid turnover, and early retirement of nurses among others.  For that same reason, many have taken opportunity to enroll in nursing schools.  This is also experienced in many asian countries like the Philippines and India which are the largest suppliers of foreign education nurses in the western countries and where it brought a multitude of nursing students and mushrooming nursing schools.  It also worthwhile to note that there has also been a remarkable increase in the number of men entering nursing although the current ratio of female to male nurses is 19:1.

But before deciding to take up or pursue nursing, it has to be taken into account that not all those who take up nursing and those who finish nursing end up all successful.  It is therefore imperative to consider mapping out professional nursing career.  A career in nursing begins with the decision to take up nursing coupled with personal factors or characteristics such as being compassionate, caring etc.  Also, take into consideration the number of years you wish to study or take up nursing as there are a number of programs in nursing ranging from diploma as practical nurse that typically lasts for 1 year, an associate degree in nursing that takes up to 2-3 years to finish, or a bachelors degree that comprises 4 or more years.  Most of the time, the cost of schooling affect the choice of course taken up with BSN being most expensive.  But no matter what program is taken, a license is required to practice, either NCLEX-PN or NCLEX-RN.  After obtaining a license, you may purse for employment and/or advance educational attainment.  Various accelerated and bridge programs are available for nurses to take up.  Otherwise, it has to be considered in your career map the time you wish to pursue a higher level of educational preparation such as a Masters degree, doctoral degree or even post-doctoral degree.  The higher the educational attainment commensurate to a higher salary wherein a Masters degree holder earn on the average $70,900 annually.

Nurses, after completing their degree in nursing are prepared to become nurse generalists.  And so nurse are able to practice in any healthcare practice setting.  Sixty percent of nurses work in hospitals, while others work in nurse care facilities, home health care, physician’s offices etc.  Despite the varied practice setting, still, majority of the nurse’s time is spent on direct patient care (63%), 11% for administrative work, 9% for supervision, 8% consultation, 4% teaching, 2% research, and 3% for other activities.  Data however show that the happiest nurses in terms of job satisfaction are those in the academe and with nurses in the nursing home being the least.  As the roles of nurses are expanding, various specializations have evolved.  This has made the practice of nursing more and more exciting.  It has also raised the respect regarded for nurses and the autonomy that they have.  As nurses advance their qualifications through education, experience and certification, they gain higher degree of respect and autonomy and at the same time, patients receive the best care possible through the utilization of evidence-based practices.


Infographic by

Byron Webb Romero, RN, MSN

Finished BSN at Lyceum of the Philippines University, and Master of Science in Nursing Major in Adult Health Nursing at the University of the East Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Center. Currently working at Manila Doctors College of Nursing as a Team Leader for Level I and II, Lecturer for Professional Nursing Subjects, and also a Clinical Instructor.

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