Once again, the nursing profession tops career lists that use metrics as varied as trustworthiness, salary potential, and job growth to come out with high marks.
Continuing its long-running streak, nursing ranked at the top of the most trusted professions for the 21st straight year in a recent annual Gallup poll. According to Gallup, those in the healthcare industry garnered the top spots overall, but the nursing profession beat out all other professions on the list with 79 percent of respondents voting nurses the most trustworthy. Medical doctors came in second with a 62 percent rank, and pharmacists came in third with 58 percent. Since 1999, when the Gallup poll began producing the rankings annually, nurses have appeared at the top of the list (except 2001 when firefighters earned the top spot).
The latest results find nursing’s numbers are down slightly from last year’s 81 percent and 2020’s record high of 89 percent, which reflects an overall decline in the top scoring of many of the listed healthcare professions. Despite the change, nurses everywhere should be proud of these poll findings. Poll respondents felt that nurses rated high or very high in areas such as ethics and honesty, and those numbers are significantly greater than the rest of the top industries.
And in a recently released U.S. News & World Report 100 Best Jobs list, jobs within the nursing profession earned high placement based on job demand and median annual pay. A nurse practitioner earned #2 spot in the best jobs list based on the high salary ($120,000) and the projected job growth. Registered nurses earned the #17 spot on the list for similar qualities. According to the list, RNs earn a median salary of $77,600 with a projected job growth of nearly 200,000 jobs opening up in the next xxx years. A nurse anesthetist role came in at #25 with a high median salary of $195,610 and an expected job growth of just over 5,000 new jobs.
As the nursing industry goes through varying changes for academic requirements, staffing issues, and workplace changes and challenges, nurses say patient care remains at the forefront of every day. The continuing need for nurses in healthcare facilities and home care settings remains high, as does the need for nurses in administration and government who will take leadership roles and help shape the policies and guidelines that will impact nurses’ working conditions and patient care.
Because of their on-the-job work, nurses know what other nurses need to thrive at work and to take care of patients in the best way possible, so bringing a diverse, experienced, and dedicated group of nurses into these kinds of roles is essential to nursing’s future.
As these statistics show, a career in nursing is one that is admired and respected and also offers professional growth and a high financial return.
Infusion (IV) nurses form a crucial part of every healthcare team. IV Nurses Day is celebrated every January 25 to recognize the work IV nurses do each day and also to thank them for their advocacy and devotion to the lifelong learning that is so crucial in their specialty.
The Infusion Nurses Society (INS) is celebrating its 50th year as the professional organization devoted to nurses in this specialty. As an international nonprofit, INS helps nurses across the globe who want to learn more about infusion nursing, advocate for nurses in the field, and find ways to improve and share their skills and knowledge.
IV nurses perform at a fast-paced level providing the infusion work that many patients require as they undergo tests, procedures, or therapies requiring any kind of infusion through intravenous access. IV nurses are a primary resource for the start-to-finish process of administering medications and transfusions through an IV line or port. They follow meticulous procedures to prevent infections and also help their patients understand the importance of caring for the area, particularly if a line remains in place.
IV nurses work with patients of all ages and may choose to focus their eventual work with one particular age group. They may choose to work in a children’s hospital, for example, or primarily with older populations in nursing homes. Depending on the work environment, IV nurses may see different patients throughout the day or they may begin to form lasting relationships with patients they see for long-term care or for routine care of chronic illnesses and conditions. Nurses in this specialty can work in their choice of settings including medical offices, infusion centers, patient homes, hospitals, and mobile centers. This opportunity for variety or stability means that nurses are able to focus their career on the path that most suits their goals, aspirations, and lifestyle.
Patience is a particular skill of infusion nurses. They are often working quickly and sometimes with patients who are fearful or upset by the IV process (children and adults alike). As they are working, they also must be reassuring and calm to help patients manage the process. IV nurses are exceptionally accomplished at finding access quickly and with as little discomfort to the patients as possible. They need to be able to reinsert lines that have come out and to monitor the medications, fluids, or products that are being used in the infusion process.
IV nurses will continue to provide the best care possible by obtaining a certified registered nurse infusion (CRNI) credential. With certification, nurses gain additional knowledge and skills needed to provide high-quality, evidence-based care in an industry that continues to see rapid changes in technology.
Certification also signals to patients, peers, and industry leaders that nurses are committed to the best IV care and to obtaining current information. As an IV nurse, being linked into professional organizations, such as INS, builds connections with nurses who are equally committed to the career path. It’s a great way to be inspired by the work of peers and to inspire others with your own work.
Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) work collaboratively with healthcare teams or independently. They administer or assist with administering anesthesia for patients undergoing procedures in various healthcare settings. CRNAs can be present for planned surgical procedures, in emergency settings, in pain management clinics, in dental offices, and in birth centers to name a few.
Nurse anesthetists are responsible for caring for and monitoring a patient’s anesthesiology needs during a procedure, but their work pre- and post-procedure are critical. They will gather medical history, medication information, and assess the patient’s physical and emotional condition when possible. They are constantly looking for and identifying any potential issues that could interfere with plans for anesthesia.
As with other nursing specialties, CRNAs have taken on more responsibility and needed to master increasingly complex healthcare conditions and tech-based equipment. Because of this, changes to the practice entry requirements now require all nurses entering a CRNA program to exit with a doctor of nursing practice (DNP) or a Doctorate of Nursing Anesthesia Practice (DNAP) . Practicing CRNAs aren’t required to return to school for this additional advanced degree if they already have a master’s degree and have been in practice. Although it’s not required, some nurses may find that employment parameters are changing and that the DNP might be a requirement in a new place of employment.
CRNAs have careers that are dynamic and exciting. They can work directly with patients or they may choose to work in administration where they can have an impact on the conditions for patients and nurses. CRNAs also have options to work in government settings or to become active within committees to help shape the policies that surround CRNA work and career expectations. As CRNAs take on more leadership roles, they can use their direct real-world experience to inform the nuances of proposed changes.
As in all nursing specialties, time spent on the job is an excellent way to build skills and empathy for patients. CRNAs will want to continue learning about the rapid changes in the field with certification through the National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA). Certification, which needs to be renewed to stay current, helps you remain informed on the latest developments that impact the duties you perform in your work. By staying up-to-date on the most current techniques and developments, you’ll be able to offer high-quality patient care that will result in better outcomes for your patients and the best performance by your team. Certification is a way to learn about everything from patient care to technological changes in equipment that can change your process.
Celebrate the CRNAs on your team this week and if you’re a CRNA take time this week to reflect on the work you do with your patients and your healthcare team. Be proud of the change you make in each patient’s life as you perform a critical task within the process.
Are you ready to get your retirement plans in order? Even the most motivated nurse will find a few roadblocks when planning for retirement, but never let those roadblocks detract you from your goal. Trying to determine how much money you’ll need to live years or decades down the road can seem like an impossible task. And even if you’re putting some money away, you might wonder if it’s going to be enough.
One of the easiest options is to use any employer-provided retirement benefits such as contributions, matching funds or even free financial advice from professionals as an employee benefit. Using pre-tax benefits or options like a Health Savings Account can save you tax dollars and help pay for healthcare-related costs. Ideally, every salary increase or bonus will be rolled into your savings process as well. These kinds of small steps will help your nest egg grow quickly without feeling too much of a pinch in your wallet.
But it helps to have an idea of how much you’re going to need for retirement, rather than just saving money and hoping for the best.
According to Dole, nurses can ask some hard questions to determine how much is enough to retire. Looking at the end, rather than the current day, will give you a more accurate frame of reference.
As no two people feel the same about retirement, you’ll need to decide what retirement means for you. Think about these questions:
What is most important–retirement date or retirement spending?
What retirement activities are important to you?
Do you plan to retire in a different location? Do you know where?
Do you see yourself working at other jobs past your official retirement?
When do you plan to begin Social Security?
As you ask those questions, you’ll be able to narrow down the amounts you’ll need to have the retirement you want. Consider these questions to give you a starting point:
How much do you want to be able to spend in retirement?
How much do you want to leave to loved ones or charity when you’re gone?
What gap exists between monthly social security, pension, or other retirement income that needs to be funded by your retirement portfolio?
What are the odds of success given your current and future savings and expected investment returns?
How does a spouse’s or partner’s financial circumstances factor into this?
It also is important to examine the emotions that surround retirement planning, he says. It’s easy to feel discouraged if you aren’t on track for saving enough. But until you know the real amounts you’re working with, you could be unnecessarily stressed (or, alternately, feeling relief that’s not based in reality).
Because the nursing industry offers varied employment options, nurses who work part time or on a per-diem basis might not have the same benefits available to them as full-time employees. “Nurses on a per diem basis may benefit from establishing IRAs and Individual 401(k)s,” says Dole.
Working with a professional can help you establish a solid foundation to build on and will continue your financial education so you can work in partnership on your retirement plan. Continue to learn more by reading, listening to financial podcasts, or taking classes in personal financial management. Remember that while retirement planning takes effort, once you’ve established how much you want to save and you’ve started a plan to get there, your work will decrease.
“The key is to get good strategic help related to your unique circumstances and goals,” says Dole. “Then live your life and let your plan work for you.”
No matter where you are in your career path, retirement planning is something you need to think about.
From young nurses just starting out to nurses who will retire in the next year, retirement planning is a big issue. Preparing for an unknown future isn’t always the easiest task, so sometimes retirement planning gets pushed aside so nurses can deal with the here and now of student loans, mortgage or rent payments, transportation costs, and rising daily expenses.
Relegating retirement planning to the back burner is easier in the short-term, but will cause significant problems later. Taking steps now, even small changes, can have a positive impact on how prepared you’ll be for when you retire.
“Many nurses are unsure how much retirement savings is enough,” says Elliot Dole, CFP®, EA, AEP®, CExP™, CAP®, a Wealth Advisor with Buckingham Strategic Wealth. “It’s a scary question for anyone to face. Nurses take care of everyone else.”
Dole recommends that nurses get educated about the basics of retirement planning including the best ways to plan and how to use available resources to help retirement savings and investments grow. He also suggests that nurses use a professional for guidance, particularly at certain stages and even if it seems unfamiliar. “It can be intimidating to ask for help,” he says.
Being informed about your options is essential. In particular, find out as much as possible about any employer-provided retirement benefits. Then consider all the other options and choices you have to build up your retirement savings.
Successful retirement planning includes proactive steps like taking a whole financial strategy into play so you can find a target retirement amount that will help you live the life you want.
“Nurses cannot assume that retirement account contributions made by their employers will be sufficient to allow them to retire comfortably,” says Dole. “The default is to make some election, usually a percentage of salary, and hope that, along with any match or employer profit sharing contribution, is enough.” In fact, additional savings beyond a modest percentage of salary is often needed, he says. “The sooner this is identified, the better.”
Nurses, says Dole, may feel like they don’t have enough in savings to warrant professional advice. They also might be unhappy with their employer-provided options but don’t feel like they have a voice to prod any change, he says. Although employer-provided retirement options (like contributions and matching) are a great bonus, they shouldn’t be the only retirement plan you have. Branching out into additional platforms and options will protect your assets.