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.
Conferences have moved to a virtual format and will likely remain that way for a while. Traveling to and spending days at conferences in rooms and events full of people might be one of the last “return-to-normal” business practices we see.
But professional nurses still need the education, networking, and exposure to new ideas that make conferences so valuable. You can still gain a lot from a virtual conference, but it takes some preparation and a new set of expectations.
Understand the Platform
Virtual conferences will use some of the most state-of-the-art platforms to help attendees form and keep the personal connections that make conference learning and networking so easy. Download any needed software ahead of time and then spend some time exploring the conference’s site so you’re able to confidently move from an event to a working group to a panel discussion.
Pay Attention to Your Own Surroundings
You might be home, but a conference is no time to look like it. Wear business-appropriate clothes that you would wear to a typical conference. It’s better to be a little over dressed than to look too casual. If you find other attendees are dressing down, you can always change if that would make you more comfortable (and that’s one of the positive aspects of attending a conference from home). Be aware of your surroundings, too. It’s not always easy to find a well-lit, quiet, neutral background space when you’re in your house (one of the negative aspects of attending a conference from home). Look for a plain wall or one with just a few items on it or find a neutral virtual background. Use headphone to reduce noise distractions. Don’t eat while you’re on video.
Before you sit down, make sure you have all the supplies you would need at a traditional conference. Just like taking an online class, have your laptop or pens and paper ready for note taking and try to limit distractions as much as possible. And because business card swapping is less likely to happen, practice a good elevator pitch—you’ll need it. Have a brief summary of who you are, your professional role, one or two personal points to discuss, your organization and how it relates to the industry and this conference, and what you’re hoping to get from the conference. You’ll use these pieces of your elevator pitch throughout the conference as you talk with others in breakout sessions or in networking sessions. Practice ahead of time as you would for an in-person event so your delivery is polished and succinct—you need to leave time for others to talk. Then prepare a few questions so you can ask people about themselves. Others might not be as prepared, so asking about them makes the virtual interaction less awkward.
Ask questions, attend as many breakout sessions as you can, connect with others through the conference’s social media channels, and offer your insight. You might not be attending in person, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be fully present. Really listen to the speakers and get as much out of the virtual conference as you can. It’s likely that sessions will be recorded, so take advantage of that bonus to attend all the sessions relevant to your goals. Talk to other attendees through any additional platforms—you’ll find Slack is used by many—so you can participate and also tune into the top-of-mind topics others are asking about or discussing.
After the conference, follow up with people you met and want to keep in touch with. Virtual conferences will become more common, but there will be a time when you might get to meet these new connections in person. You want to make a good impression and build on the strength of your initial meeting—just like when you meet someone face-to-face. Other nursing professionals are navigating uncharted waters right now and are looking to share and gain information on how to proceed. They want to know how the pandemic has impacted nurses, patient care, the nursing industry and the larger healthcare industry, and how they can make improvements. And with virtual settings being the current norm, you’ll be able to meet up again without having to wait until the next conference.
A virtual conference isn’t the same as in-person and can lack the buzz of excitement and potential so many attendees enjoy at a traditional conference. But there are big benefits to virtual events, and they offer opportunities that in-person events don’t. Instead of thinking of a virtual conference as a second choice, think of a few opportunities you’ll have thanks to this new format. That change of perspective gives you a head start on enjoying this new experience.
If you have decided to advance your career this year, getting a promotion might be at the top of your to-do list. Or maybe you’re content with your current role, but would appreciate more recognition from your supervisor for bringing 110 percent to the job all day, every day.
Promotions take a lot of effort—few nurses get promoted just because they come to work every day. How can you bring some attention to your work?
Here are five small steps to do this year that may set you on a path to your next promotion.
Doing your job is expected; doing more is what gets you noticed. Create value for your organization by always assessing processes to see where you can create more efficiency. When you can do something better, faster, or with less people and the end result is better patient care, you become a really valuable nurse. Keep alert to ways to improve routines.
Get Extra Training
Making the effort to get an additional nursing degree is almost a fast-track plan for getting a promotion. With a push for having nurses attain a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, extra education is a valuable asset. If an advanced degree isn’t really an option for you, certification is another way of achieving a higher professional level. Certification helps you gain a deeper understanding of complex nursing areas—from cardiac to wound care—and will help you provide better nursing care. Find out about new practices and new technology, Don’t forget about online or in-person seminars that many healthcare organizations offer.
Whatever you do, make sure you keep learning and keep your supervisor in the loop when you learn something especially valuable.
Become a Networking Pro and Get Involved
Get to know other nurses and healthcare professionals by getting involved in the professional nursing community. Join a professional organization and volunteer to take an active role within that organization. While you are out and about, be an active and positive ambassador for your organization. This activity won’t necessarily get you a promotion, but it will get you noticed for what you bring to your organization.
Go to Conferences and Share Your Knowledge
Attending conferences is an excellent way to learn more about nursing and to uncover ways you can improve your own nursing care. But don’t go to a conference and then operate in a silo. Share what you have learned when you return. Offer to give a lunchtime talk about a new tactic, a cutting-edge technology, or a vital change in evidence-based practice. Let others know what you learned about how other nursing units are successful.
Think of Good Publicity
Become a vocal nurse advocate wherever you are. Find a nursing cause you believe in and get involved to change policy. Write letters to the editor championing the valuable care nurses provide. Raise funds for causes devoted to nursing. Becoming a positive force for change elevates your own personal goals and gives your industry and your career a boost in the process.
Being a good nurse is any nurse’s goal, and getting ahead in your career involves that qualification and then a little more. Extend yourself to reach that promotion.
Nursing is a career that offers incredible personal satisfaction and consistent job growth. People generally go into a nursing career because they know the job is a good match for their goals and capabilities. But the field also offers a job security seen in few other fields.
A recent 25 Best Jobs of 2020 report by U.S. News and World Report rated some of the top jobs in the United States and three nursing jobs made the list. Although many nurses know how valuable their skills are in the job market, seeing three distinct nursing paths represented shows the breadth of the nursing industry.
Of the three nursing positions, a job as a nurse anesthetist came in at number 21 based in part on the high salary (an average of $167,950) and the high demand for nurses in this specialty. Nurse anesthetists also may see a 17 percent increase in employment openings between now and 2028.
Registered nurses come in at number 13 on the list. This career will see an estimated 12 percent increase in jobs by 2028, with nearly 372,000 possible job openings. The sheer number of job openings reflects a need for RNs across the country. RNs will be able to find opportunities in all areas, with rural nurses in particular need. Those in gerontological nursing are also in increasing demand to meet the growing senior population as Baby Boomers reach milestone birthdays over 65.
Nurse practitioners (NPs) will also be in high demand over the next decade, says U.S. News. Nurse practitioners can expect incredibly robust job growth in the next eight years, with a 28 percent jump predicted. That amounts to just over 53,000 estimated additional job openings. Nurse practitioners are needed across the nursing spectrum, and their salary reflects the additional demand and educational preparation required for this role. NPs command an average annual salary of $107,030, landing this career on another list of jobs paying more than $100,000 per year.
With three diverse nursing positions making the top 25 job list for the year, a nursing career path offers job security, excellent salaries, career growth, and personal satisfaction. The three positions on the list all require different academic paths and responsibilities, meaning that the nursing industry has a place for those who are devoted to caring for others and helping to improve the health of the public and who may not take the same steps to get there.
Across the board, nurses can take pride in the recognition of an industry in demand. Nurses save lives, educate patients and families, support their healthcare teams, encourage community health, and provide a village for other nurses. Seeing so much potential for job growth is exciting and reaffirming for those in the nursing industry.
As 2019 winds to a close, several issues in the nursing industry remain prominently in the news and in the ongoing conversation around nursing as a profession.
What are some of the top issues of 2019 that will carry over into 2020?
80 Percent in 2020
The next year marks the end goal time period for the 2010 Future of Nursing report by the Institute of Medicine that called for 80 percent of registered nurses to have BSN credentials by 2020. According to the Campaign for Action, the ambitious goal won’t be met, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t made a difference. The recap says that RNs with a BSN are at the highest percentage ever with 56 percent having the degree. That’s a seven percentage point increase since the initial report was issued. Even though the goal hasn’t been realized, there’s progress and that bodes well for the entire nursing industry.
Violence in the Workplace
The rate of violence against healthcare workers is skyrocketing. The thought of healthcare providers helping people and becoming targets of violent acts from patients and their social circles, disgruntled workers, or even random perpetrators is terrifying. Luckily, the government has recognized the problem and introduced H.R.1309 – Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act to require organizations to develop and implement plans to protect workers. This bill passed in the House in November and is now under consideration by the Senate.
There is a lot of media attention on a projected nursing shortage over the next decade. As Baby Boomers continue to age and require more healthcare services, nurses will be a big part of that picture. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine (NCBI) the nursing workforce is also aging, spurring a shortage as it also provides a fantastic job market for nurses of almost any specialty. The issue will continue to attract attention.
Given the topics that are prominently in the news about nursing, it’s no surprise that nurses experience sometimes crippling job stress and burnout. When there aren’t enough nurses to care for a rising number of patients with increasingly complex conditions, the stage is set for nurses taking on too much. When that happens, their physical and mental health can suffer and that means patients aren’t getting the best care possible. This topic garners lots of attention by nurses themselves and by the organizations who recruit, hire, employ, and want to retain them.
Nursing as a Vibrant Profession
Nurses have professional pull. Routinely ranked as the most trusted profession, the nursing industry enjoys good salaries, opportunities for professional growth, respect, and increased independence. As an industry, nursing is committed to a more diverse, more educated, and more representative workforce and takes steps to meet those goals.
With 2020 on the doorstep, let’s see how these topics gains team in the next year.