Registered Nurse Review

Registered nurses assist doctors in providing care in all branches of medicine. As the largest of all vocational medical careers, there's plenty of room to move up or specialize in this field, but the required night and weekend shifts may not appeal to everyone.

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The Good

Nursing skills always in demand

There are currently over 2.7 million registered nurses in the U.S., and that number will only keep growing to meet the higher demand for health care. As the elderly population increases, more nurses will be employed in hospitals, nursing homes, and home health care. Greater access to health insurance is also expected to increase the number of patients seeking care. All of this means nurses will be more in demand than ever, so finding a job upon graduation shouldn’t be too big a challenge for most people. This isn’t something that can’t be said for most careers today, so the value of a strong job outlook shouldn’t be underestimated.

Focus on your favorite area of medicine

Nurses are employed in every branch of medicine, so you’ll likely be able to choose the type of condition or age group you want to work with. Maybe you enjoy providing rehabilitative care to those who’ve suffered serious accidents or perhaps you prefer working with children, for example. Other nurses might choose to specialize in an area that doesn’t involve directly working with patients, such as conducting research or educating future generations of nurses. Once you’ve gained some experience in the field, you’ll have the option to transition into an area of your choice.

Employers pay for further education

When nurses go back to school to become an advanced-practice registered nurse, many employers pay for the educational costs. This is a huge bonus if you’re interested in moving up in the medical field but don’t have the money to go back to school. Not every hospital is going to provide this type of educational benefit to their employees, but it’s definitely worth looking into. A more advanced degree means a higher salary and better job prospects, so there’s no denying it’s a valuable investment.

The Bad

Shifts longer than eight hours

Hospitals must be fully staffed 24/7 to ensure an adequate level of care for their patients, which means some nurses end up working long days. This is fairly common in the medical field, but working more than eight hours in a day may not be something you can manage if you have a busy schedule. However, not every registered nurse is required to work frequent overtime. It all depends on where you work, so make sure to ask each prospective employer as you look for nursing jobs.

Night and weekend shifts

Like many vocational medical professionals, registered nurses may be required to work overnight or weekend shifts to make sure there’s enough staff available. They may also have to be on call and able to come in during their time off if there’s an emergency. If you work in a school or doctor’s office that isn’t open 24 hours, you may not have to worry about this, so consider getting a job in one of these environments if you’d rather stick to traditional business hours.

The Details


  • Career Growth (2012-2022): 19%
  • Median Pay: $65,470
  • Number of Jobs: 2,711,500
  • Number of New Jobs (2012-2022): 526,800

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