A career in nursing offers a lifetime of opportunities.
The best way to learn more about what ‘a day in the life’ of a nurse is like is to speak to one. Call the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario, and ask to speak to a nurse. In the meantime, here are 10 reasons to consider nursing as a profession.
- A career in nursing offers plenty of choices so you can adapt your profession to fit your lifestyle.
Not only is work available in a variety of geographic locations and different sectors, nurses work full-time or part-time.
Nursing is adaptable so it works with your lifestyle: days, evenings, nights and weekends.And the length of a shift can vary from four to 12 hours.
Moving? Nursing skills are transferable, which means you can travel all across the province and work in a range of sectors.
Nursing offers dozens of specialty areas, which means you can practise in more than one during your career. It’s also possible to switch to another field mid way through your career or earn an advanced degree and take on a new challenge.
- The career mobility is outstanding.
Registered nurses (RNs) and nurse practitioners (NP) can work in a wide variety of places. You can be on the front lines in trauma care. You can work in public health or in a community health setting. If you are interested in the legal system, you could be a nurse consultant. If teaching is more your style, you can be an educator, or work with children…the list is endless.
- The opportunities for learning are endless.
While every job has its challenges, the demands and rewards of nursing can vary depending on the setting. Most nurses will tell you that no day is ever the same, and each day offers a variety of challenges that keeps you learning and excited about the profession.
- Collaborative partnerships: working with and leading other professions.
Very often nurses work with a team of health-care professionals. Sometimes nurses will lead the team by managing and coordinating the care of people or planning, implementing, and evaluating programs. It’s a profession that offer a great deal of autonomy and yet involves collaboration with others and leadership opportunities.
- Nursing grads have the opportunity for a longer and optimized orientation experience as a new hire.
In Ontario, nursing graduates have the opportunity for longer and optimized orientation experiences through temporary bridging work for up to six and a half months through the Nursing Graduate Guarantee. This unique program ensures graduates are hired within a participating health-care organization and that you gain superior orientation through work experience.
- Ongoing demand for nurses in Canada
Make no mistake—nurses will always be in demand. Ontario needs at least 17,000 more RNs to catch up with the national RN-to-population ratio. Changing demographics combined with an increased prevalence of chronic disease means there will be an increased demand for RNs. Nurses are also needed to provide health promotion and preventive care. Nurses in Ontario are fortunate to work in one of the best health-care systems in the world. Canada’s publicly-funded, not-for-profit system supports one of the highest life expectancies (about 80 years) and lowest infant mortality rates among industrialized countries.
- Leadership opportunities are abundant.
Ultimately, nursing leadership is an important component in the delivery of patient care. Examples include an educator helping to develop future leaders. Or a researcher mentoring new researchers. An administrator providing support and guidance to staff. A point-of-care nurse providing client care and sharing professional knowledge. Or someone who provides direction and advocacy in the development of healthy policies.
- Ontario has a growing Nurse Practitioner (NP) community.
In Ontario, 25 Nurse Practitioner-led clinics across the province are available to provide health-care needs for thousands of Ontarians. In this established primary health care delivery model, NPs are the lead providers of primary health care. This model supports a collaborative practice approach in which RNs and NPs work together with family physicians, and other health-care professionals to provide comprehensive, accessible, and coordinated health-care services.
- Nurses will always be needed.
Did you know that just one extra full-time registered nurse (RN) would save an additional five lives in a hospital care setting? RNs play an essential role in optimal health outcomes in a host of settings. For example, a systematic review of literature shows that higher RN staffing ratios result in reduced hospital mortality. For patients with chronic care conditions, RNs and NPs have been shown to reduce the need for health services, improve patient satisfaction and enhance the quality of life. In addition to better health outcomes and higher standards of care, RNs and NPs provide a sense of emotional well-being to patients that no research adequately documents.
- Nursing can be an exciting second career.
It doesn’t matter what your background is, it’s never too late to become a nurse. In fact, many employers value previous work experience in nurses new to the profession. If you have a degree, you may want to consider a variety of accelerated (or post-baccalaureate or second degree) nursing programs. They are intense but worth the effort and you can become a nurse within two years. Many programs are also part-time to accommodate you if you need to work during your studies. Don’t let how old you are hold you back from making a career switch.