Male and female nurses wearing capes in Superman pose

Amid the COVID-19 outbreak, nurses are emerging as brave leaders on the frontlines. They never shy away from a challenge or abandon those in their care. Nurses are a powerful and humble force within the healthcare system. As the profession pivots into the forefront, here are eight reasons why now is the perfect time to pursue a career in nursing and embrace your superpower.

Year of the Nurse

The World Health Organization (WHO) designated 2020 as the Year of the Nurse and the Midwife. While no one could have predicted what this year would look like for nursing, the world is now seeing what important role nurses play in taking care of and advocating for their patients. Nurses are putting their own health and safety at risk for the greater good. Being a nurse is about providing a voice for those with no voice, as well as serving as a trustworthy voice for the profession. Nurses are also powerful advocates at the international, national, state, city, and local levels.

Most Trusted Profession

According to the Gallup poll, nursing has ranked as the most trusted profession among Americans for the past 18 consecutive years. Due to the level of honesty and ethics associated with the profession, nurses serve as a trusted resource for health care information among Americans. Thanks to their compassion and empathy, nurses provide both physical care and emotional support to patients and families. In short, nurses empower others to successfully care for themselves.

Technology

Since the COVID-19 outbreak, telehealth efforts have quickly emerged to provide healthcare for patients in the comfort of their homes. Nurses are well-equipped to provide these services remotely, and nurses will continue to serve as a critical resource in this area beyond the pandemic. Nurses are able to use technology to create a therapeutic relationship and dialogue in a virtual environment, ensuring that patients are supported throughout their health care decisions. Preventative care and compliance with medication schedules increase when nurses leverage technology in their practice.

Entrepreneurship

Nurses are innovative professionals, and regularly solve problems at their practice. An increasing number of nurses are starting their own businesses. This includes tech start-ups, travel nurse businesses, and an array of coaching, consulting, writing, and social media platforms. In recent years, organizations such as Johnson & Johnson have sponsored nurse hackathons where nurses compete for funding to support their innovative ideas. For nurses that want to make a bigger impact beyond clinical care, entrepreneurship offers many avenues to improve patient care. Innovation is a powerful option for nurses seeking non-traditional career options.

Travel Nurse

Nurses are in high demand across the country, and one way to boost income and explore different parts of the US is through travel nursing. Travel nurse companies are currently booming with opportunities as COVID-19 continues to increase work hours for nurses. With more nurses traveling and serving on the frontlines in the hardest-hit cities, this time in the limelight will continue to create new opportunities even after the pandemic has subsided. Travel nurse opportunities inspire nurses to explore new specialty areas and expand their networks.

Leadership

With the ever-changing landscape of healthcare, nurses are critical in both formal and informal leadership roles. Nobody else has an intimate view of the bedside or unique patient perspective. With an increased focus on fiscally responsible preventative care, nurses are well-positioned to lead efforts toward better safety and patient satisfaction. There are many opportunities for nurses to lead at the health care organization level, from non-profits and boards to professional organizations and community leadership. Nurses have the power to impact change, and their voices are more important than ever.

RELATED: What Is the Difference Between a Nurse Manager and a Nurse Leader?

Community Involvement

Nurses are crucial in their communities. Whether volunteering at free clinics, homeless shelters, or health fairs, nurses provide a strong and caring presence for their neighbors. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Culture of Health Program funds nursing projects that promote a positive health culture in their communities. Nurse community outreach initiatives help the most vulnerable populations gain access to health care and create a stronger and more empowered community.

Educational Advancement

Continued education, advanced degrees, and specializations allow nurses to practice to the full scope of their licenses. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) has identified the bachelor's degree as the preferred route to enter the profession. Nurses may continue their education through bridge programs such as the widely available RN to BSN program or graduate-level masters and doctoral degrees with specific specializations; think nurse practitioner programs. Many health care organizations offer tuition remission, making educational advancement more affordable. With a national shortage of primary care physicians, there is an increased need for advanced practice nurses to fill these roles. Continued education and professional development opportunities give nurses a key advantage.

A nursing career offers many opportunities to make an impact and grow both personally and professionally. What will your nursing superpower be?

Janine Kelbach, RNC-OB
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