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Why become a nurse?

Becoming a nurse is an incredibly rewarding career choice. Whilst working as a nurse might be stressful at times, it has many positive elements, from flexible hours and job variation to making a difference to people’s lives. What’s more, training to become a nurse has fewer requirements and takes less time than becoming a doctor, yet nurses still get to work in a similar environment.

  1. Nurses are in demand
  2. Flexible working hours
  3. Variability of the specialisms and work environments
  4. Social environment
  5. Training
  6. Career trajectory
  7. Universal skills
  8. Exciting challenge  
  9. Making a difference
  10. Compensation
  11. Reduced liability
  12. Highlights
  13. Sources
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Nurses are in demand

One great thing about becoming a nurse is that nurses are always in demand. At the moment in the USA, there is a shortage of nurses, and the demand is likely to keep increasing until at least 2020. Meanwhile, in the UK, the NHS is suffering from a shortage of nurses, so qualified nurses are in high demand.

Flexible working hours

Nurses are able to work flexibly, usually working shifts of between 4 and 12 hours daily. Of course nurses may often be required to work certain shifts, and work during the night, but nursing does provide more flexibility than working as a doctor.

Variability of the specialisms and work environments

Nursing is arguably the most diverse medical career as qualified nurses can work across a variety of specialities and in a range of locations. Moreover, it is fairly simple for nurses to switch from speciality to speciality, as they can do so after completing a short course in the area of interest.

Meanwhile, doctors are much more restricted, often spending many years qualifying into a certain area, and then working in that specialism for their entire career. Additionally, nurses can work in a huge range of settings. These include schools, hospitals, emergency rooms, home care facilities, and clinics.

Social environment

Nurses work within varied teams that comprise other nurses, doctors, and even administrators. Working in a team in a fast paced environment gives nurses the chance to bond with their colleagues. The combination of a teamwork environment and constant patient interaction makes nursing a very sociable career path.

Interaction with a patient is not always possible by verbal means due to different communication barriers. Overcome them with our free communication cards for augmentative and alternative communication (AAC).


Nursing degrees have lower entry requirements than medical degrees. Whilst generally requiring science subjects, nursing programs usually ask for fewer subjects and lower grades than medicine. However, the exact requirements vary from institution to institution. Furthermore, training to become a nurse generally lasts between 1 and 3 years, meaning that becoming a nurse is both quicker and cheaper than training to become a doctor.  

Career trajectory

In a nursing career there is a lot of room for advancements. As nurses build experience, they can often undertake additional training and take on more advanced roles, such as becoming qualified to work in a particular specialism like pediatrics, or taking on more senior managerial roles which involve overseeing the work of other nurses.  

Universal skills

Nurses gain a vital set of skills that can be applied to many situations, even those outside of work. Nurses have skills that are useful in situations of crisis, or in the occurrence of accidents. Therefore nurses are highly valuable members of society, that can provide help to others in any situation.   

Exciting challenge  

Being a nurse provides many exciting challenges on a day to day basis. Opportunities to work in environments like emergency rooms mean that nursing is never dull. Nurses often don’t know what lies round the corner, and have to work quickly and make swift decisions in the situations they encounter.

Making a difference

As nursing is orientated around caregiving, it is an extremely rewarding career path. Nurses often form more of relationship with their patients than doctors do, as they interact with them more regularly. Therefore nurses can really make a difference to their patient’s experiences of medical treatment, and even lives.


Whilst a nurse’s starting salary might not be that generous, those with high levels of qualification and experience can earn an enviable salary. Nursing in the USA is more lucrative, with the average salary being $67,930 a year, whilst UK nurses tend to receive between £21,682 and £34,876 per year. As nursing hours are fairly flexible, nurses can easily earn extra money by covering shifts of absent colleagues.

Reduced liability

In situations where medical mistakes are made, it is usually the doctor that is legally liable for the issue, which may be viewed as a benefit of working as a nurse instead. However, nurses are obviously responsible for their own actions and must take care and consideration when carrying out their duties.

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