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How to Choose the Right Nursing Career

Are you struggling to choose a career in nursing? Do you know that you want to help people but are not sure how?

If yes, then the below blog is exactly what you need to help you take the next step in your nursing career and find the perfect role for your skills and experience. As a sector, the nursing industry is booming, with the demand for qualified nurses higher than ever before. This means that you can command a higher salary, enjoy a positive job outlook and make a difference in your local community.

However, with so many diverse nursing roles to choose from, how do you decide which one to invest your time and effort in?

From thinking about what you really want from a career to finding a role that suits your personality, keep reading to discover how you can find the perfect nursing career in 2022.

Determine What You Want

Before you start looking into nursing degree programs or searching for positions online, you first need to sit down and have a long hard think about what it is that you want from a career in nursing. While most nurses have a passion for what they do, this is not the only aspect of your professional life that you need to consider.

You also need to determine:

  • How much do you want to earn?
  • What kind of work/life balance do you want?
  • Are you willing to go back to school?
  • What type of healthcare setting do you want to work in?

All of these above questions are crucial and need to be given a lot of thought before you start job hunting or pursuing further education options. That being said, as the majority of nursing roles are both demanding and challenging, if you are going to thrive in this industry, you need to have an overwhelming desire to help people. Otherwise, you are unlikely to stick with a career in nursing.

If you want to find out more about working as a nurse, you may want to start reading a nursing blog as these will tell you everything you need to know about becoming a nurse, including advice on choosing a degree program and selecting the right nursing role.

Seek Out Experience

If you currently work in a healthcare setting such as a hospital or private clinic, it can be a good idea to ask to experience other departments or areas of nursing. Depending on your current level of experience and expertise, this may have to be on a volunteering basis, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take the time to do it. While you may have always had a specific area of nursing that you want to pursue in mind, how will you know if you will enjoy it without any experience?

Many healthcare organizations now offer flexible staffing models for new nurses and students that enable you to gain experience in other areas, so don’t be afraid to ask your employer about this. Worst case scenario, you realize your preferred area of nursing isn’t for you after all. In the best-case scenario, you find the job of your dreams.

Consider Your Personality

While there are many traits that nurses tend to have in common such as compassion, optimism, and the ability to multi-task, that doesn’t mean you don’t need to consider other aspects of your personality when choosing a role. For example, do you consider yourself to be outgoing and sociable, or are you more reserved in your daily demeanor?

If you are the former, you may be suited to nursing roles such as an emergency nurse, a family nurse practitioner, or an intensive care unit nurse, as all these positions require good people skills and personable nature. However, if you are more introverted, you might want to consider one of the following nursing jobs: nurse researcher, legal nurse consultant, or forensics nurse.

Do you like to work in a hectic and bustling environment, or do you prefer to work quietly and methodically in your own time? If you are not sure what type of nursing role is best suited to your personality, it can be a good idea to reach out to any contacts you have within the industry and ask them about their daily working life. Alternatively, you can find hundreds of YouTube videos and blogs created by nursing professionals which detail both their career highlights and struggles which can help you to gain a better insight into your preferred positions.

Think About Further Education

When it comes to progressing in your nursing career, most advanced roles require advanced degrees. Therefore, you need to think about whether or not you are willing to go back into education to achieve your goals. For example, if you want to become a nurse practitioner, a nurse educator, or a nurse administrator, you will need to first obtain a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN).

Fortunately, there is now a vast selection of accredited online universities that offer advanced nursing degree programs so that you can continue to work and gain the qualifications you need to advance in your career. Online degree programs are available in part-time and full-time course schedules, and typically, you can complete your coursework at your own pace. You should also know that online degree programs tend to offer lower tuition fees.

While further education isn’t for everyone, if you want to progress in your nursing career and command higher salaries, then you will need to seriously consider gaining further qualifications.

Decide On Your Preferred Environment

Where can you see yourself working in five years’ time? Do you want to be in the thick of it on a busy ward, do you want to be teaching the next generation, or maybe you want to be helping young people tackle their mental health issues?

Nurses work in a wide variety of different settings, including hospitals, schools, public health departments, research labs, and even correctional facilities. Furthermore, within each facility, there are many different types of environments. For example, a neonatal ward is very different from an A&E department.

When it comes to finding the right type of healthcare environment, it can be a good idea to think about what situations you thrive in. Do you work well under pressure? Or are you better at problem-solving over time? Do you like noise, or does it drive you to distraction? Do you want to work with different patients every day, or would you prefer to build more long-term relationships?

If you don’t want an overly patient-focused role, then you might want to consider training to become a nurse educator or a case manager. Or if you want to be right by the bedside, nursing roles such as those in critical care and on emergency wards.

All of these questions are important in helping you to determine where you should work and what type of role will bring you the highest level of satisfaction.

Identify Your Strongest Qualities

Although many people find this difficult, if you want to find your ideal role, you need to first determine your strengths and also your weaknesses. When it comes to identifying what you are good at, it can be useful to ask your family, friends, work colleagues, and even your boss. These are the people that know you best, both personally and professionally, so they are in the ideal position to give you an insight into your strongest qualities.

Once you have done this, it can also be a good idea to look at your performance at work over the past few years. Where have your skills shone through? Are there any notable achievements that showcase your abilities?

Finally, look back at any feedback or personal reviews that you have received from your employer and see which areas you excel in and which ones you tend to struggle with. While it can be all too easy to focus on your weaknesses when they are laid out in front of you, try to focus on the positives and how they can help you find the right nursing role for the future.

Consider Work/Life Balance

The healthcare industry is known for its long and unsociable hours, so it is crucial that you consider what type of work/life balance you want before you commit to a career path. Typically a poor work/life balance is caused by issues such as understaffing, miscommunication, and poor management, so you need to make sure that any future employers are dedicated to maintaining the wellbeing of their staff.

You also need to think about what hours you are willing and able to work. For example, if you choose to work in a hospital, you are likely to work in shifts. These tend to be long hours and can also include evenings and weekends. Therefore, if you have a family that needs you at home, then you may be better suited to a nursing role in a school or private facility. Don’t forget that, wherever you work as a nurse, you are likely to experience some form of stress, so you need to make sure you are practicing self-care techniques and asking for help when it is needed.

5 Nursing Fields To Consider

If you are still unsure what field of nursing you would like to go into, then the below five popular nursing jobs, along with their salary and basic job information, may be able to help you.

1. Licensed Practical Nurse

Licensed practical nurses, or LPNs, provide basic care to patients, such as documenting vital signs, carrying out physical assessments, and documenting medical histories. LPNS tend to work alongside registered nurses and may also help to administer medication and provide treatments. The average salary for a licensed practical nurse is $29.23 per hour based on a nurse with 1- a year of experience.

2. Registered Nurse

Registered nurses, RNs, are typically responsible for providing both basic and more advanced care to their patients. They work alone and alongside physicians. The average salary for a registered nurse is $33.95 per hour based on 2-3 years of experience.

3. Certified Nurse Midwife

Certified nurse midwives, CNMs, perform a wide range of duties, including delivering babies, providing healthcare to women and children, helping with family planning, and providing prenatal care. The average salary for a certified nurse-midwife is $43.21 per hour.

4. Certified Nurse Practitioner

Nurse practitioners, NPs, are increasingly in demand in the United States due to a combination of an aging population and a lack of qualified physicians, especially in rural areas. Responsible for diagnosing and treating patients of all ages and from all social backgrounds, as a certified nurse practitioner, you can expect a good salary and high levels of job satisfaction. The average salary for a certified nurse practitioner is $60.29 per hour.

5. Intensive Care Unit Nurse

Intensive care unit nurses, also known as critical care nurses, typically provide emergency and trauma care to patients in ICU. They work alongside physicians and other nursing staff to treat critically ill or wounded people. The average salary for an intensive care unit nurse is $85.29 per hour. In terms of nursing specialties, some of the areas you may want to consider include:<

  • Emergency room, critical care, ICU, or NICU
  • Radiologic technology
  • Informatics
  • Pediatrics
  • Obstetrics
  • Geriatrics
  • Gynecology
  • Dentistry
  • Clinical research
  • Education

It is worth knowing that most of the above require additional qualifications and certifications, so if you are a practicing registered nurse, you will need to consider further education options.


While it can seem like an overwhelming decision, choosing the right nursing career is not as hard as it looks. All you really need to do is work out what you want and then determine how you are going to achieve it. Whether you want to be in the thick of it in a hectic hospital department, providing bespoke care to a core patient base, or you would prefer to be behind the scenes developing new policies, there is a nursing career for everyone; you just need to find yours.

Alice Jacqueline is a creative writer. Alice is the best article author, social media, and content marketing expert. Alice is a writer by day and ready by night. Find her on Twitter and on Facebook!

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