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Finding Fulfillment in Your Nursing Career


Finding fulfillment at work can be difficult for many people. For those in the health care community, however, satisfaction is not a foreign concept. If you enjoy helping others, are interested in advancing your career, and feel it is important to be a vital part of a growing industry, nursing is a viable career choice that can leave you feeling a unique sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.


While it is true that the scope of daily work responsibilities can sometimes be challenging and even overwhelming for nurses, it is these very challenges and opportunities that can lead to an unparalleled sense of fulfillment. Discover several ways that industry opportunities and growth can help you find fulfillment in your nursing career:

A Call to Help Others

One of the factors that may encourage some health care professionals to pursue a career in nursing is a desire to help other people. Nurses work directly with patients to help them create plans for better treatment and management of diseases, provide emotional support and advice, and educate patients about health-related concerns.


According to research performed by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), fulfillment in a nursing career often directly correlates with job satisfaction. When talking with professionals who choose to pursue nursing as a second career path, you may hear personal accounts of their experiences in hospitals and other health care facilities, which encouraged them to pursue a career in this area of health care.

Potential for Upward Mobility

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), registered nursing jobs may increase by 16 percent by 2024, which marks an addition of more than 439,000 jobs. The BLS growth rate is higher than average in the United States, which may be another reason that professionals are choosing to go back to school to pursue a degree in nursing. Based on the BLS statistics and job growth rate, job security in many areas of the country appears to be strong, a condition that may come with a lower risk of layoffs and other concerns present in many industries outside of health care.


Nurses also have the potential to grow and advance within their careers. Nurses with bachelor’s degrees may work as supervisors or shift leads, helping with scheduled management and overseeing the work performed by other nurses. Securing a nurse manager position may require a master’s degree, although the educational requirements may depend on the facility in which you work. However, accelerated programs and opportunities offered online, like nurse practitioner degree programs, can allow individuals to earn advanced degrees in a more convenient, flexible and timely manner.


Other opportunities for upward mobility in the nursing field include a career as a nurse practitioner, midwife, or nurse anesthetist. The BLS predicts a growth rate of 31 percent in advanced nursing careers, such as these between 2017 and 2024.

Financial Stability

When choosing to leave a job or career path to pursue nursing, financial stability can be a significant factor in the decision. The median salary for a registered nurse in 2016 was $68,450 per year, or about $32.91 per hour, according to the BLS. On the high end of the salary scale, some registered nurses can earn six-figure salaries. By comparison, the median salary for a college graduate with a bachelor’s degree in 2016 was about $50,556.


Professionals who choose to pursue advanced nursing degrees may have even higher earning potential. The BLS reports that the median salary for advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) is $107,460 per year, or about $51.67 per hour. APRNs typically include nurse anesthetists, nurse practitioners, and nurse midwives, as well as others who offer primary or specialty health care and coordinate patient care. For nurses who have families to support, the opportunities for growth through advanced education can seem worth the investment. The average income difference between a registered nurse and an APRN is more than $39,000 per year, according to the BLS.

Additions of New Perspectives to the Nursing Field

If nursing is your second career, you may have something extra to bring to the job. Second-career nurses often bring new perspective to their roles, which can be why these professionals are beneficial to the field. When entering the field with experience in other industries as well as potentially in management roles, these professionals can bring distinctive skills, such as problem solving and dispute resolution, to their workplaces.


According to a study conducted by the RWJF, nurses who enter the health care field with a second baccalaureate degree in nursing have more positive outlooks on their careers and responsibilities than those who enter the field with only a first degree in nursing. The study also indicated that second-career nurses tend to have better coping skills when handling challenging and stressful situations. Coping skills can be critical in nursing careers, and a lack of these skills can contribute to poor retention rates for nurses in the industry.

Increased Educational Opportunities

The modern availability of advanced education online allows many of today’s nurses to pursue higher-level positions and enjoy greater satisfaction in their careers. Further, a positive outlook for the nursing profession as a whole, in addition to a continuous stream of new perspectives entering the field, ensures that today’s nurses are part of a vibrant, diverse and ever-growing industry. Approaching your nursing career with these factors and opportunities for growth in mind can lead to a unique sense of fulfillment in your work.


Continuing to grow your options is an important aspect of fulfillment in your career. To learn more about advancing your education to achieve your nursing career goals, visit Maryville University’s Online Master of Science in Nursing degree program. The 100% online program can prepare you for unique nursing roles in mentorship, education, research or administration.


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