Absolutely! More than almost any other career, nursing offers the flexibility that so many moms crave. As a nurse, you can choose to work days (7am – 3:30 pm, a great choice for moms with older kids in school), PMs (3 pm – 11:30 pm, often preferred by moms of preschoolers) or nights (11 pm – 7 am, an ideal shift for moms who want to be present in the after school/early evening hours). You can also work weekends only. Or part-time. Or sign on with a staffing agency and only work the dates and hours that fit your schedule.
Nursing also offers infinite opportunities for professional development and advancement. If you get bored in med-surg nursing, you can switch to the ER – without going back to school. You can work your way up to management or decide to stay at the bedside. You can even opt for a business clothes-required, 9-5 office job as a case manager or nurse consultant.
Plus, the pay’s pretty good. According to the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for a Registered Nurse (RN) was almost $65,000 in 2010. Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) earn almost $40,000. And demand is only expected to increase. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment of nurses will expand by 20 percent between 2008 and 2018.
But…nursing is hard work, and anyone who’s in it solely for the money and flexibility won’t last long. Nurses must be hard workers who are interested in health and the human body. They must be intelligent, quick-thinking and compassionate. The best nurses are team players who understand that illness takes a toll not just on the body, but on the soul as well. Nurses often work with upset, demanding patients and families, and must display a sense of professional calm while working with families to develop acceptable interventions.
Prospective nurses also must be prepared for the physical and emotional demands of the job. Most nurses are on their feet for the majority of their shift. They help lift, move and reposition patients. They deal with bodily fluids and unpleasant sights and smells. They also look directly into the eyes of sick and suffering patients, and care for patients before and after the moment of death.
The rewards, though, are many. Like motherhood, nursing is a demanding job that pays unexpected and often intangible dividends. Nurses make a difference in the world, and that knowledge has helped countless nurses get through even the most difficult shifts.
Motherhood, by the way, is great preparation for a career as nurse. Moms tend to be excellent multi-taskers, and nurses must constantly juggle multiple priorities. Moms also have compassionate hearts, excellent interpersonal skills and a certain level of tolerance for bodily secretions. A career in nursing is an excellent choice for moms who want to combine motherhood with a career in the health sciences.