Nursing During COVID-19: 7 Reasons Now is Still a Great Time to Become a Nurse
By Chaunie Brusie, BSN, RN
As our previous way of life has shuttered to an unexpected stop and everyone is hunkering down at home in an attempt to stop the spread of COVID-19 (well, aside from the spring breakers whose beach beers were obviously more important), now is a great opportunity to consider if a career in nursing might be right for you.
If you have ever thought about a career in healthcare, or have felt a call to action in the time of seeing so many suffer, here are a few reasons why now might be the time for you to pursue a future in nursing.
1. You Can Make a True Difference in the World
Have you been stuck at home, wishing you could be one of the heroes in this fight to save lives? Have you wished that your efforts to help people extended farther than just your own couch? Now is your time to make an impact not only in the lives of others, but in the entire world by becoming a nurse.
2. The Nursing Shortage is Increasing by the Minute
There was already a predicted shortage of nurses, but this pandemic will only increase that need. Some nurses, as The New York Times reported, have already been quitting on-the-spot under the pressure of dire conditions in hard-hit infected areas.
The American Association of Colleges of Nursing has predicted that there will be a need for 203,700 new RNs each year through 2026, and those numbers will be much higher in the aftermath of this pandemic.
3. There Will be Increased Pay Opportunities
Especially if you can enter the nursing field rather quickly, such as if you are near graduating from nursing school, have an RN license but haven’t been working lately, or can take an accelerated nursing program, (if you have a Bachelor’s degree in another field, for instance, you can get a nursing degree as quickly as one year), there will be increased opportunity for higher wages. Many high-need areas are offering sign-on bonuses, for instance, along with OT opportunities.
And if you have the ability to do so, staffing nursing agencies are at an all-time high, offering crisis pay, along with sign-on bonuses, quarantine pay, and more stipends for emergency areas. Some staffing nurse agencies allow you to start work as a travel RN right away, and some may even waive minimum requirements for crisis areas if you have recently graduated and don’t have a lot of experience yet.
4. You Will Always Have Stable Income as a Nurse
No one quite knows what the aftermath of COVID-19 will be on the economy, but if there’s one job that’s completely recession-proof, it’s nursing. I graduated from nursing school myself in 2008--remember that little time of the worst recession in America since the Great Depression?--and started a nursing job right out of school.
Nursing, and really any position in healthcare, will always be in high demand, and entering a program now can ensure that you will be ready to hit the ground running when the need for nurses is at its peak.
5. More Government Aid for Healthcare Training
Many COVID-19 bills and incentive programs are in the process of being drafted and finalized, so while the exact details aren’t fully known yet, you can expect an increase in the number of government-aided training programs to help train new healthcare workers. For example, as many people have been laid off or lost their jobs as a result of COVID-19 closures, the federal government will be rolling programs to train them in growing industries--with healthcare as a priority.
These programs will include everything from nursing to entry-level certificate programs like CNA and allied health professions. As a result, there will be plenty of opportunities to get involved in healthcare, even if financial constraints have been an issue for you in the past.
6. Waived Requirements for Nursing School Admission
Some schools are waiving certain requirements for entrance into nursing programs for upcoming start times, meaning that there may be increased access for nursing programs across the country. For instance, Concordia University in Texas is waiving Test of Essential Academic Skills requirements for nursing school students who will be applying for summer and fall program start times.
With many standardized testing centers that provide exams such as the ACT and SAT shut down, colleges and universities are having to quickly scramble to assess entry requirements--which could mean more opportunities to be admitted into a nursing program near you.
7. The Future of Nursing Could Include More Telehealth Nursing opportunities
Hopefully, the aftermath of COVID-19 is that the healthcare system in the U.S. gets a major overhaul, starting with ensuring we have the supplies we need to protect and equip our healthcare professionals. But some health experts are also predicting that this pandemic could also be a catalyst for increased telehealth services in the future -- including funding the technology to make it possible, training healthcare staff on how to use it, and increasing consumer confidence and ability to use it.
If you are interested in healthcare but are also intrigued by the idea of patient care from a telehealth perspective, this would be an excellent time to get in on the ground level. Most telehealth positions will need nurses with experience in direct patient care as well, so it would be a good idea to make sure you are in the process of starting now, while the field is still relatively new.
Take the First Steps in Your Nursing Journey
Anytime is a good time to join the incredible people that make up the nursing workforce, but now, in a world that will forever be changed by COVID-19, it’s become clear, more than ever, how important nurses are to the future.
Wherever you are in your career, we have a guide to help you get started in nursing.
New to nursing?
If you’re brand new to nursing and don’t have a Bachelor’s degree in another field you can still get started working as a nurse in under two years! Check out the following guides:
- Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) Guide
- ADN Guide
- Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN/LVN) Guide
- Registered Nurse Guide
- Top 5 Fastest Paths to Becoming a Nurse
Working in another field?
If you have a Bachelor’s degree in an industry other than nursing, you can get your nursing degree in as little as one year through an accelerated BSN program.
Looking to Get Your BSN?
If you’re already working as an RN but looking to increase your pay, now could be the time to get your BSN.
- RN to BSN Guide
- How to Get Your RN to BSN Paid For By Your Employing Hospital
- Top 5 Affordable and Fast Online RN to BSN Programs
We Need Nurses Now More Than Ever!
Without nurses, we have no future — you can make a difference in all of our lives by becoming an RN!