As I come up on my 6th nursing anniversary, I have been reflecting on all of the things you can do with a nursing degree and how I’ve chosen to use my RN, BSN. While at times I find myself griping and complaining about the long hours, night shifts, and working on the holidays, I realize those are just small things compared to what nursing has given me. Nursing has allowed me so many wonderful things in my life and I hope that all nurses take advantage of their degree and venture off the beaten path a little bit when burnout hits and you need a change.
Here are some of the more unconventional things that nursing has taught me, the experiences it has allowed me to have, and a glimpse of the different paths you can take as an RN, BSN.
Nursing Has Allowed Me to…
Care for the Tiniest, Premature Babies (and their families)
When I went into nursing school, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do when I finished. Would I work with adults or kids? Would I work in an intensive setting (ICU, ER), or would I enjoy a different floor like med-surg? Little did I know that I would fall in love with the vulnerable babies in the neonatal intensive care unit. As a nurse, you have the option to choose from multiple different specialties! And the greatest part is that if you start on a unit that you tire of, you can easily switch to a different unit.
Live in Multiple States in 1 Calendar Year
One of the things you can do with your BSN is to become a travel nurse! As a travel nurse, you have full flexibility to move as much (or as little as you’d like). You can chase the summer year-round, head to Alaska in the winter to scope out the Northern Lights, and so much more. While at times travel nursing can be lonely, you’re still moving around the country getting to know new places and new people and having epic bucket list experiences. How many people can say that their careers allow for that?
Take Multiple, Extended, Vacations
Another thing that nursing has allowed me to do is take multiple, extended vacations! A plus of being a nurse is the flexibility to take time away from work, which is another reason why you should get your RN, BSN. As a nurse, you can take 8 days off… without using any PTO. And as a travel nurse, you can take indefinite time away from work by taking breaks between each contract.
For how to pack for a long holiday, click here
For tips and ideas on how to maximize your eight days off work, check out my series – The 8 Day Vacay
Become a Volunteer Nurse
Besides being a neonatal nurse and a travel nurse, I’ve also used my degree to be a volunteer nurse. In the spring of 2017, I was forever changed when I earned the opportunity to live in Skopje, Macedonia for 8 weeks to volunteer with Project Hope in the NICU. I learned so much in those 8 weeks. I learned that many parts of the world still don’t have the appropriate supplies to save human life. I learned that growing up in the United States jaded me and didn’t allow me to understand that basic necessities are not a right but a privilege that, unfortunately, most people don’t have. I’ve learned to be comfortable in the uncomfortable. To enjoy myself at dinner when nobody spoke English. To be alone with my thoughts and learn more about myself than I ever knew possible! And most importantly I learned that it is so important to give back your time to those in need. To be selfless, understanding, and grateful in all circumstances because there are those out there who also are fighting a battle that you know nothing about.
As nurses, we are shaping, changing, and affecting lives every single day. For my fellow nurse friends out there and all of you future nurses, my hope is this… that while we are working another weekend, another holiday, another nightshift. And while we are away from our families and loved ones. That we remember the importance of what we do day in and day out. Nursing allows us to do a lot of things, but I hope that we don’t take for granted that it allows us to provide care, laughs, love, and compassion to so many people day in and day out.
While I haven’t been able to take full advantage of my RN, BSN, here are some other things you can do as a nurse: Nurse Anesthetist, Nurse Practitioner, Yacht Nursing, Nurse Injector, Teacher, Midwife, Researcher, and more. If you’ve found a creative way to use your RN, BSN, let me know in the comments below!