1 The Rewards of Nursing (DRAFT) Speech Appropriate for Middle and High School Students This speech represents most of what you will want to tell an audience. It can be used in its entirety (full classroom period), or tailored to 20 minutes, more or less, to meet your needs. Good morning. My name is, and I m here to talk to you today about the rewards of a career in nursing. I m from (organization) where I work as a. (Some questions that can prompt interaction, or skip this part entirely. Use a flip chart to record responses, which can be used as a reference for the rest of your talk.) 1. Are any of you thinking about becoming a nurse? (Prompt why.) 2. Write on a flip chart: The Rewards of Nursing. Then, ask the group to define the word reward. Nursing is our country s largest health care profession. There are 2,600,000 registered nurses in the United States, and the need for nurses keeps growing every day. Think about this: You graduate from nursing school. There are so many job opportunities that you have not one, not two, but many job offers. This is what s happening in the nursing profession today. Today more than ever before nurses play a very important role in the care of patients of all ages. Most often people think of nurses as people who take care of sick people. This is only partially true. Today, nurses work in many different settings, caring for people at every stage of life, from before birth to death. What s more, nurses can choose to work in a specific area, such as childbirth; or surgery; or care of children, cancer patients, or the elderly. And, they can easily move into other areas or advance into management. What Do Nurses Do? Can anyone here tell me what nurses do? (Use flip chart to write responses.) Here are some of the jobs nurses do: Nurses help bring babies into the world, and they take care of new moms before and after childbirth. Nurses help sick and injured people get better, and they teach healthy people how to stay healthy. Nurses do physical examinations.
2 Nurses give medications and treatments ordered by doctors. Nurses are concerned with the emotional, social, and spiritual conditions of their patients. Nurses teach and counsel patients, as well as family members, and explain what they can expect during recovery from an illness or after surgery. Nurses provide health care teaching and counseling in the community. Nurses observe, assess, evaluate, and record patients conditions and progress, and they communicate patient condition information to doctors and other members of the health care team. Nurses help patients and families determine the best mix of health and social services home care, rehabilitation, physical therapy, hospice (care of the dying), and others. Nurses develop and implement plans to assure that patients get the appropriate nursing care. This is called quality assurance. Nurses also help dying patients die with dignity, and they help family members deal with a loved one s illness, dying, or death. So, if you like helping people and you like sciences and technology, then nursing could be a rewarding career for you! Why I Entered Nursing Let me tell you what attracted me to the nursing profession. (Talk about what you do in your job as a nurse and why you chose to become a nurse. Talk in terms of rewards personal and professional consistent with the theme of this presentation.) Where Do Nurses Work? More than half the nurses in Kentucky work in hospitals (62 percent). The second largest employer of nurses in Kentucky is in home health (7%). The third largest employer of nurses is in long-term-care, which includes nursing homes (6%). Nurses also work in public health, urgent care centers, doctors offices, private practice, education, and hospice (care for the dying). Advance practice nursing, education, and management are areas within the nursing profession that allow for career advancement and a higher salary. Nurses can advance to become clinical specialists, nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists, nurse educators, or nurse managers. Nurses also seek jobs in public service, politics, law, scientific research, pharmaceuticals, and administration, among many others.
3 What Else Do Nurses Do? Nursing is a blend of science, technology, and the art of caring and compassion. Every day on the job nurses use the science they learned in nursing school. Ongoing advances in technology which are helping people live longer, healthier lives have made nursing even more rewarding to those who like developing their skills in this area. Can anyone tell me what kind of technology nurses use? (Prompt if no response.) Technology includes computer-based equipment that s used in making a diagnosis or used for treatment. Are medications a part of technology? Yes. Have any of you ever broken an arm or leg and used a machine that helped you move your arm or leg? This is technology that allows you to restore the full range of motion that you had before you broke your arm/leg. Do you know any bionic men or women? Do you know what I mean by bionic? Some people get new body parts like new joints for the knee or hip. (Use other examples that relate to your work.) Because there are advances made every day in the medical and nursing sciences, nurses take continuing education courses to keep up with the latest in these advances. Also, nurses work closely with doctors and other health care professionals, and serve as the chief advocate for patients and families. If you have ever been a patient in a hospital or know someone who has, you probably came to know the nurses caring for you pretty well. This is because nurses have a lot of patient care responsibilities. Nurses do assessments, make diagnoses, develop care plans and implement them, and they do evaluations. To give you a better idea of what this means: Assessments: Nurses gather information about the patient s physical condition, emotional state, lifestyle, family, hopes, fears, etc. Diagnoses: Nurses identify the patient s problems or needs, which often are emotional or spiritual, as well as physical. Planning: Nurses find ways to address these problems and set specific goals for improvement. Whenever possible, nurses encourage patients to participate in planning their care.
4 Implementation: The nursing plan is put into effect. For example, nurses may administer medications and treatments, or teach patients how to care for themselves, such as exercising them to improve flexibility after surgery. Evaluation: Nurses regularly review the results of the plan and make adjustments when necessary. How Is the Job Market for Nurses? Today, there is a significant nursing shortage, and it is predicted that the need for nurses in years to come will only become greater. Here is why: Because advances in health care are helping people live longer, the number of elderly people who need care is increasing; There is a growing population of people who are sicker and in need of more skilled nurses. There is more need for nursing outside of the hospital setting. The current nursing workforce is aging. As more nurses retire (many are expected to retire over the next years), more will be needed to replace them. So, nurses today particularly those with a bachelor s of science degree in nursing (BSN) are almost guaranteed jobs right out of college and can be assured of a secure career well into the future. How Much Money Can I Make As a Nurse? The national average for entry-level registered nurses with a four-year college degree is between $35,000 and $45,000 a year. In Kentucky s hospitals RNs average making $44,000 annually. That s about $21 per hour. Compare this to the average starting salaries for new graduates in the following fields: Accounting $37,000 Marketing $34,000 Economics $38,000 Teaching $26,000 Attorneys - $50,000 Salaries increase as nurses gain experience. When you consider the pay a nurse receives for working shifts and overtime, many nurses make much more than their base salaries. Nurses who go into management and advanced clinical practice can earn even more: In Kentucky s hospitals the average annual salaries for different nursing positions include: Nurse supervisors $60,000 Nurse directors $69,000 Nurse executives $115,000, and can make much more.
5 Nurse anesthetists $133,000 And, nurse practitioners $65,000. Where Are the Nursing Opportunities Today? Nurses today have more options than ever before about what kind of work they do, where they do it, and when they work. As stated earlier, about 50 percent of nurses in Maryland work in hospitals. The rest work in many other settings, including the following: Long-term-care centers (rehabilitation, nursing homes) Community health clinics Free-standing outpatient and surgery centers Medical offices (eye doctors, dentists, obstetricians, surgeons, and others) Home care (visiting nurses, private duty nurses) Hospice care in the home or in a hospice facility Nursing schools (as professors) Corporate health centers (occupational safety, consultants, educators) Insurance and managed care companies Other companies (pharmaceutical, medical technology, biotech) Research centers (research nursing) Schools (including K-12, university clinics) Military Peace Corps and international service organizations Where Are the Nursing Opportunities in Hospitals? In the hospital setting, nurses work practically everywhere! They work in: Patient care units at the bedside Obstetrics, helping new moms give birth Hospital nurseries or neonatal intensive care units, caring for newborns Pediatrics, caring for children Trauma centers and emergency rooms Operating rooms and recovery units Same-day surgery centers Special care units intensive care, coronary care, intermediate care Psychiatric and drug treatment centers Medical records or other hospital offices X-ray and other diagnostic units
6 Laboratories Helicopters and ambulances, caring for patients in transport to hospitals As hospital regulators conducting surveys and inspections And, in many other places Working Hours Nurses have lots of flexibility in their working schedules. Nurses can work days, evenings, or nights. A nurse s shift can be 8-12 hours. Some nurses work 36 hours in 3 days or 40 hours in 4 days (then have 3-4 days off). Some work part time or only on weekends. Generally, though, nurses work 37.5 to 40 hours per week like other professionals. Specialty Nursing Opportunities; Career Advancement Like anyone in any career, nurses too can become bored with their job, or want to make more money, or want to pursue another job using their skills, or want a change for another reason or any combination of reasons! One of the rewards of nursing is the opportunity it affords for advancement or change. As a result, many RNs pursue additional education to become a specialist. (Below are several options to engage the audience in interaction. Choose your own specialty, or one or more of the following.) Does anyone know what a nurse midwife is? A nurse midwife is an advanced practice nurse with additional training around delivering babies and providing care to pregnant women before and after childbirth. Nurse midwives are very involved in labor and delivery, sometimes never leaving the mother during the entire labor process. They are trained to recognize signs and symptoms that deviate from normal conditions and will consult with a physician who may become involved in the delivery if needed. Nurse midwives are qualified to administer drugs and to perform medical procedures, but those interventions are not routine for nurse midwives, and they are used only when the mother requests them. Most nurse midwives deliver babies in hospitals and in homes. They also take care of newborns. Nurse midwives also provide family planning and birth control counseling, and normal gynecological services such as: physical and breast
7 exams, pap smears, and preventive health screening. In most states, nurse midwives may prescribe medications. (From the American College of Nurse Midwives.) Does anyone know what a nurse anesthetist does? A nurse anesthetist, or Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA), is a licensed professional nurse who provides the same anesthesia services as an anesthesiologist (a medical doctor). After completing extensive education and training, CRNAs become nationally certified. They may then practice in all 50 states. Nurse anesthetists work closely with other health care professionals such as surgeons, dentists, podiatrists, and anesthesiologists. They take care of patients anesthesia needs before, during and after surgery or the delivery of a baby. Nurse anesthetists stay with their patients for the entire procedure, constantly monitoring every important body function and individually modifying the anesthetic to ensure maximum safety and comfort. CRNAs administer about 65 percent of the 26 million anesthetics given to patients in the United States each year. Can anyone think of other nursing specialties? (Prompt.) Clinical nurse specialists perform advanced work in specialized fields such as cancer or mental health. Nurse researchers study ways to improve nursing methods and evaluate patterns of patient care. Nurse practitioners perform many advanced medical functions that once only physicians were permitted to do. Psychiatric nurse practitioners perform functions that once only psychiatrists were permitted to do. Other specialties include: Nurse Administrator/Nurse Manager, Nurse Case Manager, Nurse Educator, Legal Nurse Consultant, School Nursing, Forensic Nursing, Pediatric Nursing, Critical Care Nursing, Nursing Informatics, and Parish Nursing. And, the list goes on. Preparing for a Nursing Career Nursing schools require a high school diploma and a sound academic standing in high school English, algebra, chemistry, biology, physics and psychology. An understanding of computers and technology are great assets. Can you tell me some qualities that you think nurses should have in order to be good in this profession? (Prompt.) Nurses also need: Leadership and organizational skills People skills Patience Flexibility
8 Compassion Problem-solving skills A sense of humor The ability to stay calm in a crisis Volunteering at a local hospital is a great way to learn more about the career and can help you get into the nursing school of your choice. Contact your local hospital about volunteer opportunities. In addition to taking the ACT, many nursing schools require that students interested in a nursing career take a nursing assistant certification before being accepted into the nursing program. Nursing School Students interested in nursing should apply to state-approved and accredited schools of nursing. Courses include classroom instruction in biology, chemistry, physics, the social sciences, and nursing theory and practice, and the humanities. In addition, students get supervised clinical hands-on experience in hospitals and other health care settings. Students need good study habits and excellent critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Confidence, determination, and an eagerness to learn will guide you in your pursuit to help and heal others as a nurse. There are more than 1,500 nursing programs in the United States. Three types of training programs prepare you for different roles once you graduate: Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) a four-year program offered at colleges and universities around the country. There are 12 programs in Kentucky that award a BSN. Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) a two-year program offered at many community and junior colleges. Some hospital schools of nursing and universities offer ADN degrees. There are 28 programs in Kentucky that award an ADN. The BSN gives you the most opportunity for advancement and the most flexibility of the three types of degrees and is required for those interested in a master s degree in nursing. You need a master s degree if you want to practice in advanced specialty areas. Fields that require a master s degree include: Nurse midwife Nurse anesthetist Clinical nurse specialist
9 Nurse practitioner RN first assistant in the operating room Nurse Administrator/Nurse Manager Nurse Case Manager Nurse Educator Nurses interested in becoming a nurse researcher or a professor of nursing generally need to obtain a doctorate. Tuition Tuition varies widely depending on whether you attend a private or public college and whether you are a resident or non-resident of the state. Financial aid is available from numerous sources, as are scholarships. Check with your guidance counselor to determine which sources are right for you, and visit the following Web site for more information: After You ve Graduated... Obtaining a License to Practice Nursing To become a registered nurse, you must graduate from an accredited nursing education program and pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). This exam is offered through the Board of Nursing from the state in which you plan to practice. The Kentucky Board of Nursing Web site includes information on licensing. That Web site is: Kentucky, like some other states in the US, require continuing education or practice to maintain a nursing license. Continuing Education Science is always finding new treatments, new medicines, and new procedures to help patients. Think of all the new treatments just since you were born tremendous breakthroughs in heart care, cancer care, and treatments for all kinds of new and old diseases. So, keeping up with the latest in the medical and nursing sciences is essential. All nurses take continuing education courses on a regular basis. New nurses receive on-the-job training in hospitals and other health care settings through orientation programs, in-service training, and practicums. All newly employed nurses are encouraged to ask questions. With the help and support of more experienced nurses, they participate in the nursing process from the beginning.
10 Conclusion Today, I have given you a lot of information about nursing and the rewards that a career in nursing has to offer you. As you make plans for your future, I hope you will give a great deal of thought and consideration to becoming a nurse. So, if you like helping people and you like sciences and technology, then nursing could be a rewarding career for you! And, I can tell you from personal experience that if you choose to become a nurse, you will discover a career filled with endless personal and professional rewards. Thank you for your time and attention! (Ask for questions.) Questions and Answers If you can t answer a question, offer to get back to the individual or teacher with a response within 48 hours. (adapted from Maryland Hospital Association)