Choosing a career is never easy. Aptitude testing was considered to be one of the ways of assessing your skills and choosing a job but times have changed. There are so many different jobs and professions, that it is difficult to guide a student on to a particular career. As a result, we do suggest that you do as much research as possible about any career you are interested in right from high school. If you are interested in the helping profession or human services, there are a number of ways to volunteer. To learn about the profession, volunteer or ‘job shadow’ a professional in the field to learn more about it. If you’re interested in nursing or social work in particular but cannot make up your mind, this article should be able to provide you with a better perspective on both professions. Many people want to be in involved in helping others to improve their lives but are unsure of which way to go.
Currently, the nursing profession is considered one of the best in the US. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the nursing profession is expected to grow by as much as 26% from 2010 to 2020. On an average, nurses also get paid anywhere from $64,690 to about $95,130 depending on profession and education. The job does have its pros and cons though. Most nurses have to study for 4-5 years before they get their degree. After completing their degree, most states have a mandatory certification exam and a licensing exam that has to be cleared. These exams are repeated every year or every two years for recertification.
Apart from educational requirements, the job itself is quite stressful. Nurses have to work in shifts that may range anywhere from 12-24 hours in specialty departments. They have to supervise critically ill patients and make life-saving decision. Hard work, emotional stress, the risk of lawsuits, dealing with angry and hostile patients, dealing with grieving patients, handling blood and waste products etc are all an integral part of the profession. Pros for the job include taking care of sick patients who are happy with your care and hard work and a high-paying job that seems worth the stress.
Social workers are an essential aspect of society and they are responsible for caring for people who require counseling and care. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for trained social workers is going to increase by as much as 25% in the year 2010 to 2020. Trained social workers also get paid about $42,480 to about $70,390 depending on education and qualifications. However, social work is not without its problems.
Entry level positions in the field are paid very little. However, candidates who specialize can work in a range of fields. For example, they can open clinics and work with patients; they can work with hospitals, as courtroom advocates, fund-raisers, teachers, as community care organizers, in community program events, administration etc. The range of jobs is endless but the emotional stress related to dealing with addicts, criminals and the abused can be challenging. Most social workers tend to compartmentalize the job to ensure that the don’t burnout. Nonetheless, burnout rates for social workers are really high with people frequently shifting over to less stressful but related professions.
We cannot really recommend one job over another and we do suggest that you research each profession before you proceed. It’s not uncommon to find people switching between nursing and social work as both professions require a lot of empathy, patient care and social skills. Of course, it is hard to anticipate the lived experience of any job until you are in it, but you can sometimes get a sense of your suitability early on. Learning tools for self-care as well as for working with patients with depression, anxiety or stress using meditation, simple yoga poses and breathing are available that give 3 CEU credits for psychotherapists or nurses via home study or in person are available at ToolsforStressRelief.com