More than just a job caring for those who may need physical, emotional or psychological help, a
nurse’s role is to ensure all patients are treated by a skilled and competent provider who can
provide treatment in a compassionate manner and respect each person’s dignity and personal beliefs.
A physical career as well as an emotional one, nurses have to care for people when they need help
the most. From assisting a trauma victim with a life-threatening injury, to welcoming a new baby
into the world or helping a Hospice patient enjoy his last days in comfort, the patients a nurse
cares for all have one thing in common: they put all of their trust into their hands-on practitioner.
Unlike some jobs where tasks can be dismissed or assigned to another worker, when a nurse is assigned
a patient, unless re-assigned by the nurse manager, the nurse is responsible for the total care of their
patient during the nurse’s entire shift. This means every need a patient has, as well as those the nurse
anticipates, is the responsibility of the nurse. If able to put others first and realize you are there
to serve your patients as a competent, caring healthcare provider, then nursing may be right for you.
Nursing is also a great career for those seeking employment flexibility. Full time, part time, and on-call
(p.r.n.) shifts are available to workers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Most nurses work either 8 or 12
hour shifts with normal shifts scheduled as follows;
Typical 8 hour schedule:
Typical 12 hour schedule:
- 7 a.m. – 3 p.m.
- 3 p.m. – 11 p.m.
- 11 p.m. – 7 a.m.
- 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.
- 7 p.m. – 7 a.m.
Nurses working in physician offices typically work daytime hours while those working in urgent-care
clinics can work days, evenings and weekends. Nurses looking to work 12 hours shifts will find hospitals
regularly employ nurses to work these hours on the weekend. While not mandated, nurses working in hospitals
do have the opportunity to work overtime hours. If undermanned for the next shift and unable to find coverage,
nurses working the current shift may be asked if they wish to work two shifts, “a double,” which requires
a 16 hour day.
Students, career changers and those interested in job flexibility, may find that a nursing, or other type
of flexible, healthcare career, is best suited for their scheduling requirements. Casual work opportunities
are plentiful for nurses. If looking to work very part-time or on-call, a nurse can work at a hospital,
through a staffing agency, as a visiting nurse with a homecare agency or at immunization events. Nurses
can also use these avenues to supplement their full-time positions while cross-training in a different
setting and acquiring new skills. With nursing, the career possibilities for skilled providers are endless.