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Becoming A Nurse

Nursing: A Rewarding Career

Nursing is a most rewarding career and nursing continues to be one of the more "in demand" professions out there. But it is not just the job security that makes nursing a good career choice. Nurses have the opportunity to make a difference in people's lives, to care and connect every day.


Registered nurses are independent professionals, licensed by the state and legally responsible for their own practice. Their role in health care combines science and technology with the more personal arts of healing, counseling and education. A career in nursing is open to men and women, young people graduating from high school, and adult learners re-entering the work force or changing careers.


Nursing offers its practitioners enormous flexibility. Nurses are among the few professionals who can choose to work almost anywhere in the world. Jobs are available in urban centers, small cities, resort towns, suburban communities and rural areas, as well as in the armed services, the Peace Corps and overseas. Nurses are among the few professionals who can select their schedules and modify them to fit their own changing needs. Nurses can work full or part time, by the day, the week or the month. They can work eight or 12 hours a day and select from night, evening or day shifts.


The majority of nurses work in a hospital setting, from patient care units to executive offices. Although most are staff nurses, their roles may be strikingly different.

  • A neonatal intensive care nurse suctions a critically ill infant weighing less than 2 pounds.

  • A psychiatric nurse calms a man suffering from hallucinations.

  • A nephrology nurse monitors a young man who has received a kidney transplant.

  • A nurse navigator assists a cancer patient through his/her treatment and acts as a guide each step of the way.

  • An orthopedics nurse teaches an elderly woman how to manage the cast on her broken leg.

  • An operating room nurse assists at open heart surgery.

  • The emergency room charge nurse aids a trauma victim.

  • A staff development specialist explains infection control procedures to newly hired employees.

  • An oncology nurse administers chemotherapy to a teenage leukemia patient.

  • An obstetrics nurse guides a first-time mother through the birth of her child.

Advances in health care technology, the aging of the population and rapid change in health care have increased the need for nurses in traditional specialties such as public health nursing. There are new demands in occupational health, nurse-midwifery, psychiatric nursing, forensic nursing, women's health care, and alcohol and drug abuse treatment. As the health care system continues to change, new opportunities are emerging in case management, home health nursing and primary care. In addition, more and more nurses are involved in research, consulting and private practice. Some nurses practice in specialty areas which are hospital based; others can be practiced in patients' homes, clinics, universities, offices, long-term care facilities, industries and community agencies.


The Georgia Nurses Association (GNA) is committed to working on short and long-term solutions to many of the issues affecting the nursing workforce, including the nursing shortage, nurse fatigue and more. Through GNA's advocacy and leadership, we are involved in solving the day-to-day issues that impact nurses delivering care to Georgia citizens. Our philanthropic arm, the Georgia Nurses Foundation continues to develop new methods of ensuring the future of our nursing workforce is bright. In 2012, GNF saw legislation pass to create the Georgia Special Nurse License Plate. A portion of the revenue derived from sales of the license plate are now dedicated to GNF for nursing workforce planning and scholarships to meet future needs. GNA/GNF are also closely involved in work to implement the key recommendations of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's IOM Future of Nursing report.


GNA's Strategic Plan for 2015 includes the following goals:


  • Organizational StructureGNA will transform and maintain a sustainable, powerful model to engage all nursing stakeholders as "One Voice."

  • Leadership Strength – GNA will identify and provide opportunities to position nurses in leadership roles for shaping the future.

  • Platform Positions – GNA will serve as the trusted voice to advance nursing practice in matters of legislation and public policy.

The Georgia Nurses Association works everyday to support the 113,000 registered nurses in our state  to practice this most rewarding career. We want every Georgia nurse to know we are working and advocating daily to protect your practice and to position nurses into health care leadership roles.

To learn more about the nursing profession today, visit ANA's "What is Nursing?" page by clicking





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