Bodily fluids don’t faze you and you long for the “life and death” excitement missing from your desk job. You like people and want to have a direct impact on their lives. Replace the word “downsizing” from your employer’s vocabulary with “exceptional job growth.” If this all sounds appealing, it’s time to think about becoming a nurse. Jobs, Jobs, Jobs Currently, there are more than 100,000 nursing jobs open across the U.S., and over the next decade that number will jump to more than 500,000, or 22 percent job growth, according to the National Bureau of Labor Statistics. Yes, I said growth, an attribute rarely applied to any industry in these dismal economic times. Salaries The average nurse makes between $50,000-$70,000 a year, while nurses with advanced degrees and specialization can pull a six-figure salary. Add 10-15 percent more for becoming a “traveling nurse,” who switches jobs and locations every few months. Enough said. Opportunity There are as many different types of nursing as there are vacancies in the field. Nursing careers loosely fall into four categories; jobs are defined by setting (e.g. the operating room or emergency room), by disease (e.g. diabetes), by organs or body systems (e.g. heart health or skin care), or by population (e.g. geriatrics or pediatrics). There are many, many possibilities for specialization in nursing – palliative care, emergency care, nursing home care, even holistic or alternative health care – and the learning curve is always present. Goodbye boredom! Job Satisfaction In a 2010 nationwide survey of U.S. nurses, 78 percent of respondents listed that they were satisfied professionally. As the person most likely to deliver health care, you’ll be making a significant difference in many lives daily. Nurses are on the front lines of health care during a time when the U.S population is rapidly aging, many of whom will need medical care. There has, quite simply, never been a better time to enter the field.