Most nurses begin their careers at the bedside in a hospital or inpatient setting. Bedside nursing is typically the first step in developing a long and fulfilling career.
These nurses are the backbone of our healthcare system and should be incredibly proud of their vital contribution to the welfare of their patients. Let's explore the top 10 advantages of bedside nursing jobs.
What is a bedside nursing job?
A bedside nursing job is a role that involves direct contact with patients in a hospital, rehab center, or long-term care facility. Bedside nursing roles are also called hospital or clinical jobs, inpatient work, or direct patient care positions. No matter the title, this position puts you at the heart of nursing.
At the bedside, our patients are vulnerable and count on us to competently care for them and advocate on their behalf. Those working in bedside nursing are responsible for administering medications, monitoring vital signs and patient progress, and coordinating care. These nurses often oversee other nurses and support staff.
Top advantages of bedside nursing jobs
#1 - Excellent learning environment: It’s no secret that the best place to learn how to nurse is at the bedside. The first year comes with a tremendous learning curve while nurses hone basic skills such as IV insertion, use of electronic medical records, and medication monitoring.
It’s also during this time that nurses learn transferrable skills that they can utilize throughout your nursing career. Soft skills frequently learned early during most nursing careers, such as the following, are crucial to success as a nurse.
- Effective communication with patients, families, and staff
- Discharge planning
#2 - Satisfactory compensation: Hospital nurses can expect to make higher wages in general than nurses in ambulatory care and many other positions. According to ZipRecruiter, the average salary of a hospital RN is 84,099 per year. In addition, the total compensation package is typically attractive.
Most bedside nurses can expect their total compensation package to include:
- Paid vacation time
- Health and life insurance
- Sick time with pay
- Education reimbursement
- 401K or other retirement benefits
- Yearly bonuses and other financial incentives
Many nurses also benefit from sign-on bonuses when accepting bedside nursing jobs.
#3 - Advancement opportunity: Once established as a bedside nurse, the chance for advancement is excellent. Hospital nursing management roles are abundant, and experienced nurses are often encouraged to advance in the organization to fill these leadership roles.
Generally, charge nurses can grow their careers easily. It’s refreshing and exciting to see nurse leaders who became CEOs of numerous hospital organizations in 2023.
#4 - Find different niches: Bedside nurses have the opportunity to find which specialty area suits them best. Hospitals in particular provide the option of changing gears to explore other types of nursing. For example, if critical care isn’t an ideal fit, nurses can try their hand at a pediatric or other specialty unit.
#5 - Job security: A significant benefit of bedside nursing is job security. Clinical nursing positions are sometimes hard to fill, which typically results in a great demand for bedside nurses.
#6 - Friendship: Sometimes, only other nurses can understand the ups and downs of a nursing career, and the support and advice received from peers is invaluable. Working at the bedside provides ample opportunity to grow friendships with colleagues.
Working in other settings and even remotely often does not provide the valuable interaction that comes with bedside nursing jobs.
#7 - Great resume builder: Having experience in a bedside nursing job is often the highlight of any nursing resume. Hospital nursing is the jump-off point to any future extension of a nursing career. A resume without bedside nursing experience may appear lacking to many hiring managers. Look at nursing job ads, and it becomes clear that most require some clinical experience.
#8 - Flexibility: Although working a 10- or 12-hour hospital shift may seem lie a rigid schedule, bedside nursing jobs have some element of flexibility. Many nurses prefer to work non-traditional office hours to suit their personal needs and preferences. Hospitals that value their nurses are also experimenting with innovative, flexible schedule options that offer even greater choice and work-life balance for their nurses.
#9 - In demand: One of the top benefits of bedside nursing jobs is that they are plentiful. Although 57.5% of nurses report working in a hospital, more recruits are still needed to fill openings.
In fact, The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics reports that there are 193,100 nurse job openings each year through 2030, with the majority being in hospitals. Nurses who choose to work a bedside nursing job can expect to have recruiters enthusiastically pursuing them.
#10 - Pride: Perhaps the number one advantage of bedside nursing jobs is that many nurses will be fulfilling their life’s dream to make a difference in the lives of patients. Hospital nurses experience a unique connection to their patients and can be proud that they are truly making a difference.
Whether you’re actively seeking a new role or assessing your next steps, explore Nurse.com’s job marketplace to help match your experience and skills to the best-fitting role.