“You gain a certain maturity from being a nurse in a cancer ward.”
Bonnie Hunt, Actress
Pros and Cons of Being a Nurse
You consider becoming a nurse? Great! However, before you make your final decision, make sure to read this article since I show you all the pros and cons of being a nurse in the following.
Maybe you’ll change your mind after evaluating all the arguments in this blog post. Without further ado, let’s get right into it! 😉
Advantages of Being a Nurse
- You can help people
- You can save lives
- Nurses are important for our healthcare system
- You can work in a demanding environment
- Being a nurse never gets boring
- Can be an intermediate stage before becoming a doctor
- Decent salary
- Not the same pressure as for doctors
- Nurses have a high reputation in society
- Being a nurse can give you meaning in life
- Easy morning routine
- Nurses can work inside
- No need to sit on a computer all day long
- You can help your family and friends in case of minor issues
- High job security
- You can grow in character
- Many nurses have an inner motivation to help others
You can help people
One important advantage of being a nurse is that you can really help people. In fact, many people who are sick and need help will rely on you and the doctors to get healed from their health issues.
While this can be plenty of emotional pressure, it can still make you happy if you are the kind of person who wants to help as many people as possible during your life.
Thus, if you always had the inner motivation to support others and want to do so in the future, nursing will be definitely one promising way to go for you.
You can save lives
In some cases, nurses can also save lives. In case of unexpected emergencies, it is often on nurses to decide what to do and what measures to take if no doctor is around. This also implies that you will sometimes have to make decisions that can have a huge impact on peoples’ lives.
In the best case, you can save the lives of people who would have died without your help and those people will be grateful for what you did for them forever.
Nurses are important for our healthcare system
Our healthcare system would also simply not work without nurses. While doctors may have the last word regarding bigger decisions, nurses still do many smaller things for patients and without the support of nurses, doctors would never be able to do all the work that is required to treat patients as best as possible.
Hence, nurses are a true pillar when it comes to ensuring a sophisticated healthcare system on which the general public can really rely on.
You can work in a demanding environment
While some people still belittle the work of nurses, it is a hard job on a mental as well as on a physical level. In fact, nurses are challenged every day and are also confronted with new things on a regular basis. While this can be quite stressful, many nurses also love the challenge that comes along with all of this.
Thus, especially if you have a competitive character and want to improve yourself every day, being a nurse can also be for you in this regard.
Being a nurse never gets boring
Another upside of being a nurse is that it simply never gets boring. There will always be something to do since work never ends. In fact, after finishing one task, you can be certain that there are multiple other things already waiting for you.
In turn, this also implies that time will fly and that your work shifts will feel rather short, even though you will often work long hours.
Can be an intermediate stage before becoming a doctor
Some people also go to nursing school to get a degree first and to work for a few years. However, this doesn’t mean that your career will end at this stage. In many states, there is also the chance to become a nurse practitioner or to even become a doctor by taking various additional courses.
Hence, if you are not sure whether you are ready to become a doctor yet, you might take the first step as a nurse and can consider later on whether you want to get some additional education.
Nurses can also make really good money. Of course, most nurses will never get rich. However, the average salary for nurses in the US is around 80,000 dollars per year and can be even more once you get additional education.
Thus, you can earn an above-average salary by working as a nurse and especially if you truly like your job, this can be far better than going for a job that pays more but you secretly hate inside.
Not the same pressure as for doctors
While nurses also have some responsibility, final important decisions will still be made by doctors most of the time. This can take away part of the pressure from nurses since they know that in the end, it is the doctor’s responsibility to make the right decision.
Consequently, if things go wrong, nurses can blame doctors and don’t have to blame themselves for their shortcomings or potential mistakes.
Nurses have a high reputation in society
Nurses are also often admired in society. Many people are quite grateful for the job nurses are doing for the general public. In fact, people know that without nurses, our healthcare system could not work and most people therefore greatly appreciate the work of nurses.
Thus, if you are a person who needs the admiration of others, becoming a nurse or becoming a doctor are both senseful career paths in this regard.
Being a nurse can give you meaning in life
Another important benefit of becoming a nurse is that it can give you true meaning in life. In our current state of the world, many people just work in their jobs for the money and not for the joy that can come along with doing the right thing. However, in my opinion, this is a huge mistake. In fact, money is only a driver in the short run.
As time goes by, many people who just work for the money become quite miserable since they lack true meaning regarding what they have to do every day. Many of them are also not motivated to get up in the morning at all since they just see no higher sense in their jobs at all.
Consequently, if you really want to make a difference in the lives of people and want to find true meaning during your workday, chances are that you will be far better off by going for a career as a nurse than working in the corporate world without a reason apart from money.
Easy morning routine
Nurses also don’t have to take care of their looks that much during their shifts. Since they will often have to wear protective measures, they don’t have to worry about doing their hair since or doing their makeup.
They can just go to work like they are and don’t have to spend plenty of time to look good. In turn, this makes the morning routine of nurses much easier and it also implies that nurses can sleep longer due to that.
Nurses can work inside
Another advantage of becoming a nurse is that you can work inside. While you might not appreciate this fact in case you have never worked outside, I can tell you this is a huge benefit. For instance, if you work as a construction worker, you have to work, independent of whether it rains or snows outside.
This can be quite annoying and your health may also suffer due to that. Nurses don’t have to deal with those things since they can work inside buildings and will be protected against harsh outside conditions.
No need to sit on a computer all day long
There is also no need to sit in front of a computer in an office all day long. I know from personal experience that this can be quite exhausting and annoying. Instead of staring at a screen and just preparing presentations for others, you can really help your patients as a nurse. This also implies talking to them in person and getting around in hospitals.
You can help your family and friends in case of minor issues
We all get more vulnerable to diseases and other health issues once we get older. In such a case, it can be great to have a nurse around you who can help you with minor issues. In fact, you can save plenty of money on medical bills if you have someone who is knowledgeable and can help you out for many minor issues you might develop during your life.
Thus, being the person who can help people out in such cases can be great since you will have a good social standing and will also have the inner feeling that you can really improve the lives of your family members and friends.
High job security
There is also no doubt that nurses will enjoy high job security in the future. In fact, nurses are urgently needed and cannot be replaced by robots and computers in the near future. In many regions of our planet, especially in rural areas, we already have a shortage of nurses and this trend will likely continue.
Consequently, by becoming a nurse, you will not have to worry that much about getting fired one day since our whole healthcare system depends on the great work of nurses. Thus, if job security is a main priority for you, becoming a nurse can also help you in this regard.
You can grow in character
Being a nurse can also really help you grow in character. Since you will see many patients who experience tragic things in their lives, you will soon get a different perspective on life and chances are that you will not take minor issues too seriously anymore.
You will also appreciate your own life much more since you know how life can turn out if you are one of these unlucky people who got hit by fate.
Many nurses have an inner motivation to help others
Nurses are usually in the game to help others. In fact, since the job as a nurse can be quite demanding, you will not become happy with it if you don’t have an inner motivation to help people and to improve their quality of life.
Thus, make sure to have this inner motivation before deciding for a nursing career since you may have a quite hard time without it. However, if you really have this kind of drive, being a nurse can also be the dream job for you.
Disadvantages of Being a Nurse
- Relatively low salary compared to doctors
- Nursing school can be expensive
- Many nurses have to take on student loans
- Nurses have plenty of responsibility
- Mistakes can cost lives
- You may have to work on holidays
- Nurses often have to work at nighttime
- Irregular shifts are rather common
- Mistakes may follow nurses in their dreams
- Nurses have to deal with difficult patients
- Doctors will make final important decisions
- Nurses also have to do rather unpleasant work
- Being a nurse is also physically demanding
- Being a nurse also implies some administrative work
- Your patients may sue you
- Many nurses are not able to relax
- Feelings of guilt are rather common
- You have to learn how to deal with death
- Fear to make mistakes
- You are exposed to bacteria and viruses
- Some nurses suffer from burnout
Relatively low salary compared to doctors
Apart from the many advantages of becoming a nurse, there are also some issues that come along with it. For instance, while nurses can earn decent wages, they will not be able to earn as much as doctors.
In fact, doctors often earn a multiple of what nurses make and if you really want to get wealthy or even rich, becoming a doctor instead of a nurse may be the better career path to take for you.
Nursing school can be expensive
Another disadvantage of becoming a nurse is that nursing school can be quite expensive. While it is cheaper in public schools, nursing education in private schools can cost 50,000 dollars or more each year. Note that this doesn’t include housing or food.
Hence, you can imagine the huge sums of money you have to invest for becoming a nurse and before you do that, you should make 100% sure that this will be the right way to go for you.
Many nurses have to take on student loans
Since becoming a nurse can be pretty expensive, many students have to go into debt and to get student loans. While student loans can be a convenient short-term solution to finance your education, they can be extremely bad for you since you will have to pay back the debt later on in your life.
In fact, many people have to spend years or even decades to pay back their student debt and this will often prevent them to buy homes or to make other important investments.
Nurses have plenty of responsibility
While the responsibility of nurses might not be as high as of doctors, nurses still make important decisions that could lead to potentially catastrophic outcomes.
Hence, many nurses go to work with a bad feeling since they know that mistakes can lead to serious issues for their patients.
Mistakes can cost lives
In the worst case, your mistakes as a nurse may even cost lives. If you don’t pay close attention to the prescriptions and the needs of patients, you might overlook allergies or other things that could cause complications. Moreover, you might also give your patients the wrong dose of certain drugs.
As a result, your patients may die due to your mistakes and this can be a hard pill to swallow from a mental standpoint, especially if you know that the person could have lived without your mistake.
You may have to work on holidays
Another downside of working as a nurse is that nurses also have to work on holidays. Accidents and health issues do not care about our holidays and therefore, doctors and nurses have to help people throughout the year.
However, this also implies that you may not be able to spend Thanksgiving or Christmas with your family and that you have to work instead.
Hence, be prepared that you might be away from your family for such holidays if you decide for a nursing career.
Nurses often have to work at nighttime
Nurses do not only have to work on holidays, they often also have to work at nighttime. This can be quite challenging since working at nighttime often destroys the sleeping rhythm of people. In turn, this often leads to sleeping problems and insomnia.
Good sleep is important for our body and our brain and if you don’t get enough good sleep as a nurse, chances are that you will experience health issues sooner or later.
Irregular shifts are rather common
You will also have to be flexible as a nurse. In fact, irregular shifts are rather common and your shifts may also change without prior notice. This can make it rather difficult for you to meet up with your friends and you will also often have to cancel plans since your nursing schedule will come into your way.
Mistakes may follow nurses in their dreams
Some nurses also report that they are no longer able to sleep properly since their mistakes follow them in their dreams. If you think about it, this seems to be quite logical.
If you make mistakes that cost the lives of people, you will be quite sad about it and many nurses are also not able to deal with this in an emotionally healthy manner.
Those kinds of nightmares can further decrease your quality of sleep and may also lead to emotional issues in the long run.
Nurses have to deal with difficult patients
While the majority of your patients will be grateful for what you are doing for them, there is a small fraction of people out there who always find something to complain about. In fact, there are people who just can’t be happy in life and those people can give you a quite hard time as a nurse, especially if you really want to do everything to make those people happy but simply can’t due to their negative attitude.
Doctors will make final important decisions
Some nurses also want to have even more responsibility. In most cases, doctors still make the final decision when it comes to things that can have a serious impact on the health of patients.
In turn, many nurses feel like they don’t have the power to make a real difference and can’t reject decisions of doctors they think are simply wrong.
Hence, in case you really want to have full responsibility, you should rather become a doctor instead of a nurse.
Nurses also have to do rather unpleasant work
While you can help many people during your career as a nurse, you will also have to do some unpleasant things during your career. This could mean cleaning certain devices or to empty the chamber pot of patients.
Especially at the beginning of your career, you will be the one who has to do all the unpleasant work and you should be ready for it before deciding to become a nurse.
Being a nurse is also physically demanding
Many people recognize that being a nurse can be emotionally challenging. However, many people also underestimate the physical aspect of the job. In fact, nurses have to walk long distances during their shift and sometimes also have to lift heavy stuff.
Consequently, being a nurse can also be physically demanding and you should make sure that you have a certain minimum fitness level that is required for this job.
Being a nurse also implies some administrative work
Being a nurse is also not only about caring for patients. Unfortunately, there is also plenty of paperwork that has to be done and you should not underestimate the fraction of your day that will be devoted to filling out forms and getting additional information from your patients.
Your patients may sue you
If you make mistakes, patients may even sue you. Thus, make sure that you are insured properly since you will have to pay large sums of money in the medical field in case you are really found guilty.
Many nurses are not able to relax
Another problem with becoming a nurse is that nurses are often not able to relax and to unplug from their stressful job. Many nurses, even though they finished their shift, still think about their patients and about potential mistakes they could have made.
Everyone of us needs time to relax and to think about different things apart from work to stay healthy in the long run. Hence, if you can’t do this as a nurse, chances are that you will suffer from serious health issues sooner or later.
Feelings of guilt are rather common
Some nurses also feel quite guilty in case they make mistakes. The bigger the mistake, the bigger the emotional burden. The problem is that everyone of us makes mistakes sooner or later and it will be highly unlikely that you will not make any serious mistake during your whole nursing career.
Hence, be prepared to feel some level of guilt that is due to your mistakes you will make during your journey and that you are able to deal with it in an emotionally healthy manner.
You have to learn how to deal with death
Nurses also have to learn how to deal with death. In fact, during your nursing career, you will see many people dying. In fact, this is just the nature of the game.
However, many people are not able to deal with this in a proper manner and it can also be mentally challenging to let patients go, especially if you cared for them for a long time.
Fear to make mistakes
In general, many nurses go to work with a bad feeling since they know that they can make mistakes that could lead to horrible outcomes. Consequently, if you are the kind of person who tends to overthink things and becomes worried quite easily, chances are that becoming a nurse may also not be the right career path for you.
You are exposed to bacteria and viruses
As a nurse, you will also be exposed to more viruses and bacteria compared to the average person. In turn, this also makes it more likely that you will catch the flu or other more serious diseases and you should be willing to take this risk.
Some nurses suffer from burnout
Due to all the mental challenges that come along with being a nurse, many nurses also suffer from burnout sooner or later. The high stress levels combined with feelings of guilt can really break people and you should really make sure to have the stomach for this profession.
Top 10 Being a Nurse Pros & Cons – Summary List
|Being a Nurse Pros||Being a Nurse Cons|
|Nurses can help people||Being a nurse can be mentally challenging|
|Being a nurse can give you a purpose in life||Nurses have to be fit|
|You can earn decent money as a nurse||Lower salaries compared to doctors|
|High social reputation||Mental issues are quite common among nurses|
|People will be grateful for what you do for them||You will have to work long shifts|
|Being a nurse never gets boring||Nurses have to work at nighttime|
|You can work inside||You may have to work on holidays|
|You can make further career steps||Mistakes can cost lives|
|You can help your friends as a nurse||Nurses can get sued|
|Nurses enjoy high job security||Nursing school is expensive|
Should You Become A Nurse?
Since you now know all the advantages and disadvantages of being a nurse, it is on you to decide whether you (still) want to become a nurse or not.
If you are still not sure yet, you may have people in your circle of friends who are nurses and you could talk to them about this topic.
You can also check out the pros and cons of being a doctor if you rather want to go in this direction.
About the author
My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people of all ages about our environmental problems and how everyone can make a contribution to mitigate these issues.
As I went to university and got my Master’s degree in Economics, I did plenty of research in the field of Development Economics.
After finishing university, I traveled around the world. From this time on, I wanted to make a contribution to ensure a livable future for the next generations in every part of our beautiful planet.
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