Nurses play a critical role in healthcare centers around the world. Some of their common duties are communicating between patients and physicians, caring for the ill, and administering medication. The necessary academic path for joining the nursing profession varies depending on the sort of nurse a person hopes to become. Types of nurses include clinical nurse, critical care nurse, midwife, mental health nurse, neonatal nurse, patient care assistant, and pediatric nurse.
Many people have a deep interest in healthcare and a desire to do hands-on work that helps others. Becoming a nurse seems like the right fit for such people. But, before taking a leap, a person should be sure it’s the right occupation for them. One of the best evaluation methods is by comparing the pros and cons of a nursing career. That can put things into a better perspective.
Most people take up this career because they sincerely want to help humanity. However, those who enter the profession primarily for the money and job security may risk being unhappy.
If you are an expat seeking to know the pros and cons of being a nurse, keep reading for more insight.
10 Pros of Being a Nurse
People tend to trust nurses in general. In fact, nurses have topped the Gallup list of the most trusted professions since 1999 to 2018. Nursing is a well-respected career and that is something to be proud of. Aside from the sense of pride, the high level of trust and respect can bring some extra benefits. Such advantages include adorable thank you cards from kids, warm hugs from a patient’s family members and possibly gifts.
2. A Variety Of Specialists To Choose From
An expat may also want to join the nursing profession because it offers numerous specializations to choose from. A person can specialize in any of the over 100 specialty areas such as cardiac, neonatal, critical care, nephrology, etc. That may mean many new challenges and higher earning potential for those who pursue highly demanded specializations.
3. Preparing for Work is Simple
For those who dislike picking out outfits to wear in the morning before work, being a nurse might be the way to go. Nurses get to avoid that stress and wear scrubs to work every day. Although scrubs aren’t the most flattering, they are comfortable and suitable for anyone who hates the idea of wearing a tie or stilettoes to work each day.
4. Helping to Save Lives
Saving lives brings a feeling of satisfaction. The care and attention nursing professionals offer their patients enable them to be up-close and aware of possible life-threatening changes. That is especially true for nurses who work with patients recovering from severe trauma or dealing with a serious illness. Catching changes in a patient’s condition early may help to save a life.
5. High Demand
Nurses are in constant high demand. That’s no surprise because as long as there are patients who need medical help, nurses will be necessary. Additionally, the Bureau of Statistics projects a 12% job growth from 2018 to 2028 for the nursing profession. That is much faster than the average for most occupations.
6. High Earning Potential
While most people don’t become nurses for the money, the reality is they do earn good money. The median pay for nurses is $71,720 per year or $34.48 per hour. The salaries are usually higher for nurses working in metropolitan areas than for those in rural regions. In the United States, California is the state that pays the highest wages for registered nurses. Additionally, nurses can make more money by picking up additional shifts and working overtime.
7. Many Opportunities for Advancement
Many nurses begin in a certain unit, but after several years they can proceed to be shift leaders. After that, they can move to floor management. When a nurse makes a leap to upper management, the opportunities are countless. He or she can become a director or a VP.
8. Flexible Schedule
In general, nurses enjoy a lot of flexibility in their work. Depending on the employer, a person can choose to be a full-time, part-time or on-call nurse. Many employers in the healthcare industry have their nurses working three 12-hour shifts weekly. That is excellent for those who do not mind long workdays that lead to four consecutive free days.
9. Being Part of a Team
No person wants to work with people who aren’t helpful or feel left out. One of the best aspects of becoming a nurse is always being part of a team. A patient care team cannot work well without a nurse. Nursing is definitely worth considering for those who are helpful or just love to work with others for the greater good.
10. Ability to Work Anywhere Else
Licensed nurses have the ability to take their skills and knowledge to diverse locations. That’s because their work spans outside hospital settings. Nurses can work in schools, industrial sectors and many other appropriate fields. Additionally, the demand for outpatient care is growing, partly because many older persons prefer treatment in residential settings.
10 Cons of Being a Nurse
1.Exposure to Germs and Bodily Fluids
Nursing literally involves taking care of the whole human being and often includes dealing with germs and fluids. The profession might not be suitable for those who feel squeamish at the sight of blood, vomit, and other body fluids. Healthcare centers are full of ailing people; therefore, nurses are exposed to many of those germs. They have to constantly wash their hands during and after their shifts.
2. Emotional Strain
A major downside of being a nurse is seeing all forms of human suffering. That can wreak havoc on one’s emotional status. Consider nurses who have to treat accident victims in excruciating pain or those caring for people battling cancer. Also, more often than not, nurses in hospital settings witness countless patient deaths, with every situation affecting them differently. So, it’s essential for nurses to seek out proper counseling and support to avert emotional strain.
3. Physical Strain
Many nurses constantly find themselves lifting patients or things, all while being on their feet for long. Hence, foot issues and back injuries are not uncommon among nursing professionals, particularly for those employed in hospitals. Note that a comfortable pair of shoes can help to prevent or decrease foot problems. Additionally, proper stretching and exercise can reduce the risk of a back injury.
4. Working Long Hours
Hospital nurses usually have 12-hour shifts, but there is plenty of patient reporting to conduct before shift changes. Some nurses usually end up putting in 15-hour days, which might take a physical and psychological toll on their bodies. Moreover, caregivers with fewer job seniority levels usually work many nights, weekends and holidays.
5. Stress and Pressure
Nursing comes with high stress and pressure. Although nurses do not have much downtime during a work day, they still have to think critically and maintain their composure. That’s because they are usually dealing with multiple life and death situations and difficult patients and their family members.
6. Being Undervalued
Not every patient will appreciate a nurse for their hard work and commitment to their health. A lot of patients are usually dealing with challenging personal problems and that may lead to several unpleasant interactions. Having to deal with difficult patients and troubled families is a constant fact for nurses.
7. Difficult Co-Workers
Working with patients is similar to working with co-workers. During the course of their work, nurses find some amazing people, but they also come across difficult co-workers as well.
8. Extensive Education and Training is Necessary
Nurses must pursue extensive education, which makes it hard for some people to complete the educational requirements. Many nursing field mandate applicants to finish a Master’s degree and possibly a doctorate too before they can practice.
9. Legal Risks
Nurses in most regions have the power to diagnose, treat and prescribe medication for ailing patients. That responsibility creates a way for malpractice lawsuits if a patient dislikes the treatment, doesn’t recover or suffers side effects. Additionally, if a patient dies, a nurse might be sued by the family of the patient.
10. Constant Push for Efficiency
Most nurses, especially those working in the operating team, are required to keep pace. For instance, an OR nurse might have just ten minutes to clean the operating room between procedures. Healthcare facilities sometimes leverage efficiencies in order to boost revenue, which may mean conducting more procedures in the same area.
Nursing isn’t meant to be an easy profession. Nurses are in constant interaction with ailing patients and it takes great motivation and training to do what they do. For any expat considering nursing, the list of pros and cons hopefully sheds some light on whether it’s worth pursuing.
About the author: Marta Kovachek is the author of this article. She graduated from the University of Chicago with a master’s degree in Economics. Marta enjoys writing about the current economic situation and loves helping our readers to find their next "destination". From places to live to complex social and economic topics, we always enjoy Marta's work. Please contact us in case of any questions.