Nursing is a career that comes with many positive designations. It has a reputation for being a stable career that provides growth and advancement opportunities. Additionally, it’s known for being a fulfilling profession that is way more than just the pay. Some nursing specialties have even been mentioned on the list of 100 best jobs in America.
So, is nursing a good career? Yes, nursing certainly seems like a worthwhile career to consider. However, no job is perfect, and even the most promising careers have drawbacks. Not every personality type is well-fitted to taking care of patients and navigating the medical care field.
Nursing is an excellent career path, but it’s not for everyone. That said, nursing offers numerous benefits. For starters, the earning potential is great and opportunities for work are diverse. Moreover, nursing guarantees job security. On the downside, the changing landscape of healthcare offers a potential drawback. Nurses also have to cover long shifts and are exposed to illnesses.
In this article, I take an in-depth look at the nursing career and its potential benefits and drawbacks. I’ll also look at how much nurses earn on average in the United States and the United Kingdom.
Is Nursing A Good Career?
Choosing any career is without a doubt a huge decision. Hence, it is essential to put certain facts into consideration before choosing nursing.
For those who are willing to put in the time, effort and hard work, nursing is, without a doubt, an excellent option. But it is not for the faint-hearted, people haters, or those who think they can’t clean someone else’s bum.
Although portions of the career are unpleasant or hard, the reward of connecting with patients and their loved ones and saving lives is worthwhile.
A person who opts to become a nurse enters a job with the substantial responsibility that requires dealing with persons who are facing the most vulnerable moments in their life. Most nurses deal with physical pressures, emotional situations and mentally taxing occurrences. In order to successfully care for and treat people in need, nurses need to depend on their inherent qualities and the ones they acquire along the way.
The following are some of the qualities that each nurse should ideally possess:
All nurses must be compassionate, flexible and observant. Some medical centers have even enforced standards to ensure nurses act with kindness and empathy.
Dedication to the nursing profession is a primary quality nurse should possess. Not everybody can be an excellent nurse. It’s important to have an inner yearning to want to make a difference in another person’s quality of life and to advocate on their behalf.
- Sense of Advocacy
Normally, advocacy starts with a nurse offering individual patients information that empowers them to better understand a diagnosis or treatment. Nurses also speak on behalf of or assist patients to express their feelings when necessary. e.g., communicating a patient’s desires when they conflict with a doctor’s or family member’s opinion.
A nurse has to have the ability to care for every type of person: poor or rich, polite or rude regardless of the illness they might have.
From the hectic emergency room to handling family members in nursing homes, nurses who have high tolerance and patience are better able to care for others. Juggling multiple orders from doctors while complying with healthcare policies, and performing nursing care plans requires patience. Through patience, nurses can better tackle the customer service aspect of the profession while still trying to save lives and comforting grief-stricken families.
- Openness to Learn
Nurses should have the ability to learn new techniques, procedures and how to use new equipment. The healthcare field is changing constantly and nurses have to change with it. Moreover, in order to maintain a nursing license, most states in the USA have certain requirements: the completion of CE credits or fulfillment of certain contact hours.
In addition to the formal training in schools, nurses should also be willing to learn from other medical professionals and patients.
- Ability to Anticipate Problems
A nurse is the first line of defense for a patient. So, all nurses should have an innate ability to anticipate via evaluation and observation. Nurses spend more time with residents or patients than any other professionals on the care team. Therefore, their ability to notice things is usually a pivotal element in the outcome of medical issues.
Nurses must have a second sense of sight to notice unspoken messages or body language showcased by a patient to avert possible problems.
In addition to the above qualities, nurses should also possess good listening skills, communication skills, critical thinking skills, and time management skills.
Average Nursing Salary USA and the UK
Any expat looks forward to working in the United States or the United Kingdom as nurses because of the promising Nursing salary.
The average wage for a Registered Nurse (RN) is $73,550 annually. That figure can be broken down to an average of $35.36 hourly, $1,414 weekly and $6,129 monthly. The highest paying states in the US for RNs are California ($102,700 per year), Hawaii ($96,990), Washington DC ($90,110) and Massachusetts ($89,330). Puerto Rico is the lowest paying state in the country with an average nursing salary of ($34,630).
In the United Kingdom, a Registered Nurse earns an average of £24,556 per year. Staff Nurses have an average salary of £24,527 per annum.
Is Nursing School Hard to Pass?
The journey to becoming a nurse starts with getting the necessary academic qualifications. Many people wonder, is nursing school hard to pass? I’d say yes. Nursing students follow a busy schedule; they have to read and memorize notes, and also have to face intense situations that test their patient and dedication.
Below are some of the things that make nursing school hard to pass:
Students have to complete several basic courses before they can actually enter nursing school. They need to take and pass chemistry, algebra and anatomy. While those courses sound simple to some, they’re actually difficult, with a significant fraction of students having trouble with chemistry.
- Entrance Exams
To ensure a person is fit to join a nursing school, institutions mandate applicants to successfully pass specific exams. Such exams measure an individual’s basic academic abilities. The tests may include the HESI Admission Assessment Exam and the Nursing Entrance Test. Those who can remember a great deal of what they learned in high school, pass the exams easily.
- Nursing Programs
Every semester, students need to reevaluate their study methods and routine. They pretty much run from one point to the next throughout their years in nursing school. They have to attend classes, clinical preps, lab work and group studies. In addition to that, they have an unbelievable amount of things to learn.
- Passing the NCLEX exams
After finishing the nursing program and acquiring the necessary skills, students are now well-equipped to handle the final step. The last stage of becoming a professional nurse is passing the NCLEX exams. The tests are available in two types:
· NCLEX-PN for those with a diploma in licensed vocational nursing/licensed practical nursing
· NCLEX-RN for those with an associate’s/bachelor’s degree in nursing.
To pass those exams, one will need to do much more than memorization. He or she will have to know how to apply the lessons they’ve learned in nursing school.
Benefits of Becoming a Nurse
A nursing career is a highly-respected occupation, and there’s huge demand for expert nurses around the world. The following are some of the benefits of becoming a nurse:
- Job Security
A report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that there will be a shortage of approximately 800,000 nursing professionals by 2020. The global population is living longer and will need more healthcare services. Therefore, medical centers are always seeking nurses.
- Job Flexibility
A nursing job comes with high flexibility. Nurses can work when and where they want. They can choose to work part-time, full time or temporarily.
- Personal Satisfaction
Nurses are the primary connection between medical practitioners and patients. Each case is different, but most times patients interact more with the nurses than the doctor. As a result, many nurses feel that nursing is one of the most personally rewarding careers in the world.
- Work in a Variety of Locations
Nurses can find work just about anywhere they want. They can work in a city hospital, a rural area or in a suburb. Additionally, they can work in any state and any nation in the globe.
- Career Mobility
After becoming a registered nurse, a person can venture into multiple directions in their career. They can work in the justice system as nurse consultants, or in trauma care. Moreover, they can work as writers, teachers or researchers. The list is endless.
- Good as a Second Career Option
Many people opt for nursing as a second career. The field provides relatively good salaries, and one can easily increase their earning by working for more hours.
Disadvantages of Being a Nurse
Similar to other professions, nursing has several downsides. The following are some of the disadvantages of being a nurse:
· Being Undervalued: Although many people believe nurses are valuable, some patients feel that doctors are required to help them
· Hard-to-deal-with patients: In the healthcare field there are all sorts of patients with different personalities. Some patients are easy to work with, but some are difficult.
· Stress: Without a doubt, nurses usually deal with many stressful situations.
· Long Shifts: Nurses can pick up additional shifts. While that leads to earning a higher pay, there’s a tradeoff, which is working long hours.
· Physical Demands: Many times, nurses have to lift patients or things; all while being on their feet all day long. Therefore, it’s essential to get a pair of comfortable shoes to navigate through the activities.
· Emotional Strain: Nurses deal with people who are not feeling well and there’s a real possibility of losing a patient.
· Exposure to illnesses: Hospitals are full of ill people. Nurses are thus exposed to many germs. That’s why it’s vital to wash hands constantly during and after shifts.
Nursing is an excellent career path that comes with many benefits. However, it’s also important to consider the disadvantages of nursing before diving into the field.
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.