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What are some pros and cons that come with being a nurse ?

Hi I am a junior in high school looking forward to becoming a nurse.
#nursing advice


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Suzanne’s Answer

Hello Vakenya,

This is Sue and I am a retired cancer nurse. I worked for about 35 years taking care of cancer patients and managing clinical trials.

There are many pros to nurse: you will never be out of a job, the work is interesting professionally and scientifically, it is rewarding personally. You meet incredible people and your patients sometimes become family to you. You will earn a good wage. I was earning over 6 figures by the end of my career as I was in a highly specialized role. There are many opportunities in nursing and many specialties. You can always promote or change your specialty.

The cons? You are living through a once every one-hundred year pandemic right now Vakenya. You can see on the news the importance of nurses and the profession of nursing is to the health of society. Hospital and clinic nurses are, in some states, completely overwhelmed by the number of patients infected with COVID-19. Some hospitals will shortly run out of beds in the ICUs. Now, most people don't understand what this means.

Practically speaking, these hospitals will enter what is known as SURGE capacity. These hospitals may not have planned to support their nursing staff adequately and this is a life threatening "con" to the practice of nursing. They will have to literally ship patients to other facilities, even out of state, in order to get care. If a patient arrives to their emergency room, say with a heart attack, they may not have enough nursing staff or bed space to save their lives. It is a looming disaster. Nurses will have to work long shifts will little time off. Some nurses may even have to report to work if they are ill or a family member is ill. This is a huge problem and may be seen as a possible negative about nursing. Nurses really need to be brave in the face of disaster. We need to support and promote our medical professionals and nurses facing the frontlines of the pandemic.

One of the pluses of being a nurse is that we are educators. We teach patients about the illnesses, surgeries, and medications. We teach patients about public health measures to protect their health and the health of others. We continue to learn throughout our careers and even after we stop working. I currently volunteer in my local community by giving flu injections which will help to limit disease and protect the hospital system.

I hope this information is helpful! Let me know if you have any further questions.

Best,
Sue, RN

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Gabriella’s Answer

Hey there. This is an excellent question. I’m an ICU nurse in the Washington DC area. My answer is from the standpoint of an inpatient (hospital based) nurse. Here are some pros and cons.

Pros:
- Job security

- Room for career advancement (sometimes it seems like the possibilities are endless and it’s overwhelming)

- Job satisfaction - You are literally making a difference in someone’s life

- Shift work ( I currently am required to work three 12 hr shifts per week)

- Ability to work more than minimum requirement (some of my colleagues work extra shifts every week increasing their yearly pay)

- Flexible scheduling. Some nurses only work weekends, some work at night, others evening shifts or day shifts.

- Tons of specialities to work in. For example Pediatrics, cardiac, oncology, intensive care, neurosurgery and many more

Cons:
- 12 hour shift can be long and exhausting (hence the 3 shift requirement)

- Bullying - we have a saying in the profession- “nurses eat their young”. Some individuals whether new to the profession or not may experience being bullied on the job. Getting through this can be taxing and requires a lot of grit, intentionality, and emotional intelligence

- It’s hard work! (Not that this is truly a con) You don’t stop moving for the majority of your 12 hour shift. You cant, the lives of your patients depend on it.

- COVID 19 - need I say more? My ICU has been turned into a designated COVID ICU. You are putting your life and the lives of your family members possibly in danger. We are ESSENTIAL to the fight against this pandemic. Needless to say this is a very rough time for nurses with young children and elderly parents at home for example.

- Burnout - our job is emotionally and physically taxing - for some this can result in burnout. Do a quick google search to learn more about this

Truthfully, the pros and cons change depending on the type of nursing you choose to do. But I, like many other nurses will say that it’s a great field to be in. Just make sure it’s right for you!

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