Hi there! This is a great question to be asking especially if you're interested in going into nursing. A LOT has changed in the past 18 months due to COVID. I was working on a high acuity neuro-telemetry floor that at first had half the rooms made into COVID then the whole floor became a COVID floor for upwards of 6 months last winter and is now going that way again. COVID has affected every level of hospitals. ICU's are full causing ICU level patients to be pushed to lower floors which causes those floors to fill pushing their patients onto lower level floors. ER's are full and holding patients that need to be admitted but there isn't a bed for. This causes nurses throughout the hospital to be taking care of patients that they don't have experience with or training on, which increases errors and adverse outcomes for patients. There have also been staffing shortages so nurses are caring for more patients than they should be, which again, is unsafe. While some hospitals have handled COVID well many have not. There have been severe shortages of PPE and many hospitals have not paid nurses (or other workers) more for the extra work and constant risk of severe illness. All of this is extremely stressful for nurses. Many problems like patient acuity, patient ratios, and appropriate compensation have been problems in the profession for years but COVID has really accentuated them. In many cases nurses are leaving the bedside for not having appropriate resources, being put in unsafe situations, and overall not being able to provide the care that you want to. This in turn causes more staffing shortages... the goal is to hopefully make significant changes in hospitals to better treat nurses, but that will take time. I think that the hardest part is watching so many people suffer and die who don't need to. With ER's and ICU's and hospitals in general being full patients are being turned away and not receiving care they need. No one signs up to be a nurse to constantly watch people die or to be understaffed and overworked.
With that being said, this pandemic will not go on forever. Nursing is a good profession, though hard. And hopefully the problems that have been brought to light because of the pandemic will get actual solutions, making the field more sustainable for the workers. Being able to help people is a wonderful thing.