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Should I become a nurse? Part 1: Benefits of being a nurse

Updated on December 6, 2012

Do the benefits that come along with nursing outweigh the negatives?

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As a nursing instructor and floor nurse, many prospective nurses tell me they are thinking of becoming a nurse and are weighing the pros and cons. What follows is part one of a two part series which examines the pros and cons of being a nurse. Part one will look at some of the positive aspects of being a nurse, and part two will look at some of the negative aspects of being a nurse.

Benefit #1: The schedule

Being a nurse provides nurses with an excellent opportunity to either set their own schedule or to have a flexible schedule. Particularly when working on the floor, nurses have the option to work 8 hour shifts, 12 hour shifts, night shift, day shift, swing shift, weekend option, or even work on a PRN (as needed) basis.

I currently am working on a med-surg floor working three 12 hour shifts per week. Our hospital has a program called “Staffing Angel” which allows us to schedule the days we want to work. Essentially, you schedule your work days on a first-come, first serve basis. I usually work the last three days of one week, and then the first three days of a next, meaning that I work six days straight. This is a lot of work, but it allows me to take eight days in a row off, making it easy for me to take my family on vacations during the summer.

Benefit #2: The variety

As they say, “variety is the spice of life.” Nursing is just like Baskin Robbins Ice Cream, but has way more than 31 flavors. In my relatively short nursing career, I have worked in long term care, home health visits, home health shifts, pediatrics, telemetry, and med surg. As an LVN nursing instructor, I taught all nursing subjects, and also taught in med-surg, pediatrics, obstetrics, and ER. I know nurses who sell medical products for a living, are nurses in the military, or are nurse-paramedics who work for life-flight companies. There are a variety of different places that a nurse can work over the course of their career. Heck, there are even forensic nurses who deal with the coroner and dead bodies! Nurses can also be legal nurse consultants and even become nurse attorneys (like I am trying to do—I am a nurse who went to law school and am currently studying to take the Bar Exam). I am currently a travel nurse, so I suppose you can do that, too!

Benefit #3: The need

Once a nurse gets a year of patient-care experience, there is virtually no limit to where they can apply for work. With so much variety and flexibility in nursing, hospitals, facilities, nursing schools, and organizations are always looking for fresh blood. The bureau of labor statistics estimates an increased need for nurses in the future, especially with an increase in the geriatric population. Most jobs can be outsourced to a call center overseas where people will do a job for pennies on the American dollar. However, bedside nursing cannot be outsourced. Though there will be seasonal and economic ups and downs, nursing as a career is here to stay.


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