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The pros and cons of a nursing career: consider carefully before you begin

Updated on May 8, 2013
There are many pros and cons to a career in nursing.
There are many pros and cons to a career in nursing.

Becoming a Nurse: Is it Right For You?

Nursing is one of the most important professions in the world. Nurses act as caregivers for those who are chronically ill as well as those who are recovering from an illness. If you decide to become a nurse, you will take on many heavy responsibilities. But the rewards for doing so can yield enormous emotional and financial rewards.

Before you enter the profession, research is essential. In order to become a nurse you will need to get credentials. You must gain admission to a nursing program, complete rigorous coursework, complete a term of on the job training at a hospital or other medical facility and then pass nationally standardized exams. Once you have done so, you must assume duties that require a deal of in depth knowledge, the ability to think on your feet, the stamina to work long hours and the kindness and compassion to work gently with people who are often undergoing great emotionally as well as physical trauma.

You must also be capable of accepting orders from superiors and acting quickly to carry them out in what might be a stressful situation. As a nurse, you will also have to learn how to delegate tasks to orderlies and certified nursing assistants. You will also be required to keep your credentials up to date by taking additional coursework and passing certification tests as often as each year depending on the state where you choose to work.

If you manage to do all of this and still retain your enthusiasm for patient care then working as a nursing may be an ideal job for you.

Is Nursing a Good Career? Some of the Advantages of Becoming a Nurse

A career as a nurse has many distinct advantages. These include the chance to enter with minimal training, the opportunity to advance and the chance to work in varied fields. There are many types of nursing careers.

In order to become a nurse, you will need to become either an LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse) or an RN (Registered Nurse). An LPN works with nurses performing many basic duties such as taking a patient’s pulse and recording his breathing rate. If you want to become a licensed practical nurse, you will need to get at least a year of training at a local hospital or community college. You will also have to pass nationally standardized nursing exams.

Once you have completed this training, you can find a job. LPN salaries are about average nationally. An LPN can easily move up by gaining additional training.

An LPN can also become an RN (Registered Nurse) if she wants by completing an additional year of training and getting at least an associate’s degree. So you have the ability to earn money immediately after graduating and then go for additional training to earn even more money.

Nursing is a very flexible profession.

That is one major advantage.

You may also advance in the field by completing additional training. Many nurses have gone on to get bachelor’s degrees and even master’s degrees in the field of nursing. A bachelor’s degree will enable you to get a better salary as well as even move into a management position.

Nurses can also choose to specialize in a specific field such as pediatrics or labor and delivery. To do so, you can take additional courses that will help you learn skills such as intravenous insertion in the smaller veins of children and how to help new mothers care for their newborn babies.

Many nursing specialties pay more than other fields of nursing. So specialization can lead to increased responsibilities and pay and prestige. It all depends on your desire to advance and your ability to master a base of knowledge. Nursing can be an ideal profession for an ambitious person who is willing to learn important skills.

A nurse can also teach. Many schools of nursing often need instructors to teach nursing students. After you have mastered the basics of nursing for a few years and earned an advanced degree, you can easily turn to teaching. Teaching fellow nurses can be a rewarding way to pass on your understanding of the subject and help train new nurses.

Nursing can also be a very flexible profession. You can choose to work in a specific field such gerontology or switch to another field that interests you more such as the emergency room. A nurse can also work in many areas of the country. If you are tired of working in colder area such as North Dakota, you can transfer to a warmer state such as Texas. All you have to do is pass the state licensing exam in the state you want to work in and you are good to apply for jobs.

The Advantages of a Career in Nursing

The Disadvantages of Nursing Career

While nursing has much to offer the potential nurse, there are some potential disadvantages. These include long hours, working with people who are not happy and having to do some heavy and exact physical labor.

Working as a nurse often means working long hours. Some places such as a doctor’s office may have regular hours. Others, such as hospitals, often require nurses to work twelve hour shifts. Working that long can be quite tiring.

Another disadvantage of a nursing career is the need to work with people who are going through serious problems. Someone facing terminal cancer or just in great pain may lash out at his caregivers as a way of coping. Nursing also sometimes involves heavy physical labor. Transferring patients from one place to another or even lifting them is not always to accomplish. Inserting an intravenous line in a non-cooperative patient or a tiny baby takes skill and lots of practice.

Being a nurse can also be emotionally draining. You must be prepared to help people all the time while you are on the job. This requires someone who is capable of working in a very stressful environment.

Summary: The Pros and Cons of a Nursing Career

Before you decide if you want to become a nurse, you should spend a great deal of time thinking it over. Talk to nurses already in practice. Visit bulletin boards devoted to nursing. Read nursing journals. Speak to nursing instructors.

You are the only one who can determine if this rewarding and demanding profession is your right choice.

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