Being a nurse is not an easy life, but it can be very rewarding and is a popular career path for many. It takes hard work and dedication to even qualify as a nurse and thats before your role in the real world begins.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are almost 3 million nurses in the United States. In this article, we will explore the advantages and difficulties of a career in nursing.
Jobs Are Plentiful
Due to an aging and increasing population, demand for nurses has been rising and looks set to continue to do so. With most shifts at medical practices being short-staffed, there is always a need for new nurses.
In addition to this, there are many specific career paths available within the nursing profession. From midwife to paediatrician to military nurse, there is a huge range of opportunities to suit your particular skills and interests.
Shifts Are Long and Demanding
Nursing shifts are usually longer than shifts in industries such as retail and hospitality – with 12 hours or longer being fairly typical. The work is also often physically and emotionally demanding. Many nurses report struggling to maintain a good work-life balance.
However, although shifts are long, nurses are usually able to choose how many hours they work a week (e.g. part time or full time) and when. Schedules are usually flexible, with many nurses only working two to four shifts a week as the shifts are so long. Most medical practices will have their own nurse shift planner system.
Every Day Is Different
In many jobs, the work is mundane, tedious, and repetitive – but nursing is not one of them! If you find consistent work routines stifling and prefer a less predictable routine where every shift is different, working as a nurse may be a good fit for you.
The range of tasks that a nurse has to carry out is extensive and based largely on what specific patients come in and for what specific reasons. Being able to adapt quickly to a situation is a vital skill for a nurse to have, yet medical practices will also have their own strict routines and codes of practice (for example, health and safety requirements) that must be followed every day.
Salary Is Competitive
The average annual salary for a nurse in the US is over $70,000, compared to the national average salary across all industries of around $56,000. However, the work is hard, and nurses definitely earn their pay!
Nursing Is Emotionally Challenging
As well as dealing with long shifts, many responsibilities, and often a lack of time for rest and recuperation, encountering illness and even death frequently requires a significant amount of emotional resilience. If you can balance emotional strength and toughness with being kind, caring and helpful, a career in nursing may be for you.
Although most nurses report that the job is challenging and often stressful, the vast majority report a high level of job satisfaction and believe their job to be extremely rewarding!