Every job comes with pros and cons. I could write a puff piece about how nursing is such a sweet and noble profession, but that would be boring.
Instead, I’ve made a list of pros and cons based on nursing as a career, that can be compared to other non-nursing careers. So if anyone is considering going to school to be a nurse, perhaps this can guide your decision.
Pro: Working 3 days per weekMost people have to show up to work Monday through Friday for about 8 hours a day, leaving only 2 days off from work per week. Nurses on the other hand usually work about 3 shifts per week. Granted these shifts are longer at 12 hours, but that still leaves you with 4 days off compared to everyone else's 2.
Pro: Frequent standing and mobilityIn contrast to most desk jobs, nurses get to move around frequently during their shift. Standing up and moving around has been shown to have many positive health benefits as opposed to sitting in a chair for hours every day staring at a screen. Manufacturers have even started producing desks that can switch between standing and seated positions for those who are glued to their desks all day, to try to combat this.
Luckily, nurses are already mobile by nature… which also helps make time go by faster.
Pro: Excellent time management & prioritization skillsNursing is a job that will force you to adapt excellent time management and prioritization skills. If you don't, you're probably not going to be doing this job for very long. These skills can be applied to anything in your life outside of work, and I see it as a huge pro.
Pro: Strengthened immune systemAfter working in the hospital around a bunch of sick people for a few months or years, you will develop one of the strongest immune systems (and stomachs) out there. You may get sick a lot at first, but after that, you'll be damn near indestructible.
Pro: No boring monotonyMost jobs have their fair share of variety from day to day, but also are fairly regular. Some have it better than others, but I would gander that nursing is one of the most irregularly regular jobs that you can hold.
While nurses have a standard job description that will not vary from day to day, every new patient assignment holds its own unique set of challenges, nuances, and variances. Never will you have two identical shifts, and that’s something I can’t say about every other job… think accounting.
Pro: Tons of career opportunitiesHowever, if you do end up getting bored at your current job, or simply want a change for any other number of reasons, you can always migrate within nursing but completely change what you're doing. There are tons of different positions in hospitals, nursing homes, insurance, home health, schools, administration, etc.
And if you want to go back to school, that opens up the door for even more career opportunities. The possibilities are plentiful.
Con: 12 hour shiftsI've already listed working 3, 12-hour shifts as a pro, but the flip side of the coin is slightly opposite. 12 hours is a long time to be at work, especially in the fast-paced environment of healthcare.
It’s a trade-off between working more days or working longer ones, just something that you have to decide if it’s worth it to you. Also keep in mind that not all nursing jobs have 12-hour shifts, but this article is geared towards floor nursing.
Con: High stressYes, every job is stressful but while some jobs have the stress of not getting something faxed in right on time and someone else is pissed about it, we literally deal with life and death.
The majority of our work decisions have the potential to kill someone if we mess up. And when a patient codes we are trying to bring a dead person back to life… talk about high stakes and stress.
Con: Gross tasksWhile you may get accustomed to doing some of the dirtier tasks at work to the point where you really don't think about them much anymore, you must admit that nursing can be downright fowl at times. The things that we're willing to discuss while eating is enough to make most people wretch and those are just words.
If you’re uncomfortable getting up close and personal with human nature, including bodily functions, fluids, and even death, then this job is not for you. Granted you can eventually find a sub-section of nursing that will not deal with these things, but you can’t avoid them all together.
If you would like to suggest another pro or con, let us know in the comments and we might add it to the list!