18 Pros and Cons of Being a Registered Nurse

Nurses are the backbone of the medical field. Nurses help patients directly by administering medication, therapy and listening to the patient’s needs.

You can work in different settings as a nurse, such as hospitals, surgical centers, doctor’s offices, and other healthcare facilities.

There is a significant amount of schooling to earn your nursing degree, so you should understand the pros and cons of nursing before starting school.

The last thing you want is to spend all that time and money in school only to realize a nursing career isn’t for you.

Pros of Being a Registered Nurse

There are many good things about being a nurse, which is why so many people gravitate to this profession.

The pros of becoming a registered nurse include:

#1 The Money is Good

One of the main advantages of becoming a registered nurse is the salary.

The median salary for a registered nurse in the United States is $75,000, which is enough money to live comfortably.

If you live in New York, Alaska, or California, you could make over $100,000 a year, which is a very impressive salary today.

A nurse is an excellent option if you’re looking for a career that allows you to make good money.

#2 Overtime Pay

Many health facilities are short-staffed, which means many nurses have the option of taking overtime.

This is great because, in most cases, you’ll get paid time and a half if you pick up an overtime shift, adding to your already excellent salary.

#3 You Won’t Get Bored

One of the best reasons to become a registered nurse is that it will never get boring.

You will see different patients all the time with varying conditions of health that require different treatments.

No day will be the same as the last, so you won’t have to worry about getting bored and wanting to move on to another career.

#4 You Can Help People Everyday

Nursing is an excellent field because you get to help people every day.

Nurses are the unsung heroes of the medical field and often don’t get the recognition they deserve.

You can save people’s lives as a nurse and will be a big part of improving their lives.

The patients you help as a nurse will never forget your kindness, which is a fantastic feeling, and you’ll love your job.

#5 You Can Earn a Certification In Your Field

As a registered nurse, you can earn a certificate in your chosen field.

For example, if you are a critical care nurse, you can earn your CCRN.

Certification will increase your pay and will look great on your resume.

Many health facilities would rather hire a certified nurse than those who aren’t, opening more doors for you.

#6 There Is an Opportunity For Advancement

As a registered nurse, there are opportunities for advancement.

You can go back to school to earn your master’s degree or a doctorate, and today, continuing your education is easier than ever.

Many online schools allow you to continue your education at your own pace.

You can keep working at your job while attending classes online after work.

When you complete your online degree, you can find a job making more money than you were before.

#7 There’s No Rule That Says You Must Work Full-Time

Another great thing about being a registered nurse is that you can work full-time, but you don’t have to.

Many health facilities are fine hiring part-time nurses because they need the shifts covered.

You can also work per diem, meaning that you can pick up shifts whenever you want to, and controlling your schedule gives you more freedom.

#8 You’ll Stay Physically Fit

As a nurse, you won’t spend your day sitting down.

You’ll move from room to room to each patient and spend most of the day on your feet.

Also, the job entails pushing, pulling, and lifting, which will keep you physically fit.

Cons of Being a Registered Nurse

Although there are several great things about becoming a registered nurse, there are also several downsides that you must consider before deciding if nursing is right for you.

#1 You Must Earn a Degree Before You Can Start Working

You must have a nursing degree and a license to work as a nurse.

You must complete an associate’s or bachelor’s degree program, which can take two to four years.

Nursing school is far from easy, so if you don’t like studying and working hard, this might not be your best career path.

#2 Nursing School Is Expensive

If you are okay with the hard work necessary to complete nursing school, you should understand that it can be expensive.

The average cost for an associate’s nursing degree is $30,000 to $40,000 and $50,000 to $100,000 for a bachelor’s degree.

If you qualify for financial aid, this will be fine, but if you have to take out a student loan, you could find yourself in significant debt when you graduate.

#3 Long Hours

You should expect to work long hours as a nurse if you work in a hospital.

Most hospital shifts are 12 hours long, and there will likely be a time when you’ll be required to work a 14 to 16-hour shift.

This is a long time to spend on your feet and away from your family.

If you don’t think you can handle long shifts, you may want to choose another career path.

#4 You May Have To Work Shifts You Don’t Want To Work

You likely won’t have a 9-to-5 schedule as a nurse.

In many cases, shift work is required, and you may have to work nights, evenings, or early mornings.

Many hospitals rotate the day shift and the night shift, which can impact your sleeping schedule and adversely affect your health.

Also, a rotating schedule can affect your personal and family life, affecting your work/life balance.

#5 The Job Is Physically Demanding

Registered nurses have very physically demanding jobs.

You will be taking care of patients in different rooms all day, so there isn’t much time to sit down and take a break.

Constantly standing can put excess pressure on your lower back, leg muscles, feet, and ankles, resulting in lasting pain.

Nurses also must lift, push and pull patients, putting excessive strain on the body.

#6 Exposure to Viruses and Body Fluids

Registered nurses spend their days around sick people.

Also, they can come into contact with dangerous bodily fluids.

Despite taking preventative measures, you can be exposed to HIV, hepatitis, bacterial and fungal infections, the flu, and COVID.

According to the World Health Organization, over 115,000 healthcare workers died of COVID during the pandemic, many of whom were nurses.

Exposure to viruses and body fluids is the most significant downside to becoming a nurse.

#7 Losing Patients

Nurses spend a lot of time with their patients, especially patients who are in the facility for an extended period of time.

It can be challenging for nurses to watch their favorite patients suffer as they get sicker and eventually die.

Losing a beloved patient can be depressing and could affect your professional and personal life.

If you don’t think you can handle frequent losses, a nursing career may not be suitable for you.

#8 Stress

Although nursing can be a fulfilling career, it can also be stressful.

LPNs and CNAs work under registered nurses, and it would be your job to supervise them to ensure they are doing their jobs correctly.

Also, as a nurse, you must answer to doctors for any mistakes you’ve made and the people working under you, which can make your job very stressful.

#9 Burnout

Burnout is a significant risk for nurses.

In the last three years, 95 percent of registered nurses said they were on the verge or had reached the point of burning out.

The pandemic had a lot to do with this, but burnout has been an issue long before COVID.

#10 Difficult Patients

Unfortunately, not every patient is thankful for the nurses caring for them.

Some patients can be difficult and may not want to follow your orders and take their medication.

They may also be rude to the people caring for them, and if you can’t deal with difficult people, nursing might not be the best career for you.

18 Pros and Cons of Being a Registered Nurse – Summary Table

Pros of Being a Registered NurseCons of Being a Registered Nurse
#1 The Money is Good#1 You Must Earn a Degree Before You Can Start Working
#2 Overtime Pay#2 Nursing School Is Expensive
#3 You Won't Get Bored#3 Long Hours
#4 You Can Help People Everyday#4 You May Have To Work Shifts You Don't Want To Work
#5 You Can Earn a Certification In Your Field#5 The Job Is Physically Demanding
#6 There Is an Opportunity For Advancement#6 Exposure to Viruses and Body Fluids
#7 There's No Rule That Says You Must Work Full-Time#7 Losing Patients
#8 You'll Stay Physically Fit#8 Stress
#9 Burnout
#10 Difficult Patients

Should I Become a Registered Nurse?

If you’re looking for a fulfilling job that allows you to help other people and change their lives, a career as a nurse will be perfect for you.

As long as you can handle stress, long hours, and a physically demanding job, this is an excellent profession.

You can make good money as a nurse and can continue your education online at your own pace, making career growth easy.

If you’re looking for a job that pays well and will prevent you from getting bored, you should consider a nursing career and look into nursing schools.

Jamie Willis
Career Specialist at BecomeopediaHi, my name is Jamie Willis, and I have been helping students find their perfect internships and education paths for the last ten years. It is a passion of mine, and there really is nothing better than seeing students of mine succeed with further studies.

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