15 Pros and Cons of Working in a Nursing Home

The number of seniors living in the United States is expected to skyrocket because of the aging Baby Boomer generation.

Knowing this, you should explore the pros and cons of working in a nursing home.

That is where most of the health job openings can be by 2030-2050.

That is why. 

Pros of Working in a Nursing Home

1. Job Security

If any healthcare job can give you job security, one in a nursing home might be the most.

You should not have a problem staying employed if you have a fairly clean criminal record and do not abuse your clients.

You will always have a job, and sometimes you will even get overtime paid for your time on duty if the facility is short-handed.

2. A Decent Wage

Your starting pay as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) would support at least one to two people.

After you earn some experience, you apply for the chance to move up to a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) or Registered Nurse (RN) position.

In case you are wondering, a CNA may make about $25,000-$35,000 per year, depending on experience.

An LPN may make about $10,000-$15,000 more than that after a year or two of schooling and experience, and an RN may make $60,000-$70,000 per year or more.

3. A Continual Demand

The demand for nursing assistants and orderlies, according to the BLS, may grow by 8% until at least 2030.

These are entry-level positions that you probably can train for on the job while you work toward your first certification.

The LPN and RN demands may both may grow by about 9% during this same period (2020-2030).

4. Plenty of Openings

There are actually 24 different types of nurses that you can become.

However, you probably will find that CNA, LPN, RN, and physical therapy nurses are the most common ones requested in a nursing home for seniors.

You also can start out as an assistant to a CNA until you acquire your CNA, which usually only takes about four to eight weeks.

5. Immediate Start (As Assistant)

Various nursing home jobs that you can start working in immediately upon hire include dietary aid assistants, or you can work in the kitchen.

Some people serve food to the residents in a retirement home, which usually does not require a certificate or degree.

Even working as a CNA, you can gain on-the-job experience as an assistant before you even acquire your first credential.

6. Short Training Duration (For CNAs)

For a CNA, the training usually only takes a few to several weeks.

For an LPN, it might take a year or two.

To become an RN, you have a few different options.

In some cases, you could enroll in an RN certificate or associate training program.

However, many people aspiring to become an RN usually work their way up from being a CNA, to becoming an LPN.

Then, they move up to an RN position as they work toward their college degree. 

7. Fairly Safe and Sterile

Working in and caretaking facility does have some risks.

For instance, you could drop dishes in the kitchen and cut yourself, or a resident could slip or fall.

However, it is at least safer than driving all day as a trucker or climbing scaffolding as a construction worker.

It is also less dangerous than some manufacturing jobs.

8. Provide People Hope

Some people who permanently reside in a nursing home, assisted living facility or staffed senior center do not see the outside world much.

They often depend on the healthcare staff they meet to make their day.

If you have a passion for putting a smile on people’s faces, you might enjoy offering nursing home residents a home and a reason to stay alive.

Cons of Working in a Nursing Home

1. Exhausting Work (Unless in Office)

You oftentimes have to help patients move from their bed to the bathroom, to their wheelchair, to the cafeteria, and then back to the bathroom and to bed again.

This can tire you out sometimes.

When working with multiple patients in a day, it also can strain your back and hurt your feet.

If you have done this for many years already, you might want to switch to a clerical or administrative office position.

2. Sometimes No Breaks

Many CNAs find it difficult to take a break from a shift, even if they know they feel spent.

However, you can decline to take on any more responsibilities and maybe try to find someone else to cover for you as soon as possible.

You can only do so much before you experience a stress breakdown, so take a break as soon as you can.

3. Potential Accidents

In addition to patient slips and falls, you risk poking yourself or a patient with an infected needle.

You must be careful when administering injections and taking blood samples.

Be careful that you also do not slip and fall, especially when you’re in a hurry to make it to your next patient.

4. Angry Patients

No matter how much kindness you show people, they still may maintain their pessimistic view on life – or at least that is what it seems like on the surface.

You never know what they are thinking on the inside, and they could be just putting on a show.

However, some aging narcissists will make trouble for you all day (or all night) long, regardless of your healthcare position.

Even kitchen and food service workers deal with negative people, and it is no fun sometimes.

5. Low Pay (For CNAs or Foodservice Aids)

CNA pay does help you pay rent, buy food, and support at least you.

The same applies to some cooking or food service positions.

However, it does not always leave many funds left over for extras, such as new clothes you might not have time to wear working at a nursing home anyway.

6. Mental and Physical Burnout

You deal with many stressors, including patients who may stream at you or hit you.

In addition, you may become physically tired or feel aches and pains in your body from working too much.

It sometimes can be hard to remember why you ever wanted to work in a nursing home in the first place.

If you are tired of working directly with the patients, you might instead want to secure a receptionist position.

Even worse, you might become mentally exhausted from the negativity.

If you spend enough time around other people who are depressed all the time, such as in the case of working in a nursing home, you could become depressed too.

If this happens, find someone to talk to as soon as possible to pull you out of it.

7. Exposure to Death

Sometimes, working at a nursing home is just depressing sometimes.

When someone has not died yet, you are probably thinking about who will be the next one to pass away, and sometimes it might even happen in the middle of the night.

If you are attached to someone who is no longer with you, it may be especially distressing if you hadn’t seen them since you were on duty last and did not get to say goodbye.

If any decision to leave nursing, especially at a geriatric facility, this probably remains one of the number one reasons.

The only other two reasons that come close to this one are the long hours and demanding work for the level of pay you receive. 

Frequent confrontations with deaths can be traumatic. 

Pros and Cons of Working in a Nursing Home – Summary Table

Pros of Working in a Nursing HomeCons of Working in a Nursing Home
1. Job Security1. Exhausting Work (Unless in Office)
2. A Decent Wage2. Sometimes No Breaks
3. A Continual Demand3. Potential Accidents
4. Plenty of Openings4. Angry Patients
5. Immediate Start (As Assistant)5. Low Pay (For CNAs or Foodservice Aids)
6. Short Training Duration (For CNAs)6. Mental and Physical Burnout
7. Fairly Safe and Sterile7. Exposure to Death
8. Provide People Hope

Should You Work In a Nursing Home?

If working in a nursing home, remember that you probably will be one of the persons from 2022 and beyond who may see more people pass away than in the previous 50 years.

If you can cope with death and dying and remain in good spirits, this work may be for you.

Some nursing home workers might try not to think too much about losing patients but rather enjoy the time they have with them while on duty.

What is more, nursing homes that have a strong support system could ease the pain of these situations, if there is the possibility of that.

Death never is an easy thing to deal with, so carefully consider working at a nursing home.

What is more, do not sell yourself short when considering your career goals.

Maybe you want to hold out for a highly coveted hospital nurse position.

However, you could gain experience when working at a nursing home.

Besides, that is where most of the jobs may occur in the future, though hospitals and hospice centers also will be filled with seniors in the next 20-30 years.

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.

5 thoughts on “15 Pros and Cons of Working in a Nursing Home

  1. Evelyn Powell says:

    Working in nursing homes has been an eye-opening and enriching experience for me, and I’d like to share my thoughts and observations on this with people who are willing to work here too.

  2. Nancy Hudson says:

    Over the course of my time in this field, I’ve come to appreciate the unique challenges and fulfilling moments that come with caring for our elderly population. Life changing!

  3. Diane Matthews says:

    Nursing home staff like myself play a crucial role in providing holistic care. Beyond medical attention, we address residents’ emotional, social, and psychological needs. It is a well-rounded approach to healthcare, focusing on improving each elder’s overall quality of life.

  4. Chris Gonzales says:

    Well said! The environment also provides an excellent platform for skill development. I personally learned and adapted to changing situations, and enhanced my problem-solving, communication, and teamwork skills.

  5. It is a sense of purpose. Working in nursing homes provides a profound sense of purpose. It’s not just a job, it’s a calling to provide compassionate care and support to those who need it most.

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