Like any profession, nursing has its unique set of advantages and disadvantages. So before you apply to our 16-month ABSN program, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of a nursing career, and then decide if you’re willing (and able) to take the bad with the good.
Top 7 Pros of a Nursing Career
Before we get into the pros of nursing, it’s important to understand that most people enter the profession because they have a sincere passion for helping others. Those who go into nursing primarily for the money and/or job security risk being unhappy in the profession.
1. Helping Others
Whether they’re caring for patients at the bedside or fighting for patient rights, nurses are in the business of improving and saving lives. In fact, nurses play a unique and significant role in shaping the health and wellness of the individuals, families, and communities they serve.
2. High Demand
Registered nurses, especially those with a BSN, are and will continue to be in high demand across the country. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects registered nurse employment to grow 15% between the years 2016 and 2026, a much faster rate than the average for all occupations. Furthermore, the Bureau lists the Chicago-Naperville-Arlington Heights metro area as having one of the highest employment levels for registered nurses in the country.
3. Earning Potential
According to a recent Yahoo News article, a nurse in the United States earns an average annual salary of $63,000, which is more than double the global average of $26,698. Take note that RN salaries are typically higher in metropolitan areas than they are in rural areas. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the annual mean wage for the Chicago-Naperville-Arlington Heights metro area as $76,640.
4. Diverse Opportunities
While hospitals have long been the largest employers of RNs, today’s nurses can choose to apply their skills in any number of practice settings, from airplanes and cruise ships to campsites and military bases. There are also more than 100 specialty areas to choose from, including forensic nursing, holistic nursing, informatics nursing, and travel nursing.
5. Flexible Schedules
Generally speaking, being a nurse comes with a lot of flexibility. Depending on the employer, RNs can choose to work on a full-time, part-time or on-call basis. Many health-care employers have their nurses work three 12-hour shifts a week, which is great for those who don’t mind long workdays to have four consecutive days off.
6. Trusted Profession
When it comes to honesty and ethical standards, the nursing profession has maintained its #1 spot in the annual Gallup poll for the past 16 years. In 2017, 82% of Americans described nurses as having very high ethics.
7. Work Wardrobe
Thanks to a simple dress code that consists of scrubs and sneakers (or clogs), nurses never have to think about or second guess what they wear to work. Plus, scrubs are so comfortable that some people outside the profession wear them as PJs.
Top 5 Cons of a Nursing Career
When it comes to certain nursing career cons, nurses can often find ways to ease the severity of these disadvantages by taking good care of themselves. The cons without workarounds are the ones that require the most attention because they tend to help people decide if nursing is right for them.
1. Physical Demands
Foot problems and back injuries are common in the nursing profession, especially for those who work in hospitals. These caregivers spend a lot of time on their feet and have to lift and move patients on a regular basis. Keep in mind that a good pair of shoes can prevent and/or reduce these foot problems, while proper stretching and exercise can cut down the risk of back injuries.
2. Long Hours
Hospital nurses typically work 12-hour shifts. However, if there’s a lot of patient reporting to do before a shift change, these caregivers might find themselves putting in a 15-hour day, which can take a mental and physical toll on their bodies. It’s also worth mentioning that nurses with less job seniority have to work a lot of nights, weekends, and holidays.
3. Virus Exposure
While there are precautions nurses can take to protect against germs and viruses, there’s always a risk of catching something from a patient. Extreme forms of exposure include being accidentally stuck by a needle from a patient with a blood-borne illness or getting a splash of bodily fluid in the eyes. Bear in mind that most health-care facilities have cleansing and testing procedures in place for handling such situations.
4. Stress and Pressure
There’s a lot of stress and pressure that comes with being a nurse. While nurses don’t get much downtime on the job, they’re still required to think critically in life or death situations as well as maintain their composure when working with difficult patients and their families. Despite the intense pressure nurses face, they’re also the ones who still have to take the time to answer all the questions patients have about the TV in their rooms.
5. Emotional Burnout
Nurses witness all types of human suffering, which can wreak havoc on their emotions. Consider the nurse who has to treat an accident victim in extreme pain or the nurse caring for a young mother who is battling cancer. And more times than not, hospital nurses see more patient deaths than they can count, with each situation affecting them in different ways. Therefore, it’s important that nurses seek the right counseling and support to prevent emotional burnout.
At the end of the day, the pros of a nursing career far outweigh the cons. So if you’re committed to becoming a nurse, contact our admissions team to learn how our 16-month ABSN program options in Maywood and Downers Grove, Illinois, can accelerate you into the profession.