Are you thinking of trying your hand at joining the nursing profession? Are you asking yourself, “should I become a nurse?”
As one of the most essential and in-demand positions in healthcare, choosing to study and become a nurse is as admirable as it is interesting, rewarding, and challenging. Offering a wide range of unique specialties to explore, deciding to become a nurse is a sure-fire way to ensure that you are never bored with your chosen path!
But it’s important to know that nursing is definitely not a career for everyone. From the often large amount of emotional and physical stress of the job to the irregular shift working schedule and hectic shifts, choosing to become a nurse should not be a decision that’s taken lightly.
So, if you have ever wondered, “should I become a nurse?” — this article is for you. Written to explore some of the most common benefits and drawbacks of the profession, we will also share some of the lesser-known factors worth considering before you decide you want to apply to nursing school.
Full of helpful information about the career that you may not have been told about, we also have created a quiz designed to give you an extra push in either direction as you decide if being a nurse is the right fit for you.
Well, Should I Become a Nurse?
If you are reading this article, there is a good chance that you have at least considered becoming a nurse at some point in your life.
As a multi-faceted degree that offers plenty of working flexibility, choosing to become a nurse can be a good fit for you whether you are just about to graduate high school or are looking for a change from your current career.
But, before you dive in head first, it is crucial to take a moment to reflect on yourself and what you are looking for in a potential career before committing to nursing school.
Family pressure, doing it for the money and job security, or deciding to become a nurse “just because” are all not good enough reasons on their own to pursue this career path. While it is ok for these factors to play a role in your decision to become a nurse, they should not be the primary reason why you enroll.
Instead, we highly suggest that you consider some of the following points to ensure that you make the right choice for you:
Working as a Nurse – The Definitive Pros and Cons List
Like making any other important decision, the best way to better understand the situation is to create a list of pros and cons. Here are some of the most common benefits and drawbacks of nursing that you may find helpful as you work towards making a decision:
Pros of becoming a nurse
- Nursing is a well-respected career path — Known worldwide and well-revered, nursing is a respected and admirable field to work in. If having a good job title is important to you, nursing is definitely a career path worth exploring.
- There are various specialties to explore — From aesthetic nursing to being part of an emergency response team, there are plenty of different specialties to explore within the profession. As a bonus, some specialties offer partial or complete coverage of costs for training in a new specialty, making learning new things more accessible.
- Annual salaries are very livable, even out of school — Starting at upwards of $75,000/year straight out of school, working as a nurse is a great way to make and save money. Additionally, nursing wages continue to rise with your experience, making nursing a very lucrative career over time.
- You can make a real difference in people’s lives — Because of the nature of nursing work, there is a sense of true accomplishment and success when you get the chance to make a difference for your patients. Despite sometimes being a challenging field to work in, nurses often cite this as one of the best parts of their job.
Cons (or challenges) of being a nurse
- Not every patient will be friendly — Despite your best efforts to be kind, some patients will still be very difficult to manage. This can be very emotionally draining, especially for new nurses, and is worth considering before becoming a nurse.
- Nursing shortages are becoming more common — As nursing burnout becomes more and more common across the country, units of all kinds are experiencing staffing shortages. When this occurs, picking up over time and working more than you may want can quickly become normalized, making the job more difficult and stressful.
- Stress is common, especially when you are first starting — When you are working as a nurse, you truly are saving lives every day. However, as an incredibly stressful position full of responsibilities to maintain, the stress of nursing can be too much for some people.
- You see people at their lowest moments — From watching your patients learn about a cancer diagnosis to watching families lose their loved ones, nurses are there for some of the most challenging experiences in the human experience. Depending on your temperament and personality, leaving some of this emotional baggage at work may be hard, which can cause additional stress in your personal life.
5 Things You Should Know Before Becoming a Nurse
Depending on your level of research, you may have already considered the pros and cons we listed in your process of deciding if nursing is for you. However, if you are looking for some extra points to consider, here are some lesser-known things about becoming a nurse that you likely haven’t heard about:
- Shift work takes some getting used to.
While working shift work for extra money may be enticing for a new nurse, it is important to know that shift work can be hard on the body. It is very common for new nurses to experience lots of fatigue and have difficulty sleeping after a shift due to the changes in their sleep patterns.
But depending on the regularity of your shift work schedule, it’s possible to overcome these challenges with time!
- Critical thinking isn’t just something you talk about in nursing school.
Your professors will likely harp on and on about using critical thinking skills during nursing school. And while this may seem like generalized blanket advice at the time, it’s very accurate for the day-to-day of nursing.
Thinking on your feet, problem-solving during times of stress, and working with what you have are all very common occurrences of almost every shift you will work. If having to problem-solve on the fly is not your style, nursing may not be for you.
- Taking care of your legs is essential.
While standing or running around all day, your legs will feel it. From foot and leg pain to developing serious conditions like varicose veins and plantar fasciitis, taking care of your legs is a must from the start of your nursing career.
Investing in some good quality compression socks and quality nursing shoes is a must for all nurses, no matter their age!
- You will run into some less-than-kind nursing mentors.
Unfortunately, some senior nurses will “eat their young.” After years of working hard and feeling less than appreciated, some nurses are less than kind to the new staff on the unit, which can cause unneeded emotional stress.
But it’s important to know that you do not need to tolerate workplace bullying or harassment. Standing up for yourself and speaking to your manager is a must to ensure that you get the best possible support as you learn.
- There is no such thing as a boring shift.
Nursing is not a career path for anyone looking to coast through their day. With most shifts involving at least five to ten planning-changing events at a time, there is often not much time to sit back and relax while working. If you aren’t looking for this working environment, nursing may not be for you!
The Should I Become a Nurse Quiz — A Starting Point for Making Your Decision
Still not sure if becoming a nurse is the right fit for you? Take our “Should I Become a Nurse” quiz to find out!
Question #1 — Have you ever considered a career path in healthcare?
- Yes, I have always had a passion for the medical sciences.
- Maybe, my family is pushing me to give it a try.
- No, this is a backup plan for me.
Question #2 — What attracts you to becoming a nurse the most?
- Getting the opportunity to help others in times of need.
- The job security and the annual salary.
- It seems like an easy entry-level job.
Question #3 — How do you deal with stressful situations?
- I hide from stress and cannot handle it at all.
- I keep to myself and tend to shut down during times of stress.
- I try my best to stay calm and level headed.
Question #4 — True or false: I am ok working with bodily fluids.
- True — not bothered!
- False — that sounds awful!
Question #5 — True or false: I would describe myself as an organized person.
- True — I need to be organized in order to function.
- False — I tend to let things pile up before I eventually get them organized.
Question #6 — How do you feel about shift work?
- I love the idea of not having to work a 9-5 schedule.
- I am ok with working different hours as long as it’s known in advance.
- I only want to work day shifts.
Question #7 — True or false: I require my day to have a set routine.
- True — I feel very out of place when my plans do not come to fruition.
- False — I can go with the flow, and I enjoy a change of pace at work.
Question #8 — How would you describe your work ethic?
- In all honesty, I can be a little lazy.
- I am always willing to work if I am making money.
- I am a hard worker who also tries to push myself to do better.
Question #9 — How active would you like your job to be?
- As active as possible, I enjoy being on my feet throughout the day.
- I would like a mix of both moving around and sitting at my job.
- I want a desk job that allows me to sit and rest throughout the day.
Question #10 — True or false: I want to be a great nurse.
- True — This is a must if you want to follow this career path!
- False — If this is your answer, nursing is not for you!
If you chose mostly red answers, nursing may not be for you.
If you came up with mostly yellow answers, nursing may or may not be your right career path, but it’s definitely worth thinking over.
But if you chose mostly green answers, nursing is the perfect career for you!
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