A nursing job has been called the second-most noble profession in the world, after a medical doctor. Nurses provide care, administering medications and treatments, performing diagnostic tests, providing support and advice to patients, and much more. The question is it the right career for you?
Nursing is not a career for the faint-hearted as nurses deal with injury, blood, pain, death and everything in between. It can be mentally and physically taxing. In addition, a Bachelor of Science Nursing degree usually requires a minimum of 120 credit hours and about four years to complete. Financially, in the other hand, there plenty of advantages; job demand is constantly growing and nurses are well paid.
In this post you will learn some pros and cons to help you determine if a nursing degree is worth it and some simple tips to succeed in nursing school.
Here Are the Cons
- Dealing with Infected Bodily Fluids
For some people, dealing with blood or trauma patients with open wounds may not be important. But, when it comes to exposure to the patient’s body fluids, it can pose a risk. These fluids can come from the nose, eyes or mouth of the patient and can splash on your body. You may also get exposed blood in the form of needle-stick injuries. Since these are routine procedures in a nurse’s job a series of testing and cleaning is done regularly to reduce any potential harm. Nurses are given special safety and precautionary equipment to prevent such exposures.
- Having to work in 12-hour shifts
It is common for nurses to work in 12-hours shifts. These can be very exhausting, especially if you have a family waiting at home. Most healthcare facilities may sign you up for an 8-hour shift but later, request you to work for more. It is a very strenuous job with limited time for lunch breaks.
It is natural for patients to have more trust in their doctors than in nurses. But they must deal with nurses for much of their stay in a hospital. Nurses must deal with stressed patients and it is common for some to lash out at the nurses. Not all but, may doctors show little appreciation for their nurses and all the work they do beyond the call of duty.
- Stressful Career Option
A nursing job requires constant diligence and care. As a nurse, you may have to look after sick patients for hours together and even soothe and calm them. It is only natural that you too may get stressed and unhappy at one point of time. Taking in so much stress and seeing a lot of tragedy in healthcare facilities day in and day out may take a toll on your life. Some people find this job of serving others highly satisfying and motivating, while some may get drained after caring for sick patients for long hours.
- Working Holidays
Illnesses do not take holidays. As a nurse, you may be called on duty during important holidays or events, when you would have otherwise wanted to spend with your family. The nature of the job is such that you may have to be always present to serve.
Here Are the Pros
- Helping the Needy
To be able to help someone in need, to be able to calm and soothe them and to give them some comfort is one of the greatest duties someone can have. A nursing job gives you this opportunity. Whether you are caring for sick patients lying in bed, helping them dress, undress, changing their bandages or applying medicine on their wounds, a nursing job gives you a chance to help someone. Nurses contribute a lot in shaping the health and wellness of individuals and societies at large.
- High Demand
After getting a nursing degree, you will find yourself to be in high demand. There are many healthcare facilities that may offer you a nursing job. Registered nurses continue to be in high demand in every country. According to a survey in the US between 2016 to 2022, the registered nurse’s employment has increased by 15%, a rate faster than the average of other professions.
- Diverse Opportunities
Nurses are required in practically every field today, from campsites to cruise ships or military bases. The job of a nurse is not only limited to a healthcare facility. There are several other sectors that require and hire registered nurses to be available 24×7 with them in times of emergency. A nurse’s job is also not limited to sick-patient care. There are one hundred specialty areas to choose from including travel nursing, informatics nursing, forensic nursing or holistic nursing.
- High Earning Potential
A nurse in the USA earns an average annual salary of $63,000. This ensures a comfortable lifestyle for many. So, if you are looking for a secure and respectable profession with a high earning potential, then a nursing acquiring a nursing degree can help you. Most employers pay nurses a few thousand dollars as sign-on or hiring bonuses. Due to the shortage of nurses, traveling nurses can make a couple of thousand per week or more plus lodging which puts them in the 6-figure income bracket.
- Trusted Profession
The nursing profession is ranked as the best profession to maintain honesty and ethical standards as per a survey done in the annual Gallup poll. Most Americans rely on nurses to have extremely high ethics and this makes it an especially important and trustworthy profession.
- Flexible Timings
Nurses can choose to work full-time, part-time or only on-call basis. Many healthcare facilities hire their nurses in 12-hour rotational shifts on alternate days. So, you get 1-3 days completely off if you choose the 12-hour rotational shift. This works out great for those who find regular work schedules monotonous.
- Comfortable Wardrobe
Nurses have a remarkably simple dress code of scrubs and comfortable shoes that facilitates easy movement in a huge healthcare facility. As a nurse, you will not have to worry about your office wear or even invest in it! Scrubs are extremely comfortable for all-day wear too.
- OT Pay
As a nurse, you can always offer to work extra-time and get more money. There are many opportunities for nurses to earn extra money apart from their regular work schedule. On weekends, many nurses offer to work as home-care nurses for sick patients. Such jobs pay good money as well.
- Travel Nurse
If you choose to become a travel nurse, you get the opportunity to travel the country and gain experiences working with and taking care of people from all social classes. You also get the chance to be reimbursed for the cost of your professional license. You have an opportunity to work in a new place every few months. This can be so exciting if you love travel and meeting new people.
- Variety in Daily Work
A nurse’s job is not at all monotonous. There is something different happening every day at work. On some days, a nurse might be busy doing rounds on the patients, checking their wounds, administering medicines, giving shots or dressing/undressing them. On other days, it might be comforting a grieving family, helping a patient get discharged or training a new employee.
Here are 10 Tips to help you Succeed in Nursing School
- Create Academic Goals
By creating your academic goals you’ll have a clearer idea and a better plan of action to approach your studies. Most students underestimate this step yet it is crucial.
- Follow the exam study guide
Start preparing your nursing final exam from the first day of class. Follow the study guide and base your learning around the NCLEX test. This not only reveals which subject areas covers the nursing exam but also the type of questions asked.
- Study Every day
By studying a little every day, you keep your mind focus on your degree and increase your chance to remember what you learn in classes. If possible, every day dedicate a specific time and place to spend a little time on your nursing studies.
- Create a Small Study Group
Study alone is a must but create a small study group can make a whole difference. “Two heads are better than one”. When many students studying together and sharing ideas, the learning becomes more effective and easier. Some studies have found students who study in groups tend to retain more information.
- Understand Your Learning Style
Scientists have identified 3 main types of learning styles: audio learners, visual learners, or tactile learners. Determine which one you are and take advantage of it. Understanding your learning style is crucial to your success as a nursing student.
- Avoid Last Minute Preparation
If you want to succeed in your nursing degree, avoid the practice of cramming for exams and doing coursework at the last minute. This creates more mental pressure and makes it more difficult for you to pass the exam.
- Regularly Review Important Materials
As a nursing student, you will be assigned many chapters to read weekly in addition to other outside resources to study or work on. Determine which topics are more challenging and carefully read and review them regularly until you master the key points.
- Create a Daily Schedule
Creating a daily schedule helps you manage your nursing school workload, better allocate your time, and prioritize your tasks. If you are not sure how to do so, search Google or YouTube for tutorials.
- Use outside sources
Learning only from your text books or instructor is a recipe for disaster. Search the internet, go to library, Volunteer to a nearby medical center to learn more. Some internet nursing resources include:
- Learning Nurse
- Nurse Zone Student Nurse
- All Nurses Nursing Student
- American Academy of Nursing
- American Nurse
- International Council of Nurses
- Nursing and Allied Health Resources
- American Association of Nurse Practitioners.
- Practice Self Care
Your health has a big impact on your studies, good or bad. Although when you’re in nursing school you have less time for yourself, don’t let this causes you to neglect your body. Exercise regularly to stay physically and mentally sharp. Do your best to eat a balanced diet, drink plenty of liquid (water and natural juice), and get enough sleep. In addition, limit caffeine intake and stay away from alcohol.