Pros and Cons of Being a Nurse

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There are pros and cons of being a nurse, but the advantages of being a nurse outweigh the disadvantages. Pros include the ability to make an impact, comfortable salary, fast timeline, growth, schedule flexibility, variety and opportunity to build relationships. The cons of nursing include stress, messiness and grief.

Male nurse in blue scrubs looking at clipboard

Before choosing nursing as a career, it’s important to see all sides. You may be wondering what the pros and cons of being a nurse are. Understanding the advantages and disadvantages of being a nurse can give you valuable perspective on whether it’s the right choice for you.

At Averett University, we see the advantages of being a nurse embodied in our graduates every day. If you decide that nursing is for you and you want to begin your career soon, the Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program at Averett can help you earn a BSN in as few as 16 months.

Before deciding if nursing is right for you, here are the pros and cons of being a nurse. By the end, you’ll hopefully see how the advantages of a nursing career make it worthwhile.

Pros of Nursing

Nursing is a career full of impact and purpose. There’s a reason why so many nurses are deeply passionate about their work. We’ll discuss six of the advantages of being a nurse to show you what this career can offer.

1. Meaningful Impact

You’d be hard-pressed to find a job where you can make a bigger difference than as a nurse. Nurses help patients in tangible ways every day, whether that’s through giving medications, monitoring symptoms or managing ventilator settings. Nurses help patients get through some of the toughest times in their lives.

Not only do nurses help patients via their technical skills, but they also offer intangible forms of care. The compassion and emotional support nurses provide can have a major impact on patients, helping them achieve positive health outcomes and feel heard as they face health challenges. With the art and science of nursing, you can have a meaningful career where each day you have the chance to change lives for the better.

Averett nursing students in a skills lab learning to take each other's pulse on the wrist

2. Comfortable Salary

While a competitive salary isn’t the main factor when choosing a career, it is one of the great advantages of being a nurse. The average yearly salary for registered nurses in the U.S. is $77,600, as of May 2021 data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Nurses often also have the opportunity to earn higher wages through choosing night or weekend shifts or taking on extra overtime shifts. Nurses also generally receive full benefits packages, including insurance, 401(k) and paid time off.

3. Accelerated Timeline for Entering the Field

One of the key advantages of being a nurse is that you can earn your degree and begin your new career quickly. If you have a prior non-nursing bachelor’s degree or at least 60 non-nursing college credits, you may be eligible for an online-based accelerated nursing program, like Averett’s ABSN in Norfolk, Virginia.

We help students who meet the admissions requirements earn their degree and start their careers as quickly as possible, offering three start dates each year for our 16-month ABSN program. If you don’t want to waste time getting started with your rewarding career, nursing is an excellent choice.

Averett ABSN student standing in front of university wall sign

Wondering how to become a nurse? Use these eight steps to get you there.

4. Growth Opportunities

While bedside nursing is a great long-term career choice, you may also want to rise through the ranks and take on more leadership roles as your career progresses. If so, nursing is a prime choice because it offers several paths for career growth.

If you want to continue bedside nursing, as you gain specialty experience, you can earn certifications that will help you advance your career. With a BSN degree, you’re also eligible to return to school to earn an advanced degree, which you can use to become an advanced practice provider, such as a nurse practitioner or nurse anesthetist. With a master’s degree, you could become a nurse educator and teach others how to become nurses. If you’re interested in becoming a family nurse practitioner, consider the MSN Family Nurse Practitioner program at Averett.

Want to know how to become a nurse practitioner? Follow these steps to get into this highly sought-after career.

nurse putting her hand on patient's shoulder

If you want to take on leadership roles with an administrative focus, you can become a nurse manager, a case manager or a nurse recruiter. You could also enter a health care administration role. The growth options are endless — just one of the advantages of being a nurse.

5. Schedule Flexibility

While most jobs have a set schedule for when you need to work, nursing is a bit different. Depending on what type of nursing you go into, you can choose one of several scheduling options. Nurses can generally choose between working full-time, part-time or on an as-needed basis.

They can also choose positions with varying shift timing. For example, you could work in a clinic setting, where you would likely have traditional daytime weekday hours. However, if you prefer working in the evenings or on weekends, you could work in a hospital or nursing home, where nurses care for patients 24/7. Inpatient care nurses also generally have longer shifts, such as 12-hour shifts, which means you’d only need to work three days a week to be full-time. This type of flexibility with your schedule is one of the great advantages of being a nurse.

6. Variety

If a monotonous job sitting behind a desk every day doesn’t appeal to you, nursing is an intriguing career to consider. Your days as a nurse will seldom be boring.

Nursing offers variety in what you do each day based on several factors. In nursing, you’ll likely be working with a different health care team and patients daily. Furthermore, based on the patients you’re treating, you’ll manage diverse conditions and symptoms, and your care strategies will change for each one. This allows you to implement a wide range of skills and provide many types of care depending on what your patient needs on any given day.

averett nursing student examining a patient's ear

What’s more, in health care, there are often unknown events that provide a change of pace. While some of these events are potentially stressful, they can also keep you focused and sharpen your nursing skills while giving you a unique opportunity to help patients in a new way.

7. Relationship Building

If you’re a people person, you may find that one of the most important advantages of being a nurse is the ability to build relationships. Nurses are often near the bedside, listening and connecting with their patients. In providing this emotional care, nurses can develop strong bonds with their patients, especially those they care for over the long term.

This relational aspect of being a nurse can be incredibly valuable to both the patients and nurses. If you enjoy connecting with others and fostering relationships, nursing may be an excellent career choice for you.

Cons of Nursing

While the advantages of being a nurse are numerous, it’s important to note both the pros and cons of being a nurse. Remember that as you gain more clinical experience, you’ll learn to handle the challenging parts of nursing with greater ease.

1. Stress

When considering the disadvantages of being a nurse, the presence of stress is one to keep in mind. After all, nurses care for real patients with health concerns, and patients can become unstable and change suddenly. They can develop worsening symptoms, need to be rushed into surgery or fall when getting out of bed.

Health care can be fast-paced and intense, so with that comes stress. You’ll need to be on the top of your game to manage whatever comes your way during a shift. While some nursing roles, such as emergency nursing or critical care nursing, are more stressful than others, all nurses will need to handle stress in some capacity.

2. Physical Contact

Being a nurse means you’ll need to be comfortable helping people, leading to close physical contact and exposure to blood and bodily fluids. After all, some of your patients are going through challenging health situations that can necessitate assistance with being cleaned up. As the nurse, it’s part of your job to promote feelings of positivity and acceptance in the patients you serve.

When you first start out with your clinical rotations, it may take a while to adjust to this part of a nurse’s role. However, with some practice, you can learn to master this skill and handle sensitive situations gracefully.

Averett nursing student listening to another nursing student's breathing

3. Grief

Of the disadvantages of being a nurse, the most challenging is the grief that comes when patients do not overcome their battles. As a nurse, you will help many patients recover and return home to their families and lives, but some patients will not make it.

You will have to deal with the death of your patients, which can be hard to handle, especially if you’ve built a strong relationship with them. This loss is one of the reasons nursing is such a challenging job, requiring a special type of person who has a warm heart but is also strong enough to manage the sadness that can occur.

Remember that you will not be expected to be emotionless in these times of loss. Your feelings will be respected and heard. And as you work as a nurse for longer, you will learn how to manage these feelings and move forward in the tough times.

Is Being a Nurse Worth It?

As you can see from the pros and cons of being a nurse, the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. Every career has challenges, but the important thing to consider is whether the rewards make them worthwhile. With nursing, you’ll have a career where you can help people in a meaningful way while also receiving good compensation, job security and career growth opportunities. What more could you want in a career?

Our ABSN Program = a Worthwhile Investment

Want to know more about whether accelerated nursing school is worth it? See what a BSN can do for you.

Launch Your Nursing Career with Averett

If you’re ready to start your nursing journey, Averett is here to help you reach your goal sooner. The ABSN program in Norfolk, Virginia, can help you earn a BSN degree in as few as 16 months. Our program uses an intuitive mix of online classes, skills and simulation labs and clinical rotations to ensure you receive a well-rounded education.

To learn more about how the Averett ABSN can help you begin the nursing career you want, fill out our online form, and an admissions counselor will reach out to you. We are here to support you every step of the way, so it’s time to make your move.