Four Pros and Cons Nurses Face in Their Career
Along every nursing career path, you’ll find risks and rewards. Assessing the pros and cons of nursing can help you make an informed decision about which path you’ll choose. In the U.S., 5.2 million registered nurses (RNs)1 have said yes to the career field, making nursing the largest healthcare profession in the U.S.
If you’re considering advancing your career in nursing, you may want to learn more about current nursing issues and opportunities. What are the pros and cons of nursing? Let’s take a look at a few of each.
Potential Nursing Problems You Could Face in Your Career
Being short-staffed for brief periods of time is common in most professions, and in many of those situations, it is a minor inconvenience. But in nursing, inadequate staffing can be a matter of life and death.
“For the practicing RN, staffing is an issue of both professional and personal concern,” the American Nurses Association (ANA) says. “Inappropriate staffing levels can not only threaten patient health and safety, and lead to greater complexity of care, but also impact on RNs’ health and safety by increasing nurse pressure, fatigue, injury rate, and ability to provide safe care.”2
The ANA, which serves as an advocate for RNs and the nursing profession, says stress is one of the most underappreciated yet impactful issues in professional nursing.3 In an ANA survey of more than 95,000 nurses during COVID, 75% said they have felt stressed, 69% said they have felt frustrated, and 62% said they have felt overwhelmed.4
To help nurses combat the harmful effects of stress, the ANA launched the Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation challenge. Its goal is to engage nurses—with support from their employers and other organizations—to improve their health in six areas: mental health, physical activity, nutrition, rest, quality of life, and safety.5
Workplace safety is another important challenge in nursing. “Nurses and nursing students face unique hazards in the workplace and multiple health, safety, and wellness risks in their personal lives,” the ANA says.6
Nurses may incur back injuries and other musculoskeletal issues from manually lifting and moving patients,7 for example. Sharps injuries are another concern. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says there are approximately 385,000 sharps-related injuries each year and potentially many more that go unreported.8
Calling it an “underreported epidemic,” the ANA says one in four nurses is assaulted. Two nurses are assaulted each hour in an acute care setting.9
“While no specific diagnosis or type of patient predicts future violence, epidemiological studies consistently demonstrate that inpatient and acute psychiatric services, geriatric long-term care settings, high-volume urban emergency departments, and residential and day social services present the highest risks.”9
Pros About Pursuing a Job in Nursing
Career Choice and Advancement
Among the pros and cons of nursing, RNs find that the opportunity to specialize their nursing practice is a major plus. With the appropriate online nursing education, RNs can prepare for advanced career options.
For example, a master’s degree in nursing can open doors to a career as a nurse practitioner. These healthcare professionals care for patients across the life spectrum. Nurses also serve as nurse-midwives and nurse anesthetists, and hold roles in cardiac, oncology, neonatal, neurological, and obstetric/gynecological nursing and other advanced clinical specialties.1
Competitive Salaries and Job Growth
There’s the potential for salary growth as RNs earn college degrees and certifications that may lead to advanced nursing career roles. Salaries vary based on geography, the size of a practice or facility, scope of responsibilities, experience, and other factors. In 2022, the median annual wage for RNs was $81,220. The RNs with the lowest 10% of salaries earned less than $61,250, and RNs with the highest 10% of salaries earned more than $129,400.10
RNs are in demand, too. Between 2022 to 2032, approximately 193,100 openings for registered nurses are projected each year.11
Diverse Career Settings
Careers in nursing offer job settings to fit almost every work style and interest. Do you like working with children and teens? Then you may enjoy working in a school. If you prefer more one-on-one time with clients, a home healthcare position might suit you best. If you crave variety, an urgent care clinic might be the right setting for you.
RNs work in settings that also include private practices, health maintenance organizations, public health agencies, primary care clinics, nursing homes, outpatient surgical centers, insurance and managed care companies, mental health agencies, hospices, the military, industry, nursing education, and healthcare research.1
Despite the nursing challenges, 81% of RNs polled in a national survey said they were satisfied with their career choice. The majority said they were “extremely satisfied.” Seventy percent said they’d encourage others to pursue a career in nursing.12
RNs find satisfaction in their nursing careers because they make a difference in people’s lives on a daily basis. They have the public’s trust. Depending on an RN’s career path, they may improve patient outcomes or inspire nursing students. In another survey, nurse practitioners said upward mobility was a top reason for job satisfaction.13
Find Your Nursing Career Path
When you become a nurse, you enter a career field that requires lifelong learning. So, if you enjoy advancing your education and keeping your skills fresh, a nursing career offers those opportunities.
Earning a master’s degree can open doors to new career opportunities. Some nurses choose to go from RN to BSN or earn a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree online.
A master’s in nursing can give you the tools you need to build a rewarding career balancing the pros and cons of nursing. Walden University’s online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree program offers nine specializations that can help you prepare for the career you want.
If you want to provide direct patient care, you may want to choose one of Walden’s five nurse practitioner specializations: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (AGPCNP), Family Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP) Primary Care, and Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP).
If you want to advance into specialty practice, you can focus your studies on one of these master’s program specializations: Nursing Education, Nurse Executive, Nursing Informatics, and Public Health Nursing.
In Walden’s master’s degree in nursing online degree program, you’ll gain the skills you need to excel in the nursing profession and explore ways to address some of the current nursing challenges. Walden’s CCNE-accredited MSN program can help you build a thriving nursing career in direct or indirect patient care.
Walden University is an accredited institution offering an online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree program. Expand your career options and earn a degree online in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.
Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.
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