The Pros and Cons of Nursing: Is This Career Right for You?

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Is nursing a good career? There are both pros and cons of nursing. Some advantages of being a nurse include the ability to help others, career versatility, employment growth and salary potential, while some of the potential drawbacks include exposure to germs and patient deaths.

nurse holding clipboard

Is nursing a good career and could it be the right move for you? Nursing, like every occupation, has its advantages and disadvantages. The decision to become a nurse shouldn’t be made lightly. After all, graduating from nursing school is no easy feat, nor is passing the nurse licensure exam. There are many pros and cons of nursing to consider before making a decision.

If, after weighing the pros and cons of being a nurse, you decide this is the right career for you, the next step is to determine how you’ll become a nurse. At Northeastern University, the Bouvé College of Health Sciences offers an Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program for second-degree students in Burlington, MA, and for transfer students with at least 62 non-nursing credits in Charlotte, NC. If qualified, you could earn your nursing degree in as few as 16 months.

The Pros and Cons of Nursing: Examining the Top 7 Pros

Without a doubt, being a nurse has many great benefits. It’s important to note, however, that no matter how good the salary or job security, the key to true nursing career happiness is going into the profession with a sincere passion for helping others. When considering the answer to the question, “Is nursing a good career?” you’ll need to ask yourself, “Am I looking for a career that would allow me to help other people?”

1. Nursing Can Be a Rewarding Career

Whether it comes to helping patients, comforting families or working with healthcare administrators, nurses make a difference in the lives of others every day. Plus, it’s unlikely you’ll ever feel like you’re stuck in a rut, since nursing offers considerable flexibility.

There is room for advancement, particularly if you decide to earn a graduate-level nursing degree and additional certifications. In addition, you’ll be able to choose from myriad nursing specialties. If you’re looking for a rewarding career that offers professional versatility, nursing could be the right choice for you.

Northeastern nursing students posing and smiling

Curious to learn more about nursing specialties? Learn about some of the types of nurses here.

2. You’ll Be in High Demand

Given our country’s nursing shortage, registered nurses have been and will continue to be in high demand for many years. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates job growth for registered nurses (RNs) to be 6% from 2021 through 2031, as fast as average. At this growth rate, healthcare employers are expected to hire about 203,200 new nurses each year through 2031.

3. Healthcare Careers Offer Solid Earning Potential

According to the BLS, the median annual pay for a nurse in 2021 was $77,600. Furthermore, as of May 2022, the BLS lists Massachusetts, which is home to one of our ABSN program sites, as one of the top five paying states for registered nurses, with an annual mean wage of $104,150.

Additionally, the Boston-Cambridge-Newton portion of the state ranks among the top 10 metro areas with the highest employment levels for this occupation. RNs in that area make an annual mean wage of $106,980.

North Carolina, home to our Charlotte ABSN site, also has promising opportunities for newly licensed nurses. According to the BLS, the median annual salary for registered nurses is $77,420. Whichever ABSN site you choose to enroll in, you can experience high earning potential upon earning your licensure.

4. Nursing Careers Offer a Variety of Workplaces

Many RNs work in hospitals and doctor’s offices. Yet, if you crave a different setting, you could pursue work in a range of different places. You might work at a K-12 school or a university, or you might decide to work aboard an emergency air medical flight.

Northeastern ABSN student smiling

Other places that may hire RNs include:

  • Nursing homes and active adult retirement communities
  • Home hospice care programs
  • Home health agencies
  • Cruise ships
  • Summer camps
  • Public health departments
  • Research facilities

5. You May Enjoy a Flexible Work Schedule

Depending on the employer, registered nurses can choose to work on a full-time, part-time or an on-call basis. They also don’t have to stick to a traditional 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. schedule if they don’t want to. After all, several healthcare facilities provide patients round-the-clock care.

Not a fan of the five-day workweek? Many hospitals allow nurses to work three 12-hour shifts in a row, giving them four days off during the week.

6. You’ll Be Appreciated by Others

If you’re a genuinely compassionate nurse, patients will see you as a source of comfort, appreciating everything you do to help them feel better. It’s also worth mentioning that nurses work with patients and families from all walks of life, so expect to hear a lot of interesting stories from people who will make your day.

The nursing profession is also considered to have the highest level of honesty and ethics. According to Gallup’s annual Honesty and Ethics survey, nurses rank number one as the most honest and ethical profession—even above medical doctors—and has ranked as number one for the past two decades.

nurse sitting next to cancer patient

7. The Ability to Help Others

Of all the pros and cons of being a nurse, the ability to make a positive difference is one of the most common reasons for switching to a career in nursing. Nurses work with patients struggling through some of the most difficult times in their life. Whether it’s a recent cancer diagnosis or a difficult recovery from surgery, patients need a compassionate touch; they need to know their nurses truly care about helping them. You could be the one to make the difference.

Northeastern ABSN student in white scrubs smiling

There are lots of compelling reasons to become a nurse. Explore these 5 reasons to make a career change to nursing.

Is Nursing a Good Career? Consider These 4 Cons

Any sort of career will have upsides and downsides. While nursing is undoubtedly one of the best career paths you could take, it’s not always a walk in the park. You must be willing to take the good with the bad. Remembering your main reason for wanting to become a nurse can help you stay strong through the tough times.

1. Exposure to Germs

It’s an unfortunate reality of the nursing career that nurses run the risk of exposure to viruses, bacteria and other microorganisms every day. There is also a risk of needlestick injuries. Fortunately, nurses are given plenty of personal protective equipment (PPE) and workplace safety training. Competent nurses know how to significantly reduce the risk of harm to themselves.

2. Physical Strain

nursing students standing in lab

Nurses often have to lift and transfer patients and equipment, making them vulnerable to back injuries. The good news is many healthcare facilities invest in equipment that makes lifting and positioning patients less physically demanding for nurses. Nurses also spend a lot of time on their feet, either walking or standing. You’ll definitely want to invest in a pair of well-cushioned, orthopedic shoes.

Another thing to keep in mind is that once you become a seasoned nurse, you can find ways to transition into a less physically demanding role such as becoming a clinical instructor or a recruiter. You might also consider moving into healthcare administration at some point.

3. You May Need to Work Extra Hours

Some hospital nurses like working long days if it means coming to work fewer times a week. There are, however, drawbacks to 12-hour shifts, such as completing your shift and then having the relief nurse call off, which requires you to continue working until a replacement nurse is found. In addition, nurses (particularly new nurses) can expect to work weekends and holidays. The upside is you’ll have more days off if you work long shifts.

4. Nursing Can Be Emotionally Difficult

While nurses have opportunities to save lives, not every patient will live. In addition, patients are people too, and some people can be difficult to work with. You’ll need to have emotional resilience to succeed in this career, and you’ll need to recognize when you need help. Don’t hesitate to seek counseling if you’re struggling.

Ready for a Career with Exciting Potential?

Northeastern nursing student using stethoscope on manikin

Weigh the pros and cons of nursing carefully before deciding whether it could be the right career path for you. Consider reaching out to any nurses you might know to discuss the profession with them. If you do decide it’s the right move for you, the friendly admissions team at Northeastern University is here to help.

Reach out to us today, and you’ll be assigned a dedicated admissions counselor who will review the eligibility requirements and walk you through every step of the process. We provide extensive student support services—from admissions to the NCLEX. And with three start dates per year, you could become a nurse sooner than you might think!

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