Nursing is a career that takes a passion and commitment. Being a Registered Nurse, I have had the chance to see the good and bad in the nursing field. Like every profession, pros and cons exist.
* Rewarding: Becoming a Registered Nurse is the most humbling experience that I have had. Some days I am not in the mood to come into work and then I get to work and that changes. Working in critical care has shaped me to be grateful for everything that I have. There are people in the hospital spending their birthdays or holidays attached to wires and being monitored constantly. But the best feeling is to be able to see your patients well and discharged home to be with their loved ones.
* Only have to work 3 days a week for full time employment. 36 hours a week is considered full- time in most hospital settings for nurses. With only 3 days a week to work, you have 4 days of free time of being off.
* Have the ability to get as much overtime as you want. Anything after 40 hours is considered overtime. As you all may know, nursing has a shortage. YES a shortage! There are opportunities to get overtime pay simply because units are often short of nurses. This could be in your unit or a unit you may float to. Since hospitals are 24/7 and patients are getting sick year around, there will always be a need for nursing staff. As soon as your are off of orientation as a New Grad Nurse, you will be able to pick up as many shifts a week. But the safety of your patient(s) is always priority.
* There will always be job security in nursing. Securing the bag is a must. No matter the experience or the background someone may have, as long as they have a license and certifications, there will always be a job out there that needs them. Nurses are very scarce and many places will accept a nurse under certain circumstances.
*Make your own schedule. In my hospital, we, the staff, are able to make our own schedules. We have certain holidays that we are mandated to work, but that is the only restriction. Some facilities makes it mandatory for nurses to work every other weekend. My facility, on the other hand, does not mandate set weekends for nurses to work.
*Can climb the ladder in management and have multiple specialties to choose from. The opportunities are endless in nursing. Once you get about 6 months to a year of experience, you are able to work in any specialty you want. Most units, like ICU, requires a year of experience in an acute care setting before you are able to become an ICU RN. However, since Nurse Residency Programs began, New Grad Nurses are able to work in the ICU under intense training and orienting. Other specialties include pediatrics, med-surg, emergency department, psychiatric, women’s health (L&D, Mother Baby or Nursery), dialysis, and many more. After obtaining your MSN, you are able to become an NP, Nurse in Informatics, and even a Director or Chief of Nursing. You will not always have to work on the bedside after working and getting experience as a nurse. And you do not have to stay in one specialty during your entire nursing career.
* 12 hour plus shifts. Shifts are supposed to be 12 hours long, but that is not always certain. Sometimes the nurse you are giving report to may be late or you may have to administer medication at the change of shift that the MD ordered STÅT After about 10 hours on the floor, you will be very tired. Combine 12 hours a day for 3 days straight and all you will want to do is sleep on your off days, especially with working night shift.
* You never know what to expect in a shift. From beginning of your shift to the end, your patient's condition may change. While working with patients with multiple conditions, you are not only treating the diagnosis in which he or she was admitted for. From my experience in working with critical patients, I have had several shifts where my patient was stable and in a blink of an eye, their blood pressure plummets or they suddenly have difficulty breathing. The change can cause your shift to go from good to bad because you have someone's life on your hands.
* You may work some shifts with no break. Sometimes you may have unstable patients that needs close monitoring. There may be some patients on drips that need blood draws and you want to make sure that the phlebotomists gets the right ones. Or the doctor puts in a stat order for blood right when you were going on break. No shift is the same and some days/ nights you may be too busy to take a break. There have been plenty of nights where I have had to eat my lunch while charting. Even though you are obligated to take a break during your 12-hour shift, sometimes it is just not possible.
* Nursing can be overwhelming at times. Some days you may walk into your shift into complete chaos. It may not be because of the nurse that is giving you report. It may not be whatever is going on with your patients. It could just be from what is going on in the unit you are working in. The patients could be pressing on the call light consistently. Or the patient’s family members are freaking out and asking questions that only the physicians are allowed to answered. Working as an RN will make you realize you are one million individuals in one person. And at the end of the day, you are not able to tell your patient no if he or she requests something.