Nursing: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly 

I’ve had a lot of people ask if I can share about what my experience has been as a nurse. I work in a Medical ICU, so obviously my experience there is going to be very different than of someone who works in Labor & Delivery, or in an out-patient clinic. However, I still think a lot of nursing positions have similarities so hopefully my thoughts on nursing as a career can either resonate or be helpful to any type of nurse, nursing student, or someone considering nursing as a career.

If you’ve read my ‘About Me’ page, you know that I kind of decided I’d “be a nurse” on a whim. I decided to go back to school for another degree, and nursing seemed like it would be a good option for several reasons (little did I know that nursing has been deemed one of the hardest and most difficult undergrad degrees–whoops!)

Anyway. The reason I chose nursing has to do with a lot of the “good” parts of the career (duh, why else would I have chose it lol). For starters, you will always have a job. You will have great health benefits. Another main perk is the flexibility of it. Regarding your hours, you have nursing positions that work 3, 12 hour shifts, 4, 10 hour shifts, or a regular M-F 9-5pm. If you work as a staff nurse, you can work in a hospital, a clinic, a dermatologist office, plastic surgeon office, for the department of health, as a home health nurse, for a law firm where you read and dissect medical briefs, etc. I mean, there are lots of options as you can see. I still hear about random positions in big corporations where you have to be a RN to do the job. Point being is there is a lot you can do with a nursing degree–more than you probably think! And then, you always have the option to get a higher degree in nursing like a masters or doctorate. You can be a NP (nurse practitioner), a CRNA (certified registered nurse anesthetist), a nurse educator. The list goes on. So in those respects, nursing is great. The other upside is that you are actually providing a valuable service. This may sound cheesy or lame, but you do have a job that makes a genuine and real difference in society (even if it doesn’t always feel like it).

Alright, let’s talk about the “bad” and the “ugly.” Not trying to be a downer here, but you guys know I am always honest and not one to sugar coat things. So, yes, I’ll tell you my honest thoughts about the downsides of nursing. Before getting into that though, I will first say that I do love where I work now. I always say that for a staff nurse, I feel very lucky to be working where I am. I hear some of my friends talk about their hospital or nursing experience and I am always very grateful to be a nurse at the hospital I’m at, and the unit I am in. So with that said, these downsides are not a reflection of where I actually work, but moreso what the nature of nursing entails.

So, let’s get right to it. To be put bluntly, nursing can be a thanksless and exhausting career. Don’t get me wrong, there are days where patients or family members are very appreciate and grateful…a simple ‘thank you’ goes a long way. But overall, you are pretty much busting your ass for 12-13 hours straight…with only 30 minutes for lunch…it’s exhausting. I think what makes it so exhausting is that nursing is a mentally, physically and emotionally demanding job. Not only are you on your feet for the entire day, but you actually have to critically think pretty much nonstop. For me, working in a ICU, the acuity of the patients is very high…the drips they have to be on, the narcotics that are given…it can be a lot especially if you’re a newer nurse. And then in general, there’s the emotional toll it can take on you. This of course depends on what unit you work in, what kind of patients you have–but in general it is a whole other factor that can really weigh on you.

Also, remember when I said that a benefit of working as a nurse is that you can work 3 days a week, 12 hour shifts? Yes, this is great and definitely a perk. BUT. Like I said. It is still exhausting. And honestly, (most) people don’t understand this unless they are a nurse. A lot of people will say, “Why are you so tired, you only work like 1 day a week haha.” {Insert rolling eye emoji here}. Yeah, no. People don’t understand how taxing it is, which can be difficult at times. Honestly, it pisses me off when people make comments like that even if they are joking (and I don’t get mad very easily lol). Because honestly, they probably feel that way to some extent, and while on the outside the 3 days a week seems great (and it definitely is in a lot of ways), it doesn’t mean that it isn’t taxing.

So, I think that kind of wraps up my major thoughts on the topic. For you guys that are nurses, do you agree or disagree with anything here? Also, for people considering nursing as a career or who are already in nursing school…any thoughts or questions on this blog? I’d love to hear what you all think! Xx

Oh, and to end this on a lighter note, I’ve attached some of my favorite nursing memes. Hope you guys enjoy them as much as I do 😉 baha

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