I recently received an e-mail from Ann. She is thinking of pursuing a RN degree and ultimately becoming a nurse practitioner. She wisely asked a question I think is important to consider before any major life choice, “What are the disadvantages to becoming a nurse practitioner?”.
In her e-mail, Ann references the wide variety of opinions she has heard about nursing. Some of the nurses she knows love their jobs while others describe the nursing profession as “icky and gross”. Here are my thoughts regarding Ann’s concerns of the disadvantages of the nurse practitioner profession:
Disadvantage: As nurses and nurse practitioners are well aware, the medical profession lends itself to unconventional scheduling. Weekends, holidays and evenings are not immune from medical mishaps and someone must be there to answer the call.
The Twist: Despite working odd hours, an unconventional schedule can actually be very desirable. Many nurses and NP’s work just three days a week leaving plenty of time for personal and family commitments. Working a non-traditional schedule also helps avoid the feeling of the daily grind and often lends itself to offering more scheduling flexibility. Employers recognize the demands of working unconventional hours and typically pay more for your efforts.
“Icky and Gross” Factor
Disadvantage: Yep, the nursing profession can be pretty icky at times. From draining abscesses to suturing wounds, placing foley catheters and dealing with C. diff, we all have some tales of nastiness to tell.
The Twist: There is never a dull day in the life of a nurse or nurse practitioner. Dealing with these messy situations fosters and environment of community among you and your co-workers. Nothing creates bonding quite like cleaning up bodily fluids. If you aren’t the type who wants to bond with co-workers over GI bleeds and vomit, you can always work in a clinic rather than hospital setting where things are a bit more pristine.
Challenges of Continued Learning
Disadvantage: It takes some time on the job before you will feel confident and competent in your job as a nurse practitioner. On-the-job learning can be stressful and anxiety provoking. If you choose to switch specialties or start a new job, this learning process must often be repeated.
The Twist: The flexibility of the nurse practitioner profession is unmatched. You can change specialties with ease. Should you begin your career working in family practice but decide you are more interested in pursuing cardiology or dermatology, as a NP you can do so. Although on-the-job learning is necessary as a nurse practitioner, the speed of NP programs allows for a relatively easy career change.
Ann would love to hear from MidlevelU readers as well! What do you see as the advantages and disadvantages of the nursing profession? Let us know by commenting below.
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