Exploring the Biggest Pros and Cons of Nursing

There are numerous pros and cons of nursing and working in the healthcare field.

Nurses earn extraordinary incomes and provide life-changing care that’s highly gratifying.

However, they deal with work-related stressors, long hours, and hazardous environments most people don’t encounter.

This article explores the pros and cons of nursing to understand what they experience daily and whether it’s a suitable career.

Pros of Nursing

There are numerous pros to working as a registered nurse.

For instance, nurses receive high salaries, health benefits, and excellent job security.

They also have outstanding job fulfillment, career diversity, and a healthy work-life balance in some settings.

High Earning Potential

Registered nurses earn outstanding wages compared to other occupations.

The amount of money they make annually varies depending on their education, specialization, location, and experience.

However, some registered nurses make six-figure salaries annually from their careers.

The median annual income for registered nurses is over $77,000, continually rising.

Nevertheless, those who pursue employment as certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) earn even more.

CRNAs make well over six figures, with some incomes exceeding $200k!

As a result, CRNAs work in one of the highest-paying occupations in the United States.

Healthcare and Career Benefits

In addition, to great pay, registered nurses receive excellent employee benefits through hospitals and institutions.

It includes health and life insurance, paid family leave, child care, retirement benefits, paid vacation time, sick pay, and wellness programs.

They may also receive tuition reimbursement, certification reimbursement, and travel opportunities (travel nursing).

With that said, the healthcare and career benefits nurses acquire varies depending on the organization.

Some facilities have better funding and financial capacity to provide healthcare workers with additional benefits.

For instance, most nurses receive healthcare, retirement, sick pay, paid vacation leave, and life insurance.

Few registered nurses obtain childcare, student loan repayment, or subsidized commuting.

Therefore, healthcare workers must determine whether a particular employer offers the pay and benefits they seek.

Registered Nurse Employee Benefits:

  • Paid sick leave
  • Paid holiday leave
  • Healthcare coverage
  • Retirement benefits
  • Paid vacation leave
  • Life insurance
  • Employee wellness program
  • Paid family leave
  • Childcare
  • Subsidized commuting
  • Student learn repayment
  • Flexible work schedule

A Wide Diversity of Specializations

There are over 100 career specializations for aspiring registered nurses with diverse interests and skill sets.

As a result, most students and nurses can find careers that match their personalities, aspirations, and academic background.

Some registered nurses work in direct care settings like hospitals, physician offices, community clinics, nursing homes, and urgent care facilities.

Others pursue legal consulting, research, forensics, education, management, advocacy, and entrepreneurship careers.

If there’s an area of healthcare that’s essential to society, there are nurses who specialize in that field.

Work-life Balance

Not all nursing careers provide the same level of work-life balance due to the nature of healthcare employment.

However, there are numerous specializations nurses pursue to accommodate various lifestyles.

For instance, nurses who operate at hospitals typically work three twelve-hour shifts.

It enables them to get more work done on work days and receive four recovery days.

Alternatively, nurses in academia usually work during school hours.

As a result, they may work from 8 am to 5 pm and have summer vacation time to relax and enjoy themselves.

Nurses in research or other traditional settings also receive nights, weekends, and some holidays off.

Finally, healthcare workers who work as travel nurses accept temporary assignments that accommodate their lifestyles.

These specialists travel to new and exciting locations for work temporarily.

It enables them to pick when and where they want to work and take vital time off during non-assignment periods.

Great Job Security

Nursing is in relatively high demand due to a permanent need for healthcare workers and a nursing shortage.

Accordingly, registered nurses experience excellent job security, financial incentives, and career opportunities.

Plenty of places are hiring qualified specialists to accommodate an ever-growing demand for patient care.

If one healthcare facility doesn’t have hiring opportunities, there are plenty of other locations.

The travel nursing industry is a clear example of the high demand for qualified registered nurses.

Numerous institutions and hospitals pay top dollar for nurses to accept temporary assignments to fill vital positions.

As a result, there will always be a need for hard-working healthcare professionals, especially those willing to travel.

Career Fulfillment

One of the most common reasons nurses pursue careers in healthcare is to help others lead happier, healthier lives.

Being a nurse is extremely rewarding, and despite the challenges, these professionals enjoy the societal impact they make.

Even nurses who pursue non beside careers receive an excellent achievements for their work.

Legal nurse consultants help attorneys solve legal-medical cases and find justice for their claimants/defendants.

Nurse entrepreneurs develop technologies, software, and tools to help healthcare workers and hospitals with productivity.

Alternatively, nurse educators and advocates guide students and advocate for better patient/employee outcomes.

Nursing is highly diverse, enabling enthusiastic professionals to lead fulfilling careers and significantly impact healthcare.

Cons of Nursing

As previously mentioned, there are a lot of benefits to working in healthcare.

However, nursing has numerous downsides that result from stressful, hazardous, and high-risk work settings.

It includes exposure to viruses/illnesses, working in stressful environments, office politics, long work hours, and burnout.

Exposure to Viruses and Illness

One of the most common risks nurses experience daily is exposure to various viruses, contaminants, and illnesses.

Direct care settings require nurses to assess, treat and manage patients with different illnesses and contagious diseases. 

As a result, they must routinely wear adequate safety equipment to ensure they remain safe and healthy.

Nurses must also regularly wash their hands, sanitize medical equipment, and keep a sterile environment.

Even with these healthcare protocols and safety measures, nurses still face exposure to life-threatening illnesses.

Nurses also face the burden of keeping their families safe after leaving work because of the viruses they encounter.

Stressful Work Environments

Some healthcare settings are highly stressful due to poor management, employee shortages, or the nature of the job.

For instance, trauma, critical care, NICU, or emergency department nurses often assist patients in acute conditions.

These nurses must be organized, communicate effectively, and manage time wisely to ensure patients receive adequate care. 

They must also think critically, develop leadership skills, and maintain their emotions in emergencies.

Emergency care work is often unpredictable, and one mistake can have significant consequences.

As a result, nurses with difficulty directing, making critical decisions, and handling adverse patient outcomes struggle in these environments.

Nurses may also encounter dangerous patients, racism, and inadequate support or protection in particular work settings.

Office Politics

Every career has its own set of office politics issues.

In poorly managed healthcare facilities, office politics negatively impact the moods and performance its healthcare workers.

For instance, some settings may experience frequent gossip, discriminatory treatment, and favoritism.

Nurses may also deal with unbalanced workloads, unfair promotion challenges, and sabotage to discredit other employers.

It’s not to say that most healthcare facilities operate this way.

However, it’s necessary to point out that some registered nurses experience various forms of discrimination and favoritism.

Long Work Hours

Working long hours isn’t always an issue for nurses or healthcare workers.

Some nurses love working three twelve-hour shifts.

It gives them more days off to recover and enjoy their time.

However, this work schedule isn’t ideal for all healthcare employees.

Some registered nurses prefer a standard Monday through Friday 9 – 5  job.

Working in research, education, mental health services, or a physician’s office is more appropriate.

Nurses in direct care settings also typically work nights, weekends, and holidays.

As a result, working can be emotionally challenging when friends, family, and relatives enjoy their time off.

Short-staffed locations may ask nurses to work mandatory or suggested overtime, reducing their free time.

Over time it leads to resentment, work overload, and burnout.

Whether long hours and overtime are pros or cons of nursing largely depends on the individual.

Those with few personal responsibilities or no children may enjoy the hours and incomes associated with this line of work.

However, it may be difficult for parents and people with many personal commitments to also commit to long work hours.


Nurse burnout is becoming commonplace in many healthcare settings.

It results from poor management/leadership, high workload, employee shortages, and inadequate aid.

Nurses who experience burnout face numerous work-related challenges.

For instance, they’re less motivated to complete daily assignments and have more difficulty focusing.

They also encounter mental/physical fatigue, difficulty handling stress, increased medical errors, and other complications.

As a result, patients receive a lower quality of care, and employees experience less work satisfaction and support.

Long-term burnout often causes nurses to change careers or leave healthcare altogether.

These decisions further impact the nursing shortage, making it more difficult for understaffed hospitals to find workers.

Hopefully, this list of nursing pros and cons helped you understand this occupation’s good and bad qualities.

Even though nurses face challenges daily, they still choose their careers because it’s enriching.

Few occupations have the career diversity, professional opportunities, societal impact, and lifestyle advantages nursing offers.