According to national statistics, registered nurses make between $59,000 to $120,000 per year.
As you can see, it’s a well-paying career and comes with many benefits.
It can give you a sense of purpose and be exciting.
But it can also be physically and emotionally draining.
Like every other job, there are pros and cons to being a registered nurse (RN).
Below we will explore some of the major issues from both sides.
- Pros Of Being A Registered Nurse
- Cons Of Being A Registered Nurse (RN)
- Should You Become A Registered Nurse (RN)
- Pros and Cons of Being A Registered Nurse (RN) Summary Table
Pros Of Being A Registered Nurse
You May Enjoy The Paycheck
Being an RN means receiving more than a decent paycheck.
The median income for RNs in the United States is $77,000 a year.
In many states, like New York, Alaska, and California, the pay is well over $100,000.
There are often sign-on bonuses and other incentives for new hires.
Then there’s always the opportunity for overtime.
If you end up working on holidays, you get nicely compensated.
So, if a good salary is important to you, being an RN is definitely a pro.
You Can Work Anywhere
Once you have your license, there are many options for where you can work.
Choose from big, fast-paced hospitals, smaller community health clinics, doctors’ offices, nursing homes, private care, school districts, and more.
Just because you’re a nurse doesn’t mean you want to deal with adults, so a pediatrician’s office or school would be something to consider.
Maybe you enjoy spending time with older people, so you could apply at nursing homes or retirement homes.
There’s a place for every preference when you’re an RN.
No Worries About What To Wear
This may sound trivial, but anyone who has ever had to dress up for work knows this can be stressful and expensive.
Registered nurses typically wear scrubs and sneakers.
So there’s not a lot of thought that needs to go into dressing.
You can get a week’s worth of scrubs and comfy shoes and you won’t have to spend money for quite some time.
Scrubs don’t have to be boring either, they come in a vast array of colors and designs.
The best part is, many facilities will either give you the scrubs or provide you with a uniform allowance.
Regardless of where an RN works, the benefits are excellent.
Most employers provide medical, dental, and vision coverage to registered nurses.
They also provide sick pay, paid vacation, pensions, and disability.
Most also offer the option to take part in retirement savings plans and college funds.
You can rest easy knowing that your family is taken care of in this area.
As a registered nurse, the words “I’m bored” are never part of the vocabulary.
No two days are ever the same.
There are always new people to meet and help.
You’re on the go and doing tasks all the time.
Then there’s the paperwork, communication with doctors, and talking to families.
Let’s not forget to supervise and support LPNs.
There’s never a dull moment.
If you enjoy staying active, both mentally and physically, you may enjoy this career.
Helping People Feel Better And Saving Lives
Registered nurses are definitely the epitome of front-line workers.
They are often the first ones to see a patient.
Being able to relieve pain and comfort a patient long before the doctor comes along.
Nurses are always there to help patients with their needs.
They also relay concerns from the patient and families to the doctor.
There can be a great sense of satisfaction and joy in knowing that you helped make someone feel better and made them feel less alone and afraid.
Many times, nurses are able to decide when and how much they want to work.
This is great for people that want more family time or at least schedule around it.
With a nursing license, you can choose a job that’s full-time or part-time.
Registered nurses also have the option of working per diem (an agreed-upon amount per day), for private companies or even people.
Many nurses that work per diem make more than those on salary.
If you just want enough to pay specific bills, you can be put on as a “fill-in” for when other nurses are out sick or on vacation.
Registered nurses are granted a vast array of discounts.
It may seem like a small thing, but every little bit helps and it feels great to be appreciated.
Most people love nurses and want to show appreciation, so RNs can find discounts on things like car insurance, restaurants, uniforms, cellphone service, cable, sneakers, streaming services, sunglasses, food delivery services, yoga pants, and even Walt Disney World.
More times than not, local businesses will see you in your scrubs and give you that coffee or bagel for free too.
Gestures like these make you feel appreciated and can make it easier to get through the rough patches.
Cons Of Being A Registered Nurse (RN)
Exposure To Viruses And Bodily Fluids
Knowing that you’re going to work every day and are being exposed to a variety of nasty bugs and dangerous bodily fluids can be scary.
Now more than ever, preventive measures are taken to protect medical staff and patients, but nothing is one hundred percent effective.
On any given day, a registered nurse may be exposed to COVID, HIV, hepatitis, the flu, and a long list of other viral, bacterial, and fungal infections.
These illnesses can have long-term effects on nurses and their loved ones.
Definitely, something to consider, especially if you live with someone who has a chronic illness.
One of the worst drawbacks to being a registered nurse is the death of a patient.
Watching patients who are hurt or in pain is draining enough, but a loss can be heartbreaking.
Especially if they held an extra special place in their heart.
Nurses must learn to be caring and compassionate, while still maintaining an emotionally safe distance from their patients.
Getting overwhelmed by the death of a patient can take its toll on job performance and personal life.
It’s important not to keep it inside and talk to people.
If you can’t bear to lose a patient, then you’ll need to carefully examine if this is a career worth pursuing.
Registered nurses are on to-go for most of their shifts.
Standing, walking, and even running are all part of the job.
Nurses also need to help LPNs with transporting patients from their beds to a wheelchair.
If there is no support staff available, RNs will need to help patients bathe, dress, and get to tests and various treatments.
Stretching, bending, lifting, and contorting into odd positions is something nurses do all the time.
Nurses are at higher risk of musculoskeletal disorders than most other professions.
It’s stressful enough to be responsible for patients, but there’s more when working as an RN.
The LPNs, CNAs, and all other support staff work under the RNs.
So, that means the nurses must delegate duties to everyone and supervise them to make sure it’s done properly.
The nurses must also answer to doctors.
The stress of being the constant “go-to” person can often be too much.
This position requires someone who is able to multitask, give and take constructive criticism, and be quick, both mentally and physically.
Shifts can seem never-ending, especially if you work in a hospital.
A typical hospital shift is 12 hours long.
That does not include updating charts and making sure the support staff did everything that was asked of them.
There are times when an actual shift may last up to 14 to 16 hours.
It’s a long time to be on the go and away from your family.
Working Weekends And Holidays
It just goes with the medical profession.
The fact that at some point you’ll be working a weekend shift or the holidays.
If you’re not there, you may be on call so you can’t go far.
This is a real drawback for people who have families and like to travel.
Education Is Rigorous And Expensive
In order to become a registered nurse, you will need either an associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree.
There are classes in biology, physiology, chemistry, and anatomy.
You must also complete many unpaid hours of practical training.
After all that, you will need to pass a state exam.
The average cost for an associate nursing degree is $30,000 to $50,000.
The cost for a bachelor’s is $50,000 to $100,000.
Burnout has become a serious issue in the nursing profession.
In the last 3 years, 95% of RNs said they have been on the verge or had reached the point of burning out of the profession.
The toll of the pandemic has certainly contributed to this, with 30% of nurses quitting altogether in 2021.
Nurses have said they often feel isolated, and overworked, and have difficulty dealing with the lack of staff and overcrowded emergency rooms.
Should You Become A Registered Nurse (RN)
Being a registered nurse can be both fulfilling and have its own special set of challenges.
While the money is good and you can really help others on a day-to-day basis, you must also be detail oriented and immensely patient.
Good communication and social skills are also important.
If you like a challenge, being a registered nurse could be the right path for you.
Don’t rush your decision.
Take your time and weigh all of the pros and cons.
Pros and Cons of Being A Registered Nurse (RN) Summary Table
|Pros Of Being A Registered Nurse||Cons Of Being A Registered Nurse (RN)|
|You May Enjoy The Paycheck||Exposure To Viruses And Bodily Fluids|
|You Can Work Anywhere||Losing Patients|
|No Worries About What To Wear||Physically Demanding|
|No Boredom||Long Shifts|
|Helping People Feel Better And Saving Lives||Working Weekends And Holidays|
|Flexible Schedule||Education Is Rigorous And Expensive|