Before deciding to pursue nursing as a career path, you might be wondering, “What are the pros and cons of nursing?” Stepping into a new career with ample knowledge will help you make an informed decision.

The faculty at Pacific Lutheran University near Seattle, Washington, are committed to helping students realize their potential and find meaning through a career in nursing. If you decide becoming a nurse is the right path for you, the Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program will help you earn your degree in as few as 16 months.

Nursing students working together in sim lab

Wondering what to expect in the ABSN program? Here is a look at what nursing school is like.

Now let us get into the pros and cons of a nursing career so you can decide if it is right for you.

Pros of Nursing

The advantages of choosing a nursing career are countless. With nursing, you can find personal fulfillment while also enjoying the rewards of a stable career. Here are just a few of the many reasons to enter the nursing field:

1. Clear Purpose

One of the most convincing reasons for a career in nursing is that it allows you to make a difference in people’s lives. Because nurses play such an important role in the health and recovery of patients, they feel a clear purpose every day.

As a nurse, you will witness the fruits of your hard work when patients improve and gain strength. Many patients may even personally express gratitude to you for your role in their recovery. Along with the tangible impact nurses have on the health of patients, nurses also make an intangible impact through companionship, emotional support and empathy. If you are looking for a career that offers a clear purpose and meaningful work, you would be hard-pressed to find a better option than nursing.

2. Meaningful Relationships

Another key benefit of nursing is that it is a career steeped in positive relationships. You will get to build connections with patients over time, whether in the clinic or hospital.

You will also form relationships with coworkers because health care is an exceedingly team-oriented field. Nurses work closely with fellow nurses and other health care providers, so they come to each other’s aid often. If you desire a career with comradery and friendship with coworkers, nursing is a fantastic option.

3. Good Compensation

In addition to the intrinsic rewards of nursing, the career also offers a competitive compensation. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data from May 2021, the average salary for nurses in the U.S. is $77,600 per year.

Especially if you earn a BSN degree, you will be well-poised to receive competitive compensation and enter competitive, higher-paying specialties. That is because employers understand the value of a BSN degree and how a bachelor’s education prepares you for clinical nursing.

Nurse smiling talking with patient

Learn more about why a BSN in nursing is so important for your career.

It is worth noting that nurses also have the potential to work overtime and pick up extra shifts as desired.

4. Job Variety

If you are looking for a job where no two days are the same, nursing has you covered. Nursing offers the opposite of monotony in the workplace. You will get to treat myriad patients, each with a unique health situation, requiring you to apply your skills differently with each person. Every day as a nurse brings new challenges and successes.

5. Upward Mobility

Do you have ambition and the desire to propel your career to the next level? If so, nursing is an excellent field for you. That is because there are several ways nurses can advance professionally. Nurses with a BSN can enter administrative and leadership roles within nursing and health care. You could also earn certification in a competitive specialty like critical care or trauma.

Pacific Lutheran University nursing students working in simulation lab

If you return to school for a masters or doctorate degree in nursing, you could pursue careers such as:

  • Nurse practitioner
  • Clinical nurse specialist
  • Nurse anesthetist
  • Nurse midwife
  • Nurse educator

As you can see, the options are endless with nursing. So, if you are looking for a career where you can rise to the top and advance professionally, nursing has you covered.

6. Schedule Flexibility

Another pro of nursing is the potential for schedule flexibility. Nurses can work full-time, part-time or on an as-needed basis. Plus, depending on the specialty you enter, you can choose from myriad work schedules.

Hospitals and nursing homes need nurses 24/7. Therefore, inpatient nurses can work day or night shifts during the week or weekend. Inpatient nursing shifts are often 12 hours, meaning you only need to work three shifts per week to be full-time. Alternatively, if you would prefer a more traditional work schedule, you can opt for a clinic or outpatient care center, where you will have daytime weekday hours.

nurse looking at monitor above patient's bed

Need extra convincing? Here are even more reasons to become a nurse.

Cons of Nursing

While nursing offers countless advantages, it is important to understand both the pros and cons of nursing. Here are a few challenges of the profession:

1. Stress on the Job

Nurses need to deal with stress on the job that may come up unexpectedly. For example, a patient’s condition could deteriorate suddenly, at which point the nurse needs to be ready to jump into action and call backup. Because you are treating patients who have health challenges, there is always the potential for sudden changes, which is why nurses need to be at the top of their game.

Additionally, nurses can feel stress during a busy work day, such as when they get behind with charting or multiple patients ask for help at the same time. Nurses have a lot to take care of every day, and managing the stress of the job takes skill and experience.

2. Patient Loss

A reality of health care is that not every patient recovers like we would hope. As a nurse, some of your patients may not survive, and their death can be challenging to handle. This is especially true if you have developed a bond with your patient.

Remember that recovering from the loss of a patient is no easy feat. Give yourself permission to feel the grief, reach out to your support system and focus on your mental health.

3. Exposure to Bodily Fluids

Nurses are responsible for providing care to patients in vulnerable situations. This includes helping tend to the hygiene needs of patients, especially when patients are bedridden or otherwise unable to attend to their daily cares. Being comfortable attending to bodily fluids such as blood in a respectful and sensitive manner is a vital skill of good nurses.

4. Physical Demands

Nursing is far from a stationary career, and nurses spend a major portion of the day on their feet. You will not only walk all day long, but you will also need to help move patients and lift heavy loads. For this reason, it is key to take care of yourself physically and use good form so you can avoid injury and stay well over the course of many years.

Begin the Path to Nursing at PLU!

After considering the pros and cons of nursing, are you ready to begin your journey of becoming a nurse? If so, Pacific Lutheran can help you earn your BSN in as few as 16 months. You may be eligible for the ABSN program if you have a prior non-nursing bachelor’s degree or at least 60 non-nursing college credits.

Pacific Lutheran University ABSN students looking at hospital equipment

Curious what steps to take to become a nurse? Use this guide for how to become an RN through an ABSN program.

The ABSN program at PLU teaches our students through an innovative combination of online classes, interactive nursing labs and clinical rotations at top health care facilities in the Seattle area. We are committed to shaping you into the best nurse possible.

To learn more about starting the journey to a BSN at PLU, reach out to our admission counselors. The advantages of nursing make all the hard work worthwhile!