When you consider becoming a nurse, you may think about the excitement and opportunities to make a difference in someone’s life. Both of those things can be true about working as a nurse. But nursing is not like you see on television. Every moment is not exciting, and not every patient encounter will be rewarding. Before you decide to enter nursing school, it is helpful to have a realistic idea of the pros and cons of working as a nurse. Pros You will make a difference. Nursing is a great career choice if you want to be in the helping profession. There may be days when you literally save someone’s life. Knowing what you did helped someone can be a very gratifying aspect of the job. The work can be diverse and interesting. Nurses work in various patient care areas including labor and delivery, surgery and the intensive care unit. As a nurse, you may have a chance to take care of all types of people and treat various conditions. No two days are the same, which can keep the job exciting. There is a lot of camaraderie among healthcare workers. Working together trying to save someone’s life or care for their illness can be a bonding experience. Nurses understand what their coworkers in healthcare have to deal with. Having camaraderie makes the job more enjoyable. There are many different opportunities in the field. One great thing about nursing is there are many opportunities outside of direct patient care. Nurses work in areas, such as discharge planning, case management, and education. Hospitals are also not the only industry that employs nurses. Insurance companies, law firms, and schools also hire nurses. Flexibility. Some nurses work full-time, but many opportunities also exist to work part-time or on call. Travel nursing jobs are also an option if you like an adventure! Cons You will be exposed to all types of germs and viruses. If you are squeamish, nursing is probably not your best career choice. Nurses deal with blood and other bodily fluids. They are also exposed to all types of viruses and other pathogens. Some days will be overwhelming. The job can be stressful for a variety of reasons. For example, there may be times you are short staffed or get a sudden increase in new patients to treat. Patients do not always want or appreciate your help. It would be great if all your patients thanked you and were polite. But that is not how it works in the real world. Some patients are easy to work with and others are not. You will see sad situations. There will be times in your nursing career where you witness sad or tragic situations. Patients do not all make it, and watching someone die can be tough. You may have to work holidays, nights and weekends. Working as a nurse is not a 9-5 job Monday through Friday. Nurses who work in hospitals and nursing homes are needed around the clock. You may have to work varied shifts including nights. So how do I know if nursing is right for me? The best way to decide if nursing if the right path for you is to spend some time seeing exactly what nurses do every day. Work shadowing is increasingly difficult to obtain in US hospitals, which is why our placements in the Dominican Republic, Europe, Thailand and Africa are so useful for many pre-med students, who get to combine their passion for nursing with an incredible travel adventure. What more could you ask for?! Chat with us on Facebook or Twitter, or email firstname.lastname@example.org Gap Medics provides year-round hospital work experience for people aged 16 and over. Our shadowing placements offer a unique insight into the work of doctors, nurses, midwives, and dentists – helping students to focus their career aspirations before embarking upon medical training. Eye-opening hospital work experience International hospital shadowing for school and university students Find out more You might also be interested in ... Routes to becoming a nurse in the USA Can introverts make good nurses? Should I become a physician assistant or a nurse?