In my opinion, nursing is one of the most amazing professions on the planet. You have the option of going into a ton of different nursing specialties, you get to help people, and you can earn a good salary. I even made a video about the things I love about being a nurse.
However, sometimes people wonder, “What’s the worst thing about being a nurse? What do you dislike about the nursing profession?”
Like anything in life, nursing has its pros and cons. Take parenting for example. I love being a mother to my two sons, but some of the cons of parenting include sleepless nights and a painful birthing process.
Fortunately for me, the pros of being a nurse definitely outweigh the cons. Nevertheless, here are some of the things I dislike about the nursing profession.
Worst Part about Being a Nurse
Here are the three things I dislike most about being a nurse.
1. You Can’t Save Everyone
I love for patients to get healthy and recover, and as a new nurse, I had all of these ideas of how I’d be saving them all. However, there have been times when I really wanted to help a patient, but I couldn’t. I really wanted a patient to get better, but it didn’t happen.
And even if it’s not your fault, it can still feel like it’s your fault. You can question whether you could have done something differently. You can blame yourself.
The truth is, some patients can’t be saved. Perhaps they have a terminal illness or had a freak accident. Life happens, and as a nurse, it can be hard to deal with it.
And then there’s the patient who literally doesn’t care about his or her health. You want to help them, but they don’t want your help. You feel like you care about the patient’s health more than the patient does.
2. You See the Ugly Side of Life
As a nurse, you’ll see horrific things that can take an emotional toll on you. I’ve seen 20-year-old’s who needed a heart valve transplant due to recreational IV drug use, as well as people who have overdosed on drugs, which caused lasting damage.
- I’ve seen a very sweet mother of three children battling terminal cancer in her 20s.
- I’ve seen patients who were otherwise healthy, but a botched medical procedure robbed them of their health.
- I’ve seen people say their goodbyes to family members who passed on too soon.
- and more…
Being exposed to all of this can bring you down at times, and it can be hard to deal with it emotionally.
3. Excessive Expectations Can Be Overwhelming as a Nurse
Finally, I’ll tell you what I think is probably the worst part of the nursing profession, especially when you’re a new nurse, and that is the feeling of having high expectations that you must live up to as a nurse. Of course, this isn’t true of all specialties, but in some areas of nursing, you feel as if you can never truly do all the things you need to do to properly care for your patients.
You have to deal with advances in technology, budget cuts, insurance reimbursements, changes in laws and protocols, staffing issues, and so much more. These things all work their way down to the frontline workers, and it can be a heavy burden to bear. Between trying to administer medications, documenting, performing skills, and admitting and discharging patients, you can feel as though you can’t come up for air.
You can begin to feel as though you have to do more and more with fewer resources and time. You feel like you don’t get to connect personally with your patients like you wish you could. You can feel understaffed and overwhelmed.
That was especially hard for me as a new nurse, because I’d think to myself, “I’m never going to get all of my work done!” I’d skip lunch breaks and put off going to the bathroom out of fear of not being able to do my job or provide appropriate patient care.
That probably causes many new nurses to feel burned out and overwhelmed with the profession, and it was difficult for me to deal with it as a new nurse.
Nursing Has Pros and Cons, but I Love Nursing
Having said all of that, in my opinion, the pros of nursing far outweigh the cons. While many of those things were very difficult to experience as a new nurse, over time, I learned how to deal with those negative aspects of the nursing profession, and they didn’t bother me as much.
For example, I realized that while I couldn’t save everyone, I could try hard to give each and every patient the best care I could give them. I can’t always control the outcome of their health, but I can control my attitude and work ethic.
I also learned not to let the ugly side of life drag me down so much. I learned to shield my emotions, and I didn’t allow myself to become so upset over the tragedies in life.
And finally, I learned that while nursing can be stressful and overwhelming at times, things got much better once I was no longer a new nurse. I learned where supplies were located, and I learned time management methods that allowed me to do my job more efficiently.
If you’re a new nurse struggling with some of these negative aspects of the nursing profession, don’t allow yourself to burn out. Give yourself some time, and don’t give up. Things will generally get better over time, and if not, you can switch to another specialty that might be a better fit for you.