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Navigating the Challenges and Rewards of a Career in Nursing

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Nursing is a rewarding career. Many people join this profession due to heavy demand, especially after Covid-19. According to data from AACN, nursing is the US’s largest healthcare profession. With 84.1% of all registered nurses (RNs) working as a nurse, there are around 4.2 million nurses in the USA.

But it’s not for everyone. You must be willing to work long hours and work under pressure. If you’re thinking of becoming a nurse or already have your degree, here are some tips on navigating the challenges and rewards of working as an RN.

How to Become a Nurse Practitioner

Becoming a nurse practitioner requires a great deal of dedication and hard work. The first step is to obtain a nursing degree from an accredited college or university. This degree should be a Bachelor’s or an Associate’s Degree in Nursing. After completing the degree, the next step is to become a registered nurse (RN).

Once the RN license is obtained, the next step is to complete a master’s degree in nursing. This degree should be from an accredited college or university, either a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). After completing the degree, the nurse practitioner must pass the certification exam.

You can also opt for a DNP program after completing MSN. Regardless of when you choose, a DNP program can boost your career. There are two ways to get a DNP, offline or online. For the offline certification, you must go to the university campus everyday.

However, if you are already a registered nurse working somewhere or don’t have the time to go to the university, you can enroll in an online DNP nursing program. An online DNP program is as effective as its offline counterpart.

Enrolling in online DNP nursing programs will allow you to complete the course at your rate. You can also refer to the study material as often as possible. Basically, it will give you a lot of flexibility and benefits over the offline programs.

Challenges of a Nursing Career

If you do get a degree in the nursing field, here are some challenges you should be aware of:

Distressing Moments Like Patient Deaths

Dealing with distressing moments such as the death of a patient is a challenging part of a nursing career. It can be emotionally draining and overwhelming to experience the death of a patient, primarily if the nurse has formed a close bond with them.

It is essential for nurses to be aware of the emotional impact of these moments and to have the necessary support systems in place to help them cope with their emotions. This could include talking to colleagues, attending counseling sessions, or engaging in self-care activities.

It is also important to remember that death is a natural part of life and that it is part of a nurse’s job to provide comfort and care to patients and their families during this difficult time. 

Handling all of these at once can lead to significant stress. According to a study conducted on 160 nurses from different hospital departments and published on the NCBI website, 53.90% of the nurses in the study group reported having significant stress levels.

Long Shifts

As a nurse, you will be working long shifts and nights. Nurses work weekends and holidays. You may also be called upon to work in emergencies or stressful environments where patients are experiencing pain or illness. In addition, nurses must have strong physical skills such as mobility and strength to carry out their tasks effectively.

Because of these challenges, you must physically prepare before joining the nursing field. This will allow you to work without taking a load when the situation arises. These long shifts can be challenging. According to a study published on the NCBI website, two of the four greatest difficulties for nurses were living with uncertainty and physical tiredness.

Rewards of the Nursing Career

While there are some challenges, there are also many rewards to becoming a nurse. Here are some of the rewards of the nursing career.

Job Growth

In addition to the many challenges of a career as a nurse, you can also expect rewards. As with any occupation, there are certain job growth opportunities for nurses. You may want to work in various medical settings such as home care, acute care hospitals, and specialty clinics.

This means that you’ll be able to help people of all ages, from babies through seniors, get better health outcomes by providing them with the appropriate care they need. Working with people from different backgrounds also offers an opportunity for personal growth. You could learn new skills like bilingualism or even master another language entirely.

The nursing field is also anticipated to grow exponentially. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in the nursing field is expected to grow by 40%, which is more than twice the average job growth in the US.

Job Security

The rewards of a career in nursing include job security and the ability to work in various settings. Nurses are in high demand, so it’s likely that you’ll have options for employment when you start your new position.

Nursing is also a profession that hospitals and clinics need, and nursing homes, so there are many opportunities for growth within this field if you make the right decisions about where your career will take off first.

Wide Range of Specialization Options

As a nurse, you will have many options for specialty fields. While certain areas may be more popular than others, such as pediatrics or geriatrics, there is no limit to the types of specialties available for nurses to specialize in.

A growing field with many opportunities for career growth is healthcare administration. This includes everything from hospital management and clinical leadership roles to being an executive director at a non-profit organization like Cancer Treatment Centers of America, one of our nation’s largest provider organizations offering oncology services nationwide.


In conclusion, a career in nursing can be a rewarding and challenging experience. Nurses are responsible for providing care to those in need and must be knowledgeable, compassionate, and organized to succeed. It is important to understand the challenges that come with a career in nursing and the rewards that come with it. With the right attitude and dedication, nurses can make a real difference in the lives of their patients.

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