The Pros and Cons of Nursing

Updated on Dec 8, 2010

ONE NURSE'S pro is another's con. If you love to interact with people, you can choose psychiatric nursing; if not, you may prefer perioperative nursing. Nursing is such a versatile profession that there's something in it for almost everyone. But nursing isn't for everyone. It can often be as challenging as it is rewarding. Weigh the good with the bad to see if nursing sounds like the career for you.


Nurses are in demand, and there are abundant job opportunities, good salaries, and decent benefits to prove it. Nursing also allows for flexible scheduling, interesting specialties, and a variety of job settings, topped off with plenty of room for advancement. But the biggest advantage to being a nurse is the satisfaction that comes from knowing you make a difference in people's lives.

Nurses Are in Demand

It's a fact of life. Almost everyone gets sick at some point in their life, making nursing a recession-resistant profession. And nurses are in short supply. A January 6, 2009 Associated Press article noted that the nursing industry is frantic for hires. One company lavished registered nurses with free champagne and a trivia contest hosted by game show veteran Chuck Woolery. Prizes included a one-year lease for a 2009 SUV, a hotel stay, and dinners.

Post-secondary education is an investment, regardless whether you complete a one-year program at a vocational school or a four-year degree at an Ivy League university. Nursing makes that investment pay off. It is not unusual for nursing students to have jobs waiting for them when they graduate. Lamar University boasts 100% employment within six months for their nursing students, and 98% of their senior nursing students have job offers before graduation.

Numerous Job Opportunities

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the need for RN employment will grow considerably faster than the average for all occupations through 2016, resulting in many new jobs. Registered nurses should generate 587,000 new jobs, among the largest number of new jobs for any occupation. Additionally, hundreds of thousands of job openings will appear as experienced nurses leave the occupation. The job growth rate is predicted to be highest in private and public hospitals, physician offices, home healthcare, outpatient centers, mental health centers, employment services, and nursing care facilities.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the same employment boom for practical nurses, with a 14% growth between now and 2016. Job prospects are expected to be very good, depending on the industry, because, like RN positions, applicants will be needed to replace those LPNs who are leaving the occupation. Most LPN opportunities will be in nursing care facilities due to the numbers of older persons and people with disabilities and in home health agencies because of the increasing number of aging people with functional disabilities who prefer to be treated at home and who can because of new technology.

On one day in early 2009, listed 4,023 nursing jobs in 17 different nursing areas. Acute care nurses topped the list with 967 openings, followed by advanced practice nurses (786 openings), critical care nurses (456 openings), and nursing management (474 openings). Numbers and types of jobs vary by location, but you still can find jobs, be they urban, suburban, or rural.

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