What Challenges Do Nurses Face?

If you ask any nurse why they chose that profession in the first place, they will often tell you that it’s because they want to help people. Or perhaps they find it rewarding. Maybe they like the flexibility the job offers, or perhaps it’s the opportunities they get to enhance their knowledge and advance their careers. There are all kinds of reasons why someone might choose to become a nurse – it offers people a lot in terms of health and happiness.

Yet, it’s also important to know that there are challenges that nurses will face and that they will probably face at least some of them every day. It’s not an easy career to choose, even though it is highly positive in a lot of ways. If you want to be a nurse, then it’s probable that these challenges won’t worry you, and you’ll work out ways to get past them. Knowing about them in advance, though, is always helpful. Read on to find out more.

Long Hours

Some jobs might feel as though they have long hours, but in reality, they are a standard eight or nine. They’re just quite dull and the time drags. This won’t often be the case with nursing; the time will often feel as though it’s passing quickly (perhaps too quickly because you’ll have so much to do), and yet the reality is that in most cases, you’ll be working for at least 12 hours, as this is what most nursing shifts come to. So, you’ll work for 12 hours, have a few hours off, and then go back to work. Sometimes you’ll work longer than your allotted shift as well because you can’t leave in the middle of dressing a wound or when you’re helping in surgery.

Nurses will get very tired, and they will always be on the go. Although they should have breaks, sometimes those breaks are short, and sometimes they must be skipped – it will all depend on what’s happening at the time.

You must be prepared for this amount of hard work. For some it will be ideal because it’s how they like to work – they like to be busy. For those who prefer to be less busy (and potentially less stressed), it may not be the best choice.

Lots to Learn

As we’ve said, nursing isn’t easy. You’ll need to study hard and keep up with all the changes and updates that nursing and healthcare will be subject to as the years progress. The popular idea of what a nurse does usually consists of dressing wounds and helping patients to wash and dress or move around. However, there is so much more to a nurse’s job than this (although these things are part of it). Nurses must have a lot of knowledge about medication and medical techniques so that they can treat their patients in the best way possible, ensuring they recover from whatever illness or injury caused them pain in the first place.

Nursing takes many years to learn, and because of all the changes mentioned above, it’s important that you never feel as though you know everything; there is always something else to get to grips with. The good news is many online courses will not only give you this up-to-date knowledge but also give you a qualification that you can then use to advance in your career. If you love learning and you want to help people, nursing will be a good choice and this aspect won’t be a challenge at all.

Increased Pressure

Pressure can be both good and bad. It can be good because it pushes you to do things you might not otherwise have done; you’ll be willing to try new ideas and to go further than you otherwise would have done. In some cases, it means things get done in the first place – a lot of people need the pressure of a deadline to do their best work.

Pressure can be bad, however, if it’s constant and leads to stress. This can be detrimental to both physical and mental health, and it’s something that nurses do need to watch out for. Their roles are highly pressured because they are dealing with people’s health and entire lives. They must be fully focused and committed to what they are doing to ensure that their patients get the best treatment and recover well. There is also a lot to do, as we’ve mentioned above, and this can add to the pressure because it will often feel as though there aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything that has to be done, and those tasks will all seem as important as each other.

This is a challenge that nurses need to deal with. If you’re not comfortable working under pressure, then you should look at other careers in which you can help people and make a difference. You need to be able to deal with pressure – perhaps even thrive under it – if you are going to enjoy being a nurse. Enjoying your work is crucial, and certainly should be a factor when you’re deciding what to do.

Occupational Hazards

Nursing might not seem to be a particularly dangerous career choice. After all, most of the time you’ll be working in one building (although potentially in different departments) and you’ll be helping patients or taking care of medical equipment, so there wouldn’t appear to be any dangers lurking.

Most of the time you will be entirely safe in terms of the physical job you’re doing, but other things could cause you harm, and these are another challenge that nurses will need to handle.

For example, as a nurse, you could experience burnout. This will come about due to too much stress and exhaustion and it’s a serious condition that could mean you have to leave the profession as it can lead to mental health problems. At the very least you would need to take some time off. Plus, you might develop an illness after being exposed to it. There are physical dangers too, especially when moving patients. You could suffer from dehydration or not eat the right foods because you’re in a hurry. There are other potential health problems as well, and you must take as much care of yourself as possible as a nurse to ensure you can keep doing your job well.