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Top Personal and Professional Challenges Nurses Face

Posted Feb 21 2012 10:10pm
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No one can deny that nursing is a challenging profession.  Caring for ailing patients is more than just a career – it is a calling.  You may not realize it, but even in this poor economic climate there is still a high demand for all types of nurses.  It is one of the few job markets that is growing.

While this could be partially attributed to the large number of baby boomers now rounding the corner on retirement (and beginning to suffer the effects of aging), it also has to do with the fact that only certain types of people are cut out for this demanding field.  Not only do you have to exhibit a meticulous and exacting nature since this profession relies heavily on precision and competent, immediate action, but you also have to master difficult coursework, while at the same time displaying a caring and compassionate attitude.  It’s a lot to ask for, which is why there always seems to be a shortage of nurses.

In truth, the nursing industry will lob a whole slew of challenges, both personal and professional, at anyone who undertakes such a career.  On a personal level alone, there are several potential difficulties.  For example, many nurses enter the field because they want to help others by giving something back to those in need.  But many must overcome politics and bureaucracy in order to do their job, which can leave them feeling rather disenfranchised.  And for some, the cost of caring is simply too high.

Losing patients can be more than just disheartening; it can be heartbreaking.  Of course, nurses often have to work long hours and deal with immense levels of stress, as well, which can lead to problems at home or issues with their own health.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

The mountain of professional hurdles that nurses face is even more overwhelming.  First there is the issue of operating beneath doctors.  Nursing is traditionally a female function (although the number of male nurses is on the rise), while doctoring is traditionally a male-dominated field.  Because of this, doctors have long treated nurses in an inferior manner, despite the fact that many in nursing occupations require a level of medical knowledge that is nearly as vast as a doctor’s.  Social and cultural (not to mention legal) norms are slowly changing, but still it can be difficult to operate under such prejudices.

Then there are monetary complications to contend with, such as the complex world of insurance and the dilemma of balancing patient needs with the cost of care.  Plus, continuing education is part of the deal, so nurses often have to spend hours of their own time engaged in research, coursework, and additional certification to keep up with changes in policies, practices, standards, procedures, technology, pharmaceuticals, and more.

In short, nursing is an extremely demanding occupation that encompasses a wide array of challenges.  But it can also be a very rewarding profession for those that are suited for it.  So if you’re interested in a career in nursing, stop to consider your motives and how much you’re willing to give in order to take your place in the world of healthcare providers.

Evan Fischer is a contributing writer for Top Online Masters in Nursing Programs where you can browse the top nursing programs to find the right fit for you.

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