Home » Career » 5 Nursing Expectations vs Reality
There’s no doubt that nursing is a tough, demanding but rewarding job. It’s often portrayed as a vocation where you care for patients who are friendly and thankful, and healthcare professionals come together in a supportive environment.

While this is not entirely untrue, there is often quite a lot more to it as most experienced nurses will tell you. There’s no doubt that many young nurses go into the profession with rose tinted glasses. What were your nursing expectations when you first started in your role?

Well here is a look at a few examples of what you can expect from a career in nursing and how this actually compares to reality.

1. Training Will Never Truly Prepare You

No matter how much training or experience you have, you can never completely be prepared for every situation that a career in nursing will present you.

The old cliché that each day is different really does apply here. While ever day is totally unpredictable, this is also something makes the profession worthwhile and exciting. Prepare for tough days as well as great ones!

2. Your Shift Will Seldom Run on Time

Nursing is definitely not a 9 to 5 profession. While many modern care establishments are a lot better at managing the time of their employees than they used to be, the nature of the profession naturally means you will need to be totally flexible.

Staff shortages, unexpected events and having to complete mounting paperwork can all combine to ensure that you will probably rarely finish your shift on time!

3. Don’t Expect Thanks

You will be caring for other people at some of the most vulnerable times in their lives, however you will not always receive a sincere thank you.

Nurses often work under immense pressure and feeling valued is important in any job. Do not expect that patients are going to laud your nursing skills and express their appreciation for the help you have given them.

For most nurses, of course, a thank you isn’t as important as delivering high-quality care. But it’s nice to fell valued all the same!

4. Nurse/Patient Ratios are Not Always Balanced

Nurse understaffing is a well documented problem in the UK. The truth is that you will sometimes be placed in situations where there are staff shortages and you will have to cope, even when this is potentially dangerous to those in your care.

Lack of enough staff, or lack of appropriately qualified staff, is one of the big bugbears that qualified nurses have. If you are a young nurse, it’s something that you will need to be aware of and you will need to manage this situation to the best of your ability.

5. You Don’t Always Get A Break

There are many factors that can creep into the nursing day that can mean it isn’t always possible to take your whole break, or take your beak at all. Normally, the first thing that may be sacrificed is your coffee or tea break.

This is something that many experienced nurses accept but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look to take a break to clear your mind and recharge your batteries when you can. Being overtired and overworked can, of course, lead to mistakes as well as burnout.

Despite these factors, nursing is an incredibly rewarding profession with a lot to offer. The role does come with plenty of challenges however, and you should have a realistic understanding of what these are.


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