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Nursing Is No Longer Worth It

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AnonymousSuper has 8 years experience and specializes in Supervisor.

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Is Nursing Worth the Risk?

Nurses are treated like expendable pieces of meat that are readily replaced like a disposable dead battery. Covid-19 is the straw that has finally broken the camel's back for me and now I'm ready to leave nursing completely. You only live once in this life. If you happen to discover this article and you're considering a career in nursing, I would urge you to turn around and look elsewhere.

Nursing Is No Longer Worth It
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I'd like to tell you a story

I've been a member of Allnurses for nearly a decade. It's a little surreal to contemplate that amount of time but I vividly recall writing posts in the pre-nursing students section pleading for help in Anatomy and Physiology.

A decade! Time really flies.

Given my involvement in this forum over the years, I created this new username to remain anonymous and to speak freely about my opinions and feelings about nursing.

In the beginning, nursing was an exciting, interesting, and thrilling career. As a student, I would spend extra hours delving into extra readings about A&P and care plans. I would tutor students and help anyone that I could. I even volunteered in a local hospital to get more exposure.

I was addicted to the idea of becoming a nurse!

As a newly minted nurse, I loved connecting the pathophysiological dots at the bedside and helping the providers make well-informed decisions by providing them with valuable assessments and up-to-date patient data.

I've worked in many specialties over the past 7 years but my primary focus has been pulmonary step down. I've traveled all over the country and worked in a variety of hospital systems big and small.

I've helped save lives through rapid responses, code blues, administered vital medications and important treatments. I've teamed up with fellow nurses to help them catch up on meds or other tasks, then find ourselves at a local diner for an early morning post-shift breakfast.

Those are the best!

I've also experienced a significant amount of pain and agony. I've seen more patients die than a I care to count. I've listened to hearts stop. I've seen heart die on monitors. I've watched people take their last breath completely and utterly alone in this world.

I've laughed, cried, and been stunned. A host of emotions over the years.

When I was done working acute care, I transitioned to ambulatory nursing and started triaging patients in a variety of specialty clinics. This was a weird shift because I thought ambulatory nursing where were lazy nurses go or older nurses go to finish out their career. I found that outpatient nurses were just as hard but simply in a different way.

I even found myself in a nursing supervisor position where I currently reside. Something I never would have thought I would have found myself in. I even tried to talk my boss out of it when she first approached me about it because I thought to myself, "You must be crazy! Why would you consider me?" I am grateful for the opportunity ultimately.

Something has changed

There was a time where I absolutely loved the nursing profession and my place in it. But, something changed along the way. Burn out? I have my doubts it's that simple. This feels more definitive than the insidiousness of Burn out. This feels more permanent than burn out.

Over the past couple years, I've really questioned my place in nursing. Is this profession for me? Was it ever? Is it worth it anymore? I think Covid 19 really pushed me over the edge and was the straw that finally broke the camel's back.

Here's the bottom line to me

  • If I had to do it over again, I would not choose nursing as a profession.
  • Nursing is no longer a profession that is worth pursuing and if a person would ask, I would recommend they choose something else.
  • While there was a time when the love of the patient was what did it for me, ultimately, at this time in my life, nursing is no longer worth it because we are completely undervalued, underpaid, underappreciated, and understaffed.
  • We are forced into dangerous scenarios with massive liability with compensation that doesn't match the risk we take as professionals and individuals.

Hospitals just do not care

While they give the facade of caring, healthcare organizations and hospitals ultimately don't care about you and your well being as a professional nurse.

Hospitals don't want quality. They want the appearance of quality but in actuality they want quantity. They want more with less in even lesser time. More patients. More calls. More responsibilities. More liability for you. More destruction on your physical and emotional well being. You are treated like a disposable piece of equipment with a short shelf life.

And, when it comes down to it, your professional and personal butt is totally on the line and if you screw up, there will be every effort to blame you, avoid organizational liability, and throw you under the bus.

Don't ever believe your hospital is there to back you. Consider yourself fortunate if you happen to find a manager that will stick their neck out for you and back you when the **** really hits the fan.

The PPE crisis we're facing is unbelievable

It's shocking to me that our hospital "leaders" didn't have the wisdom or foresight to have massive stockpiles in place. Now, nurses and providers are force to buy PPE on-line (impossible currently), wear the same PPE over and over, or not have any at all. This is a clear example of the failure of leadership all over the country and the clear lack of consideration for the front line worker's safety. Of course, nurses aren't the only one feeling this pain.

Nurses are severely undervalued and underpaid

We take massive liability when we're administering medications and implementing the plan of care. Yet, where's the pay? When you try to negotiate your pay with HR, you're going to get a giant middle finger. Organizations have standardized pay scales and there is zero room for negotiation. Nurses have zero pull when it comes to pay negotiation.

My theory about pay is that nurses are a cost to the healthcare system. You are not a financial asset like a provider who has billable treatments and procedures. We don't bring in revenue to the organization. Therefore, nurses don't have negotiation power. Yet, we're somehow sooo "valuable?"

Don't buy us pizza, baked goods, and crappy nurse's day prizes. Give us better pay and better benefits. That is the way to create loyalty. Yes, nursing is also about providing a service to the patient but if you're a valuable, highly trained, highly skilled, and highly knowledgeable professional, you should be paid adequately. Period.

Here's a current representation of the pay issue. I'm seeing travel nursing contracts for $4,000-$8000 per week in some parts of the country. That's crazy money! The organization I presently work for is "volun-telling" ambulatory staff to either "go acute care or use PTO/unpaid leave." However, when these staff to go in-patient, they don't receive temporary differentials or hazard pay.

Furthermore, the acute care nurses taking care of Covid patients aren't receiving hazard pay either even though they are reusing PPE and taking care of dangerous patient populations. So we're going to pay travel nurses six figures? But, when you force nurses back into acute care or not adequately pay acute care nurses, that's supposed to be okay? Think again.

Nursing isn't worth it because of the liability

I've traveled in certain locations where nurses were taking care of 10 patients at night on an acute cardiac unit.

Unbelievable. Talk about liability.

I'm not going to go into it now but if you practice nursing without professional Liability Insurance, you're basically having unprotected sex but expecting not to get pregnant.

Why do you think providers have professional malpractice insurance? Yes, nurses get sued to and remember what I said above about hospitals throwing nurses under the bus? It's literally pennies a day for peace of mind. If you have any valuables or assets in your life you wouldn't want to be taken away, you need professional liability insurance.

Furthermore, the nurses themselves are part of the problem as well

The nursing culture is full of malignant toxicity, backstabbing, and bullying people. It's vial and toxic and incredibly hard thrive in.

I have rarely seen a unit or clinic act in a cohesive, team-based manner. My professional career has only been in nursing so I'm not sure how other professions are. However, most places I have been to, have been the same.

There are many nurses that bring their contagious negativity to the bedside and to the clinics. It's distracting and disturbing to be around and it has taken a toll on myself and I know it has on others around me. I'm speaking in generalities of course because not ALL nurses are like this but it's fairly common. Just spend a half a day on a nursing unit and you'll quickly notice who those problematic people are.

I once had hope for the nursing profession that someday they would come together and help change it for the better. There's what, about 3 million nurses in the country? That's a lot of voices. We're too busy bickering amongst ourselves to ever truly come together and create meaningful change.

Bickering, backstabbing, and bullying is easy. Coming together with a cohesive voice to promote real change in the nursing profession is hard and it will never happen in my opinion.

I guess I could go on and on about the failings of the nursing profession but I'll leave you with this:


Nurses are treated as expendable pieces of meat that are readily replaced like a disposable dead battery. You are severely under paid for the skills and knowledge you bring to the table. Hospitals don't give a crap about your well being even though they say the do.

Nursing is no longer about the art of nursing

  • It's about the numbers.
  • The output.
  • Doing more with less in less time.
  • The satisfaction scores.

You only live once in this life. If you happen to discover this article and you're considering nursing, I would urge you to turn around and look elsewhere.

Nursing isn't worth the risk and the personal effects it has on your life.

I'm a typical nurse with a variety of professional experiences mostly in step down. I've done travel nursing as well but I'm currently a nursing supervisor.

1 Follower; 1 Article; 524 Profile Views; 40 Posts

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A Hit With The Ladies has 4 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Psych.

167 Posts; 1,128 Profile Views

Have you considered treating those healthcare organizations as expendable as well? We live in a capitalist country where everyone's worth and value is determined by their market value they provide for an organization.

It doesn't matter if you're a nurse or not. You'll see the identical patterns among attorneys in Biglaw, among physicians in giant hospital networks and group practices, among engineers in corporate offices (ever heard of Dilbert comics?), among computer scientists/software engineers at the big tech companies, and most other educated professions.

Your job is and always will be "just a job". If you make your nursing career your identity, then suppose your state board of nursing took away your nursing license - who are you, then?

Create value in the marketplace and leverage yourself.

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maybug has 8 years experience as a ADN, BSN, RN and specializes in case management.

2 Articles; 60 Posts; 3,785 Profile Views

I hear you and I am with you.

My only hesitation is your obvious love of medicine in general - the same as mine. You also love to teach. The best thing about nursing are the opportunities. Working from home now as a case manager I honestly feel I use my critical thinking skills more. I get to scour medical records and spend time researching. Yes, I have time!

On the other hand, I totally feel the same as you on all fronts. I would also choose a different profession if I could go back. I realized within my first 2 years that nurses are expected to work until they are in tears and demoralized and then keep going. Part of it is our own fault. We have allowed this. They take advantage of our caring nature. I agree that it stops now. This pandemic is causing nurses to leave, though not nearly enough. If nurses do not fight for their rights nothing will change.

Again, I ask you consider other avenues that would allow you to continue teaching and pursuing your learning, maybe not as a nurse but as someone you brings benefit to healthcare. But if not, I am right there with you uncovering nursing as the fraud it can be.

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1 Follower; 625 Posts; 3,069 Profile Views

This sounds about right in my experience.

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llg has 43 years experience as a PhD, RN and specializes in Nursing Professional Development.

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I agree with A Hit with the Ladies. Many nurses (including me in my younger days) expect too much from their job. A workplace will almost always put its own needs first -- and yours second, or third, or further down the line. But we nurses sometimes enter the field expecting some sort of ideal world and career that transcends the mundane, selfish realities of every-day life.

Yes, sometimes the people we work with and take care of act light saints. But most of the time, they just don't. And we have to learn to put our jobs into perspective and make the most of our lives (and our jobs) -- warts and all.

Set your boundaries, identify your priorities, establish a routine that suits you. Be nice to others when you can.

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11 Posts; 646 Profile Views

Amen, sister.

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281 Posts; 6,455 Profile Views

When hospitals care more about their fountains and spa like bathrooms than they do about their nurses, we see very clearly what they value above all else. It’s very sad what has happened to such an incredible profession. I too am finding this. I’m also finding that I’m treated far worse by administration and fellow nurses than I was in any other career I have been engaged in.

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265 Posts; 1,442 Profile Views

"Don't buy us pizza, baked goods, and crappy nurse's day prizes. Give us better pay and better benefits". Yes, this is insulting. How about the piece of clothing that's free advertising?

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43 Posts; 401 Profile Views

well, to be fair, I believe nurses in the United States are still more blessed than nurses in developing countries. Nurses in the United States get paid way more than nurses in developing countries while they are also struggling with being severely understaffed and severely underpaid. I live in Texas and from where I came, I know the nurses back in my hometown made very little money, probably USD 500- USD 600 per month with much higher living cost where the property cost as high as California and not to mention, undeniably high inflation rate. We don't have nurse's day either in my country. I am not exaggerating. I guess what I want to say is to count your blessing. I am grateful with what I have here.

However, I would still not recommend this career to my friend, my relatives, or even my own kid. It's a high stress job, and it takes a very strong person to be a nurse. I doubt I am that person.

Edited by juviasama
haven't finished typing.

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Just-a-nurse has 9 years experience.

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So I am not an emergency nurse, ICU nurse, PACU, NICU nurse, I have worked with patients who need some physical therapy, they are not ready to go home, but not severe enough for the acute care. So it is called “Sub-acute“ care that I have worked. I have also worked with addiction patients. I found nursing school hard! I had a young family, a husband that wasn’t the most supportive, but with the support of my family, friends, and fellow nursing students I made it. I have loved my job as a Nurse!! I have enjoyed the patients, I have enjoyed the good stuff, and the bad when it comes to nursing. I’m sure not as much as some of you, but that’s okay. I became a nurse so I could help the patients! The places that employ nurses, hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation facilities, mental health facilities. They are not the reason I went into nursing, yes I knew the pay was good, did I always go for the biggest paycheck NO! The only reason I became a nurse is to help people!

The companies are who they are, you can not change that. The people in the office that make the decisions we don’t like, unfortunately went to school/college/ university to run companies to make money!! They didn’t take classes in how to say well okay we have made enough this year! Nor do they have a CLUE what it is like for the Nurses, aides, house keeping, and every other person that helps with the care of those people that need the medical help that nurses give!! You being a Nurse is what YOU make of it. The company you work for is your choice! You don’t like how they do things ? Find something new. If you didn’t become a nurse to help people then maybe it is the wrong career.

I worked for a big facility hated the politics, I still loved my job, just not the politics. When you allow patients to treat your staff poorly, it is the staff ( in this case ) the nurses and CNA’s had to support each other. I have also dealt with those who thought they were better. Being trained by an LPN when you are an RN? I have no problem, when I first became a nurse on the floor, nurses training me some were LPN’s with more then 20 years of nursing each! I learned a lot from those LPNs and will never think of an LPN as anything less then A NURSE! Needless to say, as I am an ADN RN , I was horrified when I was training some BSN nurses who refused to be trained by LPNs, these BSN knew so little about floor work being a BSN is more of an office/paperwork part of a nursing degree. This is a problem with some nurses, they think I went to school and have a higher degree so I am better. Guess what not always true! If you look at the Dr/nurse relationships if you are a good nurse and have your Dr’s trust your degree doesn’t matter. You know what you are talking about, the Dr isn’t going to say are you a BSN/ADN. I have had Dr/PA/NP, most have been wonderful, treated their nurses with respect gave gifts out of their own pockets!! Cared about you and your family!! They would ask us nurses what we thought the patients needed, then would decided together what was best for that patient.

managers- fellow nurses: I have been treat the worst by them. I will deal with a cooperation that doesn’t clue about what I do. It is the managers that are your boss and a fellow nurse who have been some of the worst! I have worked in a facility so small that if there was a problem between you and your boss, there is no one to talk to, because everybody in the management roll is so tight that it gets brushed away without any help for the staff under them. Normally you would go to your boss if there is a problem right? Well what if the boss is your problem, where do you go? Her boss, well maybe? Maybe not? They spend a lot of time even out of work together, can you trust her to be objective? So okay HR you say right!!?? I just want to be treated fairly not cause those kinds of problems. Well it didn’t matter I made a mistake they blew it so far out of proportion just to get rid of me. This is the only time I felt like I didn’t want to be a nurse and I wasn’t ment to be a nurse! They almost broke my spirit.!!

I talked with friends and family even my therapist who knew what had been happening. Guess what I am still a nurse!! I still love my job.

now enter Covid-19 Work a new place!! Love working with my patients, don’t understand all the blah-blah-blah about all the Covid-19. I was careful I worked, went home, didn’t do much else. I didn’t want it. Well none of that helped: I am still recovering from it, hoping to go back to my NURSING job again soon!! My job isn’t just a job, I do it for the patients!! They are the ones who matter!! I haven’t been at my job for more then 2months at the most when I became infected with the virus. Since this Covid - 19 crisis started, I have been fed, I have been given extra PTO that will never expire ( had to use) also was give a bonus I didn’t know anything about!! Is my job perfect?? No, is the company I work for perfect? I don’t know much about them yet, but I do know so far as a nurse who has had the Covid-19 my place of employment has taken very good care of me. Paid me called me to see if I am alright, how I am doing. Would I ever give up my Nursing job, due to this?? There is no way!

I knew when I became a nurse what to expect!! I became a nurse to help other people!

I am sorry for how you feel about being a nurse. Please don’t discourage others from being nurses! They just need to become nurses with eyes WIDE OPEN

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Grandpa nurse specializes in Disabled veteran/Nursing student.

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I am sure a lot of people will not agree with me. After all I am only in my first semester of Nursing school and my wife has been an ICU nurse for three years, I can't possibly understand what you are going through. As a veteran who has deployed to Desert Shield/Storm, twice to Iraq and once to Afghanistan I don't agree. I have pulled money out of my own pocket to buy supplies for my soldiers to accomplish the task we were given to complete without the necessary support. I can thankfully only imagine what would have transpired if we were attacked by a chemical or biological weapon. I know many that joined for the college money. How many would have said this isn't worth it, this is not what I signed up for, or the other complaints I keep seeing from nurses. So many that become nurses believe they are fulfilling a higher cause. But I guess it's only when we can pass out meds and take temperatures. I don't know of a single nurse that's making minimum wage, and if you are unhappy with your pay there are things to get more. It's called a sacrifice because it isn't easy, otherwise everyone would be doing it. There are police officers and firefighters who may not make it home today or any day that they go to work, yet none of them are asking for hazardous duty pay. In my humble opinion, Nursing in and of itself is hazardous. When HIV/AIDS first appeared nurses weren't even using gloves, but I don't remember any asking for more money. If it's an easy life with great pay you seek, you are correct that Nursing isn't it. Welcome to being a hero. No special powers are needed. You are there to maybe hold the hand of someone's dying loved one because the family can't be there. COVID 19 will eventually become another battle won by doctors and nurses, like the flu, cancer, heart disease and so on. Yes we will lose more than we want to, but we will also save many many more. Take a break, take a breath and think back to why you became a nurse, and if you still think it's time to leave the profession do so. But remember as one person we are limited to what we can accomplish, but as a group we can accomplish so much more. I hope you find peace and maybe even a sense of renewal of why you are as important as you are. Only you will ever know.

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13 Posts; 219 Profile Views

I agree with the original post.

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