Often, it can be difficult to choose exactly what path to take in life. Even if you think you’ve narrowed your options down and you know you want to work in healthcare, the choices are still numerous. There are so many different roles that come together to offer patients the very best care possible, and which one you choose will lead you in a very different direction, not just in terms of your career but in terms of your studies and home life too.
Perhaps you’re not sure whether you should choose to become a nurse or a doctor. This can be a very difficult decision; both roles truly do help people, and if you’re interested in healthcare, these are the positions that will allow you to follow your dream more closely than many others. Yet the differences between doctors and nurses are quite stark, making the choice much harder. In the end, it will be down to you, but there are certainly some excellent reasons why nursing might just win out over becoming a doctor when you really look into both areas more closely. With that in mind, here are some of the reasons it’s better to choose to become a nurse instead of a doctor.
Nurses Are On The Front Line Of Patient Care
A nurse will be on the frontline of patient care at all times, and this is how they make such a contribution to the medical profession and a difference in their patients’ lives. Doctors tend to be more in the background, coming in when a diagnosis is required, but nurses are there once this has been completed; they are there to administer medication, set up IVs, change dressings, wash patients, and to help them if they are feeling anxious or scared. They are there to help make recovery easier and quicker.
If you want to work in a healthcare role in which you have real contact with patients the majority of the time, nursing is the ideal choice. You are the one that patients will want to have by them, and they will be glad to see you. That’s not to say they won’t want to see their doctors, but it’s a very different kind of relationship; when you are a nurse, you can be much closer and make more of an impact. Remember, you’re not just working on the medical aspect of healthcare; there is a holistic side to things as well, and this is just as important, and it is the nurse who undertakes the work.
Nurses Are Seen As Superheroes
Nurses have always been well-respected, even if people didn’t know quite what it was they did. However, over the past two years or so, the role of the nurse has been elevated even more, and they are often regarded as something like superheroes by the public. Who wouldn’t want a career where people immediately gave you respect and were in awe of what you could achieve as soon as they discovered what you do? Of course, the best nurses aren’t nurses for this reason, but it is certainly a benefit that comes with the job that very few people are going to be unhappy with.
The reason why nurses are so highly regarded is the amount of work they can do and how they do it. There is so much knowledge to be learned and the work is physically demanding too. Then there is the emotional side of things; not everyone can help a dying patient or be there to comfort bereaved family members. Nurses must do this every day, or at least be prepared for it.
Another reason for a nurse’s superhero status is that they have to have knowledge of all the different departments in a hospital – or any other healthcare setting they might be working in. Doctors will often specialize, whereas although specialism is possible and certainly something to aim for if it interests you, nurses are much more generalized in how they work. This means they need a broad range of knowledge and understanding of how to care for different people with various conditions. It’s a feat that those who aren’t nurses will always be impressed by.
There Is Less Studying
Although we’ve just said that nurses need to learn a huge amount of information, the truth is that if you want to become a nurse, you can choose an accelerated BSN at Elmhurst University, and if you work on it full time, you can be finished with a nursing degree in two years. However, the beauty of an online course like this one is that you can take it slower if you need to (for example, if you are working at the same time). Even so, the amount of time spent studying is far less compared to how long it would take you to study to become a doctor, which is around eight years.
Studying is part and parcel of the healthcare profession, and of course, when you gain your BSN or RN – depending on what path you take – you will still need to keep learning, especially if you want to progress in your career. However, the fact is that you can start that career much sooner, gaining experience and additional knowledge from hands-on care as you work. For those who want to help people as soon as possible and who just want to get started on their career, nursing has to be better than working to become a doctor.
Read More: Top 10 Nursing Specialties For 2022
Nurses Stand Out In The Minds Of Patients
If you have ever been a patient in any kind of healthcare setting, particularly if you had to stay there for a night or more, who is it that you remember most when it comes to the care you were given? In most cases, people will talk about their nurses rather than their doctors. Because, as we’ve said, the nurse is there much more of the time and in a much more personal capacity than a doctor will be, the nurse is the one who is remembered most. The better job they do, the more fondly they will be remembered.
Not only this, but nurses are seen as ethically and morally good, and they are held in high esteem. A nurse’s job is to focus on the overall health and wellbeing of their patients, whereas doctors focus on a small area – whatever the cause of the pain or condition the patient is suffering from. This makes sense; whereas doctors are more specialized, nurses are more generalized (even if they are specialists too). This is a good line to draw, and it’s how to distinguish between what a nurse does and what a doctor does. Yet it also serves to ensure that the nurse, because they do so much for each patient, from talking to them about their fears to saving their life in some situations, is the person who sticks in the mind of the patient long after they have finished recovering and no longer need any medical care.
Nurses Have More Career Progression Opportunities
As we’ve mentioned more than once now, nurses have a wide range of different skills that they can put to good use in many different areas. This means there are many more career progression opportunities for nurses compared to doctors. A nurse can work almost anywhere within their healthcare facility because they will have the skills to do so, whereas a doctor will work in a certain department and stay there. Clearly, this means that the range of potential job choices is much greater for a nurse; they can move around to do anything they want to, whereas doctors will have to make a choice and stick with it (unless they retrain in a different specialty, which will take many years).
Because nurses have skills that can be used in numerous areas, they have their choice as to where they work and what they do. This allows for much greater career progression. Although additional qualifications will be required for leadership roles, for example, the nursing experience and overall knowledge they have will count for a lot. If you want a job that offers complete freedom and where you can choose exactly what you want to do, nursing is the ideal choice.
Nurses Have Better Work Schedules
When you think of a nurse’s work schedule, the first thing that would come to mind is probably shift work and long hours. This is true; as a nurse, you will have to cope with this, since people get sick at all times and there is never a moment when a hospital – and some other healthcare facilities – are closed. Nurses have to be around all the time to offer the best patient care, and that means that you’ll need to work days, nights, weekends, holidays, and so on. However, although this is hard work, both physically and mentally, it’s still a better work schedule than a doctor often has.
Unless the doctor is very high up in their career, in which case they may well work set hours during the week and never work nights or weekends and so on, most doctors will have even longer shifts than nurses, especially when they are junior doctors. These shifts can be anything from 18 to 48 hours long, and although, of course, there will be time for breaks and sleep, it’s still a very difficult thing to have to do. A nurse would never have to do this unless they chose to take on some overtime, and even then, there are rules in place for how long they can work.
Not only that, but doctors are often on call. This means that even when they are away from the hospital, they might be called back there at a moment’s notice due to an emergency or other issue. This means that a doctor’s work-life balance is very difficult to maintain; it would be all but impossible to arrange any time with family and friends, for example, when on call. When a nurse is away from the hospital, they will generally be able to relax and do whatever they want to do until it’s time to work again. This is a big difference, and one that really does favor the nurse.
There Are Jobs
Imagine working hard for many years and finally gaining your degree only to find that there are no job openings for you. You might have to move away from home to work, or you might have to take on another job until something suitable comes up. This happens more often than you might think, as the job market is very volatile at the moment. It happens to doctors as well as other people; they graduate but find there is no job waiting for them. They have to take on more studying or take a job that doesn’t suit what they are looking for, or move, as mentioned above.
This is not the case for nurses. There is currently a worldwide nursing shortage, which means that when you graduate with your nursing qualifications, you’ll be able to find a job. In fact, it’s likely you’ll have your pick of jobs, because there will be more positions than nurses to fill them. Of course, there are downsides to this because a lack of nurses means there is more work for the nurses that are there to do, but the fact that you can be sure of a job and that it will be a job that works for you is important. This kind of job stability isn’t something you will often find, especially in today’s job market.
On the subject of job stability, not only will it be easier for a nurse to find a job than a doctor, but the job will be a long-term one. No healthcare facility will want to lose nurses, so there will be plenty of incentives to stay, including a good salary and benefits. If you are looking for a job that you can grow with and that you can stick with for life, nursing could tick all the boxes.