Being a nurse practitioner can be an emotionally rewarding, high-paying career. Because the medical field isn't as prone to economic slumps compared to many other types of employment, finding an opening can be relatively easy. Like any job, however, there are risks and downsides; these are a few of the disadvantages to consider before becoming a nurse practitioner.
Nurses who work in hospice or long-term care facilities must learn to cope with the death of patients; this can be especially difficult if there is a close nurse-patient bond. Grieving family members are also a consideration, as a nurse may have to be the bearer of tragic news and provide comfort to distraught loved ones. Emergency room situations are also very stressful as well as being fast-paced, with little margin for a mistake. Even a quiet family practice has its share of dramatic ups-and-downs.
- Long Shifts
Most nurses in hospitals and long-term care facilities work long, grueling hours. Shifts may vary from eight to twelve hours a day. There may also be required overtime or on-call emergencies. Additionally, many nurses work rotating shifts; this can be especially tiring, stressful, and make it hard to plan for events like a family vacation or time off for holidays.
- Emotional and Mental Fatigue
Even the most stalwart soul may find a nursing job emotionally exhausting. Depression can be a real and serious risk if the nurse does not have the proper support and training to cope with the considerable stress of the job.
- Education and Qualifications
Of all nursing positions, the nurse practitioner requires the most training and education. Currently, a nurse practitioner must complete a master's degree in nursing (MNA), become licensed, complete a residency and, in many cases, complete a doctorate degree in a specialized field. He or she must also renew their license every few years and keep up-to-date on the latest medical breakthroughs, regulations, and technologies.
- Legal Risks
If a nurse gives the wrong dosage to a patient, fails to provide adequate care or, in the case of a nurse practitioner, makes a serious error in a diagnoses, he or she can risk legal ramifications. This can include being sued by patients, being fired from the hospital or practice or having their license revoked. It is essential that a nurse always pays attention to the smallest detail of their job no matter how mundane and routine the procedure. A nurse must also adhere to strict medical policies and law, some of which can be confusing or complex.
- Health Risks
Nurses and doctors may be exposed to very serious illnesses, some of which have the potential to be fatal. Viruses and bacteria that are transmitted by bodily fluid or airborne droplets can transfer from patient to nurse if proper precautions are not taken. In some situations, a nurse practitioner may be required to wear protective medical gear, including masks, protective aprons, and gloves. Many hospitals also require that staff get routine vaccinations for flu and other illnesses.