If you know you want to work in healthcare and you know you want to help people as much as possible, it might still be a difficult decision when it comes to exactly what career to follow. Should you, for example, be a doctor or a nurse? The two jobs are entirely different, even though they both deal with patient care, and it’s crucial to make the right choice, otherwise you might find you regret your decision and either have a job you don’t like, or must start all over again, and neither option is going to appeal.
Although it will be down to the individual to make the choice, there are some excellent reasons why nursing is a better choice than becoming a doctor. Read on to find out what they are so you can make the right choice.
Nurses Are on the Front Line of Patient Care
If you want to help people, you need to be close to them and understand what they are going through. Nurses are the ones who can do that; it’s nurses who are essentially on the front line when it comes to looking after people and ensuring they have a good recovery. Doctors diagnose (although sometimes nurses can do this), but they tend to be a little more removed from the patients, almost working in the background. Nurses, however, are hands-on and right there where and when the patient needs them.
This means that as well as treating the initial cause of the patient’s problems, nurses can also take care of the patient’s worries and fears, making sure their emotional and mental health is as well taken care of as everything else.
If you are a nurse, you get to spend time with patients, which is not something that doctors can often do, and you will benefit from this as much as the patients will.
There Is Less Studying
Nurses must know a huge amount both in terms of medical knowledge and patient care in general. Plus, the learning never stops; even once you have your RN and can start nursing, you’ll need to keep topping up your knowledge to stay relevant, and if you want to advance your career, you’ll need to take additional qualifications to help you do that.
However, although there is a huge amount of knowledge to take in, and it’s essential that you never stop learning, even when you think you know it all (the truth is, you will never know it all), you still won’t have to do as much studying as a doctor would. To put it in simple terms, earning a nursing degree will take about two years, but becoming a doctor takes eight years.
For those who would rather be helping people than learning, and who want to get on with their job sooner rather than later, nursing will surely appeal.
Nurses Stand Out in the Minds of Patients
Have you ever had to go to the hospital or attend any kind of healthcare appointment? Most people have, and most people will say that it’s the nurse who helped them that stands out more than the doctor. It’s the nurse who sticks in their minds as the one who was most caring and most important.
That’s not to say that doctors aren’t important – of course, they are – but it’s not all about the medicine for patients; it’s about getting the help they need in a kind, caring, and compassionate way. Some doctors can manage this, which is great, but all nurses can, and that’s what makes such a big difference. Nurses are remembered because of the positive way they make their patients feel, and if you want to be responsible for that, you should investigate what it takes to be a nurse.
Nurses Have Better Work Schedules
Perhaps this point is a little confusing because nurses have notoriously difficult work schedules. It’s well known that they work long hours and that those hours are spent in shift work. Plus, the work is constant and busy throughout, and sometimes breaks are hard to come by. This is something that can put people off becoming a nurse, even though, when you think about it, you’ll find that you get more flexibility and more time off between shifts, meaning that your work-life balance can be a lot better than other people’s, even if they work a standard Monday to Friday 9 to 5 kind of job.
A nurse’s work-life balance is often better than a doctor’s, at least. Until a doctor is very high ranking, they will need to work shifts as well. They will need to work long hours. They will also have to be on call a lot of the time, so even when they are at home, they might not be able to relax very well and enjoy their time off. It’s also important to mention that a doctor will work much longer shifts at the start of their career, perhaps 48 hours in a row. Nurses won’t have to do that, and if you want a good job with a stable home life, nursing is the better option.
There Are Jobs
You wouldn’t feel so happy or excited if you worked for many years to gain your degree only to find there were no jobs for you at the end. It might mean that, in the worst circumstances, you would have to give up on your plans and do something different. It might mean you have to work away from the area you wanted to live in. Or perhaps you’ll have to work in a department that doesn’t interest you very much. We’re not talking about nursing here; we’re talking about doctors.
When it comes to nursing, these issues are unlikely to come about. There is a nursing shortage, meaning that there are many jobs available, and nurses can take their pick of where and how they want to work in many cases. There will be little to no disruption to your life, but you’ll have a job you care about and in which you can make a difference.