15 Ways Nursing Will Change Your Life

This article was republished with permission from SCRUBS Magazine.

I often wonder what the newer generations think they are getting into when they choose our profession. What do they think their job will be like? What do they think we actually do? How do they decide and say to themselves, “That’s what I want to do, that’s what I want to be”? I’ve recently discovered a lot of nurses are finding out the hard way what nursing is really like.

This is the REAL world of nursing:

1. Your feet will hurt.
2. Your back will ache.
3. You’ll start grinding your teeth in your sleep (if you didn’t already start in nursing school).

4. You’ll NEED to be in shape for this job.
5. This job will make you cry.
6. This job will scare you.
7. Many patients will not like you.

8. Most patients will test your limits.
9. Many patients are not nice. In fact, they’re downright mean.
10. You’ll rarely hear a “thank you.”
11. Your job is never done.
12. What you do directly affects others, ALL the time.

13. No one notices what you do–until you don’t do it.
14. You won’t get home on time. Hardly ever.
15. You’ll be the medical “go to” person for everyone on the block (sometimes at midnight on a Tuesday).

Sounds pretty bad, huh? This is why we constantly repeat the phrase, “Nursing is not for everyone.” You have to be tough in order to thrive in our world. The greatest thing about our profession, though, is that the benefits of our work GREATLY outweigh the risks.

But here are 15 ways nursing will change your life:

1. Your heart will grow 10 times its normal size.
2. Your compassion will exponentially expand.
3. You’ll develop strength where you once were afraid.
4. You’ll learn to push past your limits.
5. You’ll become resourceful.
6. You’ll develop keen decision-making skills.
7. You’ll become comfortable with being uncomfortable.
8. You’ll truly empathize and understand what loss really is.
9. You’ll impact human lives.
10. You’ll truly make a difference.
11. You’ll meet and befriend some amazing people.
12. You’ll find that the rare “thank you” and/or hug is worth it all.
13. You won’t do this job to be noticed.
14. You won’t do this job expecting to leave on time.
15. You’ll be proud to tell people you’re a nurse.

Sounds pretty good, huh? This is why we constantly repeat the phrase, “Nursing is not for everyone.”

The things that make our profession so tough are also the very same things that make this profession amazing. If it were easy, wouldn’t everybody be doing it?

What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

This article was republished with permission from SCRUBS Magazine.


  1. You have definitely summed it up. I have been an RN for 42 years. What gives me the joy is when I have a close talk with a suffering patient and help them. I can’t imagine doing anything other then nursing.

  2. I enjoyed this article and agree with most of it. Nursing is so rewarding. What other profession can you say, every day, “I made a difference in someone’s life today”? Maybe because I am a pediatric nurse, and parents feel so helpless, but frequently, the gratitude is expressed! Im proud to say that I’ve been a nurse for 36 years and can’t think of any occupation that would have been a better choice for me.

  3. Operating Room Nursing has been my passion for over 30 years. I still love what I do and couldn’t imagine doing anything else. Surgeons can be demanding, patients and their families can be unreasonable and ungrateful, things can go badly in a heartbeat, and then there’s no one to relieve you. Those are the killer days that you want to go kick lockers. Most day’s are a whole lot better. We all get along, cases go smoothly, and you leave at the end of the day knowing that you have touched lives and helped people to get well. Would I do it all over again? In a heartbeat! When the going gets tough, I just remind myself that it is a privilege to be a nurse, and that I alone chose to serve with dignity and grace.

    • I have been an Operating Room nurse for 26 years. When the going gets tough, I ask my self if I would rather be the patient? If you look at it like this, you will find it isn’t so bad after all. Any day you aren’t the patient is a good day

  4. One thing I wished someone had said to me in nursing school, although I used all the pre-requisite psyche classes and figured it out pretty quick…..That patient you feel is trying to manipulate you/things is not doing it from a place of malice aforethought, they have an underlying issue. If you take the time to treat the whole person you may be shocked at the excellent changes!

  5. I have been and always will be a nurse from my soul.I have nursed the patient/client that called me filthy names as my coworkers watched.Only for them to see me brushing the hair of that abusive person the next day with compassion that allowed that patient/client to keep their dignity.And in that a mutual place was found and education and healing could begin. Is that not what nurses do?

    That is nursing.
    I am amazed by the nurses that take the words of sick/ill people personally.A real nurse allows these things to bounce/roll off which enables a nurse to nurse…no matter what,who,or where ! This includes many of the doctors we work beside as well.
    I am a nurse and proud of it.And bye the way…I love the term “not everybody can do it” as oppose to the old saying” Nurses eat their young”. No they dont ! This is an occupation of the soul !! Thats why…” Not everyone can do it !!!
    Amazing article !!
    And %100 accurate

  6. You are SO right!!! I am an LPN of 29 years and there have been days which I ask myself “why nursing”??!! Then….. There are days that I simply love what I do and understand ALL the reasons why!!!!!!!!!!!??????


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