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5 Challenges that Nurses Encounter And Ways to Overcome Them

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Nursing is a rewarding career but has its challenges too. It is also one of the most sought-after careers in the healthcare industry. In current times, it is highly in demand, pays lucratively, and brings moral satisfaction too. It gives a steady career option, but it also asks for a lot of effort in return. There are countless challenges associated with this profession.

However, some of these challenges are not difficult to overcome, while others require a lot of effort. Nurses have been bravely facing these challenges and surviving in this field for a long time now. Some of these trials are unique to the nursing profession, while other health practitioners also share some. 

The core aspect of the nursing profession is that nurses can take care of people when they are in the most vulnerable state. Nevertheless, we can not deny the fact that nurses need support too. If you intend to enter this profession, make sure you are prepared for the challenges mentioned below: 

1. Stringent requirements of becoming a nurse practitioner

It starts with the stringent criteria by which nurses get into this field. There are several exams and countless training that you need before you call yourself a certified professional nurse. For instance, a public health nurse requirements include:

  • Earning a degree from an accredited institution.
  • Passing an additional NCLEX-RN exam.
  • Gaining sufficient experience.

Later you also have to obtain a certificate as a certified public health nurse. The field requires continuous training and education to keep up with the changing trends and emerging patient care needs. 

However, all these requirements ensure that when a nurse enters the hospital of any other medical facility, it is fully equipped to perform the job. So while you are going through this process, encourage yourself as you are entering a noble profession. Take an interest in the training and keep your focus on the end goal.

Related: 7 Things to Know Before Pursuing an Online Nursing Degree

2. Workload

Nurses are the backbone of a healthcare system as they work at the frontline. There are millions of patients entering hospitals across the globe, and more than one nurse tends to them. Often they take care of multiple patients. Hence, it is common for them to get overwhelmed by the workload. 

On the other hand, the medical facilities also do not pay much attention to the nurse-to-patient ratio. Performing the job of multiple people at one time not only impacts your work but affects your health as well. Therefore, medical clinics and hospitals must adhere to the government-defined criteria of the patient-to-nurse ratio to avoid overworking them. 

The solution lies in discussing your situation with your employer and telling them how overworking impacts your service delivery. Make sure you negotiate your pay and work hours properly at the time of hiring to avoid a bad situation that may unfold later on. Your negotiation can help new members as you set the criteria for better payment and adequate work hours. This can help create a culture of mutual trust and well-being. 

3. The emotional toll of their duty

A nurse’s job can be intimidating, demanding, and heart-breaking. Nurses work with patients who go through excruciating pain and go through all kinds of suffering. Witnessing them going through painful, invasive procedures and their families crying for their loved ones has an extreme emotional toll on them. Though this is a part of their job, it might be impossible to become desensitized to human suffering at any point.

Curing patients going through such suffering requires the development of trust and rapport with them. Only then will patients trust you with their lives. But gaining people’s confidence when they are at their most vulnerable stage can be emotionally distressing too. However, simultaneously, they also need not bring this emotional stress to their homes. Still, in most cases, it is unavoidable when you experience the situation almost every day. 

It might be challenging to segregate your work life from your personal life at home. Neverthless, you can do so by being aware of your emotional stage. Relax and think about the joy of meeting your parents or children after hours or even days at times. You can also exercise to release mental and physical stress. 

4. Health issues

Nurses work with patients with all kinds of illnesses. They often have to come near patients with transmissible diseases too. Therefore, they are at the risk of getting the disease and infected too. This is one of the principal tests of the nursing profession, and it is one that you should prepare for if you enter this career. Your job is to treat patients with hazardous conditions, yet you are not in a position to say no to it. 

It is imperative to eliminate the health hazards looming around you. The only solution to this challenge of the nursing profession is to be careful with your protection and adopt hygienic habits. The use of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) should be a priority. Moreover, washing hands frequently and exercising regularly to stay fit and healthy is also recommended by health organizations’ guidelines. 

5. Flexible work hours

Flexible work hours can be a good thing. But often, it can be a challenge too. You might be required to work at irregular hours according to your department and specialty. Moreover, the hospital might need you to work during the night shift as well. There can be long nights of duty which can be very inconvenient, especially if you have a family to look after. This can make your life very unpredictable. You miss planning events with your family and friends. 

The biggest challenge with this profession is the precarious balance between work and life. One way to overcome this difficulty is discussing everything while making the job contract. You can specify your working hours and to what extent you can work more than the designated hours. In this way, you might be able to take care of yourself and your family. Secondly, make sure you have a few days off every week to take care of yourself and for some time. 


Nursing is a very challenging career. Nurses often ignore their families and life to fulfill the demands of their job. These challenges could be long and unpredictable hours of work, physical and emotional toll, health hazards, and much more. It is possible to overcome these challenges.

Where there is a will, there is always a way. So, don’t let go of your dream to become a dedicated, professional nurse. Just make sure you don’t get exploited and are prepared for the challenges ahead. 

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