Home » NurseLife » 6 Hard Truths You’ll Face Once You Become a Nurse

6 Hard Truths You’ll Face Once You Become a Nurse

Updated on
By Sheena Maireen Saavedra, BSN, R.N.

It is true that the nursing experience had scarred me for life. I have helped the helpless thinking that if I give a lot of love around then I would also receive the same amount in return. But sadly, part of the career would also mean enduring treatments of ungratefulness from the people you have served.

The profession will really push you to your limits and no matter how huge your efforts were to deliver the best nursing care to your patients, somehow, it is never enough. How I was treated by my patients and the company that I worked with seems to influence my view with my profession, changing it into a job that only pays the bills and not as a way of life. Eventually, I have reached a disordered way of looking at the profession. I am no longer seeing the real meaning of being a nurse and my perspective changed.

I decided to quit.

It is a phase in every nurse to question why such profession could bring so much heartache and feelings of inadequacy despite how charming the job would sound as you serve your life for a greater purpose. And if you are like me who loves to amplify the negative thoughts, you are more likely to follow the same path that I took, and go driving on a much slower lane outside the nursing freeway.

So before I crush anyone’s dreams of living a life as a nurse, here are six harsh realities and facts that I thought every aspiring nurse should be ready with before continuing a life as a nurse.

1. Half of your body is already in jail.

I have to floor you down on the first fact because this is not an easy job after all. There are a lot of times when you actually screw up and make mistakes. We are human and being human means we are not immune to our inner idiot. Working and doing your best is not a guarantee that things would go smoothly every single shift. I guess every nurse had this fear of being involved in legal issues which is why as long as you live, as long as you serve, this would be your daily prayer: “I hope I won’t mess things up so I won’t be sued by the patient.”

2.Your pay will always be unsatisfactory.

There are times when we become advocates of altruism without knowing it. We work hard to meet the needs of our patients and in doing so, we often miss our mealtime, or you just don’t have the time to pee as your patient is in need of your time all the time. After that scenario, you go home flustered and in need of a hot bath or a massage and then it will hit you. You will suddenly be bothered as you realize how your effort and your paycheck just did not add up as equals. It would always feel like you are underpaid.

3. The management will always be riddled with politics.

I have worked with a zealot for idealism from the start of my nursing career up to the end. The reason why I took a break from the profession was because of a gap that separated between that idealism and reality. No sugar coats this time. Just real talk. The management will always crap on you. No matter how much we cast this aside, foul play happened when things such as favouritism and special attention gets in the way. This is a true story. Having a huge workforce would mean getting overshadowed by a lot of competition, and some would use their wide set of connections to get ahead from the pack. Life is not always meant to be fair, dear.

4. No one will save you but your own ass.

Trust me on this one. No one really wanted to take part in affairs that poured hot water on you especially when legalities are involved. This is a hard fact, and this will be forever a demoting fact of all. There will be times when there will be a lack of leadership from your senior nurses and you will be forced to act on your own. There will be no teamwork. No one to help you when you are sunk neck deep with tasks. It would be a lucky strike if you are assigned in an area with colleagues who are generous and helpful like you, but part of the nursing picture would also mean welcoming the exact opposites of your beliefs and attitude. Personalities would often clash and the job is not a career that is always filled with laughter and harmony. Again, life is not always meant to be fair, dear.

5.You can never please everyone.

I have the obligation to deliver to you this one golden piece of advice. You are going to fail people at certain points in your career. As much as we would want to guarantee the best nursing care, there are times that we would fall short of resources, or energy and drive to do such. But as disheartening this fact could be, we should still strive to be better. After all, it is our contribution to the wellness of the patient that matters in the end.

6. “This is a thankless job.”

Somehow, it just doesn’t feel right. Everything that I knew about my nursing career fell rock bottom after I realized that that fact is actually true. If I have to be honest with myself, I can remember almost on a daily basis that only one out of ten patients would say a heartfelt thank you to my services and care. It is something that I felt bad in the end as the feeling of being unappreciated surfaced and the feeling of remorse with the profession sunk further into my depths.

This is a sad article, ey? But yeah, this is a true story. Although I am going to give you young nurses the benefit of the doubt. Who knows, right? You might be able to steer your career in the nursing field in a more appealing path. I did not mean to discourage anyone on this rather I want the aspiring nurses to embrace this profession with open arms despite knowing the dark side of things that comes along with it. If there is a Yin, there is always a Yang.

[easy-tweet tweet=”I want the aspiring nurses to embrace this profession with open arms despite knowing the dark side of things that comes along with it.” user=”nurseslabs” usehashtags=”no”]

So the question now is, would you choose water over wine and gear up for the challenge that lies ahead?


Sheena Maireen Saavedra is a registered nurse since 2007. She is working as a general nurse in Ireland since 2016 but was a nurse in the Intensive Care Unit and Coronary Care Unit when she was in the Philippines. As a person who continually challenges herself to expand her skill set, she ventured into different fields of the medical world, which includes working as a Product Performance Analyst and Quality Analyst in Boston Scientifics Inc, a medical company that manufactures Class III implantable devices such as pacemakers, ICDs, and CRTs. In general, she enjoyed being a nurse as it helped her meet all kinds of people – which impacted her life the most as she listened to their stories of triumph and tribulations. The profession has created avenues for her to make a difference to somebody’s life. This inspired her to write materials, guides and stories that served as sources of inspiration and help to the world around her, in particular to her fellow sisters and brothers of the industry.

3 thoughts on “6 Hard Truths You’ll Face Once You Become a Nurse”

  1. I agree. I worked for 40 years as a nurse. The last 2 years were the hardest as I felt alot of what you have pointed out. I think the one thing that influenced me on retirement from nursing was that I was never appreciated. Great article.

  2. Wow! This is so shocking to me. You don’t feel like you were appreciated?, is that why you chose this work, to somehow fill a need in you?
    Your are correct, this is not the life’s work for you. I noticed the change many years ago when nurses began to receive a (semi) living wage and folks began to get in the field for that reason. It beat “flipping burgers) right?
    Sorry, but this task is not a “job”, its a mission. True nurses are called to it. You can learn how to do the basic things about nursing, but that doesn’t make you a nurse. That makes you a “clumsy technician.” There are now too many people with nursing licenses that think that is all there is to it. So we have lots of people doing the “work” without the “calling or gift” for the work.
    I am sorry that you never felt “appreciated,” but the people that you helped (or acted like you helped), appreciated it.

  3. I am a student still feeling low in my each part of heart . It’s just like a hard reality which will make you feel humiliated from both your seniors and patient. Just keep one thing in mind while you are in this profession and i.e. just keep your hands on your ears😝 and keep sharing your thoughts with your family. It will make you feel relaxed and happy.


Leave a Comment

Share to...