Is Nursing Hard? Top Challenges for 2024

Is nursing hard

Nursing is an incredibly rewarding profession, but there is no hiding the fact that being a nurse can sometimes be pretty hard. Existing in a role that is built on a foundation of service to others can leave little room for self-preservation. It’s easy for the expectations of meeting the highest standard of care to overshadow the fulfillment of helping others that attracts so many nurses to the profession in the first place.

In 2023, nursing endured its fair share of challenges, and many of them will follow healthcare professionals into the new year. Burnout and ongoing stress from the COVID-19 pandemic are still reverberating throughout the industry, and finding new ways of easing the pressure on mission-critical staff will be a key concern. In pursuit of better patient outcomes and improved working environments for all, issues like staffing, DEI, and opioids will continue to be addressed. To meet them, new technologies and interprofessional collaboration opportunities will need to be explored, and that means continuing the important work of education and training to keep pace. 

Is nursing hard in this ever-changing environment? Yes, but evolution is a good thing! In fact, it’s why nursing is the same fulfilling and trustworthy profession it’s been since the days of Florence Nightingale. There are some more challenges ahead, but with some insight into how to navigate current issues and developing trends, you’ll be ready for anything in 2024.

Staff Shortages

Nurses make up the greatest percentage of the healthcare workforce by far, which also makes nursing the largest budget line when it comes to operating costs. As a result, nursing is one of the primary areas of focus when limiting or trimming operating dollars. 

This is not a new problem. The nursing shortage has been looming for years and the perpetual theme is that, without a significant change in trajectory, the future is not looking so bright. The American population is aging and complex medical conditions are becoming the standard for admitted patients, and that’s going to require more nurses, not fewer.

On top of that, more than 1 million nurses are predicted to retire in the next 10-15 years, resulting in a shortage in both staff and experience that will be hard to overcome. Nursing schools are doing what they can to turn out as many qualified nurses as possible, but limited clinical sites and faculty are major obstacles along the way. 

Travel nursing is one resource that many hospitals have used to mitigate their gaps in staffing. From a nurse’s perspective, travel nursing can offer great money, unique experiences, and a chance to work almost anywhere in the country. 

Becoming a travel nurse is pretty straightforward, but you need to get the facts on topics like malpractice insurance and licensing. In the end, it’s a win-win for you and wherever you end up working. And with great continuing education options online, you’ll be able to stay on top of your requirements no matter where the job takes you. 

Interprofessional Collaboration

One of the biggest trends in healthcare rounding out 2023 is the emphasis on interprofessional collaboration. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), interprofessional collaboration occurs when “multiple health workers from different professional backgrounds work together with patients, families, careers, and communities to deliver the highest quality of care across settings.” 

Interprofessional collaboration is an inclusive strategy for improving health known to directly impact health outcomes for the better. Vulnerable populations like members of the transgender community, people facing mental health challenges, and people managing conditions like ADHD can benefit greatly from a multidimensional approach that treats their condition holistically. 

Interprofessional collaboration is only going to become more standardized in healthcare, and nurses who work towards embracing it sooner rather than later will be on the right track. Drawing on the expertise of different specialties truly puts the patient at the center of the care.

Changing License Requirements

Knowing the requirements that pertain to maintaining licensure to practice is one of the main professional responsibilities of being a nurse. It’s also important to know that those requirements can change over time, and you need to be prepared to change along with them.

One major change that went into effect in 2023 impacting anyone privileged to prescribe opioids was the DEA's new controlled substance continuing education requirement. With this update, anyone who was not certified in addiction medicine or addiction psychiatry or who had already completed 8 hours of continuing education and training on treating and managing patients with opioid or other substance use disorders needs to fulfill this requirement. 

And if you’re a nurse in NY, listen up: between now and April 1, 2025, you will be required to complete a new child abuse identification and reporting workshop in order to renew your license. The workshop was updated to meet these new guidelines issued by the NYSED and is required for all healthcare professionals practicing in New York.

Finally, nurses in every state will need to stay on top of their continuing education requirements to keep their licenses active. They vary quite a bit, but there are state-specific packages that give you everything you need in one simple bundle. 


A lot of impactful work has been done over the last couple of years across healthcare in supporting patients in safe and effective pain management. While there is still work to be done to combat the ongoing opioid pandemic in this country, the use of multidimensional treatment plans and the empowerment of healthcare providers to set realistic expectations have the U.S. moving in the right direction. 

The development of updated chronic vs acute pain management strategies along with educational content on how to treat oral pain and new chronic pain therapies, treatment, and management options has supported health professionals and undoubtedly improved patient outcomes.

Pain management has come a long way and is evolving into a specialty all its own. Departing from traditional prescribing practices to a more holistic approach has hardwired a sense of safety and compassion. As nurses often spend the most face time with patients and are typically the ones administering these medications, awareness and an understanding of new best practices in pain management are critical.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is a concept many organizations are enthusiastically embracing to make progress in closing the gaps of health disparity while creating an inclusive environment for their workforce. As organizations focus more intently on supporting staff diversity and fostering equal and equitable engagement, all healthcare professionals are empowered to achieve better outcomes for their patients.

Along these lines, many organizations are leaning on implicit bias training for healthcare providers as a means to define harmful biases and allow staff an opportunity to reflect upon their own implicit biases while learning strategies for reducing their impact on their patients.

Is Nursing Hard? Yes, But It’s Nothing You Can’t Handle!

We know you didn’t go into healthcare because it’s easy—it’s because you love serving people and making a difference, and Premiere is here to support you! With state-specific education packages and our Unlimited Nursing CEU Subscriptions offering high-quality education that will keep you up-to-date on relevant topics, you’ll be performing at the top of your field with nothing to worry about.

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