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anyone a nurse or make a mid career change to nurse?

asscherisme

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 6, 2006
Messages
2,734
I would love to hear from nurses of all types and especially mid career changers. I am seriously considereing changing careers to become a nurse. I have a B.A. but not in nursing. I would be able to at a local well respected college transfer in many of my general eds requirements but I would also have to take a lot of pre-req, so this would take me about 4 years to earn. If I do this I would start pre-reqs this fall at a community college (already checked with the BSN program and they suggested that to save money) and then start the nursing program in about 1.5 years if I get in. Its competitive.

Where I live, ASN and BSN earn similar but BSN tend to get the jobs with the better shifts and many job openeings want BSN or MSN nurses.

My current background is business and after being out of the job force for so long I'm finding my rusty old degree not much help.

My youngest daughter has an auto immune disease so I have spent tons of time around nurses. Doctor offices, hospitals, clinics, etc and I have come to really respect the role they play and hard work they put in. Its been something I've been pondering for awhile.

Another piece of info, I would be about 50 when I graduate and then would expect to work hopefully until 65 or 67

I also worry about age discrimination when I am looking for a job out of school.
 

missy

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jun 8, 2008
Messages
33,961
asscherisme, I am not a nurse but I work at a multidisciplinary health clinic where there are lots of nurses and many of them went back to school at a later age to become a nurse. There are so many specialities within nursing and it really can be a great career.

Since you seem dedicated, motivated and passionate about the field my recommendation is to go for it. You don't want to live with regret and honestly you won't be that old when you graduate and will have a good many years to work in a field you will love and enjoy. So that's my advice. I would even say go one step further and become a Nurse Practicioner but I think that might add too many years to your program.

This world needs more dedicated, passionate and compassionate nurses and I think you would be an amazing one!

Wishing you lots of luck! :appl:
 

AdaBeta27

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
Joined
Sep 7, 2004
Messages
906
I'm a nursing school career-changer dropout. My background is engineering and business. I lost my career due to a corporate merger that wiped out the corporation that I worked for. My tips are these:
Take a hard look at the nursing program(s), how many students do they admit, how many actually graduate, what is the attrition rate, how many students do they transfer-in along the way. There is a lot hidden or obscured by the NCLEX-RN pass rates. That is only part of the story. If you can, pry a little into the backgrounds of instructors. How long has the director of the program been there? Look for signs of problems with the program. Maybe talk to the TAA/TRA person at your local state employment office. Displaced workers often get TAA/TRA funded to retrain and nursing is a "demand occupation." The person handling the Trade Act stuff might have some insight into how good or bad students think a school is, and they'd certainly be tracking graduation rates and employment and salary data for all Trade Act recipients who go through those local nursing schools.

My state has diploma schools which require just as much college as ADN degrees, except the actual nursing part is taught in a hospital-based school. After you pass the NCLEX-RN, there are multitudes of bridge programs to get you to BSN. The way hospitals are now, they are all gravitating toward ONLY hiring BSN new-grads, no diploma school or ADN. The cities with a glut of BSN degree programs have already made this switch. The more rural areas and some rapidly growing areas, like parts of TX, will hire any R.N. they can get. I was in a diploma school. The college prereqs were "normal" to me. But nursing was not. I found nursing instructors to be cold, un-helpful, overly concerned that they might make the schooling too easy, and also VERY random and disorganized compared to technology and business instructors. I really, intensely, deeply, disliked the entire culture of the nursing crowd. I have tracked the school I went to, and over the past 5 years it has consistently admitted large cohorts of maybe 60-65 students to Nursing I, and then graduated maybe 30-35 students by the end of the 24 months. This leads me to question if that is the rationale behind the most cold and unfriendly and disorganized and insulting culture I have ever experienced at an educational institution: It really only has facilities and clinical opportunities for a class of 30-35, but it will take people's money and string them along for up to a year, until they fail out of quit in disgust. That 30-35 grad class was bouyed up by transfers-in, too. It had from 4 to 8 transfers-in from other diploma schols, and returning students who'd failed who'd failed out the year before and returned the following year to pick up where they left off. This same school had it's own "integrated" curriculum, meaning it was a custom design that doesn't follow the traditional units of nursing like colleges and universities do. Clinicals were handled as rotations of topics that had to be completed that term, but they were not synched with the lectures. Some ppl got their clinical ahead of the lecture, some in sync with it, and some long after it. It was really like going to 2 different nursing schools at the same time. I found it grueling. I had excelled in math, sci, engineering, and biz courses, and the R.N. pre-req life science courses, but I found the nursing courses just about overwhelmingly difficult, ALL completely unfamiliar turf. The only thing I breezed was the pharma and the dosage calculations, because I know chemistry and all of the dosage calcs and I.V. pump stuff was just unit ops calculations. :lol:

That R.N. school is actually highly respected for turning out good nurses who have a lot of clinical experience. But it stank for a career changer like me who had absolutely no healthcare background, prior experience, and who has had a lifelong lack of interest in pregnancy, motherhood, and pediatrics. lol

There was a college-based R.N. program in the town I used to live in that lost it's accreditation and that left it's students scrambling to find other R.N. degree programs that would take any of their coursework as transfer credit.

When I left that diploma R.N. school, I still had the adrenaline pumping and still wanted to make the career change, but at a college or university program that has structured curriculum and a set schedule. But the more I thought it over, the more I realized so far as clients go, I had actually met damned few well-educated or high intellect or technology professionals in nursing. I'd met a lot of lower socioeconomic people, a lot of unwed mothers, a lot of people who live in ghetto neighborhoods, and a lot of very elderly people who had only a high school education or less. My co-workers might be highly skilled, but nursing is still a women's profession, and it's full of traditional wife-mother-homemaker types. Hanging around AllNurses, it seemed that women who are nurses have lots of kids, like 3-5. All of this cultural shift was not my preferred childfree workplace of all high intellect technology professionals and no poverty-people or dimwits. So, I never went back, because I wanted to work all day with my own kind, not the zoo that is the public. A few years have passed, and I am convinced that I made the right decision to bolt. As a single who lives alone, I would not want to be spending every day waitressing to idiot patients and being overloaded with stressful working conditions and surrounded female co-workers that I have zero in common with, only to go home to sit alone with no support system. I'm a workaholic, for certain, but I want my own desk, I don't like interruptions, and I like for people to leave me alone so I can get my work done. So, you see that R.N. just wasn't a good fit. I still wonder why the hell nursing thinks it wants science and tech people to join it's ranks. The culture of nursing will literally kill us because it's just a big flogging. I told the nursing school that when I left, too. "School, you are nuts!" :lol:

Depending where you are, there may be LPN programs offered by community college that transfer right into a ADN or BSN program. LPNS in the Pittsburgh area can make up to $22/hr as of 2012, and starting salary for a R.N. was only about $25/hr back then. There were people who went through the LPN program at community college or a county vo-tech at a cost of about $10,000 then started working and were soon up to $18-$22 / hr at a nursing home or other LTC. Then started the R.N. program and got their employer to pay for it. All the ppl I know who did that found R.N. school much easier because it wasn't totally unfamiliar material. They were out earning good $/hr and getting experience, and getting their R.N. school paid for. Most of them finished with relatively low loan debt to repay.

Some of my diploma RN cohort had problems getting jobs. A couple went to TX and had no problem getting a first job or moving up to something they like better. One went had $60,000 of loan debt, chose ER, worked 1.5 years while doing her RN-BSN bridge program, then went into travel nursing. She repaid $18,000 of her school loan debt last year.

Good luck! :) The bad thing about having to do all those prereqs is that you have lot of time and money invested in that before you ever get into nursing classes and can see if you really like it. Nursing classes are "critical thinking," so you will be expected to not only learn the theory, but your tests will be on how you apply it. Right from the start. And you have to keep that 80% or better while doing that. This run-before-you-walk approach is what burned me out. Instructors are not helpful, don't "spoon-feed," don't want to "make it easy." #[email protected]^%[email protected]%^&@ What that really means is, the student has to do loads of self-teaching. I didn't get much out of lectures, because engineering and science had already programmed my mind to to study books and cut to the chase. My favorite lectures where the ones the physicians gave, because they explained exactly how and exactly why, and aimed to impart knowledge, not play keep-away with it. R.N. school was the poorest teaching I've ever received, and the most hellish year of my life. It left a deep impression, kind of like a puncture wound. :lol:
 

asscherisme

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 6, 2006
Messages
2,734
Missy, Thanks for your input. And AdaBeta27 thanks so much for your honesty. What you wrote is what I fear, spending all the time and money on pre-reqs only to hate it.

To be honest, I have been waffling between getting a nursing BSN or getting my MPA (masters in public administration). My background is government management/admin so am MPA will allow me to jump back into that type of work. The MPA program I am looking at includes a 6 month paid internship at the end. It would certainly be the easier route. No pre-reqs required, jump right into the program. 2 to 3 years to complete depending if I do full time or part time.

One think I also fear about being a nurse is that I was use to being the boss and unfortunately many people view nurses as "only" support staff.

I do know that because I have been home with me kids for so many years I need education to re-enter the work force and be relevant/current.

Lots to think about.
 

Resonance.Of.Life

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Nov 8, 2008
Messages
1,282
I am a BSN prepared RN and I am in the middle of my MSN-FNP program. When I graduated from nursing school, it was hard to find any RN job, much less our dreams jobs so we had to settle for whatever facility would hire us. I worked for the largest blood bank in the US for 1 1/2 years before I went to a major university based hospital but for their blood bank as their unit supervisor. I was getting distraught as I've always wanted to work in acute care, and it had been now, 4 years since I had graduated and chances were looking slim to ever getting a job at an acute care facility. Last year I was hired into an ICU training program and I've never been happier. I love my job, I love that it forces me to use my critical thinking skills, and I love the impact I can make. Nursing is not for everyone and you have to deal with a lot of BS. In the ICU we have more freedom to practice our nursing judgement as we run off of protocols vs the floors having to call the physicians for every little new order.

My friends are moving away from bed-side nursing while I am moving towards it, I absolutely LOVE working at bed-side and do not wish to move away from it. The hours are great (for me) and I love the support of my colleagues and intensivists on the unit.

----

A little background, I was a pre-veterinary science major when I had an anaphylactic reaction during a job I held at a clinic and the treating physician informed me that veterinary medicine was not in my future due to this reaction. I switched gears and went into nursing. I got into an accelerated BSN program and got my BSN in a little over 2 years, but our cohort went from 65 to 23. The program can be intense and if you are not used to the workload and expected to know every little bit not covered by the instructor, it can be overwhelming. If you are dedicated to the coursework and LOVE nursing you are absolutely able to pass with flying colors. I worked full-time as a CNA during the last year of nursing school and this opened some doors for me as I had some acute care experience and gained many glowing recommendations.
 

diamondseeker2006

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jan 11, 2006
Messages
55,631
:wavey: Hi, good to see you here, asscherisme!

I just wanted to mention that MrsSalvo, who you probably remember, had an education degree. After having her children, she went back for a nursing degree. I believe she worked at a hospital this past year, and next fall she has a school nurse position in the system where her kids go to school! So she will have all the same holidays and summers off as they do which is her perfect job situation!

It sounds like the MPA would be less risky since you are more familiar with that kind of work. I think there are master's in public health, too, so maybe that could bridge your two interests???
 
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