New Teacher Wants to Become a Nurse: Advice Please!!

  1. hello,
    i am new to this forum and would like some positive help. i am going to just put my thoughts out there for you and they may become jumbled. please forgive me!! i know that there are some posts like this one and i have read them, but none of them are really just like me. i may ramble and this will probably get long, but please bear with me!
    i am a first year teacher in alabama and after spending four years in school, i've realized that this is just not for me. i really noticed that it was not what i wanted during my student teaching last year, but i was too close to finishing my degree to stop then! i went ahead and tried it out this year, and i've just not enjoyed it. i'm at a great school, with great administration and faculty. i couldn't ask for a better place to work. that being said, it's just not for me. everyone says that teachers work nine months out of the year, with summers off and lots of vacations. in alabama now, we're down to two months off and we go for different training sessions all throughout our summer vacation. i am in my classroom by 6:45 each morning and do not leave until after 3:00... several hours after 3:00 most days. i don't get paid competitively, compared to other professions with a bachelor's degree, and there's really no way for me to move up. i have no interest in being in administration, a librarian, or a counselor (and the pay is not much better for them). many think that based on the time we work, that we are paid fairly. we are not. no one but a teacher realizes how much out-of-pocket money is spent on school because there simply is not any in the budget at school. i have to spend my allocated instructional money on copies each month, so there is none left to spend on fun things for my classroom, or even necessary things. i have spent a small fortune on paper, printer ink, bulletin boards, spare pencils, markers, colored pencils, index cards, and the list goes on and on.
    i have had a child try to punch me this year (great school system and the administration handled it perfectly-still, it happened), parents who accused me of "giving" their child a bad grade (grades are earned-not given), and parents who enable their child's disrespectful behavior (by doing their discipline work for them). people are irrational about their children. i knew this going in. i teach 139 5th graders and i will fight for them against the other teachers (and extremely rude lunchroom ladies) when they get in trouble for things they didn't do... i do understand to some point, even though i don't have kids of my own, but these people are ridiculous. i don't mean to be rude, but i am good at my job. i don't like it, but i am the only positive influence that many of these kids have, so i make it a point to be good. it's my first year and i undoubtedly can become much better, but i do a good job. the kids like me, and the administration likes me. i have gotten great reports from all of my observations both from my principal and from our superintendent during walk-throughs.
    i know all about the retirement and the insurance too. it's not free, i pay in monthly for all of it.
    i was torn between becoming a nurse or a teacher in high school, and now i'm wishing that i'd chosen nursing. there are so many options with nursing that i don't have in teaching. i realize that no job will ever be perfect-everything will have its downfalls. i am too young (22) to be stuck in a career that i hate for 25 years. i am married, but have no children and am not looking to have any for several more years. by then, i hope to be settled in a career! i plan to start taking classes this summer towards my rn and continue them through the next year. already having a degree will make it much faster for me to go through and finish up.
    i guess i am asking for a push and some good advice. i have weighed the benefits that i get teaching, but for me, they are just not enough. i "nursed" both of my grandparents though a multitude of things when they were alive. i administered iv antibiotics for my grandmother, gave shots, medications, nebulizer treatments, cleaned and wrapped wounds, removed stitches and staples, and that's just to name a few things. i realize that this was my family who i care about, but enjoyed it. i really feel like i would enjoy it immensely. i could be an advocate for people that hurt, be constantly challenged and learning. with teaching, i go though much new training, but i still teach the same ol' things. it gets old. the medical world is changing constantly. i'm really excited about this. i feel a little bit like i'm throwing away something that i worked four years for, but i'm not. the degree is still mine, it won't go away. please give me some positive advice.
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    About teacher1986

    Joined: Feb '09; Posts: 7; Likes: 1


  3. by   Purple_Scrubs
    It sounds like you have really thought this through, which is a good start. Keep in mind that there are lots of things about nursing that you will not like. Dealing with kid's parents is not much unlike dealing with the families of some of your future patients. They can be equally irrational. You will also likely deal with aggressive patients, who may be much bigger and stronger than a 5th grader, depending on what age group you work with. You will also be likely to work 12 hour shifts, possibly nights, etc. and at not much better pay than teaching. Nurses are underpaid just as teachers as for the stuff we have to put up with So, many of the things you dislike about teaching will not go away, the situation will only change a bit.

    That said, if you are passionate about nursing I say go for it. I am a second career, second degree person as well. I do not feel my first degree (business) was wasted at all. I think your teaching background will hold well for you, as there is a lot of patient teaching in nursing. You can look into accelerated BSN programs for people who already have a non-nusing bachelor's once your pre-reqs are done. These programs are usually 15 months to 2 years and you're done!

    Good luck to you!
  4. by   Heloisea3
    I am so glad I saw your post. I completely understand how you feel because I was in your same shoes a few years ago. I also taught school, and I hated it. I knew my last semester in college (while doing our student teaching) that I would not like it, but like you, I thought it was too late to turn back. I ended up teaching for several years, and I was so miserable. I decided to go back to school for nursing. I am now in my last semester of nursing school. I am so glad that I decided to make a career change. Sure, there are patients that can be jerks, but you don't have to see those same patients 5 days a week for a whole school year. I tried to stick with teaching, but I got to the point where I started hating it more and more every year. I loved the kids, and I loved teaching, but it just got to the point where I was sick of teaching for a single standardized test, dealing with parents who didn't give a crap whether their children learned or not, and all the other stuff that people don't realize teachers have to put up with. Yes, I had the summers off, a week at spring break, several weeks at Christmas, and every holiday, but that doesn't make up for the mess you had to put up with at work. There came a point when it just wasn't worth it to me. There were a lot of my friends and family that said, "you're just going to waste your degree." They thought I was crazy to give up teaching to go into nursing. Yet, these same people had NO idea what it was really like to be in my shoes. Things always look better from the other side of the fence.

    So, I truly understand how you feel. If you know that you are not happy teaching and that you do not want to do it any longer, change careers. You are young right now, and you do not have children and a lot of other things to worry about. So, now would be the best time to change careers if you really want to. Honestly, teaching DOES become MUCH easier after your first year. However, if you are like me, easier does not necessarily mean better. At least in nursing, there are so many different things you can do. If you get into an area that you don't like, you can change to a different area. There are so many options. Anyway, if you truly want to be an RN, you should go for it. You are not "throwing away" anything by changing careers. You are adding to what you already have. Learning and experiencing things are not a waste. That is what makes you who you are and different from everybody else. I just know that life is too short to be miserable, and if you have a job that you really hate, then you will not be happy. My husband asked me, "What are you going to do if you quit teaching and become a nurse only to find out that you hate nursing?" I told him, "something else." I will not spend years and years being miserable at a job I hate. I just can't make myself do it, and I hope others dont either. Anyway, whatever you choose, I hope you are happy. Good luck to you!
  5. by   magnolia3957
    I am a second career second degree'er too!
    I feel your pain...and wish I had decided earlier in my career that the misery I felt was real. Instead I have spent alot of my adult life killing myself to build a career and make money in a field that makes me miserable. Nursing was my 1st college major and I should have stuck with it. Good luck to you!
  6. by   Skeetah2007
    Hello, I am in our shoes as well. I am currently an elementary school teacher and have been so for four years. Although becoming a teacher was my first choice, I am now having second thoughts as kids get worse each year, parent become more and more unconcerned (kids come to school without supplies, homework, etc.) and the school budget is continually crunched (I too have spent a ton of money on supplies for ungrateful little people who lose everything you give them). In addition, discipline is becoming more of a problem, and unlike you, my school district does not handle these situations quite as well. Yes, it seems like we get a lot of time off, but we don't. Since effective lessons need to be adequately planned, I find myself working late into the night trying to write lesson plans, not to mention grading papers and recording the grades. Oh, and if there are children who are struggling (which many of them are) I have to provide supplemental/intervention material for them which is also time consuming. I agree 100%. The job is tiring, mentally tiring and it seems like there is not enough help or suport from home. Teachers have to wear more than one "hat" anyway, so I don't think that switching careers would be a bad thing. Nurses do get paid a lot more than teachers, especially when you calculate what you spend to do your job; and nurses do not spend eight hours straight with the same patient. Nor do the patients relatives call them at ridiculous times in the evening, morning, or night to ask questions or complain that they've lost their child's homework contract or spelling list, or that they don't have an money to buy materials for a science fair project, which exempts their child from having a failing grade. The only downfall for me would be having to quit work to persue the degree at risk of not having the income at all or what I'm used to and I won't have the summers and other holidays off, which are good bc I have a two year old. Anyway, I too, after a master's degree am sick of hearing the same old theories in education-its boring and like someone else said, if I find I HATE nursing, I'll try something else. I know that was long, but I had to vent. Thanks for the posts. They were just what I needed.
  7. by   bamagt
    If you think working from 0645 till 1500 is hard then you need to reconsider being a nurse.
  8. by   midnight*sky
    I say go for it! I admire you for your thorough thinking. There's only one thing that stuck out: Your current work hours from 0645-1500 - nurses commonly work 12-hr+ shifts so if you don't like your hours now, prepare to really hate them as a nurse! Not only do you work those hours, but you also rarely get any breaks as well. Not to discourage you, definitely not, I just wanted you to get a realistic picture of what it could be like regarding hours.

    Good luck with whatever choice you make!!
  9. by   teacher1986
    When I said that I was in my classroom from 6:45 to well after 3:00 most days, I was just venting about the fact the people think it's an 8-3 job. It is not. I would have no problem working longer days if I were getting paid for the time I put in, but it does not matter if I am there until 8:00 at night, I get no extra pay for that. I may be wrong in this, but I believe that nurses who work 12 hour shifts, generally only work three days a week after they are settled in a job. This may not be true right out of school, but with experience, I believe it is. Please correct me if I am wrong in that because I want to really know what I am getting myself into.

    I want to thank those of you who took the time to answer my post. Your posts have been incredibly encouraging when no one else around me has. I have no support coming from my family, my husband included, so I need all the outside help I can get. As I write, I sit at school stewing over yet another rude note from a parent. We have 58 more school days left, and at this point, I have no clue how I am going to make it through them. Please keep me in your prayers as I continue to fight my way through this year and as I begin nursing classes this summer. Thanks again!
  10. by   meluhn
    As a new nursing instructor I have a new appreciation for teachers. The nice thing about nursing is that for the most part, your patients are nice and appreciate what you do. You tend to become close with your co workers because you are all going through the same thing. However, it is physically exhausting and stressful. As I now know, teaching can also be very stressful but in a different way. For me it is the stress of dealing with a handful of very immature nsg students who think you are being too hard on them. Their disrespectful attitude gets really old after a while and I am thinking of giving it up and returning to the hospital full time. I am torn though because their are things about it that I like. Like wearing nice clothes to work(I know this sounds petty but after 16 yrs of scrubs...) and not having to change diapers, toilet people, give meds, and chart for 5 hours of my 8 hr shift (which btw turns into a 10 hr shift). Nursing will definitely not be easier but it may be more rewarding and after a while you can move on to something else. That is the nice thing about nursing you can try different areas and see what you like. The hospital is just one choice, there are many others. Good luck.
  11. by   cpreston
    OMG!! You sound so much like me. I'm 26 years old and I have been teaching for 3 years. I realized that it wasn't for me when I did my student teaching but I continued to do it. I come from a family full of teachers. I have 3 aunts, 2 cousins, my mom and my grandmother was a teacher. I started out in Nursing in college and I changed my major. What a bad decision? I go in my classroom everday and do a great job. I love my kids and the parents but it's just not for me. I have a tear up my classroom my first year and the administration was terrible. I was at a child development center and they didn't do anything. I was so frustrated until I would also tell my husband that I didn't want kids. lol Right now I'm going to pursue my degree in Nursing. I'm trying to find out what schools will be good and how long would it take being that I have a BS in Child Development. If you know, please let me know. I'm going for it because I'm young with no kids. It's just me and my husband. I'm also a travel agent and I really enjoy booking cruises. I'm planning a couples cruise and family reunion for next year for anyone who wants to go. I look forward to talking with you and good luck!!

  12. by   Kolibri
    Hello, I do not know if the original poster is still reading this thread as it was from Feb. I am writing to say I hear you and can understand where you are coming from. However, my experience is a bit different. I am a high school Spanish teacher and worked for 4.5 years in a mixed urban/suburban school district. When I had our daughter, I went to nursing school at the tech college part-time so I could stay home with her too. I had always intended to go back to teaching as I quite enjoyed it (high school can be better or worse than elementary depending on your perspective and experiences) and wanted to be vested in the retirement. In Wisconsin the schools are quite heavily funded so no probs having to spend my own money on stuff or anything like that. I have been at Lakeshore Technical College for the last 2 years, working to get my LPN and then go on for the last year to complete the ADN/RN portion. Now, however, I am interviewing for a few teaching jobs and I will tell you why. My sad story, ha, ha.

    LTC (Lakeshore) has a policy where if a part-time student goes beyond the 2 years to take and be successful (80% or better) the courses required for the LPN, the student will have to re-take 1st semester nursing courses in order to be allowed to retake what he or she did not pass. Does that make sense? Well I know it does not make sense in real life, but I meant my explanation. For example, I had all the courses/clinicals for their lpn program and passed them all and got A's and B's, except for one, the last clinical before being allowed to take the lpn test. This clinical was a med/surg clinical and was very! difficult. We were 6 students and only 3 passed. I did not pass it and it was due to "time management". I know I did things wrong, I have never worked as a cna or otherwise in any healthcare setting, just the previous clinicals I had in school where I did fine. I won't even go into the instructor or this could go on all night. But, now, in order for me to retake the clinical I just had in May, I would have to retake Nursing Fundamentals and Pharmacology. Or, take the final exams from those classes I had in Fall of 2007 and get an 80 or above on them. If I do not get 80 or above, I am completely out of the program. Now, you may think this is not a big deal. But it is to me. If I had been a regular student, not part-time, getting the lpn in one year, I could retake the clinical no questions asked and no exams and no retaking or classes. I am very upset about this. In order to transfer to any other nursing school, I need a letter of good standing from the Dean of LTC's dept. I do not want to risk taking those final exams or she will put that in the letter and I will be turned away from other nursing schools where I would hope to transfer.

    It gets even more annoying...I am on the waitlist to transfer to another Wisconsin Tech College that is nearer to my home - LTC btw is like over an hour away but I went there as the first place I could get in. Back in March, at their recommendation via numerous e-mails and memos, I sent in and paid for my paperwork to the State and also paid Peason Vue for the NCLEX-PN test, $200. We were told to be all set to test as soon as we were done with clinical in May. So, $200 later, I cannot take the PN test. It is good for 365 days but I do not want to repeat all this stuff/take final exams etc. at LTC so no PN there. At the other tech college they will not send in my paperwork to the State as I did not have 25% of my classes there. I took one other theory course there but this is not enough for them to vouch for me, I guess. Seems weird, as if the State would care, probably not. So, now I cannot get a refund from this stupid test company.

    Meanwhile, this whole thing has gotten me in such a depressed state that I decided to keep my options open and apply for some teaching jobs in my area. I live in an area with a few high schools and districts that were rated as like numbers one and two in our State, so that is a good thing. I have a few interviews the next weeks and will see what happens. I hate to throw away all the nursing courses I have taken so far. I feel bad giving up but am at least thankful that I have a former career to fall back on. Gosh, what if I didn't? I think these policies are just absurd and feel bad that it has turned out this way. Btw, I had asked back in Fall of 2008 when we were going to the lottery to chose the clinical sites, what happens if I have a health issue (I did have surgery on Dec. 31st, 2008) and have to take part of a semester off? I was told the same thing about having to retake classes/exams. Therefore I tried really, really hard in med surg, but it was not good enough. I do have one story here, I just have to share to illustrate that I am not crazy and making up how bad this clinical was:

    300 pound pt. had a broken ankle. She was running a temp and the clinical instructor said, "What are you going to do about it?" So, I quickly scanned her med sheet to see what I could give and saw at the top of the first pg. that she was allergic to aspirin. So, I said while stalling for time to think what else I could come up with while she is breathing down my neck, "I cannot give her the aspirin due to allergy. I would start (note that key word here, meaning there is more to come) by uncovering her." I had turned the page to look at her other med orders and was about to say I would give her some tylenol when my instructor snapped at me, "Cough and deep breathe! You need to have her cough and deep breathe to bring that temp down!" I tell you, I was just speechless. No where in my life, much less in their nursing program did I ever here aobut this method to bring down a temp. An ice bed, a med, uncover, sure. But this? I asked my mom, who is incidentally a nurse with a master's degree and another woman at church about this. They could not believe this was the answer she wanted. So then later, the instructor says to me, "You need to start applying what you've been learning in theory to this clinical."

    So, this is why I am depressed about this whole thing. I guess to start to wrap this up...I feel that if a good teaching job comes up (there is one 2 miles up the road so am hoping for that out of all the jobs) I will take it. If not, I will go to the other tech college and try to make it all the way through. I am putting in God's hands at this point. To the original poster of this topic, I did not mean to bend your ear or anyone else's, but my advice is to ask about time limits to stuff. What happens if you do not pass a course, exactly what are the options? Etc. I have told this story and my predicament to a few people and their response is, "I keep hearing there is a shortage of nurses. You would think they would be more flexible." Or similar. I do not want to discourage anyone from going into nursing school, I just hope it works out better for you than it is currently for me. I have no doubt that I would pass this clinical if given the chance, at a different school. There were folks from LTC who did not pass that clinical the first time the semester before. Five of them retook it and only one passed. I don't know what that says about anything. It is summertime now and I am enjoying being home with my daughter and just doing fun stuff. I think about this when I think about becoming a nurse and wonder if I will have the same free time? I am really on the fence about the whole thing. Any responses would be appreciated. Maybe someone has heard about that temp thing, ha, ha. Now that I have riled myself up over this topic which has become a dark cloud over my life since the first week in May, I will try to go to bed. ~Kolibri -German for hummingbird; they are my favorites
  13. by   damrcngrl95
    I agree with what the others have said so far. I have been teaching for 10 years. I am just burnt out!!!! I know that nursing and teaching have some similar traits. You will work over-time with teaching and you could work over-time with nursing. You usually get paid for your time with nursing from what I understand. You do get a lot of time off during wonderful parts of the year as a teacher. (summers and holidays) If you work as a teacher you will work at least 188 days in most states. If you work as a 12 hour shift nurse 3 days a week you will work 156 days. As a nurse you will most likely work holidays. I found that I am willing to give up my holidays and summers for the flexibility in nursing. I like the idea that I have the chance to change my hours or change the area that I'm working in. It would have helped a whole lot when my 4 y/o was a baby if I could have worked nights or weekends. I know that I have a passion for helping people and this is a common trait for teaching and nursing. I don't regret the time I have spent teaching and I hope that it will help me with nursing. Both careers are very demanding, but I would like to have more control/ flexibility over the direction of my career.
    I am glad that this thread hasn't turned into who has it the worse, teachers or nurses. The two careers are different enough that you just can't compare. I admire the people who work in both fields. You give so much of yourselves each and everyday.
    I am looking forward to a new adventure in the nursing field. Now lets see if I can even get accepted into a nursing school.

  14. by   mamapie
    I am having the same experience at LTC, right now!!