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

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    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 bachelorís 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 ďgivingĒ their child a bad grade (grades are earned-not given), and parents who enable their childís 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 didnít doÖ i do understand to some point, even though i donít have kids of my own, but these people are ridiculous. i donít mean to be rude, but i am good at my job. i donít like it, but i am the only positive influence that many of these kids have, so i make it a point to be good. itís 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. itís 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 ďnursedĒ 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 thatís 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 olí things. it gets old. the medical world is changing constantly. iím really excited about this. i feel a little bit like iím throwing away something that i worked four years for, but iím not. the degree is still mine, it wonít go away. please give me some positive advice.

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  2. 39 Comments...

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    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!
    jharper205 likes this.
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    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!
    knottygirl and teacher1986 like this.
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    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!
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    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.
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    If you think working from 0645 till 1500 is hard then you need to reconsider being a nurse.
    nurse1109 likes this.
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    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!!
    nurse1109 likes this.
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    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!
    meluhn likes this.
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    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.
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    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!!


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