Another 'is it worth it' question for RNs

  1. Now I know that there are probably hundreds of similar questions floating around this site, but I'm hoping this one is a little different.

    I am currently a CNA in a mixed rehab/LTC facility, and I am certainly not happy. It's not changing briefs, or feeding, or any of those things that give me problems. It's the possibility for advancement. For some reason I currently have no idea of, the only local uni that provides CNA level training dropped their Medication Technician, Advanced Skills Nursing Aide, EKG/ECG, and Phlebotomy courses. So now you're either stuck as a CNA, go 'behind the scenes' (RadTech, CT Tech, Surgical Tech, etc.), Patient Care Tech (the national exam type, not the other CNA title), spend another semester in and go for LPN, Or go for ADN.

    My dream is a job as an RN in direct wound care types of jobs. It doesn't have to be solely wound care, it's just that my skills are more in that area, more so than pharmacology, etc. and I have little to no problem with the aspects of it people find rather - undesirable, like debridement, ostomies, and the like.

    But as things stand now, I'm not making all that much. Every advisor I've had has told me that it's not a good idea to work while in the nursing program, even going so far as to put a suggestion to that effect in the schools materials. So I have to work.

    So the question is, what path would you advise me to take? I keep hearing the messages of "It's sooo worth it!", but often these were women that had either still been living at home with their parents, or with their significant others/spouses through the educational process. I don't want to mess things up by flunking out by not being able to handle the course load, and I don't want to let myself get disheartened to the point that I give up. Should I stick to trying to get in the ADN program, go for LPN and worry about advancement later, or is there some field I'm not even aware of that would be a far better fit.

    And before you start being too concerned, I'm not going to make my choices solely on what all of you have to say. But with so little useful information and chances here, it only seems right to reach out.

    Thanks for your time.
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  2. 14 Comments

  3. by   Here.I.Stand
    It was worth it to me, and while I was married I did have to work. Keep in mind that nursing education is generalist. Even if you attain your niche goal of becoming a WOCN, you will have to be proficient in pharmacology, assessment, care planning etc. to graduate and pass your NCLEX
  4. by   Ruby Vee
    I went for my BSN while working 2-3 jobs and living in a room I rented from an elderly couple for $10/week and assistance with chores around their house. They were a lovely couple, and the room was huge! The living situation was an adjustment at first, but they grew into surrogate grandparents for me. It was absolutely worth it.

    I'll echo the above comment about nursing education being generalist. If you wish to earn a wound care certification, you'll probably want to work on a surgical floor for a couple of years first.

    I'm rather sad and disappointed about all of the threads we see on this site started by folks who hate nursing and cannot WAIT get away from the bedside. It seems that no one wants to actually take care of patients anymore. I've found nursing to be fascinating, challenging, flexible and rewarding. Of course everyone is different, but I'll second the notion that it was worth it.
  5. by   soutthpaw
    Quote from Ruby Vee
    I went for my BSN while working 2-3 jobs and living in a room I rented from an elderly couple for $10/week and assistance with chores around their house. They were a lovely couple, and the room was huge! The living situation was an adjustment at first, but they grew into surrogate grandparents for me. It was absolutely worth it.

    I'll echo the above comment about nursing education being generalist. If you wish to earn a wound care certification, you'll probably want to work on a surgical floor for a couple of years first.

    I'm rather sad and disappointed about all of the threads we see on this site started by folks who hate nursing and cannot WAIT get away from the bedside. It seems that no one wants to actually take care of patients anymore. I've found nursing to be fascinating, challenging, flexible and rewarding. Of course everyone is different, but I'll second the notion that it was worth it.
    If you take the number of people complaining and divide it by the number of working nurses, I am sure the actual %age is really small. Like any profession, the I hate my job sentiment is more often related to non patient care issues like bosses, co workers, unsafe working environment , pay and scheduling issues, or overworked staff etc. Pick any profession and I am sure you will find the same complaints.
  6. by   Rose_Queen
    Quote from Ruby Vee
    I'm rather sad and disappointed about all of the threads we see on this site started by folks who hate nursing and cannot WAIT get away from the bedside. It seems that no one wants to actually take care of patients anymore. I've found nursing to be fascinating, challenging, flexible and rewarding. Of course everyone is different, but I'll second the notion that it was worth it.
    Is it that they really want to get away from patient care at the bedside, or is it that they want to get away from poor management and far too high of a workload? I know I'm leaving the bedside to get away from management, who was sabotaging my paycheck to the point of nearly 2 unpaid days a pay period.
  7. by   Ruas61
    How complicated is your life?

    If you are responsible only for yourself, there are a multitude of options.

    You could hunker down and get it done for at least the ADN part if you live frugally and keep your eyes on the end site.

    If your life is complicated by responsibilities, it is not so easily answered depending on what type of responsibilities they are.
  8. by   blondy2061h
    Bit the bullet and do it. Go for ADN. Many, many people work while in nursing school- at least part time. It's only two years and the sooner you do it the sooner you'll be earning an RN salary instead or a CNA salary. It sounds like you are passionate about patient care, so I suspect you'll do well.
  9. by   blondy2061h
    Quote from Ruby Vee

    I'm rather sad and disappointed about all of the threads we see on this site started by folks who hate nursing and cannot WAIT get away from the bedside. It seems that no one wants to actually take care of patients anymore. I've found nursing to be fascinating, challenging, flexible and rewarding. Of course everyone is different, but I'll second the notion that it was worth it.
    I didn't take her thread to mean she wants to get away from patient care. WOCN are very much hands on, usually, even though they aren't the patient's primary bedside nurse.
  10. by   saskrn
    Quote from solDanz
    My dream is a job as an RN in direct wound care types of jobs. It doesn't have to be solely wound care, it's just that my skills are more in that area, more so than pharmacology, etc. and I have little to no problem with the aspects of it people find rather - undesirable, like debridement, ostomies, and the like.
    When you get your RN, your skills have to be strong in EVERY area.

    And, honestly, I don't know any nurses who find debridement and ostomies "undesirable". They're just a small part of the larger RN job description.

    You have the option of pursuing WOCN certification, but you have to make it through RN school first.
  11. by   WildcatMLS
    Check this out Concurrent Enrollment Nursing Program | GateWay its so cool, apparently you can get an ADN and an RN one semester later using a bunch of academic mojo. So what you think will be 4 whole years of debt and pain could just be 2 and a half. Hopefully this emboldens you to risk it! I think it would be worth it.
  12. by   MinneNurse
    I went straight for my BSN and have never regretted it. That being said, there are factors you should consider.

    Do you only want to be a nurse working with wounds or do you still think you would be interested in working as a nurse in another area?
    Either way, you should do some research on the demand for WOC nurses in your area or areas you would consider living in/moving to. I know where I am from the demand isn't high for WOC nurses (it's a specialty I am also interested in) and many jobs require you attend a WOC nurse program or have obtained related certifications.
    If you don't want to be a nurse in other areas, then in my personal opinion I would say look at other career opportunities before applying to nursing programs. Nursing is a tough career and nursing school isn't a cake walk. Each program is different but for me it wasn't easy coordinating class, clinical, homework/studying, and working. It's totally doable, it was just really overwhelming and stressful at times. I don't regret it now, but I definitely had moments during nursing school when I felt like I wished I had picked a major with less exams and no care plans lol.

    I didn't work very much during nursing school, and if having time to work is something you are concerned about I would suggest contacting the school/program(s) you are interested and asking for a sample of the class/clinical schedule for the nursing program(s). This will help give you a better idea of how much time you will be spending at school/clinical and how much time you have left over for studying, homework, work, and all the other little things in life. If you have a way to reach current students in the program I would suggest that too, they can give feedback and information that you wouldn't get from a school rep. Some semesters for me were easier than others and required less time outside of class therefore leaving more time to work, and some semesters really took a lot of extra time and effort. Be prepared to make sacrifices (which I'm sure you already know). I don't know your current living situation but if you don't already have roommates you could consider moving in with a classmate from your program, that way you can carpool together, go to clinical together, and you have a live-in study buddy who understands the struggles of nursing school.

    In terms of which route to go (LPN vs. ADN), if you haven't already, I would look into if hospitals/clinics/etc in your area are hiring for LPNs before deciding between the programs. I would also consider cost and time spent in school. My local technical college had both LPN and RN programs but the RN program required you have your LPN first. The time it would have taken to complete the general education requirements and both the LPN & RN program would have only been a semester short of completely my BSN at the state university I attended, so that was the deciding factor for me.
    I also considered if going the LPN to RN route would be better because I could work as an LPN during the RN program and then continue working as an RN while getting my BSN but decided against it due to minimal places hiring for LPNs and ADNs where I lived and after talking to LPN students who graduated from the program who said they were having a difficult time finding jobs.

    There are a lot of factors to consider but I think its also important to note that there probably isn't a "right answer." I had friends from school who ended up attending different programs, some LPN, some ADN, some BSN, and we all had things to complain about. No program or route is perfect. Explore and consider all of your options and make the decision you think will fit your situation and future goals best.

    Best of luck to you in your future!
  13. by   MinneNurse
    Quote from Rose_Queen
    Is it that they really want to get away from patient care at the bedside, or is it that they want to get away from poor management and far too high of a workload?
    Took the words right out of my mouth!
  14. by   brandy1017
    Since you already are familiar with the healthcare environment you have a bridge to build on. If you like wound care you could go on to become an RN and work in the field. Our wound care specialist has a Masters degree, but I believe you could find work in a wound care clinic, possibly even now as a tech. Wound care is part of floor nursing and home health care as well as the clinic option. It is not a favorite part of my job, but I'm able to do it and do my best for the sake of the patients.

    You are smart that you are considering all your options. I was not aware of the many healthcare jobs out there other than nursing. Perhaps I would have been better suited for an allied health position. Nursing has been very hard for me stress wise and I've witnessed the working environment, staffing levels and expectations deteriorate over the years. I like many others have gone on medication to deal with the stress and while part of me feels weak for doing it the other part of me wishes I had done it years ago to help me cope.

    From a purely practical economic viewpoint, nursing has enabled me to pay my bills, buy a house, travel a little, and save for retirement. I come from a lower middle class working family without a college background or the necessary social connections to get a good paying job in this world where who you know matters more than what you know. There are moments when I enjoy my job and feel a connection with my patients, but there are too many times of being overworked and over stressed to recommend nursing generally. However with your background you could probably succeed and maybe even thrive.

    Many students are able to work while going to school. If you decide to do it check oud your local community college for an ADN RN. It could save you thousands of dollars. Stay away from for profit colleges and from private student loans. Take out the least govt student loans. Once you have your ADN you can then go on to a low cost RN to BSN option, there are now many online degree programs. Western Governors University is among the cheapest option out there. If you are lucky your employer will help pay something toward your BSN.
    Last edit by brandy1017 on Jul 18

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