Anyone able to use a nursing degree and another degree?

  1. Hi all!
    I graduated in May, and work at a small hospital. I work night shift. I was thinking about going back part time to the same university that I graduated from. I wanted to take some classes for parks and recreation management. I feel this way, because my heart is in the outdoors, and I'm not sure if I'm happy with nursing.

    I'm not sure if I'm just new, and scared of nursing, or something else.

    I was wondering if any of you have a different degree besides nursing, and how it works out(if you use that degree as well). Anyone out there integrate nursing with another degree? Or work part time/prn nursing and part time/prn something else?

    Thanks for any input!
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  2. 19 Comments

  3. by   Quickbeam
    I think you have to really search for opportunities to combine a non-nursing background with a nursing degree. That is my situation and I found it harder than I had anticipated. I am now in a role that does combine my criminal justice degree/regulatory experience with nursing. It took me 20 years to find it, though.

    Just my experience...I'm sure others will differ....but I did not find the nursing world open to my non-nursing expertise. Even my sign language skills; I tried for years to find a job as a nurse /interpreter. Places were thrilled to use my sign skills as a free bonus but no one wanted to pay for it.

    It may depend on what your other degree is. I also think the world is more receptive to career changers today than it was 20 years ago. Best wishes to you!
  4. by   RN007
    My first thoughts were nursing for camps (like summer camps) or coordinating outdoor activities for LTC facilities. I wonder if the park service has medical staff at the major national parks? Also, volunteering for a local rescue squad might get your some outdoor time, too. Just some random thoughts ...

    I already have degrees in other fields and plan to use those skills later as I get into my nursing career (writing and managing).
  5. by   scribblerpnp
    I had a friend who was a nurse for Yellow Stone National Forestry for a few summers for a couple of years. Mainly it was first-aid kind of things and every once in a while she would assist flight-lifting a person to the hospital. I don't recall that she had any extra-special skills set needed for this since she had been a Heme-Onc nurse for about 1-2 years prior. It didn't seem to her that it was a difficult job to get, and it would qualify as your being outdoors. But you would have to be willing to move to someplce like that. Glacier National Forset uses nurses too. I also looked into going to be a nurse in an Americal Indian National Reserve, it was office/community work/ in a small community with a lot of out-of-doorsy stuff around. But then I was accepted into grad school, so I went there instead.
  6. by   socishan
    Also, what about international nursing for the Peace Corps or something like Docs without Borders? Depending on where you went, you may get more outdoor time and perhaps the Peace Corps might be able to use any knowledge of environmental management that you have (a lot of this would be more focused on sustainable development rather than "park" management, though).

    But, it could be a way to tie together your nursing skills with a larger environmental/outdoors issue. Ie, if you went to Haiti to nurse, perhaps you could also involve yourself in developmental plans that educate farmers about using groundwater irrigation to elongate the sustainability of their seasonal crops if you had a background in environmental sustainability or management.

    It might not pay much working for one of these types of organizations, but nursing could be a way to get you overseas-- and then while you're there, you might be able to help out with larger environmental issues too. I'd talk to a rep for the Peace Corp or a similar place and see what they think. Or check out their website which has tons of information on what kind of skills/backgrounds/degrees are useful to them if you're interested. Good luck.
  7. by   Quickbeam
    ncriverrat, I re-read your original post because I missed the outdoor part. My husband has been in outdoor education for 25 years, working for the NOC (your part of the world), NOLS and Outward Bound. It is a very tough field to get good paying work with benefits. Government agencies are the best if you are looking for long term career options with pension and health care benefits. My husband did a nationwide job search for a decent paying outdoor ed job when we got married. He's still in that same job 19 years later.

    I've asked him about his colleagues who combine nursing and outdoor ed. He says it is hard to find a job where they are willing to pay for the nursing part. He thought maybe you could look into teaching "Wilderness First Responder" courses since they focus on emergency wilderness medicine. He had a few friends along the way who were RNs in his field but mostly they had abandoned their nursing practice.

    Why not contact the NOC/NOLS/Outward Bound to see if they can suggest anything?
  8. by   futurecnm
    I have an engineering degree and am in school for nursing. I believe I will love my nursing career, but if not I am hoping to combine the 2 and work in the medical device field.
  9. by   TazziRN
    I know someone who runs a cardiac cath lab and is also a chiropractor part time.
  10. by   BonnieSc
    It would be AMAZING to have camp nurses with education in rec; way too many camp nurses are unsuccessful because they don't really understand what camp/ outdoor recreation is all about. (Pretty much all camp people have a story about a "crazy" camp nurse--it's really hard to find a good one.) But these jobs don't pay very much compared to hospital or public health work; perhaps $80-90 per day. Year-round, there are also nursing jobs in outdoor education (the sixth-grade-science-camp type of thing). They also don't pay well. But this type of work is incredibly rewarding if that's what you enjoy. The nursing jobs pay more than most of the other jobs... everyone is making sacrifices to be there.

    Now, if only someone could come up with a way to combine nursing and art history...
  11. by   ncriverrat
    Thanks to everyone for the replies!
    You all have had some great ideas, thanks!

    I realize that nursing may pay better than some of the opportunities I would have with a degree in parks and rec. My husband lays tile, and I am hoping that in the next several years we would be financially stable enough for me to pick a job that pays less, if it makes me happier.

    I would love to combine these 2 degrees. I don't want to totally throw my nursing education out the window! Thanks again for the replies. I think I may try and take a couple of classes a semester and see how it goes.
  12. by   Daytonite
    i know of people with nursing degrees who have gotten jobs in insurance companies and other healthcare related companies. one rn i worked with got a job with a large manufacturer of hospital beds. she did inservices in facilities who bought their beds showing the staff how the newly purchased beds operated. how cool a job is that? she also worked for a group of lawyers. when a potential client for a lawsuit came in, she was one of their professionals who went to a facility to review that person's chart to report back if she thought there was any merit to the firm taking the case. she also had a job with a consulting firm where she went into facilities and reviewed patient's charts and then compared what was documented in the chart against what was billed to the insurance company. they saved the insurance companies thousands of dollars in overcharges! her background was that she had a bsn and had worked in the acute hospital for about 3 years. she hated hospital nursing. but, she found these other jobs through head hunter agencies and loved them! i believe she had a company car for a couple of these jobs.

    when i finally had to call clinical nursing quits because of a bad back, i took a course in medical coding at a vocational school. you see medical coding advertised on tv a lot. i got hired right away at a large physician group as a coder because of my nursing background. it doesn't pay near as much as nursing, however, unless you have national certification. they don't tell you that in the tv ads.

    nurses are often desired in other fields because of their experience in prioritizing, delegating and managing their work. we are great multi-taskers and organizers. don't sell yourself short. your nursing education is a definite plus when you are looking for employment in other fields.
  13. by   augigi
    Quote from futurecnm
    I have an engineering degree and am in school for nursing. I believe I will love my nursing career, but if not I am hoping to combine the 2 and work in the medical device field.
    Just wanted to say, as someone whon works in the medical device field (LVADs) - engineering + nursing is a powerful combination, and you could get a job at any company once you have 1-2 years nursing experience, either as clinical support, sales/marketing, tech writer, medical liaison etc etc.
  14. by   Jabramac
    My wife works at a city run community center where the director of Parks and Rec actually was previously an ER RN. I have heard that nursing skills can be valuable to many other fields. Nurses are generely good at people managment, delegation, eduation, customer service etc. All the things we do to keep departments running on a day to day basis and stay on top of our pts needs are skills other companies need, not to mention our analytical traianing and great multitasking and priotitizing abilities. Now, as far as pay goes, that might be a whole nother story. Good luck, I hope it works out well for you.

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