Choosing how and what to do to get started with nursing - HELP!

  1. Hello!

    I was hoping for some help regarding a career path in healthcare.

    As a single father dealing with child support payments (I get my angels every weekend), I have to deal with needing to make more than I usually need to get along. As such, getting into nursing is a bit tricky because of the whole bills thing - I'm sure many here can empathize

    That said, I've been looking at a few ways of getting out of technology and into healthcare. Keep in mind my ultimate goal is to become a CRNA, but my immediate goal is to become an RN.

    Massage Therapy:

    pros - I can finish school, at night, in about 9 months and be certified. I can work on fibromialgia patients like my mother through insurance companies (some are starting to treat massage therapy as treatment) and make a good wage doing it myself on the side. It gives me a potential means to augment a future non-RN position paycheck in order to get by while I finish up school.

    cons - 9 months focused on something else (and going into student loan territory to have to do it) other than finishing up the 1.5 years of pre-reqs I need to start nursing school. Not a financially-sustaining business on it's own. Don't believe even my A&P classes could transfer. As a man, it could be hard getting started aside from going the fibro-patient angle. To actually do it means to take away time on the weekend from my children or do it at night and be unable to attend classes.

    Ultrasonography:

    pros - I'd be going through a community college most likely which means a few credits should transfer later. It puts me in the hospitals/health centers at a pay that could make the bills and would possibly put me at a place where benefits would help ease the schooling needs (via work-sponsored financial aid for school) to transfer into the RN program.

    cons - at least 2 years of schooling to do it and I'm not sure what the credit-transfer situation would be like. I don't want to shoot myself in the foot if there aren't a lot of related classes, this could put me further back in my path.



    Of the two it really comes down to whether I'd like something to supplement or replace what I'm doing. The supplemental approach takes 1/2 the time, but does nothing more than provide another skill. As a man it's attractive because, hey, what woman doesn't like a man who knows what to do with his hands. But professionally, it seems Ultrasonography is the better choice.

    Does anyone know of any other careers that offer a short path to start but an attractive wage upon starting? I have resigned myself to knowing I'll be in school for the next 8 years to get where I want to be (since I'll be doing a lot of it at nights and part-time), but I'd like to get started by taking that first leap.

    I just about signed up for MT school but I'm thinking more and more of looking into Ultrasonography. Any idea if those classes transfer, are shared, etc. with the nursing school program? I imagine as nurses, many of you look around and think, "I wonder what that is like", only to do your research at home and find someone may be making more than you for what you perceive to be less work, etc. Or visa-versa, discover that a "harder" job you see done is actually done for less pay, etc.
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  2. 11 Comments

  3. by   dreamingofbeing
    Does your community college offer a nursing program? If it does that is a 2 year program that will get you an associates and you will be an RN. From there you can advance but at least you would be an RN working in the field. Makes more sense to me if you are willing to put 2 years into another program. JMHO
  4. by   GilbertDaddy
    The big problem with that route though was that I had roughly 1.5-2 years of JUST pre-reqs. THEN, another 2 years of nursing school.

    Problem with the pre-reqs is that they're stacked so that sometimes I can ONLY take 1 class because there are pre-reqs for the others that I can't sign up for yet
  5. by   puresass
    would it be possible to go the LVN then RN route? you'd be in LVN school for a year & then you could bridge to an RN program... & most LVN programs aren't as pre-req heavy as ADN/BSN programs.
  6. by   purplemania
    talk to HR in local hospitals. They may have jobs that would pay tuition, salary and get you acquainted with the medical industry. Surgical tech? Rad tech? Those do not require a lot of prep work. Heck, Unit clerks and nursing assistants learn a LOT about caring for patients. Did you talk to the financial aid dept at school? I was a surg tech, charged 1st semester to credit card, then got scholarships till I got RN. After that I used company tuition reimbursement to advance.
  7. by   HairCanada
    well if you want to make the money , do not go the massage therapy route.
    Education usually equals income potential, so quick routes, will probably not be your best opportunity for long term income stability.

    Also if you want to be a CRNA then ultrasonography is pointless as well. You must be an RN to be a CRNA, period.


    with that said, ultrasonography is an excellent field, and yes you can get in with a 2 year degree and make some decent money with benefits usually. There is also room for advancement with additional education and experience. Top end could put you in the 70k bracket

    However going the RN route will offer you the most opportunity for career advancment, diversity and mobility. Top end [np, crna,administrator]..can bring in 100k plus.

    with that said both of these career paths are lifetime commitments and the learning process will never stop. Be prepared for that.

    Good luck with whatever you come up with!
  8. by   GilbertDaddy
    I think I'm going to speak with a few hospital HR departments and see what local schools they recommend.

    The issue is that I work full time 50 hours a week during the week. Not only do I need to take night classes, I can't support both households at less than 25/hr.

    So the LVN/LPN route won't work unfortunately. This would be the ideal route, but in our area, they make about 14-16/hr.

    Doing MT, I could possibly supplement this.... but could you honestly imagine working 2 jobs as an MT AND LVN AND going to school? I could do ti for 6 months maybe but I don't see myself doing it for 2 years. I'm afraid I'd burn out

    The keys is to go to school 4-5 hours a night for a year or two, and then get into a field that starts at 20+/hr. From there, once I'm in healthcare, I'm hoping to decide where to go next. More likely the RN route.

    I wish I knew more about nursing before I had children and finished my AA the first time. I would have at least taken some of the pre-reqs lol..
  9. by   GilbertDaddy
    Thanks Hair

    The biggest issue right now is getting out of IT. I don't know if I want to be stuck doing this for another 4 years (1.5-2 for the pre-reqs and 2 for the actual RN associates) while going to school.

    From what I've heard, you're right about MT. It would be supplemental, but that still does nothing to get me to RN.

    But as far as Ultrasound, I don't mind taking a side-road to being a CRNA if it means just getting into the healthcare field. Also, working for a hospital, I imagine there would be some benefits to help me go to nursing school, better availability to do things like clinicals, etc.

    Just like a lot of folks recommend going the LVN/LPN route first and doing the bridge, I think getting INTO a hospital in a healthcare-related field would be best.

    From there, I can probably evaluate my options a lot better. Hoping at least



    Quote from HairCanada
    well if you want to make the money , do not go the massage therapy route.
    Education usually equals income potential, so quick routes, will probably not be your best opportunity for long term income stability.

    Also if you want to be a CRNA then ultrasonography is pointless as well. You must be an RN to be a CRNA, period.


    with that said, ultrasonography is an excellent field, and yes you can get in with a 2 year degree and make some decent money with benefits usually. There is also room for advancement with additional education and experience. Top end could put you in the 70k bracket

    However going the RN route will offer you the most opportunity for career advancment, diversity and mobility. Top end [np, crna,administrator]..can bring in 100k plus.

    with that said both of these career paths are lifetime commitments and the learning process will never stop. Be prepared for that.

    Good luck with whatever you come up with!
  10. by   GilbertDaddy
    Quick tangent too, if I may. Having been on these boards for a while, having spoken to a couple colleges about the path to becoming an RN, etc. I've heard a bunch of horror stories, more oft thannot from CNA/LPN/LVN's, about empty promises.

    When I went to Apollo College to talk about MT, I had done my research. When she said that MT's typically make 50/hr, I just kind of stared open eyed and couldn't believe it.

    She quickly understood I knew the truth, but yikes. I can only imagine how they drop these 10-20k programs on LPN's promising them that they are pretty much RN's but much smarter for taking the shorter route and they'll probably get comparable pay..

    Quote from HairCanada
    well if you want to make the money , do not go the massage therapy route.
    Education usually equals income potential, so quick routes, will probably not be your best opportunity for long term income stability.
  11. by   futurecnm
    No great advice here, except it is a long road. I decided about 4 years ago I wanted to be an RN, and started a 2 year program in Aug. Luckily I don't have to work while doing this but many people do. I don't know how you can make 25/hr in a healthcare field without quite a bit of schooling. If you are making that much in your current job you are probably better off staying at that job while you do your pre-reqs and nursing school. Gotta do what pays the bills. If you really have a dream to go into nursing, keep at it. Steady and slow, you will get there. I took one class at a time for 2 years to get my pre-reqs done. I sometimes feel like I'm just getting started but looking back at how far I've come I realized I'm in the home stretch.
  12. by   Jack39
    [quote=GilbertDaddy]The big problem with that route though was that I had roughly 1.5-2 years of JUST pre-reqs. THEN, another 2 years of nursing school.

    I feel your pain. The ASN route to nursing is a longer road than many people realize. I started with no college credits and am looking at four years IF I'm accepted to the nursing program on the first try (they use a point system). Our nursing program is 21 months.
    People who already hold a degree in another field usually need only take Biology, micro, A&P I and II and Developemental Psych and maybe one or two other courses to apply to the program. This is why alot of folks make faces when thier degree is described as a "two year degree." I wish. I would have went the BSN route if I were younger and school was my only concern. We all must do what we have must to reach our goals.
  13. by   Jack39
    [quote=jack39]
    Quote from gilbertdaddy
    the big problem with that route though was that i had roughly 1.5-2 years of just pre-reqs. then, another 2 years of nursing school.

    i feel your pain. the asn route to nursing is a longer road than many people realize. i started with no college credits and am looking at four years if i'm accepted to the nursing program on the first try (they use a point system). our nursing program is 21 months.
    people who already hold a degree in another field usually need only take biology, micro, a&p i and ii and developemental psych and maybe one or two other courses to apply to the program. this is why alot of folks make faces when thier degree is described as a "two year degree." i wish. i would have went the bsn route if i were younger and school was my only concern. we all must do what we have must to reach our goals.

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