Considering a career change to Nursing ... advice / input welcomed!

  1. Hi there! I'm new to the boards (and I just introduced myself in that other thread, sorry for the repeat).

    The short version of this story is that I have a BS in electrical engineering, a minor in physics, work experience in programming, and I know that something is missing! I miss people. In fact, I was missing it so much I actually got a job on the side working as a waitress at Pizza Hut just to get more time being with (and working for) people. Silly huh? Well, it's me I think.

    I'm thinking very sersiously of going back to school to be a nurse. It would take me about 3 years to get a BSN from our local program (ICNE, for those in the area). Currently I'm eyeing Labor and Delivery, NICU, or Peds as my love of children and babies is so high, but I'm not ruling anything out! Since I lost my job late last year I have been searching for a position to combine my technical skills with the medical field, and I'm currently applying to volunteer at a local hospital.

    While all of that will be wonderful for shaping my ideas about hospital work and nursing, I'd love to hear from all of you. What do you love, what do you hate, what do you do? What do I not know that I'm going to need to know to decide? What misconceptions do I probably hold about what I'm getting into? I want to make a smart and informed decision about this, so that the career change thing doesn't become a recurring theme in my life!

    Thanks for any and all input you can give me!

    Kelly
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  2. 12 Comments

  3. by   sjoe
    1) there is a forum on this BB entitled "Would you recommend nursing as a career?" that you might want to check out.

    2) similarly, this question has been discussed in various threads on this forum that you might want to read.

    3) you might also want to read a random assortment of threads on this and the "nursing activism/politics" and "student nursing" forums to get a better idea of the issues involved.
    Last edit by sjoe on Jan 3, '03
  4. by   BluEyz
    sjoe ...

    Thanks! I didn't even see that forum, but now I'm going to go read it! What a great idea, *Grin*. And I'll take a peak at the student nursing forum too.

    I knew these questions had been answered somewhere, I just didn't find them with my searches. Time to get better at searching eh?


    Thanks again!
    Kelly
  5. by   Hooligan
    Just a thought....Do you plan on getting a Master's Degree? If so, then you may want to see if any of the schools in your area have Bridge Programs. I myself have a BA in English so I'm going the Jr. College route to get my ADN since it will be quicker. I definately plan on getting my Master's which is why I chose this route. Our bridge programs allow people with non-nursing Bachelor degrees to pursue a Masters without getting their BSN first. This is just another option if you are interested in getting into the field sooner but plan to go on with your education. I also can't really afford to get another Bachelor's right now and so this route is cheaper as well as quicker!! Good luck with whatever you decide!

    ~Bean
  6. by   BluEyz
    That's a great question, bean 76. I guess I'm not sure what benefit the Master's would have. I'm not the kind who wants to be a manager or similar. I really just want to have options on working with patients. Supervising small groups isn't bad, but I'm more of an in the trenches type than a boss / leader type.

    Other than to pursue leadership positions, are there reasons to get an MSN? Even if I go with my BSN I may still get an MSN later on for the sake of my love of education. *Grin*

    Kelly
  7. by   Hooligan
    Well....I'm not an expert but if you ever get burned out with bedside nursing it's good to have a Master's to fall back on. With it you can do as you've mentioned and take on a supervisor role in administration or perhaps go into research but my main interesest personally is to "specialize" in the nursing field. I haven't fully decided yet...in fact I'm early in in my own career change but I'm leaning towards Midwifery or perhaps becoming a CRNA. From what I've read, a Master's degree opens up doors for an individual and of course broadens the salary spectrum. I'm sure others here can add more info here...

    I was just curious if you planned on getting an advanced degree...If so...then you may consider the ADN route. If not, then I reccomennd the BSN route based on what I've read here. Also since you have experience in programming, maybe check out nursing informatics...I think that's what it's called...

    Anyway, I myself am optomisitic enough to be excited about nursing and my career change but am also realistic enough to know that my body may give out on bedside nursing long before my heart will...so I'm looking at all my possiblilities. Once again, good luck! I hope this has been helpful!

    ~Bean
  8. by   hogan4736
  9. by   Mariah
    With you technical background, you may also want to look into the field of Nursing Informatics. It may not be what you want since their is less direct patient contact. But if you want more info, try http://www.amia.org/working/ni/main.html
  10. by   Peeps Mcarthur
    By Blueyze
    Currently I'm eyeing Labor and Delivery, NICU, or Peds as my love of children and babies is so high, but I'm not ruling anything out! Since I lost my job late last year I have been searching for a position to combine my technical skills with the medical field,
    Nursing would be a fulfilling career choice for someone interested in OB/peds type interaction. If you also enjoy psychology and the social aspect, you may have found a perfect match. Your technical background however, may end up not applying to much in nursing. The subjects of math, and physics translate to a medical field well, but have little value in nursing curicculum, that being said, nursing is wonderful if you prefer family issues over biological pathology.

    With your bachaelor's and your math and physics you would more easily qualify for a physician's assistant program. Physician's assistants embrace the medical model, in which math and physics are utilized to diagnose and treat disease. The role is in harmony with a physician's routine duties, in fact, the 2 years spent in the masters program of a PA is comparable to the same training. As another poster pointed out, you could recieve a masters with less time than a BSN. Within the physician's assistant role you could specialize in OB/peds while prescribing treatment courses and diagnosing disease instead of treating in the psychosocial aspect as a nurse does.
    In contrast, the PA role is medical(as you alluded interest) and the nursing role is holistic.

    There is also another option that tries to mix medicine with nursing called Nurse Practitioner. It is also a masters level degree as well, but it utilizes social issues and psychology in deferrenc to the PA role.

    Pretty simple really.

    Love kids, babies, mothers.....and the psychosocial issues that are the foundation of holistic care..............nursing.
    Love the "hard sciences" such as chemistry, physics, math, anatomy, biology, microbiology, and want to apply them in treating disease................Physician's assistant.

    One other long-shot option would be physician of course. Medical schools admissions hold engineering degrees in high regard. That's because the curicculum fits the medical model.

    Good luck to you whatever you decide.
  11. by   BluEyz
    Thanks for all the input!

    Funny thing you should mention how my math / physics / engineering background may not fit in real well with Nursing. I'm actually looking forward to getting away from it a bit! I'm much more of a people person, engineering was just where I ended up as I have a knack for math (how sick, eh?).

    I'm excited, and that gets me motivated (I'm even reading up on Biology which I haven't done since high school) so hopefully this will all work out well!


    Kelly, the people person engineer ... "do they really make those?"
  12. by   Peeps Mcarthur
    Kelly, the people person engineer ... "do they really make those?"
    Sorry Kelly, but I'll have to ask you to relinquish your pocket protector immediately!:chuckle

    I'm glad you could find a place to get some good advice.

    Now go on-line and read some course descriptions and prerequisites for nursing core programs.

    Just take a life-span development course for fun. If you still feel all giddy about it, then you have found a rewarding career path.
  13. by   BluEyz
    Originally posted by Peeps Mcarthur
    Sorry Kelly, but I'll have to ask you to relinquish your pocket protector immediately!:chuckle

    *sheepishly hands over her pocket protector*

    Can I have one of those cool nursing shirts with the unidentifiable stains now?

    My family thinks I'm nuts to leave something like engineering to be a nurse ... but they don't have to work with one dimensional engineers who are about as fun as a sheet of paper. Bring on the trauma, drama, and difficulty. *Grin*
  14. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Originally posted by BluEyz
    [BMy family thinks I'm nuts to leave something like engineering to be a nurse ... but they don't have to work with one dimensional engineers who are about as fun as a sheet of paper. Bring on the trauma, drama, and difficulty. *Grin* [/B]
    Well if you MEAN that, welcome aboard. Cause all that you find PLENTY of. Esp. difficulty.

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