Help! What do I want to do with my life?!

  1. I am currently a junior at Central Michigan University studying psychology. I don't know what I want to do and I could really use some advice. Currently I am looking at either being a nurse and pursuing a neonatal NP degree or getting a PhD in psychology or maybe an MSW and working in the mental health field.
    Here are the main things I want from a career:
    1. Helping people
    2. Working with the underserved, at least in some point in my career
    3. A decent salary- enough to live off of if I ended up without a partner- nothing extravagant
    4. Challenging, dynamic work
    5. The ability to move upward in my career
    6. Some flexibility in hours for my children
    7. Manageable stress levels

    All 3 of these jobs seem to be equally as appealing. I thought maybe as current nurses and NPs, you might be able to advise me as to how to meet my goals. I am interested in medicine, interested in nueroscience, and interested in psychotherapy- that is why I am so caught up here. I just don't know how question of what to pick, which of the three "degree paths" I should choose.
    Any advice??
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  2. 6 Comments

  3. by   skittlebear
    what about a Nurse Practitioner specializing in psych?
  4. by   clyen
    Part of the decision depends on the responsibility/culpability you want. For example, as a psychologist or social worker, you typically cannot write prescriptions for patients. In the role of an NP, you would be able to write prescriptions (depending on state laws) for patients' meds. If you stick with just an RN, you would be able to administer the meds under a doctor or NP's order. They all sound like good fields, especially if you're into the psychology and neurological stuff. However, if you do go for an NP, like the post before me, I would suggest specializing in psychology if that's what you truly like. RN wages are typically $15-20/hr to start (correct me if I'm wrong, someone, please), so as an NP you should get a better wage than that. As an RN, shifts are typically 3 days at 12 hours a day, though some places still do 8 hour shifts or 10 hour shifts. As long as you don't mind some of the 'dirty work' along with the easy stuff (helping pt shower along with listening to their troubles for example), then being an RN would be a good choice. You can always go on from there and get your MSN to be a NP. I probably haven't helped much, but hopefully I've given you a little more info to help. Good luck whichever road you choose to take. :-)
  5. by   RNsRWe
    My, you have alot on your plate in terms of choices!

    First thing that comes to my mind, though, is that it's darned near impossible for you to determine if you want to be an NP without having first done some bedside nursing. Of course you'd need to become an RN before pursuing an advanced practice degree. Perhaps doing a little "side work" as a CNA would at least give you an idea of what staff nursing might be like, and what you could expect clinical work in school to encompass.

    I think it's wonderful for you to set your sights high and would never discourage that. Something to consider when making those decisions is how much true-to-life information you have so you CAN make an informed choice. I'd hate to see you hang your hat on one thing, only to find out after a semester or two of school that you really dislike it after all.

    Could you contact a local hospital's personnel dept, see if they'd let you shadow an RN for a day or two? Get a feel for what that job actually is, and you'll be better prepared to know if you are ready to go through with it.

    Best of luck to you!
  6. by   zenman
    Quote from clyen
    Part of the decision depends on the responsibility/culpability you want. For example, as a psychologist or social worker, you typically cannot write prescriptions for patients. :-)
    In some states psychologists can write scripts.
  7. by   TheCommuter
    Quote from clyen
    RN wages are typically $15-20/hr to start (correct me if I'm wrong, someone, please
    To an certain extent, you are not wrong. However, I wanted to add that RN pay rates vary from state to state. For instance, I would readily assume that rural North Dakota nursing wages are much lower than Chicago nursing wages.

    I am an LVN/LPN with 1 year of experience who earns $18.50 hourly. I earn about as much as some new RNs in other regions because I happen to live in a large metropolitan area where wages are above average. It is very normal for RNs in California to start at $30 to $40 hourly due to the astronomical cost of living. Thus, it all depends on where you are.
  8. by   jjjoy
    I'm with RNsRWe - try to get more info about the day-to-day work experience of the different types of work. Shadowing, interviewing, volunteering. Maybe you can get a student job in an area of interest.

    One possibility is to put off this decision until you get more life experience. Finish your degree and get a job in one of the areas you are interested in. Look for work in a social services agency or the psych department of a university. Work for a few years; take some classes; volunteer; find out what truly floats your boat; then pursue an advanced degree if you still want to.

    It can be frustrating to have such a wide range of interests. You can't do everything at once, so try to be patient with yourself and the process of exploring and discovering what you want to do career-wise. Good luck!

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