I spent the first 25 years or so of my working life as a carpenter. I'm not sure whether to consider nursing my second career, or a really unconventional retirement plan. I find it interesting that my mother dropped out of nursing school to marry my father, so after following in his footsteps, I'm now following hers. I reckon this makes me the bestest son ever.
I entered the healthcare field nine years ago, pushing beds (and people) around and cleaning patient rooms. I had thought I was applying for a job in facilities, but this was what they offered, and it turned out to be a great job. Really enjoyed the patient care side of it. Spent a fair amount of my time assisting nurses and aides with patients who were difficult to move, so it seemed logical to move into nursing. Graduated with my ASN in May 05 and have been working on the same unit, since.
I work in neuro/neurosurg, which can sometimes feel like a cross between LTC and psych. On our unit, I rotate between "the floor" with 5-6 acute care med/surg patients, our attached stepdown, with 3 higher acuity patients, and our Epilepsy Monitoring Unit, with up to 6 patients on continuous EEG, although empty beds often get used for med/surg, as well. It makes a nice mix. Stepdown can be scary, when you're new, but you learn a lot. EMU can seem like a break, since patient's often have nothing wrong, other than their seizure disorder, but some nurses call it "the hotel," since comparatively healthy patients get bored or lonely and tend to require a lot of personal attention. We get a few kids in EMU, too. Kids are cute, but they scare me. (I'm an old bachelor, with cats.)
I discovered allnurses.com while I was in nursing school. My original handle was nursemike?, since the issue seemed very much in doubt. I found this community an excellent source of advice, a good place to vent, and an aid in developing my philosophy of nursing--which is something, because I didn't initially realize I needed a philosophy of nursing.
Nursing reminds me a lot of carpentry. I feel like I'm just entering the "journeyman" stage, where I can function independantly much of the time and do some problem solving when I have to, but from my own experience and talking to long-time nurses, I don't expect to ever run out of things to learn.