Nursing Musicians?

  1. I am currently a musician (seeking BA Music) trying to decide whether I should pursue nursing.

    I wanted to know if you guys could help me come up with a list of pros and cons of nursing when compared to the music degree. I love performing music, but helping others and the money is also appealing...I'm in quite a dillemma!!! Your help is much appreciated!

    ~Drew
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  2. 12 Comments

  3. by   kcalohagirl
    Hey there! My first degree was in music. I was a vocalist who ended up getting my degree in music history. (I had delusions of going on to get a PhD.)

    I've been out of nursing school for about a year, and I am having the time of my life. I really like nursing, and I will readily admit that had someone asked me to choose nursing when I was 18 (when I started college) I would have told them they were crazy. Personally, I don't think I had the maturity to be a nurse at that age.

    I can't really make a list of pros vs. cons. However, I will tell you that knowing I can go anywhere in the country and get a job (and a decent paying one at that) is a plus. I waited a lot of tables while pursuing music. *grin* However, going into Nursing strictly because jobs are readily available is the wrong reason to do so. It is definitely not an easy job.

    I also like that the job I have (I work in a hospital) affords me a certain amount of flexibility. We self-schedule, which means we sign up for the shifts we want to work and we can request off certain days as well (without having to take vacation time). This gives me the flexibility that I can schedule around gigs.

    So essentially, I can be a nurse AND a musician. I don't have to choose one over the other.

    Good luck!
  4. by   operaman001
    I just graduated with my music degree in vocal performance. I have a talent, but it is so difficult to make a decent living working as a musician. You have to hold numerous jobs just to get by. I only make it because my parents support me. I do not want to be supported by my parents anymore, so I am starting nursing school in the fall. I have the passion and the drive, but in reality, you have to survive. I sing with one of the top opera houses in the nation, and doing everyshow will barely allow you to scrape by in life. What it comes down to is that if music is truly your passion, then you will find a way to make it happen. It might take a lifetime of scraping pennies, but if you really want it, it will happen. Have as many professionals listen to you and give you advice. If you are going to make music your life, you have to live and breathe it. You have to wake up everday and the first thing you think about is music. It's a lifestlye that takes you over. The reason I am doing nursing is because I am young and it will be at least 5+years until my voice fully develops. While training and waiting until this happens, I am pursing nursing. The biggest selling point for me was that in nursing you can name your hours and location. You can be a nurse during the day and a musician at night or musician during the day and nurse at night. It just boils down to if you really want it and if you have the talent.
  5. by   Gromit
    I'm a nurse, but am taking piano lessons
    I don't know the music business, but I don't see why they should be exclussive to each other. MOST 'typical' nursing shifts are three 12hr days a week (or nights). That leaves 4 for whatever you want. In nursing, you have many MANY job opportunities and the work is 'regular' -not worrying about what your next gig might be.
    I don't intend to go back to college for music -I'm just taking private piano lessons -and hope to enjoy playing jazz and ragtime -not to make a living, but just to enjoy it.
  6. by   RNsRWe
    Quote from jackothedrummer1
    I am currently a musician (seeking BA Music) trying to decide whether I should pursue nursing.

    I wanted to know if you guys could help me come up with a list of pros and cons of nursing when compared to the music degree. I love performing music, but helping others and the money is also appealing...I'm in quite a dillemma!!! Your help is much appreciated!

    ~Drew
    I guess I'll just cut to the chase here: there's no reason to compare a career in nursing to a career as a musician. They are two entirely different fields, and since you are already pursuing a degree in music, you are aware that they are two entirely different degrees.

    The question isn't to be resolved with a pro and con list of nursing versus music; it's to be resolved with answering the question "why do I want to be a nurse?". If you come up with enough reasons to go into nursing, more than the reasons you chose to go into music, then that's a consideration. If you are looking at nursing because you really want to BE a nurse, that's crucial too. But looking at it as mostly just a steady job that helps people, well....there's lots of other avenues for that which don't require years of academics and clinical study, not including the battle to get into a good (ok, ANY) nursing program in the first place.

    Unlike arts and humanities, the graduation rate for nursing majors is somewhere around 50-60%, when you start looking nationwide. Be very sure that you're really dedicated to doing whatever it takes to get through nursing school before you embark down that road!

    As an aside, I don't know why you'd have to LOSE what you've got musically if you DID become a nurse: there's always time to find if you want to perform in addition to nurse
  7. by   Pheebz777
    Hey, I'm a classical pianist. Took classical piano for 13 years before I decided to become a nurse.

    I've also played in different bands as well being the keyboardist and backup vocals as well.

    Although you cannot compare the 2 as they are both totally different fields, I don't see why you cannot do both in the same time. For me nursing really is my bread and butter and Music I just do on the side. I also teach piano privately on my days off at a rate almost comparable to what I get per hour as a nurse without the stress!

    Teaching "do-re-mi" to beginning 5 yr olds sure is a big difference than monitoring a MVA patient and I'm paid almost the same per hour. But I don't have enough students to actually make enough to cover my monthly dues. I'd have to have at least 12 students a day x 5 days to make what I get paid as a nurse.
    Last edit by Pheebz777 on Apr 13, '07
  8. by   meownsmile
    I have a family member that has a music degree and is now going back for nursing. I really think you should look at combining the two degrees and see what music therapy is doing. They are using music in many different ways now,, in pre-op, in rehabilitation, in therapy for DD and brain injured. Dont discount your music as non nursing related. There are a lot of places it can be very valuable as an added benefit to your patients.
  9. by   kate1114
    Quote from kcalohagirl
    Hey there! My first degree was in music. I was a vocalist who ended up getting my degree in music history. (I had delusions of going on to get a PhD.)
    If you change that to an instrumentalist, then you have my story I absolutely loved music and wanted to have a music career, but always had this nagging doubt in the back of my mind that it wasn't for me. I also kept wondering about nursing, but kept doubting the reasons that I was interested (the nursing campus was nearer to my boyfriend, there were more job opportunities for nurses than musicians, I could get a job earlier as a nurse than as a music academic, etc.).

    I would advise you to look for a way to see what nurses do, hopefully by shadowing one at a local hospital or clinic. By the time I was in college, the only actual nurses I'd interacted with were my school nurses. I had no clear idea of what nursing did outside of that setting. I wound up doing a lot of ICU settings, so the fact that school nursing didn't appeal to me wasn't a good indicator of whether or not I'd like it.

    Depending on your musical goals, it is certainly possible to do both. I've played in community and church groups and sung in the church choir. Sometimes it can be a challenge depending on your schedule, but usually you can make it work.

    I would basically just carefully weigh your personal reasons for wanting to change. Just as a personal note, I know of many many people who have their bachelor's degrees in music who are doing things totally unrelated to music. Either they didn't like it (?), couldn't find a job, or wanted to make more money. They are lawyers, computer analysts, teachers, and secretaries. The funny thing is, many of them thought I was a little silly for "giving up my dream" but I have a steady job that I enjoy, and that's very important to me

    Good luck!
  10. by   ginger58
    Please be sure that you want to go into nursing for the right reasons, not just for money or else you're in for a big surprise. It's hard work.
    I also have a degree in music and was a professional harpist I found it to be an expensive hobby, so to speak. But it has always complimented my nursing.
  11. by   nurse_drumm
    Hmmmm..... guess what I play? Yep.... for 26 years now. I've written, played, directed, you name it... and you know what? I've got the best hand/eye coordination there is... and it comes in pretty darned handy in nursing. I love them both, and there's time for both. Stress in nursing = stress relief through music. It's the perfect balance.
  12. by   RGN1
    My first degree (BAHons) was in music too & I 2nd the above post. There's nothing like being able to play music when it comes to de- stressing!

    Good luck to you -as you can see you're not the only one who has done music first!
  13. by   jackothedrummer1
    Thanks a lot for the feedback. I totally know that comparing these two degrees is about the same as comparing the characteristics of an apple to a steak. I understand partially that there will be a lot of work involved. As of right now (whilst pursuing the BA Music) I am receiving 16 credit hours, which translates to at a minimum of 32 class hours. This excludes homework, studying, etc.

    I think it would be beneficial to shadow an RN before I make this decision in order to obtain a full perspective of a local RN. Thanks again for all the responses, I believe I'm leaning closer than ever to pursuing the Nursing path.

    ~Drew
  14. by   Foley6
    Hello,

    I am a musician and a nurse also. I have never had any formal training in music apart from a few years of classical guitar. I am self taught to sing and play various instruments including Hammered Dulcimer and Sitar. Anyway, the nice thing about nursing is that you have a job that not only pays the bills, but also pays for equipment, recording costs, etc.. You can find a job anywhere, so if you would like to re-locate, it is no problem. Nursing is VERY hard though, I wont lie to you about that. You may have to put the music on the back burner while you are in school, but once you are done, you should have plenty of time for both. I work 2 days a week on the weekends only, and get paid as if I work all week. I also get full time benefits. I spend all week working on music, recording and playing shows, etc. from what I have experienced, I will say that it is extremely difficult to make any money in music. Good luck. check out www.vequinox.com

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