Anyone made career change from engineering to Nursing?

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    DIdnt know where to post this question. I am a Mechanical engineer by degree but work in the aerospace field for the past 7 years. I have been thinking of goign back to school for a career change and would love to go into obgyn nursing. Anyone out there who has made the career change from engineering to nursing? How did nursing school compare to engineering school? How did your engineering background help/ or not help you in nursing school or in your nursing career? Thanks!
  2. 22 Comments so far...

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    Quote from lmf2006
    DIdnt know where to post this question. I am a Mechanical engineer by degree but work in the aerospace field for the past 7 years. I have been thinking of goign back to school for a career change and would love to go into obgyn nursing. Anyone out there who has made the career change from engineering to nursing? How did nursing school compare to engineering school? How did your engineering background help/ or not help you in nursing school or in your nursing career? Thanks!

    It's not me, but we have three women in our class at Duke that left some sort of engineering to attend our ABSN program - we have 2 former biomedical engineers and a former - literally - rocket scientist; she used to build solid rocket boosters for the US military.

    They're all brilliant women and are very interesting to talk to. I can't speak from experience here, but I guess what I'm doing is saying you're not alone and it can be done. Good luck and let us know when and where you apply!
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    Hi,

    I was not an engineer, but I was a chemist. I decided to start off as an LPN so I could learn as many aspects of the job as possible. I am almost finished with my RN (only needed the nursing courses).

    I would say that LPN school was much harder than my BS degree. The work itself isn't that bad just the sheer volume of work, testing and clinicals can be rough. I will say that RN school is much easier than LPN school was, or maybe it seems that way because I had such tough LPN instructors. Plus, LPN instructors treat you like dirt, which was the hardest part with me being mid 30's and a manager for last 10 years. (but it will teach you humility hahah)

    Either way follow your heart and what God tells you to do. I took a MASSIVE pay cut to become an LPN but the job satisfaction and lower stress levels makes everything worthwhile. I know that once I am an RN it will be even more rewarding, at least monitarily.

    Good luck and God bless,

    CS
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    I did. I was a software engineer/developer. I am a Nursing II student and love it! The only difference for me in the study end... is that your thought process has to change so very much. Nothing is absolute in this field and the thinking process is so different. I really love it though and know I made a very good choice. The volume of work is very demanding as well. I am not sure I have ever read so much in a semester! Good luck!
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    That's me! I'd always wanted to be a nurse since I was little, but got pulled into science and engineering because I was really interested in it and the money was good. I majored in electrical engineering back in 1990 (*gulp*), worked in the software industry until 2001, then was laid off just before I had my daughter. At that point, I revisited the dream and figured it was now or never. So I made the big leap. I'm now almost through the first year of an ADN program and I love it. So here goes my long post...

    The last person mentioned the volume of work in nursing school, and it is ASTOUNDING. You thought you had reading to do for your engineering classes...well, forget it, this beats any of the reading for my EE classes hands down. You will also have research papers, presentations, research for clinicals, paperwork for clinicals...and many times, it will all be due within the same week! It never ends. I don't know what your level of engineering education is, but with my little bachelor's in EE, I don't recall having this much work to do at once. The thinking process is also different. I'm not sure what your work as an aerospace engineer is like, but nursing school stresses a lot of "crltical thinking" and a lot of thinking quickly on your feet. For me, this is a lot different from the structured software engineering environment, where you have scheduled time to work on a project and think out all the details. In nursing, there is not always a clear-cut answer to the problem at hand. People are more complicated than computers or software programs, unfortunately... In your classes and clinicals, you will get a quick scenario, or a quick look at the patient's chart, or a quick eyeballing of your patient, and you will need to use common sense and nursing theory on the fly to alleviate what is already wrong with the patient...and to prevent other things that could go wrong. But if you are able to use common sense while "thinking outside the box" (man, I HATE that phrase), that will help. Also, as an engineer, you are probably very thorough and detail-oriented, and are able to organize your thoughts well. That will help you a lot...just don't let the detail get carried away when you do your patient documentation, or no one will want to read your chart notes

    To me, nursing school is challenging in ways that engineering never was. You have to have good study skills and the smarts to absorb and use all the theory, but it is also a challenge to your communication skills, and sometimes to your personality and emotions. So many engineering jobs involve sitting in a cube and working away, just you inside your brain, with the usual meetings to come up for air Not so with nursing. Not only do you have to be competent with the technical aspects of nursing, and with time management and prioritization skills, but communication skills are absolutely key and can make or break an effective nursing relationship with a patient. So much of nursing involves getting in touch emotionally with patients and assessing their psychological and emotional states, not just asking them how they feel physically and treating just their physical body. And sometimes, that communication won't go easily or just won't work at all -- there will be personality clashes, language barriers, noncompliant patients...AND you are also dealing with the patient's families as well, so that can multiply some of the communication issues. Sometimes you can work around these issues, and it will take some finesse; other times, you just have to let it go. We have a few former engineers in our class, and it has been a challenge for them (and myself) to become "people persons" to this level.

    One other thing...as an aerospace engineer, you must be very intelligent but if you do make it into nursing school, you may need to learn to be easier on yourself. Case in point: For our class, there was a waiting list of about 700+ people. Which means that the people who did make it in are pretty darn intelligent. Unfortunately, though, someone still has to be first, and someone still has to be last. It has taken many of us a long time to get used to NOT getting A's all the time, or to not be the top in the class. We still go nervously into clinicals, and we still kick ourselves for minor mistakes that we make on exams or in clinicals. That's partly b/c we all have really high standards for ourselves, and most of us are a class of career-changers...so we KNOW this is what we want to do and we want to succeed really badly. But that just adds to the stress, and I'm trying to learn to cut myself some slack so I don't burn out before I get out of school!

    Hopefully this will not scare you off. I LOVE what I'm doing, and I too am hoping to get into L&D or OB nursing. We just finished that rotation yesterday and I absolutely loved it. I know when I get out that it won't be the same pay as in my previous engineering jobs, but that's not important. I know it's a career I will love and stick with. Good luck with whatever you decide.
    Last edit by nightingale1969 on Oct 15, '06
    ICUman, VegetasGRL03RN, jjjoy, and 2 others like this.
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    I know of two guys who crossed over to nursing from engineering. One went on to get his MSN in nursing informatics- and he absolutely rocks that field. The other one went on to become an awesome CRNA. I call him the Steven Hawking of anesthesia- He's that good. They both claim the engineering background gave them a solid edge in those fields.
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    Hi! I have a bachelor of chemical engineering and worked in the eng field for about 6 years. I have been at home with my kids since 2002 and have been going to school part time since about 2003. I am currently in my first semester of a AD program at a local CC. I have been working hard to get into this program. It is very competitive and has hundreds of applicants each year (they admit 50 to the night/weekend program I am in). I had many generals to take as I did not take them for my eng degree (psych, sociology, microbio, biology, Anatomy/phy I and II, communications). So that took me a while. I am so happy to finally be in the nursing program. I start clinicals next weekend. I have had great support from some and not from others. I have close family who do not understand why I would give up a great degree adn career to do nursing. They feel it is a step down. I don't believe this is true, as this is what I feel I am meant to do. I love the medical field and majored in engineering because I didn't really know better. AS far as comparing the 2, it really is very different. Enginerring is very objective, one way of doing things. THe way of thinking of very different for nursing. The tests are night and day. I have to say that nursing school so far is much busier than engineering and you have to juggle many more things. You also have to use so many skills, rather than just one. You have to work on people skills, communication, working with all types of people/cultures, and you have to be a great critical thinker. I do not regret it for a second and can't wait for my nursing career!
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    Forgot to mention...your math skills will definitely help you with med calculations, especially where every calculation is like a word problem.
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    Just make sure you take a 4 year degree if you're planning on moving to the US.
  11. 0
    Quote from augigi
    Just make sure you take a 4 year degree if you're planning on moving to the US.
    And why is that?


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