I need help deciding whether to be an RN or ultrasound tech?!Register Today!
- by Ashley Davis Mar 7, '12Okay so I really want to do one or the other of these but can't decide.
What are the pros and cons on salary and hours/schooling.
Also, I kinda have a weak stomach and was wondering, does that go away?
Do you have to get used to it? Or do you already have to be used to it before becoming an RN? That's what's got me leaning more towards Ultrasound tech. I'd really appreciate the help/adivce. Thank yoU!
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- Mar 7, '12 by cali79I would see research them both. How are you with bodily fluids? Right now both programs are hard to get into I believe that both of their prerequisites are the same or only a few variations in which classes are needed to get in. I would work your way toward both and see which one you get into first. I am in the nursing program and although I got in on my first application most all of my classmates have spent years trying to get in. I believe that nurses get paid more but if you can't get into school the salary difference is negated. Also I don't know about the job outlook for ultrasound tech is but I know its hard right now for new nurses especially if you get into a Associates program. Hope this helps!
- Mar 8, '12 by Ashley, PICU RNThese are two completely different jobs.
As an RN, you have virtually unlimited opportunities regarding what population you work with. There's long term care, rehab, acute care, outpatient clinics, community health, home care, etc. Schooling is at least two years (for an ADN) but the trend is to hire nurses with BSN degrees, which is a four year program. Keep in mind that the job market for new graduate nurses is pretty poor right now, depending on your area. Some new graduates are searching for over a year to find a job. You might have to accept a position in an area that you don't really want to work, and may need to work night shift to get your foot in the door. Weekends and holidays are a given.
As an ultrasound tech, your education would likely be a one year technical school program. You'll probably work in an outpatient center or hospital with regular hours. You might have to work weekends on occasion. Your job will consist of performing ultrasounds on patients in the hospital or who come in to the clinic. In many cases, you won't be diagnosing any problems, just performing the scan and giving the images to the doctor. It's a much lower stress job than nursing.
In regard to your sensitive stomach, yes, it's possible to get over it. Or rather, you just get desensitized to the sights and smells. Sometimes this happens during nursing school, sometimes after, and some people always struggle a little bit with certain sights and smells.
- Mar 8, '12 by CloveryI don't really know about the salary differences, but I have a somewhat weak stomach and it's not nearly as bad when I'm in a clinical setting. At home, I'll gag and dry heave sometimes when cleaning up cat vomit or changing a particularly nasty baby diaper. But when I'm at the hospital, it's different mindset and those things usually don't affect me.
I thought about switching to be an u/s tech when I was pregnant. At my school (a community college) the pre-reqs are all the same so it would have been easy for me to do. The one thing that kept me from doing that is the techs aren't supposed to - really they aren't allowed - to tell you anything they see. For example, before I was pregnant, I had to get an u/s to check for PCOS. So I was laying there and the tech was doing her thing, doing all kinds of measurements, and of course I was worried. I asked her if there were any cysts in my ovaries (since obviously if there were she would be measuring them) and she wouldn't tell me anything, stating she wasn't allowed and I'd have to wait for the radiologist report. After a week I found out there weren't any, which I'm sure she knew.
So I decided to stick with nursing because I really like the idea of having the responsibility of patient education - explaining the conditions to people and working with them to figure out which interventions will help them best. I think nursing has more freedom, and requires more thought and problem solving. Hopefully there aren't any u/s techs here who I've offended!
- Mar 9, '12 by EP10I don't know where you live but where I am, in NYC. The average salary for an ultrasound tech is about 70,000. For an RN it can vary greatly depending on where you work, as in hospital, home visit nurse. The salaries are usually anywhere from 70k to 90k (again, these are NYC salaries which tend to be higher than in other states) Nursing has a greater number of opportunities and choices as to where you can work. You can work in a hospital doing bed-side care of you can be a case manager and review a patient's health care plans and coordinate them. You can also get your masters and specialize and earn a 6 figure income. Hope this helps!
- Mar 9, '12 by cccormierI agree with most of what the others have mentioned in their replies to your post so far. I was once in your shoes, and had to make the decision between choosing a career in nursing or as a radiation (ultrasound) tech. Initially, I was leaning toward U/S Tech because I liked the idea of the high chances of working "normal" hours (Mon-Fri, 9-5), which is not true in all cases, and I was always fascinated with physics, radiology, technology... it just made sense. Then I came across a college brochure with all the health science programs offered. Once I read about Registered Nursing and all the details involved, I knew I had to do more research to get a better idea. After speaking to some nurses I really "got" the profession. I understood what it meant and why I should be one. It was my calling. There are SO many opportunities in nursing; many areas, disciplines, specializations. You can be a bedside nurse, work in community care, be a travel nurse, work in research, public health... the opportunities are endless. Sorry if this is all sounding so biased, but I wanted to share with you how I feel, and hopefully you this can help you with your journey to choosing the right career path for you. Good luck!
- Mar 14, '12 by Ashley DavisThank you all for your comments! I've always been leaning more towards the nursing but I have a weak stomach and don't know if I'd be able to stomach some of the stuff I'd have to do. Plus I have a 9 month old son.
- Mar 14, '12 by TC3200The weak stomach stuff probably will go away very fast, or at least it did for me. Something changes your perspective when you are in the clinical setting, in the job role, I guess. You focus on the patient, not on your own emotions.
I'm not in nursing school anymore. I probably never will return to it. I felt like patients will always expect too much nurturing and babying and waiting-on-them-hand-and-foot from a woman. I'm not the mother / grandmother type. I am all career and I don't like emotional drama or a lot of hassle from people that I am helping. After 1 year of RN school. which everyone told me was clearly a "better" career choice than any of the technician roles because RN is so versatile and has many opportunities, I kick myself for ever even trying RN in the first place. I don't want to honey-baby everyone who comes down the pike, and I prefer brief interactions with people who have a problem, that, so far as my role in it is concerned, can be solved in one episode, and we call it a success. lol With nursing, I wonder if there's any "win" or any sense of "mission accomplished" anymore, because patients come and go fast, they go home sick or immediately post-op (that's the norm), you never see or hear from them again in many instances. I come from a science / tech / business / manufacturing background, and it's all about measurable goals and workable solutions, and measures of performance. Being more Type A than one should *ever* be as a nurse, I decided I'd have been far smarter to have looked at the tech jobs to begin with.
Another thing I noticed is the nursing school students were tied up 5 days per week, all day, every day, and were cramming and studying every night and all weekend, and that was a total grind for me. But the x-ray students were drinking beer and cooking dinner and watching TV and getting a decent amount of sleep at least 3 of 5 weekday evenings per week, and were out having fun on the weekends. And were not on BP meds and antidepressants, and were smiling, not crying. Maybe there's too much crammed into that particular RN curriculum.
I can't stand to be lectured for 6 or 8 hours a day, 3 days a week, either. I prefer more OTJ or hands-on training and clinical work, so maybe your preference there is another thing to look at. I really don't enjoy hours of rote memorization, alone in a room, with my Powerpoints and flash cards.Last edit by TC3200 on Mar 14, '12
- Aug 14, '12 by jmiraRNThe things about ultrasound tech jobs is that they are far and few between. It's hard enough for an RN to land a job and an RNs possibilities are wide.
IMO you dont just say "Oh I'm going to be an Ultrasound tech because I have a weak stomach". Find something you like, have a passion for, something you can really see yourself doing and enjoying for many years to come.
A weak stomach isn't the best thing for a nurse, but hey, your body learns to adapt. It can be learned.
- Aug 15, '12 by ames86I have a family member that is a ultrasound tech and she hates it. She said after the first 6 months the job was boring. She is currently going back to school for something else.