Second Career Nurses

  1. Hello,

    I'm starting this thread to hopefully connect with other nursing students who are pursuing this as a second career. What did you do before? Why are you making this switch? Why now?

    I am 32 years old, female, former high school English teacher. When I started college at age 17, I didn't know what I wanted to do - I couldn't imagine choosing a career to stay in for forty years when I was still a teenager! I wanted to take a few years off school and continue in my retail job at the time, but my parents demanded that I attend college. My dad had his BS from Purdue in Elem. Ed., my sister had her BS from Purdue in Elem. Ed. and I had to follow suit. (say what you will about free will and choice, but I was 17 and living under my father's roof - he had a lot of say-so over my decisions) I convinced my parents that I didn't want to do elementary school and I loved all aspects of English (language, writing, literature, etc) so I earned my BA from Purdue in English & Secondary Education. I always knew I wouldn't teach forever, but I gave it my whole heart for ten years.

    Now, I am back in school taking advanced A&P, Med. Term., and Personal Wellness while waiting to see if I get into an ASN program for Spring 2012. I checked into the BA-to-BSN programs, but it is actually faster where I am (Northwest Indiana) to get the ASN then transition to BSN, which I will do pretty quickly after ASN completion.

    As a 17 year old college freshman, nursing never entered my mind. It's just happened over the years that I wound up taking care of ill family members (grandmother with breast cancer and Alzheimer's, aunt with breast cancer, mother-in-law with breast/throat cancer, aunt with hypoglycemia, grandfather who lost both legs, etc) I don't actually know how I wound up being the person to take care of all these relatives - I'm just a generally responsible person who does the things that need to be done. I felt overwhelmed at times - remember I was a full-time high school teacher all along. I thought I would be relieved to not have these extra care-taking responsibilities. I was very wrong. Everyone has passed on except my grandmother, and I eventually had to place her in a care home. I was not prepared for the extreme feelings of uselessness I experienced when I had no one to take care of and it hit me smack on the head one day, clear out of the blue: I need to be a nurse and take care of people every day.

    So, I realize this is a bit long, but I wanted to put it out here who I am and why I am making this career choice at this point in my life. Hope to hear your stories as well!
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    About DAL2010

    Joined: Sep '11; Posts: 16; Likes: 2


  3. by   JennyNurse2B
    I am also beginning my nursing program as a second career. I have a degree in Paralegal Studies. I, too, had a father that was VERY opposed to my taking time off after high school. Although I didn't live under his roof, I did love on his dime, so I had to comply for the most part.

    I initially wanted to go into a medical field, but after making some very bad choices and telling lies that I couldn't dig out of about classes I was supposed to have taken, I looked at my options and chose Paralegal Studies for the high rate of pay in what was supposed to be a short amount of time. Obviously, that was not a good reason to choose a career path. I knew after about one year into the program I wanted to go into either nursing or physical therapy, but I was to afraid to switch. (Even though I was on my own dime at this point.)

    Well, I worked as a paralegal for nearly five years, then a freak hip problem made me lose my job. I saw that as my opportunity to do fulfill my dream, so now I am working on my supporting courses for the Fall 2012 ADN program.

    I am so excited about it! I know it is going to be ridiculously hard, but nurse in my area are generally happy because there are a couple of WONDERFUL hospitals nearby that treat their staff very well.

    Good luck on your endeavor!
  4. by   Bob_N_VA
    You're not alone. Just about everyone in my class is a second career student, some like me are looking at their third career. We go to school at night, so most work some sort of day job. Many of the ladies are in a health related field, we have dental techs and assistants, medical office assistants and a smattering of ex and soon to be ex military types as well. I'm good friends with a lady that is currently a high school teacher.

    As for me, I'm looking at a third career. Started out as a Navy officer then worked as an IT specialist government contractor for the longest time, got fed up with that and now am in the 4th term of a 6 term evening and weekend program. When I graduate, I'll be 55, so don't feel like you are old. If I had any regrets, I wish I would have started this journey ten years ago, rather than sitting in a cube staring at a screen. You've got the lions share of your life ahead of you to persue nursing or whatever you choose. Good luck on getting into a good program.

  5. by   JNUR20
    Second career for me too. I currently have a decent paying management job, with very flexible hours. I'm 38, and have two kids, one who is 20 (I started young, thus never made it to college). I have always wanted to go into nursing, and now with my kids near grown, it's my turn. I'm scared to death though, to give up the known for the unknown. I literally have no medical background whatsoever. I have one more semester of pre-reqs, then should enter the program in the Fall of 2012.
  6. by   AppalachianRNstudent
    I drove a tractor-trailer over the road. I've been everywhere. I always hated the work, but I had to do something to make ends meet.

    A few years ago I took the plunge, quit - got my CNA license and got a job at a nursing home. I decided I could tolerate the work and sometimes it was even rewarding. So, I decided to go to nursing school and here I am.

    I hope to work in an ED when I graduate.
  7. by   AppalachianRNstudent
    Quote from Jen3p
    Second career for me too. I currently have a decent paying management job, with very flexible hours. I'm 38, and have two kids, one who is 20 (I started young, thus never made it to college). I have always wanted to go into nursing, and now with my kids near grown, it's my turn. I'm scared to death though, to give up the known for the unknown. I literally have no medical background whatsoever. I have one more semester of pre-reqs, then should enter the program in the Fall of 2012.
    Yep, it can be intimidating at first, but once you get into the swing and find your stride I bet you'll do fine.
  8. by   JROregon
    Retail manager, insurance claims adjuster, full-time mom. I really looked up to nurses especially when working with nursing consultants in my insurance job. They could do their 9-5 job during the week and work in the ER at the local hospital every other weekend to keep up their skills and then they could do short-term mission trips every year. Seemed like a dream that would not come true for me. After giving birth to my first child, the desire to go into nursing struck me and then after the second child was born, I started making plans to go back to school once the kids were both in school. Years ago, I avoided biology like the plague. When I started taking my science classes, I absolutely loved it..... maybe I needed to grow up a little. Anyway, I'll be starting year 2 of nursing school in 2 weeks.
  9. by   not.done.yet
    I was a medical transcriptionist and medical office worker prior to this. I started my pre-reqs at age 36 and am going to graduate this December at age 41. That sure looks older here in writing than it feels inside.

    I decided to make the change because I have always wanted to do this but didn't think I was smart enough. Life circumstances got pretty hard for a while and I lost one child to leukemia and had another survive a brain tumor. After my loss I decided it was time to stop living life by avoiding something that just seemed "too hard". Cancer was "too hard" too. So to give me some way to cope with my grief that was healthy as well as to honor my children and what our family has gone through, I did this. And it feels good.
  10. by   24gaDalek
    Hi there,
    I, too, am I second life nurse-wannabe. I couldn't say second career because I have had many. Got my BS in Human Services to follow in the footsteps of my mom and sister who are social workers. Decided after three internships that while being in a helping profession was what I truly wanted, having my hands tied as to how I could help my patients was not. I currently am waiting to hear if I got into an ABSN program after starting my prereqs two years ago, one class at a time. I am the mother of two children and 34 years old.
    Honestly, I always wanted to be a nurse but refused to pursue the career in my early life because I listened to some bad advice someone gave me a long time ago.
    I agree with the previous posters who stated that it is very unusual for a teenager to know what she wants to do with her whole life and have the responsibility to pursue it. I am excited to finally be pursuing my dream.
  11. by   Despareux
    Went to engineering school; had one year of school left when I stopped going. Worked as a Statistician for seven or so years. About a year after my son was born, I was bored, wanted to feel like I was contributing to humanity in some way, always loved the sciences and anything health related, so I decided to go into nursing.
  12. by   PacoUSA
    I am currently in an ABSN, so everyone has a bachelor's already and we're headed for a 2nd one. We have a varied and interesting group. I for one come from the legal profession (yes, a lawyer), and my classmates come from business, technology, and educational careers (to name a few) who are switching over. One of my classmates is even an opera singer! There are also several that just graduated last May and jumped right into this. Guess they knew right away what they wanted. Figures it took me 20 years to get it right ... but then again, I rather have my work experience going into nursing than none ... it will make me a better nurse!
  13. by   SVXPORT
    I went to college also at age 17, graduated with BS in EECS, then worked in the semiconductor industry for 17 years.

    The two big corporations I worked for second sourced their manufacturing to Asia.
    Welcome to the new economy or whatever the talking heads will call it.

    Starting nursing school next week.
  14. by   iPink
    There is another thread as well in the Pre-nursing student forum, similar to this one. Second career changers connecting with one another.

    I'm one of them too. I have a BA. I was thinking about graduate school, but not in my field. However, the opportunity arose to pursue nursing instead. I'm half way through my ABSN program. I will graduate with my BSN at age 30, which is a good age for me to start a new career. My "tentative" plans after getting my RN is to work 1-2 years, and then go back to school to become an NP. At the end of school and having some real work experience, I will know if I want to pursue the NP route. My journey so far has been tough, but exciting.
    Last edit by iPink on Jan 26, '12