New and Nervous

  1. Hello,

    I'm a middle aged man who is trying to make a career shift into nursing. I'm currently a freelance writer, something I've been doing for many years. Since freelancing pays somewhat sporadically, I've paid the bills through the years by working at service positions in mental hospitals and adult daycare centers. One of my very best friends is an RN, and some months ago, she planted the bug in my ear that I should explore nursing as a career. As she put it, "The pay is good, it's rewarding, and you can go virtually anywhere in the US and get a job!"

    I'm finally at the point where I honestly want to become a nurse (and I think I want this for all the right reasons). I live in East Texas, and I hope to start nursing school in the summer at my local community college (I plan to pursue an ADN, then become an RN, then finish my BSN as time and money allow). But first, I have to do some intense study in mathematics so that I can pass the TASP exam required to enter the nursing program. This math thing has me as nervous as a cat because (a) I was horrible at math way back in high school, (b) I haven't touched anything mathmatical except simple addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division since high school, and (c) I wonder if I will be able to make it through the required chemistry course, even if I DO pass the TASP.

    I found this website and message board while doing research about people over the age of 40 who enter the nursing field. I hope to find some "friends" on here, and I hope to draw inspiration, motivation, and confidence from those who are nurses and who are currently becoming nurses.

    Please write...I need the contact!

    Old Mister
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  2. 17 Comments

  3. by   NativeTexan
    Hi to one Texan from another. I also sweated the math section of the TASP. I was TASP exempt, and I still had to take it ! I had to take the math section a couple of times before I passed it. I have always had a mental block in that area, but if I can put numbers in a drug dosage or IV drip calculation (things that make sense to me), I can figure it out. In taking the college algebra course I had to take before I could take chemistry, I had to have a tutor. I could breeze through all other subjects, but was scared to death of math. Just take a deep breath, and persevere. Find a tutor, and/or a review course. I felt really stupid being tutored by a kid nearly half my age, but I passed it. Anyway, the nursing field will be glad to have you!
  4. by   OldMister
    Hello, NativeTexan, and thanks for your gracious reply. It's encouraging to know that I'm not the only math problem child out there. I've already begun to consider a tutor. I'm very motivated and I want to attack this math course so that I can devote my energies to the nursing courses. That presupposes, of course, that I actually get accepted into the nursing program!
  5. by   karenG
    welcome to the board........ dont think any of us find maths easy! good luck in becoming a nurse.

    Karen
  6. by   chris_at_lucas_RN
    Hi! Those of you in Texas, if you are anywhere near Dallas, there will be a math class this Saturday (2/28/04) at El Centro College (easy to get to) for $25 from 8:30 to 12:30. It is supposed to focus on medication calculation math.

    PM me if you are interested in more info....
  7. by   Havin' A Party!
    Maybe I'm one of the exceptions on the math thing. (BS in engineering.)

    But wanted to add if it looks like math is a prob, go straight to the required courses...algebra I and II ( or whatever). Don't put yourself CLEP test.

    My CC exempts no one in math. With a bunch of university level courses, I still had to sit for the test and score well on it. Did so, but as some have pointed out, it's no day at the beach.

    You may find that that with a few good courses at this stage of your life it all may really click for you in math. Don't be discouraged.

    All the best!
  8. by   georgia peaches
    First off, I have to say "harumph" at recognizing myself as being <gasp> "middle-aged" at 41 years old. (If the OP is middle-aged, then I must be also!)

    That being said.....

    I graduated in December 2003 with an ADRN - age 41. You can do it.

    In my experience, there are some (few?) benefits to growing older. It was much easier to focus and grasp 'the bigger picture' than when I was younger. At least it seemed that way to me.

    Re: Mathematics. College Algebra isn't all *that* awful, in my opinion. Mathematics has always been my weakest subject, so I'm not one of those people who simply look at the problem, shrug, and say "well, isn't the answer kind of intuitive? You just do ...xxxxxxx..." Grrrrrr. It wasn't intuitive at all.
    BUT
    You CAN do it.

    The amount of mathematics actually used for nursing is relatively minimal, in my opinion, and mostly along the add/subtract/multiply/divide route. That plus 'dimensional analysis' where you learn to convert units i.e. grams to mg, grains to grams, etc.
    Granted you have to be accurate as all get out (always re-work my rates twice just to be sure) - but the concepts are really simple, I think.

    I guess what I'm really trying to say is GO FOR IT. You can do it, and it will be over with before you know it. Then you'll be out there slaving along with the rest of us.....

    Good Luck!

    John
  9. by   OldMister
    Thanks to John, Larry, and Karen (and others) who responded to my initial post and made me feel welcome on here. I think I'm on an adventure...
  10. by   jnette
    Hi there, Old Mister !!!

    WE oldies but goodies still have it ! I began persuing my lifelong desire to become a "real nurse" at the tender age of 50 ! Took me three long, hard, studious years, but I conquered ! Passed boards at 53.

    Yes, it CAN be done, and we still have much to offer. Don't allow the "age thing" to discourage you... nor the math.

    I, too, had not done any math in decades !!! There is a WONDERFUL book for math dummies like us, which helped me tremendously with nursing math. It's called "Dosage Calculations Made Incredibly Easy" by Springhouse... actually they have a whole line of "Made Incredibly Easy" nursing topics, and they are SOOOOOOOOO good ! I would strongly recommend you check them out.

    So join right in, browse through all these great forums and threads, and know that we still have what it takes if your heart is in it.

    Wish you the very best... you CAN do this !
  11. by   rollingstone
    Don't let the math scare you. It's only a little algebra. I was terrible at math as a kid. Even had to go to tutoring one a week with a well- meaning Catholic nun. The big problem back then was that if I didn't understand something I just gave up and didn't apply myself. When math became something I had to learn to do my job, i.e. dosage calculations, I learned how to do it and now it's second nature. You'll do fine. Good Luck and welcome.
  12. by   MryRose
    Welcome Old Mister! Aside from calling folks in thier 40's middle aged, you will have a grand time in college! lol :hatparty:

    I first wanted to become a Nurse way back in the 5th grade...a looong time ago since I am 44 now! But life has a way of taking different paths . I began my quest to be a nurst last Summer. I took a medical and study skills class at our local adult school. FABULOUS! They hit on all the basics and then taught us medical math .....it's a snap! I Then took a CNA course to make sure I was going to be able to handle the work (I'm a shorty, but that's another post lol) and that confirmed that Nursing is indeed in my blood!

    With that under my belt, I went to our community college and went thru the Orientation meeting for the ADN program. Our Prereq list is quite long, and I am now half way thru them. I have found there is a large core of students our age who are doing the same thing and WE are doing WELL! Our professors respect us and I find they actually seem to focus their attention on us as they know we are really serious students. It's been really nice working with people of all ages and I am so glad I decided to "go for it"!

    Something that really has been a help to me is the companian websites for all of my textbooks. If it's not listed in the book, do an internet search for the book publisher, then for the book with the ISBN number. I've found a companion website for everybook that has a ton of information chapter by chapter. Including quizes to check my skills, glossaries, outlines and so much more. Check it out!

    Forming study groups with the other "oldies" has been great too. We zip thru material and have a grand time. We try to limit our groups to 5 people as they get too "chatty" after that.... the hardest part about school has been drawing that line, it seems that our groups are the most popular ones!

    Anyway.... sorry to be so long winded here... it's a marvelous opportunity. Keep a positive attitude, give yourself a break when you need to and then get back on track. It's one of the most rewarding things I have done.

    I'll be eligible for Nursing School Fall of 2005..... I know it's a ways off yet, but that date will come whether I apply myself to nursing or not... I might as well go for my dream!

    HUGS!

    MaryRose
  13. by   OldMister
    Mary Rose, thank you for your words of encouragement and your buoyant attitude...a real inspiration.

    I seem to have unintentionally struck a nerve with several people on this message board with my phrase "middle aged." I would just gently point out that I directed that phrase at myself, never at anyone else. I myself have no qualms about seeing myself as middle aged. I have no desire to try and convince myself that I'm still a youth; my body reminds me otherwise every single morning! And besides, the average lifespan of a US white male is currently about 76-80 years, from what I've read. That would put me, at 44, firmly in the "middle" of my life age. So if anyone is offended at my self-description, well, I never aimed it at you! Thank you again (and everyone else!) for writing and encouraging me. It's very motivating.
  14. by   georgia peaches
    by me - despite my protestations :-)

    I completely understand how you feel, and have pretty much the same 'body complaints' as well as thoughts on aging. Based on family history (on both sides), I am *past* middle age, because most of the family doesn't make it to 60 due to cardiac problems and malignancies. I hope to be a curve-wrecker or outlier!

    One of the problems with the internet and postings is the body language and facial expression; we can so easily be misunderstood!

    Please keep us posted on your progress, and best of luck!

    John

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