Midlife Career Change to Nursing? - Reality Check Please ! (another from Cape Cod)

  1. Hello all,
    I hope I can get some advice on a potential career change to nursing. Currently, I am employed in the software industry and make a good salary (one I could not match on-Cape). Before this, though, I've held "ancillary" positions in health care...microbiology tech and diet tech in hospitals for 10 years, and 6 years at a health insurer, eventually in management. I have a BS in zoology, though it is 25 yrs old.

    I have always been interested in medicine and health, and have recently been thinking more and more about nursing, especially as I've had more interaction due to family illnesses. I truly believe the nurses "make or break" someone's hospital experience...and most of them would "make" it if given the chance. I would like to give back some of what I've been privileged to experience.

    I am 49. Is it all all realistic to think that I can get an RN and then a more advanced degree and good employment? I would need to work full or nearly full time. I would be taking classes for 4 or 5 years...Will schools and employers view me as a contributor or will they think that I should not take the place of someone who will work longer in the field? This is one of my main concerns.

    Cape Cod Comm. College offers an evening program...does anyone know if there is a large wait list and what the program is like? (I have a call in to them now.)
    Finally, are salaries for a beginning RN on the Cape at all comparable to Boston's?

    Thanks so much and sorry for all the questions. I have been all over the internet reading and researching...just need mostly to know if I'm being at all realistic.
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  2. 6 Comments

  3. by   Chaya
    'Nother MA nurse here: I got my BSN at 49. I got a job at the hospital where I worked as an Aide the last few months of school. Go for it!
  4. by   mom2three
    I think what you are doing is wonderful! And, yes, you should go for it, so that you may have no regrets! I am currently at Quincy College finishing up my pre-requisites to apply to the Part-time Evening Program. Quincy also has a Plymouth Campus (where I'm going now) and starting Jan '06, will have a Part-Time Evening program (in Plymouth)...

    I've met many women in their 40s in my classes, going back to school, career change. They are committed and dedicated to their studies having more life experience behind them, than other younger students. I don't doubt that they will make great nurses and so will you!

    Do your research to find out the best program for your lifestyle right now, and see what pre-requisites and/or entrance tests you have to complete before applying.... Best of luck to you!!
  5. by   moebb22
    I'm thrilled to hear that I may not be off the deep end, after all!! I'll look into the Quincy College option in Plymouth too...
    Thanks again and good luck to you both!
  6. by   rainbows4me
    Quote from moebb22
    Hello all,
    I hope I can get some advice on a potential career change to nursing. Currently, I am employed in the software industry and make a good salary (one I could not match on-Cape). Before this, though, I've held "ancillary" positions in health care...microbiology tech and diet tech in hospitals for 10 years, and 6 years at a health insurer, eventually in management. I have a BS in zoology, though it is 25 yrs old.

    I have always been interested in medicine and health, and have recently been thinking more and more about nursing, especially as I've had more interaction due to family illnesses. I truly believe the nurses "make or break" someone's hospital experience...and most of them would "make" it if given the chance. I would like to give back some of what I've been privileged to experience.

    I am 49. Is it all all realistic to think that I can get an RN and then a more advanced degree and good employment? I would need to work full or nearly full time. I would be taking classes for 4 or 5 years...Will schools and employers view me as a contributor or will they think that I should not take the place of someone who will work longer in the field? This is one of my main concerns.

    Cape Cod Comm. College offers an evening program...does anyone know if there is a large wait list and what the program is like? (I have a call in to them now.)
    Finally, are salaries for a beginning RN on the Cape at all comparable to Boston's?

    Thanks so much and sorry for all the questions. I have been all over the internet reading and researching...just need mostly to know if I'm being at all realistic.
    I can't speak to the pay scales on Cape, but I can speak to your concerns about being a 'nontraditional' (read old) student. I'm finishing my ADN at a western mass community college this May. I'm 33, have a bachelor's degree in music performance and education and had no experience in healthcare. The nursing programs around here love having people from diverse backgrounds in their program. I'm also younger than the median student in my class. The median age was 36. The youngest was 17 when we started 2 years ago (only one out of 50 students who was straight out of highschool) and the oldest was 50 with a bachelor's and master's in an unrelated field. I've already got my job of choice lined up for August (going straight into a very specialized critical care environment) and none of my 'older' friends nor I have run into any negative experiences regarding our age. Although, one of my friends (47) has been asked more than once if she is the instructor of our clincial group. :chuckle

    Good luck to you. I know that for me, this experience has been amazing. I never enjoyed my work before and I must say that I love what I'm doing now.
  7. by   meanderthaw
    You have no problem in wanting to turn your pursuits toward nursing. I'm a ship-turner myself and was in the same kind of boat as you. I'm transitioning from finance to nursing. I spent a few years getting some science courses (done before I had actually decided to go into nursing)--community colleges can be very cost-effective and worthy ways of meeting pre-requisites. My advice is to maybe volunteer at an ER or try to speak to some nurses (friends, or calling some schools, or even some (reputable) recruiters if they have a few moments to discuss nursing as a career). Also scan your area for nursing schools and the kinds of programs (2nd degree accelerated programs are starting to pop up around the country); also consider if you want a BS or if you'd be happy with an ASN or dipoloma and do bed-side the next 10-20 years. Good luck & feel free to PM me if you have specific questions.
  8. by   moebb22
    Wow. Thank you all for taking the time to encourage me and let me know that this idea isn't at all crazy. And best of all, that you love what you're studying or doing. I've read lots of both positive and negative things about the field...but I guess I connect more to the positive.
    Cape Cod community only admits a class every 2 years. It would be the best program for me for lots of reasons...so I need to decide if I can hang on to this till 2006. I do have prereqs to do, but not a ton.
    Any talking to the college as well as other nurses is a great idea. Thanks again!!!

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