Advice for a potential second career male nurse?

  1. 0
    Hi,
    Figured this was a pretty good place to get advice on nursing!

    I'm thinking of going back to school and getting into nursing. I currently do technical writing for a financial software company, and while the company and my colleagues are *tremendous*, working hard so that other people can make lots of money hasn't been very fulfilling.

    Nursing appeals because I've always been interested in sciences and was originally a genetics major before switching to liberal arts. I'm a big softie, particularly with kids, and am always happy to put someone else's needs first. Plus, it seems like the daily effort of helping people survive trauma or to simply alleviate their pain would do more to better the world than what I do now. My sister-in-law was a nursing student and I'm reading her textbooks now in the evenings. For fun!

    With some experience, it would be cool to somehow tie this in with another passion: Homeland Security and bioterror defense. Maybe a focus on public health nursing or something.

    My concern is that my INFP-ness is taking over and my perception of nursing is becoming kind of pie-in-the-sky. I'm fairly introverted, meaning I may freeze up when faced with the forceful personalities of the ER or its belligerent patients. I've got a great memory and recall when given a few minutes to think over an issue, but may be forced to act faster than I'd like, and can have a hard time brushing off unfair criticism or my own mistakes. Plus, I'm 34, a guy, and have two kids and a mortgage.

    I'd really like to switch into something that helps people, and more and more the medical field seems like where it should be. The time and money will work themselves out for the right fit. A fast-paced environment that's team-oriented would be great, or a quieter, less stressful one. Does a position exist like that? Just fishing for ideas at this point.

    Thanks for reading this far!

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  2. 27 Comments...

  3. 0
    I'm only in my second year of nursing but I'm thoroughly enjoying it! I can't comment on the work environment but I think if you are genuinely passionate about helping people (sick, injured, dying) and are interested in science and medicine you should go for it.
  4. 1
    I just graduated nursing school a few months ago and start at a hospital next week. Nursing is a great field to get into man, but your heart needs to be in it. It should be something that you really want to do, because nursing school isn't easy. If your heart isn't in it, it'll often times show and in nursing you don't want that. If you know it's something that you want to do, then I support you 100%. I am happy for any male interested in getting into nursing because we need more of us. Good luck!!!
    Nola009 likes this.
  5. 1
    I graduated from nursing school at the age of 45 as a high-tech refugee. I'm happy with the decision and only regret that I didn't do it many years earlier.

    While in nursing school, I did several projects associated with disaster response including an internship with the county health department folks working on bioterror response. I was able to participate in a mass vaccination drill and help develop a response plan for our university which was integrated into the county plan. Pretty cool stuff.

    At this point, I work in a large ED and I find the work interesting for the most part and I certainly appreciate being an hourly employee as opposed to the salaried chump that I was for so many years.

    I disagree with the "your heart has to be in it" mantra... mine isn't, particularly, and yet I do a fine job as evidenced by recognition from my employers, colleagues, and patients. Having a strong work ethic is sufficient to be a fine nurse.

    Being shy and withdrawn could be a detriment; those things can be overcome, however.
    Nola009 likes this.
  6. 3
    My point being, often times, when you aren't particularly fond of your job, it shows. I'm not saying your heart has to be in it to do a sufficient job, despite how you may have interpreted that. I just think, and it's strictly my opinion, so take as such, that to actually enjoy your job and not be miserable, it has to be something that you're into; regardless of what field you're in. For example, I taught HS biology for a year. Was I good at it? Yes, colleagues and administration loved my presentation of material and the students loved me; I even got teacher of the month. The thing is, I didn't enjoy the work and it started to show. I guarantee you 9x/10 if you go to a hospital and interact with employees, you can pick and choose the ones who don't really like their jobs. It doesn't necessarily have to be in your work ethic. It can be your attitude, lack of interest to be there (which every so often you have even when you're in your desired field) which can sometimes affect your performance, etc.. Why do you think so many people get out of nursing? But we are entitled to our opinions, so take mine with a grain of salt. Cheers!!!
    Nola009, ninjago, and Esme12 like this.
  7. 0
    If it's your dream, come on over... Your personality will adapt, nurses are as varied as people. There are probably more than a hundred different nursing jobs in many environments. If you are interested in anything but bedside nursing, you will probably need at least a BSN, more likely a MSN. An ASN is much cheaper and quicker. I've been a nurse for 8 years and have worked in ICU, ER, tele, med surg, and the military. You can't beat that for variety. I started with an ASN and now have a MSN. It's a great career.
  8. 0
    If you REALLY have nursing as a passion, do it. You may make less, you may work more. It doesn't matter if it's your passion, because you won't be 'working'.

    Now. For reality. If it is not 100% what you will absolutely love, even if it means less pay and more work, then you need to seriously consider this.

    Obamacare has made it so that new grads are jobless or working mutiple part-time jobs.

    Obamacare has made it so that at hospitals where you would have had 4 patients during the day and 5 at night, you now have 6+ during the day, 7+ at night.

    Obamacare has made it that once you were guaranteed 40 hours a week. Now you go home when there is 'too much staff', and you use your vacation time to fill in your off hours.

    Obamacare has made it so that hospitals nationally are overworked, understaffed.

    Obamacare means that ultimately, the nurse pays for it all. More work. Less staff. Job uncertainty. Thus, if you come on over, be prepared, and if it is your life's passion, none of the above will matter.

    I looked for an RN job for 2 years after graduating with a 4.0, top of my class, and a previous degree, also with a 4.0. I now volunteer as an RN and work at a large health system in IT. I hear on every floor the dissatisfied RNs who are getting sent home, who don't have CNAs, etc. Thus, I re-itereate, if it is your passion, none of the above will matter, but be prepared for reality.
  9. 0
    delabeaux wrote:
    "...Thus, if you come on over, be prepared, and if it is your life's passion, none of the above will matter."

    So true and that applies to all professions, not only nursing. I knew one nurse that quit her job to go back as a salesperson, money is less but her passion was in the retail sales. She did not like seeing and being with sick people all the time and she did not like the responsibilities put on her.

    Another example, my niece graduated nursing with honors but went into automotive business with her dad instead and she is very happy with her decision.

    On the other side, my friend was in computer software business for a very long time. She went to nursing after retiring from her software engineering job. She is now the manager of a non-profit clinic serving low income and uninsured population. Nursing was not her first choice as a second career but she thought she'll try it because everyone seems into it. She learned to love it and the rewards of helping people made it all worthwhile for her.

    This I can say, Nursing has many branches you can go to. If you are bored with one, you can try another. There is research or teaching, if one does not like bedside. For me, I'm into clinical (ER and cardiac) and loved it.

    Good luck! whatever you decide.
  10. 0
    My advice is to read the current thread by HowardHughes.. "The sorry state of nursing".
  11. 1
    I agree with much of what has already been said. I would like to share that within nursing, there are so many opportunities for work doing so many different kinds of things! Just about any job that you can think of whether IT, writing, teaching, management, HR, recruitment, entrepreneur, legal, etc. you can find a job like that within nursing! You may have trouble finding your first job, but there are things you can do to mitigate that difficulty.

    Is it hard? Absolutely! Is it rewarding? For those that stay connected to purpose, yes. For those that have been struggling with short staff and poor management, I think that they would say no. The trick is to not stay in a job that you don't like. People resist change, but I believe that this is what some need. At this point, I work in supervision and love being a resource for staff. I love solving problems and helping out when things are crazy. I love protecting our nursing staff. I have counseled many nurses, who were disgruntled with their situation and helped them to ask themselves what they want. I just saw one of the nurses that I worked with last year the other day and she loves her new role! She was going to leave nursing and now she is plugged back into her passion and loving to come to work again. She is still at the same hospital, just doing something else. Another nurse decided to leave the hospital to pursue hospice and she glows when I see her now! I give these nurses much credit for looking into themselves, researching different opportunities, and making a change!

    I love having men enter the nursing profession. We need the balance and it helps everyone when we have another man join us. This field is expanding, over the next ten years much of our workforce is retirement age. When I mentioned just yesterday that I had a retirement party to go to this week, my child asked why so many people are retiring! Even he noticed that we have had multiple retirement parties this past year!

    It is true, Obamacare has affected what we are doing. I heard the House defunded it and now it is up to the Senate. Who knows what will happen? Either way, there have always been patients and there will always be patients. I love nursing. I love nurses. It is a great profession and I am proud of my field and fellow nurses. I say, if you have the calling then come on into a profession where you can always find great purpose and can change fields/jobs without changing professions!
    baskew64 likes this.


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