To become a nurse, or not become a nurse?...
- 0Oct 12, '11 by Mr_Friendly87Hello everyone, this is my first post on here. I kind of stood back and read everyones threads for a little while now and decided to post one of my own, looking for advice and guidance from a wide range of experienced adults in the nursing field. I just turned 24 years old, im a male, in the Air Force as an aircraft weapons specialist, married with a one year old daughter and another daughter on the way the end of this year. My mom has been an LPN for about 7 years now and I have had an interest in the medical field for quite some time. I want to help people, fixing jets doesnt do it for me, I fix a jet and get no thanks for anything from it(obviously because its an inanimate object lol) however you help a person feel better and they can give you their gratitude. My enlistment is up in june 2013, not TOO far off. So I decided that I would love to pursue a career in nursing, go guard and move back home with my family when my enlistment is up then MAYBE go back to active duty as a flight nurse. I understand I need to take it one day at a time and thats fine with me. However, reading a majority or threads on here I question becoming a nurse because it seems like its not as enjoyable or as gratifying as I thought. The few positive threads are great to read and uplifting. I have a few things im worried about, im terrible with math and I heard that microbiology and chemistry classes are no walk in the park. Since my 6 years in the military I have only taken ONE college class, english 101. Thats a good start towards my degree, right? Thats how I look at it. I know I have thrown a bunch of things out there at once but im mostly looking for guidance, advice, something a little positive lol. Having a family to take care of, and going to school, providing medical care for my daughters since I wont be active, its all a little overwhelming and im not sure where to start next after my one measly college class. Any advice would be much appreciated. Thank you guys.
- 0Oct 13, '11 by chucksterYou'll get a ton of suggestions about whether to go into nursing, so I'll let others weigh on that.
I would strongly suggest that regardless of which program of study you eventually choose, you take advantage of the educational benefits of the USAF while you serve out your enlistment. The CC of the Air Force used to be no cost and I hope it still is but even if not, the tuition has got to be a bargain. Take advantage of it! You could get a lot of the courses you'll need to graduate out of the way at no or low cost. That could give you a big leg up on things. When I was in the Army, I took some of the basic science courses I knew that I'd later need at the college learning center on post. It was free and teachers were very good! Yet I was the only guy in my unit to do something like that (I never had more than 5 soldiers total in any class - and that was at Ft Bragg, a pretty big post). I know it's tough; when you get off duty all you want to do is kick back or maybe down a couple of beers at the E or NCO club. A little sacrifice now pays off nicely down the road though.
As the Nike ad says: Just do it!
- 0Oct 13, '11 by jasonwillhelpYou are going to get a lot of negative Nancys and Donald downers who no matter where they are they are never happy. To be honest, some of those people are probably out of touch with how bad the economy really is and are oblivious to how lucky they are that they have a steady job that pays well with what I consider great flexible hours and endless possibilities. I am married, have kids, use to own a real estate company and in nursing school and will graduate in May. I currently work at a hospital as a tech and I will tell you, I LOVE IT! There is never a dull moment. As long as you give people honesty and respect, they are grateful for what you do. Plus I will admit I was a little embarrassed about becoming a male nurse in the beginning, but now I'm pretty comfortable with it. If anyone makes a crack, I tell them I'm going to be a lactation consultant or a midhusband. But honestly, 99% of people comment on how great that is. I've also been told by instructors and others that work in the field that since I'm a guy I will get hired quickly and probably be able to demand more money. Good Luck!
- 0Oct 13, '11 by Mr_Friendly87Thanks for the reply chuck. You were at Ft Bragg? I actually just got stationed at Seymour Johnson, not far from Ft Bragg. I plan on getting my CCAF cause I can use those credits towards my gen eds. Its really funny you mention Nikes "Just Do It" slogan cause I tell myself that everyday. JUST DO IT. Simple and straight to the point. I think I know what I want to do but I dont want to work for 2-3 years to get into another job that has so much negativity around it like my job does now. I really want to help people.
- 0Oct 14, '11 by checker1981I am new nurse and it took me a long time to get here and a lot of work. Had two previous careers that paid more (hourly) and had better hours. Would I do it again? Yes!
Why? It's interesting. You will never have the same day twice. Prior to switching to my nursing career I was a science/math teacher and for 5 classes a day I would give the same lecture to each group. And worked in a pharmacy typing the same drugs in over and over again. My brother is stationed at Luke AFB as a jet engine mechanic and he says it is very repetitive.
For your math skills and chemistry... you should understand basic concepts when taking chem (acids/bases (Ph scales), ions, electrical charges (electrolytes), measurements). Math, you would need to know how to do medication calcuations, conversions of units (lbs/kg), mostly dimensional analysis. They will teach you in nursing school what you need to know, for most part you will just have to do it in school, then use online calendars, double check your math with other nurses or the pharmacy.
Get use to the question, "Why don't you become a doctor?".
Not sure my gender has helped me get a job any sooner then females or if I will get paid more. I have heard that in the past from other female nurses, I just haven't seen that practice. It is a struggle to find a job (like any industry at this time), but once you get your first year of experience it will be easier. It took me 5 months to land a job, but I know a lot of people that are jobless in other careers and have nothing on the horizon.
Plus another reason to go into nursing is better pay then the Air Force. Good luck.
- 0Oct 17, '11 by kalevraHey I Friendly I know exactly what you are worried about. I spent 4 years in active duty ARMY with 4ID and when I got back to civilian life I thought I was way behind the power curve when it came to math and science. Do not worry about what the classes will be like because they are not as hard as people will make them out to be. You will be surprised how much critical thinking skills you have gained while on active duty.
Are you going RN or LVN?A It makes a huge difference which route you take because the ARMY only took on RNs with a BSN degree to become flight nurses. I don't know how it is with Air Force. RNs in the ARMY are also commissioned officers.
I went through the community college system to knock out the prerequisites for the RN program. This allowed me to score high and save a few thousands of dollars. I assume you will use your Post 911 GI Bill to pay for school and living expenses. The Bill is great, but with a family you may want to save a few extra bucks going to a CC.
I can remember my first day in college and I felt like I was stupid. I could barely write a standard 5 paragraph essay, my math skills were shot to hell and I hated that fact that I was in a remedial class to bring me up to speed. I had to take tons of remedial classes before I could even enroll on classes I actually needed. Once I got up to speed I blew through the prerequisites within a year. Yes you will have to take chemistry, but if you take the intro version of the class it is way easier. Make sure it is transferable to the university system. Every CC has some chemistry class for non-science majors because it fulfills a general education criteria. As for math I recommend Statistics because it is a higher level math that transfer(usually), fulfills university math requirement, and easy as all hell.
Anatomy is a breeze, Microbiology a little harder, and then Physiology is the dream killer. My school taught it separate from anatomy and our instructor was a double PhD in chemistry and biology. It was murder and his job was also to thin out the herd. Just take your time with physiology.
It takes a lot of time and a lot of hoops to jump through. Do not get discouraged. I know in the military you go from zero to trained in like 6 months. The civilian side is different and you get a lot more freedom. Knock out you general education requirements for now like psychology, nutrition and whatever else. The ones that require a physical lab should be held off until you can commit the time and energy towards them. Remember to score as high as possible. Straight "As" open up a lot of doors.
- 0Oct 17, '11 by Mr_Friendly87Thank you guys for the posts and advice. Kalevra, I want to shoot for RN but I might just start as an LPN, my wife will be working and I will be in the air national guard so I will be contributing some money too on top of the gi bill you mentioned. So hopefully I will be able to focus mostly on school. I want to start working on my pre reqs my last year in active duty so I might just start with psychology. I'm excited to start working towards this goal but it seems like a long road, however I know it will be worth it in the end. Nothing in life comes easy thanks again guys.
- 0Oct 21, '11 by MrChicagoRNQuote from Mr_Friendly87Regarding pre--reqs...Thank you guys for the posts and advice. Kalevra, I want to shoot for RN but I might just start as an LPN, my wife will be working and I will be in the air national guard so I will be contributing some money too on top of the gi bill you mentioned. So hopefully I will be able to focus mostly on school. I want to start working on my pre reqs my last year in active duty so I might just start with psychology. I'm excited to start working towards this goal but it seems like a long road, however I know it will be worth it in the end. Nothing in life comes easy thanks again guys.
Why wait? It takes time to develop good study habits, and the more you get out of the way now, the less you'll need to do later.
What state will you be in?
In Illinois at least, you get 100% tuition at state supported universities for four years!