Taking the plunge, I mean inching into the kiddie pool

  1. Hi!

    I'm 31. I never went to college. Even though most would consider me to be a smart guy, I didn't possess the economic, or the ambitious resources to pursue higher education.

    I've worked in sales for over 10 years. I hate it. It has not always been bad, but over and over again my complaints about my profession have been echoed to myself repeatedly.

    While I would never have considered it when I was younger, a career in Nursing sounds rewarding to me on so many levels. I have been inching towards making a decision in the matter for a while now, reaching out to the few people I know who work in Nursing to ask their advice.

    I should disclose that the Nursing associates I do have, I am not close with. In fact, one of them is nothing more than a "myspace friend."

    I'm also aware that when it comes to advice or opinions, people tend to give you what is true, for them. This is especially true when they don't know you very well. Such is life!

    While I only recently discovered this website, I have to say that it is exactly what I was hoping for. Since I don't have many opportunities to see what Nurses actually have to say about their profession, I had a lot of doubts about my intentions. This forum has changed a lot of that for me, and I've made the commitment to myself to pursue it.

    So this is where this post comes into play.

    Most Nurses start their career at a much younger age. I'm 31, but I'm not a grandfather. For that matter, I've never even been married. I do have relatively low living expenses, and while more money is ALWAYS good, I can in fact do quite well for myself making a salary that many of my friends my age would find completely unsuitable. To further illustrate this, due to a layoff I suffered in January, I am working a job right now where even working as a CNA would very likely result in a pay INCREASE.

    Of course I say this with a grain of salt, since even the salary of my current job is much lower in reality than what was advertised. The crux of working on commission, I suppose.

    The shooting from the hip plan I have for myself is a direct result of having a brief conversation with a customer of mine who has worked in Nursing since 1986. Slightly modified for realism, of course.

    She told me a few things about what it was like for her, but one of the things she mentioned is that "You want to work for a hospital if you want to make any money." At first I thought she was referring the alternative being working in a private Doctor's office. But with a little more investigation I concluded that she was referring to working in LTC.

    LTC does not pay well, I get that. But as I hinted at before, I am in utter despair with my current profession. I would like to think that I am not romanticizing a career I've never had any direct interaction with, other than from being a patient.

    Although it is worth mentioning that my only visit to a hospital that I have any recollection of, was actually a FUN experience, and for what it is worth, the Nurse assigned to me was very prominent in making it so enjoyable. I really hope the hospital was able to forward the card I sent her.

    Back to my high-noon showdown with my career that I promised. I am going to take a CPR/AED course from the Red Cross next month, and am going to reach out to a few LTC facilities to talk about what I can do do to make myself attractive to them to be employed. While the Nurse I spoke with briefly suggested that I could start working in a LTC facility before completing or even starting CNA courses, I suspect that in this matter, she is mistaken.

    From what I have seen, the CNA course will set me back $800. I don't have that right now, but I can save up for it. It is a relatively small investment to make. It is nothing like what people do to become LPN's and RN's, which sound like very good long term goals to work towards.

    What kind of challenges might I have, that are specific to my age?

    I have come to understand that getting into Nursing school can be very challenging. But there is a very specific one that does worry me. I have heard that one of the largest factors to contribute to being accepted for a Nursing program (such as an ADN) is your GPA for your pre-requisites.

    I am confused on that point, how can an undergraduate degree have GPA requirements? I can understand a particular school having high school GPA requirements, I'm not going to get into Yale or MIT, but how does this apply to a community college?

    To summarize:

    Get hired on at an LTC facility, before or after obtaining CNA.
    Put two weeks notice in 5 seconds after getting a job offer
    Work as a CNA for as long as it takes to start and finish school to become an LPN.
    Work as an LPN for a while, let life take over, who knows! Perhaps get married.
    Go back to school and work towards RN.
    Work as an RN.
    Take over the world?

    Sorry, I wish there was a Pinky and the Brain emoticon though!

    Thank you for reading this far.
  2. Visit Syntax error profile page

    About Syntax error

    Joined: Dec '08; Posts: 10; Likes: 4
    Sales, ugh!; from MN
    Specialty: -1


  3. by   R*Star*RN
    Congratulations on your choice to become a nurse

    As for age. . . in my ASN class, I was 24-25, and I was one of the youngest. We had people who were 60 in our class, but the average age was 30-40ish. You may find the younger folks in traditional 4 year BSN programs however.

    Many LTC facilities will pay for your CNA course. In fact, when I first started as a CNA they paid for my education and gave me an extra $500. Of course with the economy the way it is right now, the benefits may be less. I would call different LTC facilities and see if any of them offer reimbursement for CNA education.

    Your plan is exactly the course of action I took. However, I have yet to take over the world Or get married. But I suppose there's plenty of time left for all that.

    I wish you luck with your ventures. Feel free to send any questions my way.
  4. by   Syntax error
    Thank you for the reply. It is certainly encouraging to hear it.

    While I am still putting a modest amount of effort into getting a new job for right now (with a set schedule, so I can be able to attend either the night or weekend CNA class schedule) getting employed in an LTC before hand would be very advantageous. If I were to be hired, it would pretty much be an automatic assumption that I would be permitted to not work during the CNA class schedule, whichever one was the best fit.

    My job right now is in retail sales, which of course means I work weekends, and nights occasionally. The Red Cross CNA course schedules appear to be very flexible, for people who have inflexible schedules. But for those whose work schedules are all over the map, it looks a little hard to pull off.

    Time will tell!
  5. by   DanEMT
    My story was very similar. 31, No degree, working in outside sales, but unlike you married. Here is my experience, sales helps you greatly. Knowing how to read people, find out just what they want, and overcome objections helps form the proper relationships with patients, families, and staff. Also let me say you being older is an advantage over your class mates. Your work ethic is stronger meaning you know what you have to do to get nsg school done without wasting your time. No offense to the younger students but your life experience does play a part. Saying that, the life experience also gives you a leg up with critical thinking as does your sales exp. As far as GPA it playes a huge part, at your age they use your pre-reqs to base your entry on. The ADN programs tended to use a NET test so someone with a low GPA stood a chance, at my BSN it was GPA. This past year they took only 3.5 or higher. I am beginning the second semester of my junior year and killing it, don't base college now on your performance in high school. I was a D student in high school (it's why I didn't go to college) now I am holding a 3.7. Don't concern youself with other peoples stories or reasons, some are good, some bad, some like working with peds, I want to be a flight nurse. Figure out your own reasons and focus on that. Get it done. Good luck. If you want to ask anything further just PM me or ask here I will continue to check.
  6. by   Syntax error
    Again, thank you. That being said I can't PM anyone until I have 15 posts.

    I watched a documentary on Flight Nurses recently. It was fascinating stuff. I don't think it is for me, but I can absolutely see the appeal it would have for someone.

    One thing is for sure, I'm sure your job has a lot of great stories to go with it.
  7. by   deleern
    I was 45 when i started, I took a full time Night possition as a CNA they paid for my Classes AND they Offered me Health Insurance. I started in the fall with my LPN and continued on to complete my RN. After each graduation the facility offered me a possition. they were very good about school and my schedule... I have beed an RN since June 13th 2007 I have loved every minute of it....

    As a side note I was also in sales. This is much more stable, and much more rewarding.

    Yes you may make more in a hospital but working in a LTC the hours are more stable and they are more often day positions.
    Last edit by deleern on Dec 26, '08 : Reason: added more.
  8. by   Syntax error
    Do any of you have any advice on how to get hired at an LTC, or even a regular hospital in similar function before you have your CNA completed?

    I'm still skeptical.
    Last edit by Syntax error on Dec 27, '08
  9. by   deleern
    Call and Apply. your best chance is in LTC.

    are you metro or rural
  10. by   scanda123
    Have you ever considered just doing the test out option to become a CNA? There is an option, that you can study and practice on your own, and take the CNA test on your own. You still have to pay to take the exam, but it will be much cheaper than taking the class! See link for info. You can schedule the test through several community colleges, and the Red Cross in Minneapolis.
    Taking the test will run you approximately $180.
  11. by   Syntax error
    Quote from delee99
    Call and Apply. your best chance is in LTC.

    are you metro or rural
    I'm metro. Conveniently residing in Uptown!
  12. by   deleern
    Yes to the test out all it will cost you are the Books, but in MN if a Nursing home hires you then they pay for it.

    also if you move to rural the cost of living is less and the jobs are pleniful in the nursing home setting.

    PM me for more information OUr Local Community College has open enrolment
  13. by   Busia
    It's sure nice to read of all the later-in-life students! I'm 32 as well, married with three young children, and am going back to school now! It feels very strange, and I feel SOOOO old when I go to the campus for anything (haven't started any classes yet) and see all the fresh-out-of-high school students!!!

    Good luck to you!
  14. by   Leyla~
    They can let you in based on current GPA since for the most part you will need to take some classes before being admitted to the program. Given the difficulty of the nursing program, you really don't want to be taking your generals at the same time. Nursing courses are a lot of work on their own, no need to be taking chem and bio and speech and humanities and geography and all that nonsense at the same time.
    Anoka Ramsey Community College admits based on a point system. Your GPA garners certain points, having your anatomy and physiology gets you more points, having credits completed at ARCC gets you more points and so on. I'm pretty sure that they take highest points first and do a lottery to fill out the rest of the program. I loved the ARCC nursing program. I felt very ready for the NCLEX when it was all over.