Career change - M.P.H. into nursing

  1. Hello to everyone! I'm a newbie here, so please be gentle.

    I'm currently employed as an epidemiologist/researcher, and have 6+ years experience in the public health field. While I love public health, I am seriously contemplating a career change into the wonderful world of nursing. I would love to have more direct contact with people (instead of a computer, LOL) and work in the health care field ASIDE from crunching numbers. I have an MPH in epidemiology (concentration: infectious diseases), and a BS in microbiology. But, I'm not exactly sure which nursing degree would be a better "fit" for me. Since I already have a health sciences-related BS and master's, would a BSN or MSN be redundant? I'm married with 2 young kiddos, so my time is precious - I think an intensive accelerated BSN or MSN program would be too hard on my family at this point. Would an ADN be enough for me to become an RN, and would an RN make me a viable job candidate?

    Any advice and wisdom is welcome. Oh, I should also mention that I have an interest in the following specialties: OB, orthopedic, perioperative, infectious diseases (obviously!). I'm very open to nursing career options: bedside, research, etc.

  2. Visit troop949 profile page

    About troop949

    Joined: Feb '11; Posts: 176; Likes: 51
    RN; from US
    Specialty: Public Health


  3. by   ruralgirl08
    Wow! I think that with an ADN you would still be a excellent candidate for a lot of positions, with your educational background.
    But if you also had a BSN, that would be make your career opportunities endless....just my thoughts.
    (You should get a lot of advanced standing credits in a BSN program, which should lessen your workload, worth looking into.)
  4. by   CrunchRN
    I think you should try a stint volunteering in a hospital to see and smell ()what it is really like before you invest a lot of energy. It is extremely different from what you are used too.
  5. by   troop949
    Quote from CrunchRN
    I think you should try a stint volunteering in a hospital to see and smell ()what it is really like before you invest a lot of energy. It is extremely different from what you are used too.

    Great advice, I will look into a volunteer position. And I'm no stranger to the unpleasantries of the human body...
  6. by   UVA Grad Nursing
    I'd encourage you to look at the Direct Entry MSN programs. We've enrolled (and graduated) a number of students with MPHs in the past.
  7. by   troop949
    That's something to think about, but from what I understand, I'd have to have a specialty in mind in order to apply to those programs. I'm still unsure of what I'd like to do, although there are a few areas I'm interested in. Basically, I don't want to pin myself down to just one specialty yet, if that makes sense.
  8. by   abbeyna
    Hi everyone,

    I've been considering a career in nursing for a long time too about 6 years ago, while I was doing my undergrad in Mechanical Engineering. During that time I took a course for CNA and did an externship at a nursing home. I really liked the experiene (except when I had to change the adult diapers after a BM).

    Regarding the thought about nursing, I still haven't changed my mind about to this day. I'm currently married with one child in elementary school (no longer needs day care- just the occasional babysitter for a night out). We've no plans to increase our family for at least a few years- we're in no rush.

    I also did the prereqs for entry into the ASN program at a local community college and got straight A's so no problem there, the only thing remaining would be to take the TEAS.

    Currently I work as an engineer in a very good company. The pay is good but not my dream career unfortunately. I'm thinking about making that big step and applying to nursing school. I was thinking I would save as much money as I could for at least a year and then go to school full time if we could afford it. Any advice for me? Is a career change to nursing worth it? How would I know if nursing is right for me? Anyone here made a big change to nursing? What has the experience been like for career changers?

    Please advise.
    Thank you
  9. by   MPH to FNP

    What made you decide to go into nursing? I think you and i have somewhat similar backgrounds! I have an MPH (and BS in Biology) and worked in HIV research and program implementation for several years. The reason why I decided to become a nurse is because I wanted a more clinical and hands on approach to health care as opposed to data analysis and grant writing. Recently, I began a direct entry MSN program and feel that it was the best decision ever. You mentioned your concern that such a program would be too intense on your family, but I have several classmates with families who are doing just fine...

    Best of luck to you!
  10. by   troop949
    I swear you jumped into my brain to post your reasons for choosing nursing! I feel the same way - I want to have more face time with people, instead of seeing them as numbers in a database. I will be starting school in January to take 2 semesters of pre-reqs, and I hope to be accepted into an accelerated BSN program for Fall 2012. I'm very excited! A little apprehensive, I'll admit, but really looking forward to someday working with patients. I wish you the best of luck as well, fellow MPH!
  11. by   healthyanalyst
    Oh wow, I'm in the same boat with A LOT of people here! I have a M.H.A. (BS in Biology) but have always wanted to be a nurse. I'm a senior research analyst in the health care field and like someone else said here, I've always wanted to work directly with patients....really impacting health care (not just staring at a computer screen all day doing data analysis, research, project management, etc).

    I've been reading this blog for a few weeks now and there's a lot of honest info that may scare you (lack of nursing jobs in large metro areas, new grads NOT getting hired DESPITE previous degrees and work experience, lack of SLEEP working 12 hr shifts, etc) but I still want to be a nurse.

    The financial piece seems to be the major barrier for a lot of folks since Accelerated BSN programs are quite intensive and you can't really work. Based on all the info I've read here, I think it may be best to pursue the BSN over the ADN/ASN just because a lot of employers, from what I've heard, don't care if you already have a BS or Masters in a health care related field. Though I have to admit that I find the ADN/ASN quite attractive myself because it's less expensive.

    Good luck to everyone and I hope it works out for you!
  12. by   Rob72
    Ahhh, but you Masters level folks have a distinct advantage, if you market it properly. Research, Indian Health, VA, teaching hospitals, various facilities getting public health initiative funds, would all be delighted to have you. It will depend on the salary you can live with/on, but you have the ability to drive some research and nursing initiatives on your own.
  13. by   OwlyRN
    Can I swap with you?! I am about to start my MPH because I want less direct contact with patients.
  14. by   MPH to FNP
    LOL! The grass is always greener on the other side!