Doctor becoming Nurse?

  1. I'm a doctor of optometry and I am considering a career change to nursing. The worst part about my current job is that there are absolutely no benefits (i.e., insurance, vacations, retirement, etc.), and if I want to take any time off, I not only don't get paid, but have to find and hire my own replacement. The business is extremely variable and there are times, like now, when I make very little money, while at other times I am very busy. The idea of nursing appeals to me and I believe that the fringe benefits are a lot greater.

    My family situation demands that I make at least $100,000 a year and preferably $120,000 or more. Am I going to be able to make anything like that as a nurse? I think I could as a nurse anesthetist, but I don't know if my situation will permit me to complete the educational program, which is full time for more than 2 years after becoming an RN.

    Just from a financial standpoint, is a nursing career likely to meet my needs? Thanks for any advice you can offer.
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  2. 23 Comments

  3. by   *ac*
    I'm sure it depends on your location, but where I am, starting pay for BSN is HALF what you're hoping for. (Eastern seaboard, mid-Atlantic region).
  4. by   marie-francoise
    You might also want to think about if nursing is a fit for your personality. I would read through the threads on this site to get an idea of what nursing is like, and maybe shadow a nurse if you can. If it's not a fit for your personality, no amount of money or benefits may compensate for that. But that is just my opinion.

    You may love it. CRNA makes good money, but that job also requires tolerance of staying on your feet all day in the OR, etc. So, I'm just saying, be cautious and investigate the actual nature of the job you would be getting into - at least read through some of the threads on this site.
  5. by   tencat
    You will not make 120,000 with a basic nursing degree. It takes several years to get into the CRNA, where you would make that kind of money. I don't know much about being an optometrist, but is it possible to switch specialties?
  6. by   tenrec
    Quote from tencat
    You will not make 120,000 with a basic nursing degree. It takes several years to get into the CRNA, where you would make that kind of money. I don't know much about being an optometrist, but is it possible to switch specialties?
    I was afraid of that. People (who are NOT nurses, I should add) have been telling me that nurses do really well. I know the CRNAs do, but I guess most nurses are not making the kind of money I need.

    I'm still going to look into nursing as a second career -- the benefits are good, and I can always supplement part time as an optometrist!
  7. by   Valerie Salva
    Most nurses make in the mid to upper 20s per hr, all across the US. The "nurses make big money" thing is a myth.

    Here's a really good graph w/ info on RN wages.

    http://www.payscale.com/research/US/...N)/Hourly_Rate

    As for the benefits being good, that varies widely. I've been a nursing supervisor, and my employer did not offer any medical ins.

    I do know a CRNA who makes $190,000./yr.
    Last edit by Valerie Salva on Dec 15, '07
  8. by   love-d-OR
    I dont know were you live, but I know of a nurse in California that made more than $100,000/yr her first year as a nurse. The cost of living here is really high though and so are the taxes, so... Oh, she made that much by working overtime and an extra job. I also know of nurses that live in very expensive homes and drive very luxurious cars , (which suggests they are making big money) but I think they work a lot of overtime too. If you are willing to work a lot of overtime or two jobs, then its probably doable.

    Its very hard to get into the CRNA programs, and you will need a year or more experience in an ICU to get in. Good luck
  9. by   Tweety
    If you live in California and work overtime you might make six figures. Otherwise, the idea of using it to supplement your current practice with some income during slow times and benefits is probably the way to go. You could take on a "per diem" or work for an agency that would be flexible around your current work schedule.
  10. by   *ac*
    Quote from Tweety
    If you live in California and work overtime you might make six figures. Otherwise, the idea of using it to supplement your current practice with some income during slow times and benefits is probably the way to go. You could take on a "per diem" or work for an agency that would be flexible around your current work schedule.
    My impression is that it would be hard to work per diem, agency, or even supplemental without a year or more of full-time experience.
  11. by   Sabby_NC
    I'm still going to look into nursing as a second career -- the benefits are good, and I can always supplement part time as an optometrist![/quote]


    Just wanted to wish you well in what ever you decide to do.
    If nursing is in your heart and that is truly what you want to do then go for it.
  12. by   iwanna
    With that income expectation, wouldn't it be more realistic to think about a Physician's Assistant?
  13. by   tenrec
    Quote from iwanna
    With that income expectation, wouldn't it be more realistic to think about a Physician's Assistant?
    I don't know anything about PAs -- do they make that kind of money?
  14. by   love-d-OR
    Right out of school? not likely

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