leaving teaching for nursing...

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    Hello! A few years ago, I believe I posted a similar question on this forum, but my situation has changed and the job market has changed. I will be as brief as possible since I know there are many, many curious career changers out there looking for advice.

    I have been teaching for three years and just finished a masters degree in special ed last fall (I live in NJ). I am 31 and have a 4 month old daughter who I am staying home with until January. I really don't want to go back to teaching and have toyed with the idea of finishing nursing school for a few years. Prior to taking a teaching job, I was simultaneously enrolled in a local community college with the intent of completing their RN program. I made it through the prereqs (finished four years ago) and took a job as an aide in a rehab/LTC facility. I made it through the two week training period in rehab, decided nursing wasn't for me (my first official day as an aide I was given 14 patients in the LTC wing and I freaked out!), and took a teaching job a few months later.

    My dream job at this point means being able to spend as much time with my daughter as I can (hello, night shift). Teaching involves a TON of work outside of school, on top of a huge level of BS that has bothered me (and has been increasing) since I started three years ago. I am no longer foolish enough to believe that there is an ideal or "perfect" job, nor do I believe that nursing is always a feel-good profession.

    At this point, I am questioning if nursing might suit my family's needs better (my husband and I toyed with the idea of me being a stay-at-home-mom, but it would be financially very difficult for us and I want to work--ideally part-time at some point). I DO believe I have the personality and confidence to be a good nurse and now that I have a child, I think I would be even better--not only because motherhood has made me a more compassionate person, but because a job has become a means to an end, not the be-all, end-all of my existence. In many ways I think that's an advantage, not a detriment.

    Just to be clear, I am not interested in nursing because I believe I can make a ton of money or I am deluded enough to think that there are millions of jobs out there the way there were when I was doing my prereqs. I just want some job security, some flexibility, and some benefits...and I don't want hours of paperwork to take home with me. Teaching has already proven to me that I am a pretty good caretaker so I am not worried about that aspect of the job.

    Just wondering if anyone has any advice.
    Thanks
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  3. 5 Comments so far...

  4. 0
    Before investing so much time, effort, and money into a nursing career ...

    Are you sure you have explored ALL of the options available to you with your current high level of education? There are jobs outside the public school system that you might be well-suited for -- and be able to slip into without the big investment.

    I'm thinking things like after-school programs, child-care centers, "learning centers" that do tutoring, teaching part-time summer school, etc. -- miht generate enough income for you. Another options is "Child Life Specialist" -- people who work with children who are in the hospital. You might want to explore that field as you may only have to take a few courses to get certified in that field rather than a whole nursing program.

    Some of those opportunities might be only part-time -- but that seems to be sufficient for you. And if you didn't have to spend a lot of money on another college degree, you wouldn't need a full time income.

    Switching to nursing is a huge gamble -- and I wouldn't take it without first exploring ALL options thoroughly first. My sister had such great benefits as a public school teacher that she was able to semi-retire at age 51, with a decent pension. She now works part-time as a substitute teacher and earns about 80% of what she made teaching 2nd grade full time. With her Master's, she is also able to teach an ocassional college course.

    Good luck with whatever you decide.
  5. 0
    Well, right now, I'd suggest trying to snag an aide position again. Being an aide is where I learned my best nursing skills -- time management, communication, prioritization.

    Then, talk to an advisor at your local CC. You might be surprised to see what the wait list for the nursing program is. Check it out. See what your options are. Are there other places in the area that you could go to school? An advanced BSN program? If you can do a BSN program in a year, since you've already got a degree in education, that would be my best suggestion. A lot of hospitals are asking for BSNs these days.

    Check out the job market in your area. Right now, the market is FLAT in my area, for the most part, for new grads. Most positions want experienced nurses. Is anyone around you hiring new nurses? Granted, this will change (hopefully) by the time you graduate, but a baseline never hurt anyone.

    Nursing is more flexible than teaching, but it's not always entirely flexible. This year when the big snows hit the east coast, nurses didn't leave the hospital. It didn't matter if you had a child at home. This is an extreme circumstance, sure, but one you need to be prepared for. You'll have to work weekends and holidays. This might mean missing a Christmas at home because you have to work. But nursing is very rewarding, too. Watching a patient that they never thought would live walk out of the hospital with clean scans is awesome.
  6. 0
    Quote from llg
    I'm thinking things like after-school programs, child-care centers, "learning centers" that do tutoring, teaching part-time summer school, etc. -- miht generate enough income for you. Another options is "Child Life Specialist" -- people who work with children who are in the hospital. You might want to explore that field as you may only have to take a few courses to get certified in that field rather than a whole nursing program.
    I just want to mention that a Child Life Specialist requires a Master's Degree and an externship. These are actually pretty long, pretty intense programs, and the best ones are very difficult to get into.

    Child Life Council
  7. 0
    Quote from chloecatrn
    I just want to mention that a Child Life Specialist requires a Master's Degree and an externship. These are actually pretty long, pretty intense programs, and the best ones are very difficult to get into.

    Child Life Council
    You're right ... but some of her previous education might count towards that Master's Degree, making it a shorter route than starting a nursing education from scratch. Also, some hospitals (such as mine) have "Child Life Assistant" positions that don't require the Master's Degree or the certification. The assistants work under the direction of the the Child Life Specialists. The pay is a lot less, but it might be a job that the OP could get with her current education or after taking very few additional courses. It might meet her income needs with a minimal investment. If she really liked it, she could pursue the specialist education later. I've known several people who used those assistant positions as a stepping stone to other careers.

    It may not be a good option for the OP, but I think she should explore all the options out there before committee lots of resources towards an entirely new career. And the field of Child Life is one she may not have been aware of.
  8. 0
    Very true, llg. I just wanted to make sure that the OP was aware of the difference, especially because I had a roommate that did a CLS program. It was a lot more than she signed up for, and she ditched it halfway through for a master's in special ed with a minor in child psych.


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