After reading all the notes--more of which outlined negatives than positives--regarding recommending nursing as a career, I am still not discouraged. I realized from the start it is a thankless profession. I am a 37 yo woman, and have been working in Computer Graphics for 14 years, after earning a BA in Fine Art in 1984. I've been very dissatisfied with my job in particular, and the corporate world in general, MOST of that time. Although my salary is quite good (currently I make $37,000 working in the Washington D.C. area for a Navy subcontractor), most of my tasks are very routine, and I never really go home feeling any job satisfaction. Immediately after the birth of my second child this past October ('99), I was overtaken by an intense desire to do something more meaningful and satisfying with my life, and the FIRST thing that came to mind was Nursing, believe it or not. I am MOST interested in being a Maternal/Child nurse (taking care of new Moms and their babies), as I love people in general, and babies in particular, but because it also seems like an area of nursing where one would not experience as much emotional stress from babies dying or from having to constantly clean up patients' wastes and body fluids, and from the many less pleasant aspects involved in nursing. My main reasons for going into nursing would be to make a difference in peoples' lives, but also to be able to continue being around/taking care of babies long after mine are grown. I have been doing "research" as to how to go about getting my nursing degree, and plan on starting an ADN program in the Fall of 2000 or the Spring of 2001. The main drawback right now is that I am the only breadwinner in my family (my husband is trying to run a home business part-time while he cares for our two girls, but the money is minimal and irregular), so I will have to continue to work full-time once I return to school. I would gladly take a job paying less as an LPN while I'm in school, (to start getting more nursing experience) if I could afford it, but I will probably have to continue at my current job, or something similar, to make ends meet, AND hope to qualify for a student loan to pay for school, as in this metropolitan area, my income allows us to make ends meet, but forget much in the way of unexpected expenses or more than occasional "frills". My husband has not been overly encouraging since I revealed to him I want to become a nurse. He suggested that I open a daycare center if I want to be around children (he missed the point, obviously), or to get a dental hygienist degree so I can make more money (like I want to spend my workday looking into one mouth after another, scraping tartar off people's teeth!). I realize dental hygienists make great money, despite the limited knowledge the job would seem to require, but the money ISN'T my main reason for wanting this significant career change. I just feel that, as long as I HAVE to keep working, I'd like to be doing something meaningful (and if I enjoy it as much as I think I will, I will continue to do it even if one day my husband makes enough that I don't have to work). Anyway, to come to the point, if any of you who are in the nursing field--whether you're happy or not--wants to tell me the REAL truth about the average workday for a Maternity/Child nurse, I'd appreciate it. I'd like as much information and background on everything--pros and cons--in every aspect of the nursing field, so I will go into school with open eyes and won't have all these illusions in my head.