Nursing vs Teaching

  1. What are some intrinsic and extrinsic benefits that are available from each career? I know teaching offers a high hourly rate if not more than nursing (32$/teacher starting here, probably 20-27 for nursing, this is Southern Louisiana) but educators don't get paid for any overtime or work they take home. Education offers more time off to travel and pursue life goals, but nursing is much more flexible for doing small things, visiting nearby places, and enjoy days off to pursue activities and interests. Nursing also seems like it offers much more job security and employment opportunities in different areas and locations. Nursing would offer a much greater earning potential; especially if I were to spend time as a traveling nurse, Teaching would guarantee I'm free for most of my evenings and nights, as well as my weekends. I'd pursue advanced degrees in either field eventually but going into my sophomore year I'm at a crossroads as to what would benefit me more in life, so I'm looking for material and opportunistic advantages mostly.
    I'd love to hear opinions and ideas, maybe stories from people who have led a successful nursing career in my area, I'm pretty clueless as to the average nursing salary in my area as well if anyone could give an estimate I'd be grateful.
    (last bit, if this is in the wrong spot could you please move it, thank you)
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    About Mickme

    Joined: Nov '12; Posts: 3; Likes: 1


  3. by   HouTx
    Kudos for doing a very thorough job or investigating your future career directions. I just want to point out some of the nursing-related issues that you may not have uncovered.

    Career progression: In order to be eligible for higher level jobs in nursing, you must first have a very solid level of clinical experience. This is especially true for Clinical management positions. This is actually a requirement by accreditation agencies- ex: manager for clinical specialties must have demonstrated experience, skills & knowledge in that specialty area. If you intend to move toward an area of advanced clinical practice, admission to those educational programs also requires clinical experience in that area.

    Salary Compression: This is a very ugly reality. Those high-paying jobs are few and far between. In terms of absolute buying power, nurses are making less today than they did 10 years ago. There is essentially no distinction (in terms of salary level) between ADN and BSN nurses at the bedside.

    Flexibility: Most nurses are employed in a 24X7 work environment. New grads are typically hired into 'off' shifts - which means nights. Everyone works weekends. Most jobs these days are in 12 hours shifts, which sounds great until you realize that those 'extra' days off are usually spent recovering from exhaustion - LOL. Nurses work on holidays. Time off is very hard to come by. Very few organizations allow > 5 days of vacation/PTO time at once, so there are virtually no opportunities for long, extended vacations until you have many years of seniority. Ironically, nurses are actively discouraged from taking sick days... there are many threads here on AN about this subject.

    Hierarchy: Although we generally make up the largest group, nurses are at the bottom of the health professions ladder in most hospitals. We have the least amount of autonomy. We are also the scapegoats for anything that goes wrong because we 'didn't catch it'.... since we're closer to the patient than any other type of providers.

    Workload: Bedside nursing is very physically taxing - and (as previously mentioned) most shifts are 12 hours long. Back injuries are common. Patients are getting heavier and harder to lift/move. Employers are increasing the patient-nurse ratio in order to cut costs... which will get worse with new Federal reimbursement cuts.

    So - are you willing to deal with this for at least 5 years in order to begin that climb to one of the 'glamour' jobs mentioned in your post??