Possible future RN. Need Advice.

  1. Hi Guys!

    This post is going to be a bit long so please bear with me because I really need some good advice. I am 26 years old and I work as a supervisor at a Pharmaceutical company. I only make 12 bucks an hour and that's not going to get me anywhere in life. I went to cosmetology school, but dropped out in order to do massage therapy instead. This is when I became fascinated with the human body and medicine. I studied medical terminology for fun and constantly watch medical shows online and on TV. Eventually I began to look into becoming an RN and was attracted by the vast job opportunities and of course the money as well as helping people.

    I decided to research more into the job and went on various nursing forums to read real accounts from people in the field rather than hearing a school tell me how glamorous the job is when all they want is my money. I must admit though after reading tons of high stress horror stories of RN's hating their jobs and feeling lost and confused and working horrendous hours really intimidated me. I then figured maybe I should start out slow and try to be a medical assistant and see how I do there. I've never worked in a hospital before so to just jump in seems too much of a risk. Then again it I also feel it could be my nerves talking me out of it and going for something more safe. Anyways here are my questions:

    1. Should I start out as a med assistant before nursing school? Do any of you know how much a med asst makes per hour?

    2. I always see nursing jobs around my way that advertise things like "Make your own hours" and "Work no nights, weekends or Holidays". Do hours exist like this or is the ad just a lure to get you in there and then 'whoops' those hours suddenly disappear and you're working crazy shifts.

    3. Do you have to work in a hospital right out of RN school? I see jobs for RN's in Dr's offices a lot. Can I work there instead?

    Hmmm I guess that's all my brain can think of for now. Any other things or advice I should know would be greatly appreciated! Sorry I'm so full of questions it's just that this is going to be my second career choice and my fiance is going to be working full time so I can quit my job and attend school full time as well. I don't want to put him through that stress and then fail out or graduate and then hate my job and quit.

    Lord I'm not even in ANY school and I'm already stressed out!
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  2. 4 Comments

  3. by   TheCommuter
    I completed a medical assistant program 7 years ago, and it was the biggest mistake I've made thus far. I was never able to find an MA job with my certificate, because the job market was flooded with MAs. In my area, MAs earn between $8 and $12 hourly.

    Yes, RNs can make their own hours by working for an employment staffing agency that allows them to pick and choose their shifts.
  4. by   HealthyRN
    I would not recommend becoming a medical assistant before nursing school. The job of a medical assistant is not like nursing and you would not even be in a position to observe nurses at work. If you want exposure to the field to make sure that you will enjoy nursing, I would recommend becoming a nurse's aid and working in a hospital. This will allow you to see nurses in action. You do not need this experience before starting nursing school, but it will allow you to decide if you really want to do it. You could also work as a nurse's aid while you are in school.

    As the previous poster stated, jobs that allow a nurse to set their own hours do exist with agency nursing. However, you usually need at least a year or two of acute care experience before a good agency will even consider you for a job.

    It is possible to get an RN job outside of the hospital right out of school, but this is not the norm. The vast majority of positions want at least a year of acute care experience. In my area of the country, there are not a lot of RN jobs in doctor's offices. This is because it is much more cost effective for a doctor to hire a medical assistant. The nursing positions that are available in doctor's offices usually involve managing the office or staff. However, there are lots of other opportunities outside of the hospital, but again, acute care experience is necessary.

    You should look into job shadowing with a few nurses that work in a hospital to see if it is something that you will enjoy. Good luck!
  5. by   chris_at_lucas_RN
    Medical assisting is not really nursing, even if they call themselves "nurse" when you encounter one in a doc's office. They make less than you do.

    If you think you might want nursing and would like to at least have the option of moving upward on the salary chain but are concerned about an expensive long term commitment, why not consider LVN/LPN school?

    Usually about a year, usually at a community college (or in some states, like Oklahoma, at a vocational-technical school), and usually pretty inexpensive.

    The work of an LPN is about the same as an RN with certain exceptions--they cannot do IV push, they cannot do admissions, probably some other stuff, but that is what I am familiar with.

    LPN's can also work agency, like someone suggested--but there is a caveat there. The money is good, but unless you are in a metroplex, you will have some shifts that get canceled and you will be sitting home (which I personally enjoy from time to time) but you will also not be paid for those.

    If you like LPN work, you can get your RN with a bridge program. There are some distance programs but I have found that there are LOTS of them at the community college level, they are one day a week for two semesters, your "clinical" is the work you are already doing those other six days, and voila! you have your RN.

    RN pay is pretty good. It is certainly not $12 an hour.

    Not sure if that helps, but please do keep posting and let us help you with this....
  6. by   Gothique
    I have a lot more to write but have to get ready for work so I just have two more quick questions:

    1. I plan on studying A LOT before I even hit school so I can give myself a little advantage. Are there any books you recommend for me? Especially for the math because I am dumb as a shoe when it comes to math.

    2. What should I look for in a school? I have two my way. One is at the community college and focuses more on academics and the other is run by a local hospital and they focus heavily on the clinical aspect. So much so that you are assigned a patient the very first day of school.

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