Social Work to Nursing or vice versa | allnurses

Social Work to Nursing or vice versa

  1. 0 Are there any social workers who have left social work for nursing? If so, can you tell me why?

    How about anyone doing both? or anyone have gone from nursing to social work?

    I am really interested in both and have to make a decision soon. It seems that they are related in some aspects such as doing assessments etc.

    Any input would be appreciated.

    Thanks

    Debi
    •  
  2. 13 Comments

  3. Visit  jonnygirl27 profile page
    #1 0
    I'm not sure if this helps, but several of the social workers at the hospital I work at are also RNs.
  4. Visit  hellerd2003 profile page
    #2 0
    I'm leaving social services to become an RN.

    Social services is a great field. It requires you to look at a client holistically; you will be making decisions that can greatly improve a person's life.

    Much of what I do, though, is information and referral. After a while, that gets kind of tired. It's also a high burnout field. Sometimes, you'll have clients that you know you can help become "better"/ live a "better" life, but they won't help themselves. The fact that you often are watching a generation of people who are maladjusted create ANOTHER generation of maladjusted persons (we sarcastically refer to this as "job security" where I work) can be, to be honest, quite depressing.

    I think that there are many overlaps with nursing and social services (despite the fact that I've seen a lot of animosity between nurses and ss professionals). Nursing is a holistic profession. You are making decisions that can mean life-and-death for your patients. It is a high burnout field, and depending on your area of practice, it may become repetitive. You may face patients that don't want to change.

    They also complement each other greatly. I have no doubt that my skills as a social services professional -- client relations/ crisis intervention/ grief counseling/ family counseling/ patient and family education/ assessment skills -- will make me a better nurse initially over students who need to develop those skills "from scratch" during their internships.

    For me, the difference between the two is that I WANT to return to a medical field. I crave that knowledge; that practice base. Some people don't care for the medical side of things-- it's too "messy". I find it challenging, and my "turning point" in my career was when I found myself listening to a client discuss their history, and I perked up most when they discussed the medical background.

    Both are worthy professions. The best thing for you to do, I would think, is to shadow someone in both social work and nursing. Explore what interests you the most. What do you see yourself doing with patients/ clients? What would you most like to help a person with? Are you a person who enjoys dealing with more acute cases (if you work in a hospital, the majority of patients will leave you when they are healthier, and we all know hospital stays are shorter and shorter), or do you like working with the same patient for a year or more, often on the same issues?

    Good luck!

    --Heather
    Last edit by hellerd2003 on May 25, '04
  5. Visit  traumaRUs profile page
    #3 0
    I do case management in a busy level one trauma center and a lot of what I do is social work. I do discharge planning, get people admitted to nursing homes, help with home care options, assist families with death and dying patients and I also do utilization review which is deciding whether a pt meets criteria to be admitted or should we come up with another option. I really like all aspects of my job except the utilization review as it involves sitting at a computer for several hours and I get bored easily. Good luck...
  6. Visit  Saved_by_Grace profile page
    #4 0
    So will getting your BSN allow you to work in a more geared to Social work position? Because I am like the poster I want to be a nurse and I want to be a social worker. I believe they relate in so many aspects and just don't want to have to choose between the two. I want the bedside care at first but hope to eventually be in a social work position. Can I achieve that by getting my BSN? Any info appreciated
  7. Visit  traumaRUs profile page
    #5 0
    At least in my hospital case managers have to have a BSN. Good luck...
  8. Visit  TexasPoodleMix profile page
    #6 0
    Quote from hellerd2003
    I'm leaving social services to become an RN.

    Social services is a great field. It requires you to look at a client holistically; you will be making decisions that can greatly improve a person's life.

    Much of what I do, though, is information and referral. After a while, that gets kind of tired. It's also a high burnout field. Sometimes, you'll have clients that you know you can help become "better"/ live a "better" life, but they won't help themselves. The fact that you often are watching a generation of people who are maladjusted create ANOTHER generation of maladjusted persons (we sarcastically refer to this as "job security" where I work) can be, to be honest, quite depressing.


    --Heather
    I couldn't agree more. I just finished a lengthy internship in Counseling and realized IT ISN'T FOR ME !!!!! I am sad that I spent that much time preparing (3 yrs) but I guess it could be worse. You are so right, so many won't help themselves. It's like a gerbil in a wheel. I became cynical pretty quickly. Not to mention the culture of the field...... just wasn't for me.
  9. Visit  Jupiter profile page
    #7 0
    hello,
    i can really relate to what all the ex-social workers are talking about here- i am actually in the middle of my sw program, and am considering starting all over with nursing.
    why? well, as much as i love talk therapy, i feel kind of restless, like i am not doing enough to help. and i must admit that the idea of having solid solutions to problems (which you don't have in psychology) is really appealing to me - as far as being able to know that i've actually helped someone. also, i have found that most of the patients i help also have a lot of medical issues, so i think i can really help them MORE if i go into psych nursing...
    and, last but not least, nursing pays a lot better than social work - at least where i'm from.
    hope that is helpful! good luck!!
  10. Visit  chris_at_lucas_RN profile page
    #8 1
    I have a masters and am a licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT). Same wholistic approach. In fact, I minored (27 hours) in social work. I can remember that restless feeling in school (you get over that as you realize listening quietly is a tremendous help). I'm very good at what I do, and I still do it informally, but I am finishing up a degree in nursing.

    For me, nursing has been a lifelong dream I believed I could not attain for a variety of reasons. Not being able to find decent employment as an LMFT pushed me toward nursing school. I love it, I'm having a blast. I believe both professions tap into the same part of our personality: helping.

    Practical considerations are important: nursing probably has more flexibility, better potential for advancement and more job security. Also, you can give nursing care to your family and friends, but you get into serious trouble (emotionally and relationship-wise) if you try to "help" family and friends even with counseling and support--this must be left to the disinterested third party professionals.

    Pay for nurses is much better overall, and there are more jobs out there for nurses.

    Just my two cents. I'm doing both, which I think is also very cool.
  11. Visit  Saved_by_Grace profile page
    #9 0
    [font=lucida sans unicode]i was very inspired by your post. i hope to work in both fields in some way too.





    Quote from chris_at_lucas
    i have a masters and am a licensed marriage and family therapist (lmft). same wholistic approach. in fact, i minored (27 hours) in social work. i can remember that restless feeling in school (you get over that as you realize listening quietly is a tremendous help). i'm very good at what i do, and i still do it informally, but i am finishing up a degree in nursing.

    for me, nursing has been a lifelong dream i believed i could not attain for a variety of reasons. not being able to find decent employment as an lmft pushed me toward nursing school. i love it, i'm having a blast. i believe both professions tap into the same part of our personality: helping.

    practical considerations are important: nursing probably has more flexibility, better potential for advancement and more job security. also, you can give nursing care to your family and friends, but you get into serious trouble (emotionally and relationship-wise) if you try to "help" family and friends even with counseling and support--this must be left to the disinterested third party professionals.

    pay for nurses is much better overall, and there are more jobs out there for nurses.

    just my two cents. i'm doing both, which i think is also very cool.
  12. Visit  studentdeb profile page
    #10 0
    Thanks everyone. I appreciate the input. I am very much interested in both also. I should do the nursing first though since I've been accepted for the fall and then I can do the other.

    I look forward to more input.
  13. Visit  karen#1 profile page
    #11 0
    I am currently a social worker taking my prereqs for nursing school. I hope to work in psychiatric nursing. For me, a big advantage to nursing is the pay and job availablity. I have a B.A. in psychology, and decided to work in the social work field before going to grad school. My experience as a social worker has taught me that jobs are few (even for people with master's degrees), the pay is horendous (lucky to start out at $10 - $11 an hour), and it is very difficult working with people when a large majority of them refuse or are inable to take responsibilty for their actions. So, I've decided to take the plunge at nursing rather than continuing with a masters in psychology because I think it will give me more opportunities in life and a better quality life to help me provide for my family. I also believe that many of the aspects I love about social work (making a diference in people's lives) will be a huge part of my job as a nurse. I am however concerned with the physical aspect of nursing and the wear and tear it does on your body. Nursing is also much more stressful, and taking the responsibility for another life is an immense responsibility. I also think nursing school is much more difficult than getting an advanced degree in social work or psychology.
  14. Visit  studentdeb profile page
    #12 0
    Karen,

    Do you have a BSW? You stated you have a B.A. but in psychology. From what I learned in my research and talking to a social worker I know, to be an actual social worker you have to have a BSW and that some people do work in the field with other degrees but are not actual social workers. Maybe that is why you cannot make more money. I've been checking salaries and although it is lower than some RN jobs, the median salary in my area for a BSW is $38,549 and for MSW $45,077. The lower end is BSW $35407 and MSW $41,761.

    These salaries do not seem too bad to me but nursing does pay better. I too am worried about the physical aspect of nursing especially since I seem to be having some major back problems for the last 6 months. My back hurts quite a bit these days.

    I also worry about the being able to do procedures such as catheters, IVs and of course the yuck stuff involved in nursing.

    Just last night I talked myself into dropping the nursing and continue on with social work, but then I read something and makes me wonder if I am making a mistake. Boy life is just so hard these day.



    Quote from karen#1
    I am currently a social worker taking my prereqs for nursing school. I hope to work in psychiatric nursing. For me, a big advantage to nursing is the pay and job availablity. I have a B.A. in psychology, and decided to work in the social work field before going to grad school. My experience as a social worker has taught me that jobs are few (even for people with master's degrees), the pay is horendous (lucky to start out at $10 - $11 an hour), and it is very difficult working with people when a large majority of them refuse or are inable to take responsibilty for their actions. So, I've decided to take the plunge at nursing rather than continuing with a masters in psychology because I think it will give me more opportunities in life and a better quality life to help me provide for my family. I also believe that many of the aspects I love about social work (making a diference in people's lives) will be a huge part of my job as a nurse. I am however concerned with the physical aspect of nursing and the wear and tear it does on your body. Nursing is also much more stressful, and taking the responsibility for another life is an immense responsibility. I also think nursing school is much more difficult than getting an advanced degree in social work or psychology.

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