Coming to the thread a little late but here's my two cents. I worked in the mental health field for about 15 years, I've also been a real estate agent, sold cars briefly and was a mortgage loan officer for about 3 years. The sales positions were taken primarily for financial gain. I soon discovered I wasn't a good salesman and when I did make good money it wasn't very satisfying. So at the age of 38 I sat down to think through what I would do next. At the age of 41 I graduated from nursing school and applied at three places choosing the better of two offers (came with a $15,000 commitment bonus for three years)
Here are some of the reasons I chose nursing, in no particular order. There is a need - jobs are readily available. Compared to what I was making in the mental health field with a BA the salary as an RN with an ADN was a significant improvement. There was no commission pay involved. I could go pretty much anywhere in the country and get a job. I can continue my education at any time if I choose. I would be doing something of value, something important. There are many choices within the field of nursing- I can change my career path without changing my field. I expected to be challenged and stretched as a person. I would have specialized skills that not just anyone could claim. I only needed a two year degree to get started.
Now it is three years later and I've been a staff RN on a busy med-surg/orthopedic floor in a 232 bed hospital. Is it stressful? Absolutely. Are there politics? You betcha. Do I worry about hurting someone? I hope everyone has a certain amount of that fear somewhere in the back of their mind - I do still. Have I second guessed my decision - sometimes, but only briefly. Did I really make the right choice? Yes. Will I stay on the floor where I am now? Probably not forever. I'm looking at what I want to get into next. I've thought about home health, hospice, the OR. I could always get back into psych. I'm in no hurry, really. I have choices but I don't have to change.
Despite all the stress and frustration involved it was the right decision for me. The job seems impossible much of the time. You just can't get everything done every night and some people are quick to point out mistakes. People can be rude - patients, families, doctors, other nurses, etc. There's also the stuff you have to clean up but you get used to that quickly and can go grab a bite to eat right after without a second thought. The thing that repeatedly makes it worthwhile for me is when someone gives me a heartfelt thanks for doing something for them. When someone takes me by the hand with tears in their eyes and says, "I can't thank you enough for what you've done for me" well, how can you top that? I had a hispanic woman recently tell me in broken english and through tears, "You so good for me, God bless you, you family" and then burst into tears again. Every day that I work I've made a difference in someone's life. Some days I come home feeling as though I didn't do a very good job or just had a lousy shift, but looking back at even those times there's something of value in the hours invested. You don't always immediately know the difference you've made in someone's life. I'm not tooting my own horn. These are the moments that get me through the tough times and the saying is true, "you can't truly help another person without helping yourself." I'm positively impacted by these patients.
Make the decision that's best for you. I can only say that it has worked for me.