The Road to Nursing

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    Hello! I have been looking at this site for a few months now, but can't seem to find the answers to my specific question, though I have found answers that are close. I want to be a nurse very, very much. However, I have a BA in Communications and a family, which makes things a little complicated.

    As I'm sure a lot of you know, if a person has a Bachelor's degree, they cannot receive much in the way of student aid for any post-baccalaureate classes, nor can they receive much if they seek a second Bachelor's degree. So, as much as I want to be a nurse, financial aid is a very serious issue, particularly since it's not just me I have to think about anymore. My husband thinks that it might be better for me to go into Speech Language Pathology b/c at least then I could go directly into a Master's Program and, therefore, be eligible for more types of financial aid. It seems to me that there should be some sort of direct-entry Master's program for Nursing (like there is for SLP) that would NOT require post-bac classes (b/c those classes are included in the Master's program), but I can't find one. The only option that I seem to be able to find for me to get into Nursing is to take out private loans, which, frankly, is a scary proposition.

    I'm hoping that my search has been fruitless b/c I've been looking in the wrong places, and that maybe someone here can give me some guidance. I really appreciate any help I can get!

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  2. 3 Comments...

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    You may need to broaden your search a bit. There actually are programs for entry-level MSNs..... BUT (a big one) employers are very reluctant to hire them. Graduate education in nursing is associated with specialty preparation, but these programs, just like all pre-licensure education, is geared to producing a generalist new grad. All new grads pretty much make the same starting salary. From what I have seen, these programs are also horrendously expensive, so they may be off your radar screen anyway.

    If your basic education is a BA, you may have to take a lot of pre-reqs. First of all, healthcare professions are science-based. In addition, many science courses 'expire' due to the rapid advancement of knowledge in those areas... so you may end up having to re-take courses. The good news is that they can be taken at any accredited Community College - for a bargain price. Be sure to check with the program you are aiming for to make sure you have picked the right version of the course.... schools have different requirements.

    You're wise to continue to explore all different types of healthcare professions. Nursing outlook is far from rosy right now and the job is becoming more difficult. If you have small children, you also need to consider the impact of working nights, holidays and weekends... new grads usually get the yukkiest shifts and schedules.
    not.done.yet likes this.
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    Thanks for the response! A few things ...

    My oldest child (who is 3) has a speech delay, so he sees a therapist once a week. I get so very bored during their sessions. Perhaps I would find it less boring if I were the therapist, but I don't see myself spending an ungodly amount of money on something that would just bore me. I know there are a lot of other things that SLPs do, but I just don't think it's for me. There may be other health professions I'd be suited for (that would be more suitable to my family life than nursing), but I don't know what they would be.

    Your comment about new grads having yucky schedules is very important, though. My ultimate goal is to be a neonatal np or a nurse-midwife. I know that neither of those are terribly family-friendly fields, but the trade-off seems worth it. However, it doesn't seem worth it if I would be stuck in a field that I didn't care for AND didn't see my kids.

    I've heard that nursing outlook is fabulous - why do you say it's "far from rosy"? I'd really like to know!
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    You have heard the nursing outlook is fabulous from the media, not from nurses. There is no nursing shortage and new graduate and some experienced nurses are out of work all across the country. With the economic downturn healthcare providers are finding multitudes of ways to cut their budget, the largest line item of which is nurses salaries. As such, there are fewer and fewer positions available, hiring freezes, wage cuts and layoffs. Add to that retirement age nurses who cannot afford to retire, part time nurses returning to full time work to compensate for lost wages of a spouse and stay-at-home or inactive nurses returning to the field to also compensate for a spouse's lost wages and you have a not-very-rosy picture.

    Paradoxically, with all the hullabaloo about there being a nursing shortage, people are seeking to attend nursing school in record numbers. Schools are cranking out new graduate nurses at a phenomenal rate and the supply far exceeds the demand with every major metro area having several nursing schools glutting the market with graduate nurses every three to four months. The average time for a new graduate to find work in most major cities is anywhere from 6 months to well over a year. The complicated thing about this is that nursing knowledge is not like other jobs. You can't really hold a nursing degree and just pick up and start to work after a couple of years have gone by after graduation. If the new grad does not find work within the first year, they become an "old" or "stale" new grad with skills waning and the likelihood of employment shrinking even further. A lost generation of nurses, if you will.

    Do your research before going into nursing. It is not at all the situation that the media puts out there. It is one of the best hidden secrets ever. Nursing is not thriving right now. The face of healthcare is changing and it is anyone's guess what will happen to nursing as these changes take place. This is not to discourage you from being a nurse. I am a new nurse myself and have been successful. But go into it with your eyes open. Read this board - you won't have to dig very deep to find evidence of the above.
    Last edit by not.done.yet on Sep 7, '12


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