When to quit non-nursing job, now that I have been accepted into BSN program?.

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    I am 38 years old and have been in Law Enforcement for 16 years. I am doing a complete career change, I just finished up a year of pre-nursing classes and have been officially accepted into a BSN program. I will graduate in two years.
    My question is when should I quit my current job, to start working in a nursing/medical setting. I would like to get my foot in the door someplace, but I know it will be a huge pay cut for me as well. I think the exposure and experience would be worth it in the long run. I am also unsure which positions to apply for.
    Does anyone have any suggestions as to which positions to apply for, or when I should make the transition to medical/nursing work. Currently, I work full time, Monday through Friday, and my BSN program is an evening and weekend program.
    I could wait until I graduate and then leave my job, but I am worried with no experience finding a job might be more difficult. Thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated good, bad or indifferent!
  2. 17 Comments so far...

  3. 2
    If it were me I'd keep my current job for a while in order to not take a pay cut. I'd look in to getting a job in healthcare 6 mo to a yr before you finish your program. If you live in an area where it is fairly easy to find a nursing job I probably wouldn't quit my job at all throughout the program if it meant taking a pay cut. Some areas are saturated with new grads and it can take a year or more to find a nursing job. In that case, I would be seeking a job as a CNA, tech, unit clerk, ect as soon as possible. This would allow you to get your foot in the door at a facility that will hopefully want you to work for them after you are licensed.
    wish_me_luck and netglow like this.
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    Usually after your first clinical semester? (check this in your area) you may be able to take a test to be a CNA (not a license). If you are a CNA, you may then interview for a hospital position or a nursing home position eg bathing people, wiping butts, feeding, taking vitals kind of duties. Many of these employers would rather have a person in this position who they can get more return on the orientation invested (time in job). The closer you get to your RN, the harder it will be for you to gain positions like these.

    Now, your mileage varies. Some people are successful in this and are allowed to interview for new grad openings after they achieve RN licensure. That scenario is not as common as was 10 years ago. It's more about who you know these days than what you know. I've seen many, many people passed over for those with not a hint of prior healthcare work experience. Your chance at employment these days as a new grad RN really can depend on if you have actual family working within the hospital network you're trying for, or if you have other VIP connections (Doctors, nurses are not VIP references). Lots of people have guaranteed employment - many times prior to their first day of nursing school, simply due to these connections. This is ridiculous but it's the way things work in nursing more often than not. Many will deny this, but you will find if you get to know people, they eventually fess up. That said you could get lucky, and find that while none of those working during school got hired the prior year, suddenly they do hire and you are in the right spot to be considered.
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    Having read RNewbie's post. I'd tend to agree. You have good income now, you may never get an RN job. What is it now? Roughly, 47 percent of new licensed RNs never ever are hired - never work as a nurse. There are just too many people going into nursing, when in reality EVERYBODY who employs nurses is trying to cut back on nursing staff in one way or another.

    Some people are able to go back to their old career since nursing never pans out for them, can you do this if you needed to?
    wish_me_luck likes this.
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    All the nurses that graduated from the BSN program I am in, were offered jobs, per the Director of Nursing Program. She said that they may not have all been happy with the shift offered or the floor, but they all were offered jobs. So if that is accurate, that's good news. I can easily stay at my job until I graduate, if I left I could not come back. Just not an option in my field and my work.
    On that note, I am excited about finally starting in this new field. So I am taking that into consideration.
    I have a couple family members and friends in the area hospitals, no one of a VIP status though, so probably not much help there.
    Here are the reasons for thinking about going earlier rather then later:
    1) excited about getting into field
    2) getting foot in door, starting my seniority in a new work place
    3) networking
    4) being able to get experience which may help be get a job or a better job
    5) exposure to different things, which may help me decide which kind of RN I would like
    6) I would like to pursue a Masters degree, just not sure in what.....
    7) most area hospitals offer tuition reimbursement
    8) some even offer help with advanced degrees (money or scholarships)
    Those are the basic reason for thinking about making the switch earlier. I think I like the idea of waiting until I am half way through BSN program too maybe get the best of both worlds.
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    "All the nurses that graduated from the BSN program I am in, were offered jobs, per the Director of Nursing Program. She said that they may not have all been happy with the shift offered or the floor, but they all were offered jobs. So if that is accurate..."

    Ah ha! Maybe, maybe not. Your college will always "spin" this. Just search allnurses, or read awhile... Best to network and find those past grads from your program to get your information. Most every college will give the same spin or even a better spin. Good that you are tooling around for your own investigating

    Oh, forgot this:

    -No seniority at this stage you'll have to try that once you are an RN if it even applies at all - maybe a unionized facility?
    -Few chances at tuition perks these days, are you absolutely sure? Then great! The great perks of years ago, are not too common these days.
    Last edit by netglow on Mar 1, '13
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    Have not confirmed what Director said, but did talk to a small hand full of graduate students and they were offered jobs, but that was a small group. It's a shame someone would do that, but it's a business to them nothing more.
    The area hospital offer tuition reimbursement anywhere from $1500-12000. Each hospital is different, but they almost all offer it where I live. It's my understanding from people (family) that work at a hospital your seniority starts the moment you are hired and carries over once you become a RN. For example, my mom works with someone that started in housekeeping and did that for years she went back to school became an RN and now her seniority is at 30 years since her housekeeping time was combined with RN time. I am sure each hospital is different so I will check into that. Thanks for the advice it's all good things to think about.
    Last edit by Tally4970 on Mar 1, '13 : Reason: Typo
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    Tally, they will tell you whatever it takes to get you to go through their program--it's money for them. They are a business.

    I knew a girl that told me something very similar to what you said (I had just graduated nursing school and was waiting to take NCLEX and she hadn't even started nursing school, just been accepted); she said that her school lined the jobs up for them and they would come out making 70,000 dollars a year, etc. I tried to explain the reality that nursing jobs are not a given, that the area we live in does not pay 70,000 dollars a year to a nurse (esp. to a new grad...you are lucky to find a job, but my area still is hiring some new grads though...just not enough for every new grad). I told her it is more like 18 dollars an hr base pay; little more for experience; and more for critical care units and night shift differential--all that would add to about $24/hr. Working 40 hrs/wk at 24 dollars an hour still only gives you $45,000 or so a year; which is great money, but it's not anywhere close to $70,000. I also informed her she will be cleaning incontinent patients and doing CNA work (her school told her she was going to be a nurse--she didn't have to clean patients); she will be working weekends and holidays. They are 12 hour shifts usually. She wasn't informed that she would be working weekends, holidays, and 12 hr shifts (how convenient that her school left that out). I don't know if she stayed in nursing school or what happened; but my point to you is this--are you willing to do this even if the economy gets better? In other words, is this a money move or is this because you want to be a nurse?

    Now, you are in law enforcement, so you probably have the holidays/weekends/maybe long shifts (I have no idea what law enforcement works); so, some of it is adjustable. But, make sure you get all the details and you really want to be a nurse. If you do, then good luck in nursing school. If not, good luck in your law enforcement career.

    I am not trying to be mean, but it seems like some people do not look over all the details about nursing before they jump in.
  10. 0
    Quote from netglow
    Having read RNewbie's post. I'd tend to agree. You have good income now, you may never get an RN job. What is it now? Roughly, 47 percent of new licensed RNs never ever are hired - never work as a nurse. There are just too many people going into nursing, when in reality EVERYBODY who employs nurses is trying to cut back on nursing staff in one way or another.

    Some people are able to go back to their old career since nursing never pans out for them, can you do this if you needed to?
    Woah, where did that 47% come from? That's a huge change from the 84.8% in the 2008 survey.
  11. 0
    The area I live, new graduate RN normally starts at $18-20, give or take for experience, etc. So I am familiar with the rate of pay, and hours/weekends,etc... Thats not really my question.
    It's more when would be a good time to make the transition from current job to new field.
    For example, right now, a semester in, a year into program, upon graduate, etc....


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