I agree with the advice you got Sali22 that nursing isn't something to be done on a whim. What you see, as a patient, is far, far different than the reality of being a nurse. And, Labor and Delivery is tough to break into as a new grad; hospitals often want BSN trained nurses, and nurses with years of experience, elsewhere. It's also a tough specialty; very demanding, sometimes stressful and sometimes heartbreaking. It's like most hospital jobs, shift work, weekends, holidays, double shifts, etc. You may be working different shifts with different days off, but it will rarely be YOUR choice--when the schedule is posted you find out when you're working (although some places are self-scheduled, but remember, everyone wants Christmas morning off... Thanksgiving... Fourth of July...)
OK... so you made it this far. If you do go to nursing school, you'll find it very difficult to attend nursing school, and care for with a baby (who will be walking, exploring and needing attention) and be employed (even part-time). Nursing school is no picnic; it's the hardest program I ever did (and that includes law school and graduate business school!) To be really successful, you need to spend a lot of time studying, writing care plans
, and preparing for clinicals... plus doing the clinical rotations and going to classes. Honest, it's grueling... and that's without working or having a small child to care for.
So... you're still interested? Good... nursing is a great job, full of wonderful opportunities. The most direct way to go from zero to RN is a diploma school. Shadyside Hospital, St. Margaret's Hospital, McKeesport Hospital and other hospital affiliates have programs that take about two years to complete. There are some differences between them: some require you to have prereqs like A&P, Micro, Psychology, etc., completed before you start. Others incorporate those in the program. Some require chemistry, others don't. You probably won't finish any sooner if you already have those courses completed, it will simply lighten your course load. All require an entrance exam, which seems not to be much of a predictor of graduation from nursing school. I thought the entrance exam was ridiculously easy; I scored above the 98th percentile in every section, but nursing school was really difficult (at least difficult to do well in--and simply passing should never be the goal). In many nursing schools the graduation rate is very, very low; sometimes less than half of those who begin end up graduating. This is, in part, because students seriously underestimate the commitment and work that nursing school demands. It also seems that the requirements for admission are unrealistically low (like the admission test being far too easy, and not having a higher GPA requirement from high school or college classes).
My suggestion for a program is to find one that is close to your house and where the clinicals will also be close. Commuting an hour each way adds a lot of wasted time to your day. The differences in these programs aren't enough to make up for an extra 10 hours in the car, each week. Every moment will be precious. You want to FINISH the program, not just find one that other people recommend. (And, students who suggest their school don't have a point of reference--they have no idea what other nursing programs
are like, so don't pick XYZ Nursing School because a graduate of that program raved about it).
The schools I'm familiar with get tons of calls each day. Go to their websites, get the information, compare the programs, find out how to apply and what requirements you need for admission. Most all the information is on the web-sites and most have some informational sessions for perspective students. Learn when and where and attend it. (A friend is the director of a nursing school and she hears complaints that perspective students "can't find a babysitter" or, "don't have a ride" so therefore can't attend the info session... she wonders, "if they can't make it here for a two-hour, important pre-application session, how will they ever attend school?!?!") Don't expect someone to spend a half hour on the phone with you answering the same questions every applicant has--get that info from the website, from the catalog (they'll mail you one, just leave your name and address in a voice message or request through their website) or from attending an informational session.
Best of luck to you.