Quote from klc220
Thanks for all of the insight. After you received your associates degree in nursing did you work as an RN and was it difficult for you to find a job? The community college in this area has a nursing program but I have heard that it is not so organized, but I am keeping all of my options open.
My situation is a bit different then for many. I decided to try nursing as a second career after 15 years of volunteering as an EMT with my local fire department. My original intention was to find a part-time job as an RN while continuing to work at my non-nursing job and in a few years, take an early retirement and work full-time in nursing.
While that may have been possible when I started nursing school, by the time I graduated and passed the NCLEX, the bottom had dropped out of the nursing market and it became almost impossible to find any entry-level nursing positions. I've sent out a fairly large number of resumes for evening and weekend nursing positions at both hospitals and nursing homes but got only three call backs and two interviews, none of which resulted in a job offer. I've also put in a number of applications for PCT and CNA positions (PA allows RN's to receive CNA certification upon application to the state). I had one phone interview but when they determined that I did not have experience (my EMT experience doesn't count because it's considered pre-hospital), I was dropped from consideration. The healthcare job market in the Phila is so tight that there are nearly no entry-level PCT or CNA jobs - most now require a minimum of of 1 -2 years experience.
Probably more information than you want or need but my situation, at least in terms of lining up a nursing job, is hardly unique. I'm very lucky that I do not actually need the nursing job - my present non-healthcare related position actually has considerably better pay and benefits than virtually any nursing job. I'm looking now at volunteering at a homeless shelter in the hope that I can get into the counseling end of things (my long term goal is PMHNP). As I am no longer considered a new grad, it seems that there are few options remaining to get experience.
I hope that the situation is different in your area but I urge you to look closely at both the present job market and the direction it will be heading in the near future.