Quote from la_chica_suerte85
For me, yes, it was definitely worth the change. I came from retail and was going to eventually either salary myself out of being marketable (i.e. being let go because I was too expensive -- and it wasn't even that much money) or have to go to a bigger company and work my way up into corporate (which, after being in retail for 14 years, I knew I was never going to want to be in a position of making others' lives miserable the way mine was made).
For you, I'm curious about why you want out of teaching and why you perceive nursing to be a potential choice. If it's because you like taking care of people and have a bleeding heart for the masses and that hasn't gotten you anywhere in your teaching career, then I will caution you. I'm a new nurse but I've seen the writing on the wall plenty of times. Those of us who are the exceptionally compassionate, I do EVERYTHING for my patients and I'm a martyr types burn out quickly. Nursing is a business, just like retail, and there is little room for emotional energy to be involved (there is a little bit and it should be reserved for your patients in carefully measured amounts). During leadership quarter I was told by instructors that I would some day make a great 'nurse leader.' No. Never. I will never have manager/director of anything attached to my name. Then again, I said I'd never work in peds hemonc but here we are. I never worked in peds hemonc before, though. I've been a manager before so I know what's up. Anyway, I'm rambling...
Assuming you are comfortable with the business model of medicine tying your hands with how much you truly are able to do for your patients and you are capable of assuming the responsibility (and potential liability) of your patients' care, nursing might be a good fit for you. Nursing is hard work. There are days where I can't believe how much I sleep because I'm so tired from a string of 3 or 4 shifts in a row (and I don't even work in a specialty that is all that particularly demanding -- it's really the mental energy that gets drained). But, I make enough money to finally be back at that salary I almost got myself fired out of and I appreciate all of the intellectual and professional pursuits I'll one day be able to take part of (some sooner than later). I love my hospital. I love the people I work with. I love my patients and their families. Though I experienced a moderate bout of moral distress toward the end of this year, a recent change to night shift pretty much purged that from my consciousness. That, on it's own is hard (and was complicated by having bronchitis during Christmas -- almost made it through the year without getting sick -- darn) but it's not as hard as it seems. Nothing in nursing has to be if you do a lot of careful planning while in school.
So, should you decide to pursue nursing, I want you to keep these things in mind:
1) Be careful about the school you choose (No for-profit schools!!! Just don't! Something is going on with for-profit schools and that's just not a game you want to play.) - you likely already have a 4-year degree so you can either go and get a 2nd one at the same school where you already have a lot of pre-reqs done and save yourself time and money or find an ELM school and get a Masters directly. Usually experienced nurses will say this is not a preferred way of doing it but I'm in residency with a lot of ELMs and the only difference between them and me is that they get 2 extra quarters more on their differential than I do for my BSN. We are all entry-level, new grad nurses and no one is better than anyone else. As an aside, I would caution about getting your ADN unless you are 100% sure that there are hospitals constantly hiring ADNs (and will be hiring when you graduate and not expecting you to bridge to your BSN later on).
2) Your clinicals may not be the best places to consider starting your career, but keep in mind that each clinical day is like a job interview. That said, if you know of a hospital you can shadow at and you happen to really like a certain floor, look at trying to get a job as a patient care tech during school and that way you can segue yourself into a new grad spot (you'll also have a better idea about what you're getting into when you actually start working as an RN. Nursing is competitive and it's extremely hard for new grads to find a job with minimal preparation after graduation. Everything you do for your career starts well before you graduate.
3) Have fun during nursing school. Going back for a second degree I took it as an opportunity to do college over in a better way. I networked. I was involved on campus. I interfaced with administration a whole bunch (too much, but it was part of the job). I learned for the love of learning. I had a blast. It was terribly stressful and there were times where I just wanted to go back to retail because, as much of a rat race it was, it was the misery I knew. But, I knew it was too much misery to take and nursing school couldn't hold a candle to that. Hold on to whatever is making you leave teaching because you will need that to get through the BS of nursing school. The academic part isn't that hard. It's the "flexibility" requirements that nursing school imposes on you. Scheduling can be hectic, things can change on you at the drop of a hat, there can be a lot of Machiavellian requirements and behavior on behalf of faculty and administration and it's just shocking at how many adults are so bad at adulting. But, you'll make it through.
First of all, thanks everyone for words of encouragement and sharing your personal stories!
To answer some of the questions from the posts...
At age 24 I got my BA in teaching and I was lucky (I thought!) enough to get my first teaching job right after I graduated! I was on the top of the world! I was to teach freshmen and sophomores at one high school in Bushwick area of Brooklyn. As a new grad full of hope and desire to save the world, I was hit with the shocking reality of what teaching in the toughest areas of Brooklyn was really like. On my first day I already knew I was screwed. Four months later I developed a horrible case of acne that plagued my face due to enormous amount of stress (diagnosed by the doc). Pretty much every other day I would feel miserable getting up and getting to work, as well as cry (and I am a male!) in the teacher's lounge while no one was watching. I was not able to connect with the students who, I felt like, were bound to make my life miserable. And to top it off, the admin was brutal: no support and constant evaluations - all made me realize I did not belong in teaching, at least in high school. There was one, however, teacher who saw and witness my misery so she suggested I could try elementary school because I "was very creative with lesson plans and decorating the bulletin boards". I took her advice, but I was not able to land that elementary teacher job for two years. While searching for that permanent job, I decided to go back to school and get my master's. Granted now I look at it as a waste of my time and money, back then it seemed like a good idea. So, I went to school to get my Master's in Childhood Education. (My first degree was in teaching English to students of other languages, ESL). While going to school I was subbing here and there in many elementary schools in Queens, NY. To tell you the truth, I once again fell in love with teaching! I truly enjoyed working with little ones. I do not know how to explain this but I felt like a father figure to them. Even though the little ones were and still are (I am still teaching) so handful, I enjoyed every minute of it. Lucky for me I was spotted by one of the principals who invited me to interview. I did and was praised to have so much passion and high level of pedagogy knowledge that they "had to have me right there and then!" So, I have been working with that school for 3 years now and I can tell that the kids are great, and still enjoy working with the kids, and that is ALL that I enjoy. Now, to the things I hate about teaching:
1. Even though my official contractual hours are 8-2:20, I work, on average, 2-3 extra hours per day (I report to work by 7 am and leave at 4 pm the earliest).
2. O constantly work on weekends (on what comes later).
3. As much as I love recognition, I hate to take on extra responsibilities when I have no time to fulfill them. For example, I was tasked to provide professional development opportunities to new teachers every Monday! Also, I was assigned to mentor 3 other new teachers for at least 2 hours per week! I was truly honored for such recognition, but I physically had no time in my busy week to do all of that. And, I had to write reports to account for every minute of each task.
4. The dreaded lesson plans! I would not lie, I am very skilled at differentiation but writing 30+ differentiated lessons (7 pages each) per week was a nightmare!
5. Even though most parents are very nice, they do not follow through on discipline and academic intervention plans that I spent so much time and energy putting together. For example, if the child is 2 grade levels below and I prepared an intervention plan to address it, I would need parents help. They seem to agree and promise to follow through. However, weeks later they just shrug off and point fingers.
6. Many people think that teachers have so much free time off. They are WRONG! very Christmas break, or spring break, I constantly work. I plan lessons for weeks in advance. I attend PDs and do extracurricular activities to help the kids catch up on academics. Summers off? Forget it! Though not required, teachers are encouraged to take more PD opportunities which can last 2-4 weeks at a time.
7. Finally, the dreaded teacher evaluations. Even though I my teaching practice is stellar, I am too tired to be tied to my students' academic performance. My job is dependent on it. Just because my students' test scores may not be high enough, my job for the next year is now in jeopardy. Do I want to live like this for the next 20 years? I think not.
Now, many will say, well, everything I despise about teaching is mostly resemblant with nursing. I do agree! I do agree I will deal with unruly patients as well as their parents/relatives. I also know that administration will probably suck which is why there are too many patients per one nurse. I know there will be a lot of paperwork! I know I will be required to continue my education! I also know my performance will be evaluation on an ongoing basis. Finally, I know I will be dead tired after those long shifts!
So, it looks like I trade one miserable job for another. But I feel like I will be happier doing nursing. I can transfer many, of not, all of my teaching skills into nursing. Also, I would like to work with the kids, and my passion for working with them is still here, but I will treat it is a job. I will come in and bust my butt to do the best care possible, but once I clock out I will forget about it till the next time I clock in. I may be rumbling now but deep down I feel like I can do it and most likely enjoy it (once I find my niche!)
So, yeah, thank you all for reading this thus far! Once again, I really appreciate everyone's input!