1) I would certainly do it again. I love being a nurse. The best thing about it is the many chances nurses get to make a difference, whether big or small, in someone's life. I know I have done this many, many times. It also never boring, because you never do the same thing every day because the patients either get better or worse, or you get new ones. If you are working in an area you don't like, it is fairly easy to get to one where you are a better fit. AND, I have often really liked, even deeply admired many of the nurses I have worked with, because they are kind, giving, smart, capable people.
I disliked pressure to cut corners on care by having a too heavy work load. It isn't always easy to deal with anxious, demanding families, but you need to know that they are scared, and use your communication skills and a kind approach to calm them down and reassure them. Often, they are VERY grateful when you do that. I also disliked dealing with either physician or nurse bullies. Or the support staff are pains to work with: semi-incompetent or lazy CNAs who hide out rather than work, or who cannot think of what to do next without being directly told to do do. MAs with less than high school educations who got their jobs by nepotism, or who came from give-anyone-with-a-pulse-a-piece-of-paper programs, who are nearly for fully incompetent, yet are rude or surly when the RN tires to tell or show them the right way to do things.
2) I help women cope with labor, educate them and family about what is going on and what to expect, help manage their pain, keep them making progress in labor, monitor well-being of Mom and fetus, Keep them hydrated, clean, emppty bladder and more, act to stop or prevent post partum hemoorhage and other complications, care for NB during transition, works with docs, midwives, residetns, med studetns, CRNaS, anesthesiologists, NICU nurses, neonatology, and a whole lot more.
3) Employers DO recognize that grads from some schools are better than others, and will NOT hire new grad ADNs or BSNs from some poorly respected some schools (online ones) into specialty units. More & more, they won't hire new grads ADNs; if they hire ADNs with experience, they must either already be in a BSN completion program or enrioll in one within 3-6 months. Before you choose any program, go to Ripoff Report and search for its name. FYI: A diple or ADN nurse with years of experience and a good reputation might nto be hurt be a degree from a less well respected online program, but may not be helped by it. Most other online degrees form for-profit schools are considered a joke. An ADN with little or no experience will probably not gain much by doing a BSN completion form a for profit. There are now more and more statue universities (U of Texas, North Dakota, etc.) with reputable online programs that cost much less than the for profits. However, they may not be as easy to get into (which is a good thing, and is part of why they are respected).
4) YES, I would do it all again, but I would have become a BSN sooner (I was a LPN for 15 years). Why? So I could have makde more of an impact.
5) Biggest trait you need is GRIT or a certain kind of mental toughness. You will have to deal with some hard things, with challenges, with difficult, emotional people, and with short sighted adminstrators. You need to have high level critical thinking skills, ability to constantly ask yourself "Are we doing the right thing and/or Is there a better way to do this?" Smart is one thing (defintiely helps), but ability to think and form good clinical judgments is another. They are not the same thing--I'll take good judgment over brains without it any day. It also helps to be organized and self-diciplined; if you aren't you will never make it through school, and will not be able to stay on top of your workload.
You need to be able to communicate AND get along with persons from all different kinds of backgrounds--If you don't like old people (some young nurses do not want to ever think about getting old themselves, so they find elders "creepy" or label them all as senile and not deserving of respect), are a racist or homophobe, or anti-immigrant, stay out of nursing . If you are vain and self-centered and not willing to work half the holidays, some weekends, at night, or to get less than 8 hours sleep per day, stay out of nursing. If you are a complainer or whiner who'd rather gripe than solve problems, stay out of nursing.
You need to do this because you truly like people, whatever kind of package they come in, and because you care deeply about them. If you are at all attracted to nursing because of $$ or because of job security, STAY AWAY. You will make an awful nurse, will not be happy, will do more harm than good, and will drag down nursing.
6) see above.
7) For the most part, yes, they did a fine job, but MOST of what I know as a nurse I learned on the job. School cannot teach you how to work effectively with others, how to stand up to a bully, how to relate to almost anyone, what to say to someone who is scared or suffering, and more. The best nurses never develop hubris; they know that they don't know what they'd don't know, and never stop learning and growing. They read journals and websites, go to conferences, get certified, and know who or wher to go to find information.
8) It will be really hard to work that many hours and go to school. Unless you are really smart, you may not be able to keep you grades up, and most schools now set passign at a 77-80. Plus, it is so competetive to get in, that you may not get in with less than a 3.5 gpa. Instead, cut your expenses: Pay off as much debt as you can, even if it means working an extra year before you start. Sell unneeded stuff on Ebay and save the money. Cut up credit cars. Sell your car, and buy an older one so you have no payments. Get a roommate, etc. aim to be able to get by working 20-24 hours per week.
9) Do this for the love of other people.
10) If have never had problems getting a job ever. I wasn't always instantaneous, but not bad. I think being a grad of two well respected schools, lots of experience, and an excelllent reputation helps.
11) I am not willing to tell you--nurses need to think things through for themselves, including how you could easily find this out. This lesson #1 in research skills. Go for it.