Don't know whether to become RN or Surgical Tech

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    I would really appreciate some input from some working nurses.
    I have completed all my prereq for the nursing program but now I'm hesitant to continue with nursing program. Here are my dilemmas: I have a 'B' average not all 'A's'; I'm 60 years old; it seems the surgical technology people make as much as nurses so I'm starting to lean that direction; I don't know if surgical tech people can have part of their student loans repaid like nursing; the surgical tech program has lots of openings; EVERYONE says the nursing classes are really hard! I have to make a decision really soon and I don't know which way to go?? Please, please any advice?
    kristyleist likes this.
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  4. 0
    I would double check the information you have that surgical technologists make as much as nurses- my hospital's pay scale has STs max out at about the same rate nurses start. The opinion that nursing classes are hard is subjective- what other people find difficult you may find easy. Also, STs don't have as much flexibility as nurses do- they're limited pretty much to surgery or endoscopy while nurses can go into any number of specialties.

    My advice would be to talk to both types of schools- find out admissions requirements, tuition/loans, etc. Also educate yourself on the role of both professions. Keep in mind that as an ST, there is pretty much no chance to sit down when working. A nurse may at least have the chance to sit down and chart periodically throughout the day, so keep in mind your own physical abilities. I'm a relatively young OR nurse who scrubs occasionally, and those are the days I leave aching- my legs from standing for so long and my arms from holding retractors. I would also find people employed as STs- find out what the job outlook is, compensation (salary and benefits), and try to shadow a day or two before you make any decisions.
  5. 1
    60 years old? Pfft...At 60 this RN plans to be retired laying on a beach somewhere. Do you want to work until you die? Or are too old to enjoy the benefits of being retired?
    Fiona59 likes this.
  6. 4
    Yea, I'm 60 and proud of it. I was a single Mother and didn't have the money or time to go to school. When my Daughter graduated college I decided it was time to make more money that I was at various jobs. Because I worked for myself for so long I don't have any social security of retirement benefits to fall back on. You try living on $200 a month...That's all I would get so no, I don't want to work until I die but I need to have a good job for at least 10 years. Be glad you aren't in the same situation...
    kristyleist, txnurstud, walktheline, and 1 other like this.
  7. 0
    Thank you for the input I'll try asking my Anatomy prof?
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    How is the new grad rn market in your area? I mention this because in my class the older graduates had a much harder time getting their first job in an already difficult market. Do you have any healthcare experience? How hard is it to get a surgical tech job? Have you looked into radiology? Will you be able to stand on your feet for long periods? Lift people? Work nights for 12 hour shifts? I became a nurse in my 30 s and my body hates me now. I'm achy and sore all the time. Working nights is killing me. But as a new nurse you gotta do what you gotta do. No way would I be able to get through it any older an I am now and I was in good shape when I started. I can't say I can honestly recommend nursing to anyone. It has aged me a lot very quickly.
  9. 0
    What kind of work experience do you have?
  10. 1
    Yes, nursing programs are *very* difficult, however one girl's idea of academically challenging is a cake walk to another. There are those who came out of high school and or first time around in college with barely a "B" or even "C" average that were straight A nursing students. Some the other way around.

    Surgical techs do not make as much as RNs that one knows. Average starting salary for a ST is $39.000 (see: Surgical Technologists : Occupational Outlook Handbook : U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics), whereas here in NYC new grad RNs start at the mid to low $70K/year.

    Most of your time as a ST will be spent running, fetching, setting up, and assisting the physicans and nurses with very little of the "caring for people" aspect many state as their prime reason for wishing to become a nurse. All that running about means you will be on your feet a good part of your shift. Don't know your stamina level and more importantly how your legs are, but plan on making friends with a good pair or two of support hose. *LOL*

    Unlike the nursing staff on the floors STs will have more exposure to physicans and leave us say not all surgeons have taken crash courses in congeniality. Like the delicate hot house flowers some are they tend to have meltdowns and it tis often the nursing/support staff that bears the brunt.

    If your duties include scrubbing, then a strong bladder is also a requirement.

    OTOH has a RN even starting out in one's mid-sixties or so (it will take you at least three to four years to complete a program), there are positions out there that aren't so physically demanding as bedside nursing. You will have to gain some experience perhaps for some but off the top of my head being a "school nurse" comes to mind.
    txnurstud likes this.
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    If you had to choose between RN or surgical tech. Definitely go for RN. A friend of mine was a surgical tech at a VERY nice hospital and now he's on his way to becoming an RN. Although, I mentioned to him I would've stayed where he was at, he has many (of his own personal) reasons for pursuing his nursing degree. I am not all about the money.. I love the skills nurses use on a daily basis so that wouldn't have mattered ( difference in pay). I don't love the OR. Check the job market in your area. Like another poster said, it's tough to get a job as an RN.
  12. 0
    Quote from DoGoodThenGo
    Yes, nursing programs are *very* difficult, however one girl's idea of academically challenging is a cake walk to another. There are those who came out of high school and or first time around in college with barely a "B" or even "C" average that were straight A nursing students. Some the other way around.Surgical techs do not make as much as RNs that one knows. Average starting salary for a ST is $39.000 (see: Surgical Technologists : Occupational Outlook Handbook : U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics), whereas here in NYC new grad RNs start at the mid to low $70K/year.Most of your time as a ST will be spent running, fetching, setting up, and assisting the physicans and nurses with very little of the "caring for people" aspect many state as their prime reason for wishing to become a nurse. All that running about means you will be on your feet a good part of your shift. Don't know your stamina level and more importantly how your legs are, but plan on making friends with a good pair or two of support hose. *LOL*Unlike the nursing staff on the floors STs will have more exposure to physicans and leave us say not all surgeons have taken crash courses in congeniality. Like the delicate hot house flowers some are they tend to have meltdowns and it tis often the nursing/support staff that bears the brunt.If your duties include scrubbing, then a strong bladder is also a requirement. OTOH has a RN even starting out in one's mid-sixties or so (it will take you at least three to four years to complete a program), there are positions out there that aren't so physically demanding as bedside nursing. You will have to gain some experience perhaps for some but off the top of my head being a "school nurse" comes to mind.
    You will have a very difficult time landing a non bedside rn role, or a school nurse role, without any experience. The less demanding rn jobs get scooped up by those with experience.


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