New to forum and need some advice :)

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    Hey my wonderful, intelligent, HELPFUL fellow students !
    I'm new to this forum but, REALLY need some help! I'm a mommy...(smiling) My son is 10 months old now and I'm finishing up undergrad as a single mother who wants to transition from a Political Science major into nursing. I know it sounds crazy but, I absolutely LOVE motherhood and I want a job that is flexible and does NOT allow me to bring my work home. When I'm home, I always give my full attention to the baby and it shows in the way that he's always bubbly and laughing. ANYWAYS, sorry for rambling but, I've taken Anatomy, Micro and Human Growth and I did OK. I got an A in Human Growth, a B in Micro and I might scratch out a B+ in Anatomy. I'm REALLY DISCOURAGED because I really don't feel like this is very competitive. I go to UF and would like to get into their program in order to stay in graduate housing and keep my kid in daycare on campus. But, my other options would be UNF, UCF, FSU, USA (Alabama), and any other school that would require similar pre-reqs and NO GRE. I'm taking the GRE soon so, wish me luck! What do you all suggest? My current GPA is around 3.7, I believe but, I hear that it should be a lot closer to a 4.0 to be competitive. I really need to get into a nursing school to make a better life for me and the baby...He's my world...
    Thanks everyone and I hope that you all get to be whatever you aspire to be.
    Warmly,
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  3. 12 Comments so far...

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    Hello there,

    Welcome to Allnurses

    You said that you wanted a flexible job that you do not have to "bring home" with you. Unfortunately, nursing often does not fit that description. There ARE areas of nursing that have very flexible schedules and relatively low stress environments but the reality is that, more likely than not, in order to get to these positions you...

    1. have to endure the rigors of nursing school which most people find an inflexible and stressful commitment that cuts into their family life and social life

    and/or

    2. gain experience in more stressful areas of nursing like medical-surgical floors or long term care facilities with high patient to nurse ratios.

    I do not mean to discourage you from nursing. Far from it. But I encourage you to pursue nursing with full knowledge of the challenges and how to prepare yourself and your family for them.

    Welcome again, and good luck!
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    I agree with Cuddles. If you only want to go into nursing for the flexible schedule, there is a good chance you will end up unhappy. All you have to do is search for posts on here by new grads who went into the field for the wrong reason and now say they hate their job and are miserable. If you want to get a better idea if nursing would be a good fit for you, try and shadow one or even an aide. Better yet, volunteer or work as an aide. That will let you know real quick if you're cut out for nursing. Cuddles is also right about the inflexibility of nursing school. It is a very vigorous program that doesn't leave a lot of time for much else. If you don't work, you may still have a little time left for your baby but even so, you will need lots of help. Good luck with whatever you decide
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    Wow! Thanks so much for the quick reply.
    I definitely see where you're coming from but, thankfully, I've done a lot of research and feel that my personality fits this field. Actually, I'm the type of person that has a really sharp memory and usually gets good grades without much effort. I came from being in private school my entire life so, discipline was instilled in me from a young age. At one point in time, I was on three soccer teams, the morning announcement crew, and several clubs all at once. I love to be busy. I actually really love school and was SUPPOSED to have graduated from undergrad 2 years early so, with the pregnancy and all of that, I just prolonged my stay here and am now STILL graduating ahead of time because I'm already at 129 credits! lol Yehh! I know. And I'm STILL staying another semester.
    BUT, I'm rambling AGAIN! Right around when I got preggo, I went home for the summer (bad idea) and since my aunt owns a nursing school, I got certified to be a CNA really quick, just for fun. I liked the clinicals and felt like I would okay with the amount of moving around and dealing with managing time and patients. I aspire to work in an ICU setting to work with PICU or NICU patients, if at all possible. Ultimately, it would be nice if I could be a neonatal nurse practioner OR be a nurse leader or specialist. I think I can already expect nursing school to be hell. I know this...we all do! No matter how well I manage time or how much preparation I try to do, it WILL BE rough for me. But, I think that I can manage once the baby is older. By then, he'll be over a year old and able to entertain himself much better. I have him in a daycare already so, they run from 7 to 6 pm. I'll probably wean him once I start nursing school. The main fears that I have are: a) will my grades be competitive enough? and b) will I have to be at clinicals outside of daycare hours? Because if so, I'd have to find a babysitter and come up with the money for that.
    I really appreciate your reply and it really makes me want to expand my research and make sure that I have EVERYTHING well thought out. I need to have a good Plan B, just in case and figure out what my other options will be.

    THANK YOU SO MUCH
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    @ kizeemimi
    THANK YOU for replying as well! And I agree.
    I won't be working because I really value bonding time with my child. If I do school full-time, I focus on my schoolwork during business hours and then once I pick the baby up, it's his time to shine until I put him sleep between 7 and 8. Then, it's back to studying for me. But, I never try to multi-task with him. When he's awake, I'm all his.
    Okay, so what I forgot to ask above was...what do you two mean by inflexible? I'm looking for a job that allows me to work 40 hours or not much more than that. I'd like to work between 3 to 5 days a week. Other jobs do not offer this option. To clarify, when I say that I don't want to bring my work home I mean something like...Ok, as a lawyer, you may have business hours but, when you go home, you bring your "work with you". You can stay up all night and continue to work on the case. As a nurse, from what I can see, you cannot do that. From what I'VE SEEN, you do your write-ups, do the shift switch-over with the incoming nurse and go home. Am I incorrect? Do you have things that you do from home? The reason that I really value this is because my parents, God bless them, used to work really hard and get home late and STILL be working. I did not like this. They had well-paying jobs and I never wanted for anything but, there was no boundaries placed that would separate work from home life. I know that I'll be thinking about patients all day and that I won't be able to completely "shut out" the happenings of the day but, I would like to be able to stay busy and then go home to my child and relax. I actually WANT a job that keeps me on my feet because I'm high energy and I need to expend it in order to sleep well. I have always been an athletic build. I also hate office jobs where you just sit down in a cubicle and watch your life waste away. I want a job that allows me to use my languages (I know a several) and meet new people all the time. That's what my passion is. I love to travel and interact. What do you think about this?
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    Okay, so what I forgot to ask above was...what do you two mean by inflexible?


    Every nursing school is different but it is pretty typical to be expected to show up to class or off-campus commitments at a moment's notice. Even if you are given adequate notice, you may be asked to attend classes or clinical rotations that do not fit with your schedule. It just comes with the territory.

    Attendance policies are also strict because nursing schools have to prove that you have attended a certain amount of hours of classroom and clinical time. One or two absences may be all it takes to be dropped from a program even if you have a good reason.

    From what I'VE SEEN, you do your write-ups, do the shift switch-over with the incoming nurse and go home. Am I incorrect?

    Some nurses have jobs where they mull over paperwork at home on a regular basis but, yes, you are correct when it comes to nurses that work shifts. However, nurses that have shifts are often required to be on call for a certain number of days. This means that you do not go to work immediately but have to be on site within 30 min-1 hour of the hospital calling you. This is a pretty universal requirement for nurses who work in a hospital, including PICU and NICU.

    With pretty much any nursing job, there is also a lot of time spent on continuing education. You may end your shift at 7 pm or 7 am but be required to return in a few hours for a meeting or an in-service where the management updates you on some new skill or standard of care.

    I know that I'll be thinking about patients all day and that I won't be able to completely "shut out" the happenings of the day but, I would like to be able to stay busy and then go home to my child and relax.

    This is another issue. It depends on what kind of person you are. Some people let the madness and sadness of the day slide off their back. I am not one of those people. I have to consciously work at letting it all go and not let it cut into my personal life. The many, many posts from overwhelmed nurses (both new and veteran) speak to the fact that I am not alone.

    It is often said that the first year of being a nurse sucks. I agree with that. I think people who do not deeply question their ability, self-esteem, worth as a nurse etc. during the first year are in the minority.

    Overall, it is not a field I would pick if I wanted flexibility and peace of mind.

    I realize that this post seems really grim but, I assure you, I speak as someone who has found deep satisfaction and happiness in nursing. I have faced all of the challenges I have written about and more but still love what I do. I hope this is the case for you as well.
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    sweettooth,

    The other posters are correct in that nursing is not the most flexible job in the world. But I have to disagree with some of it...
    If you work in a hospital, normally you work 12 hour shifts. Its a long day, but 3 days=a full week. If thats all you need to pay your bills, that gives you 4 days off a week! There are also weekend warrior contracts where you can just work weekends and make as much as you would working 3 days/week somewhere else. Also, the hospital I work at does not require nurses to ever be "on call" (at least not in the ICU). If they are short staffed and need someone to come in, they call you but you can say yes or no (or not answer the phone at all).

    Bottom line is it depends on where you work, and jobs are getting harder to find for new grads. The nursing shortage refers to experienced nurses, not new nurses. Having a BSN will make you more competitive in the new grad pool for jobs. It takes a lot of time and $ to train a new nurse on the job.

    Nursing school is tough and requires a lot of devotion, motivation, planning and time management. It sounds like you have these things.. If you want it bad enough you can handle it. Most of the time (if you are in a good nursing program) you will have adequate notice and be able to plan for clinicals, classes, meetings and childcare. Clinicals can be 12 hours, especially towards the end of school. This may be a bit of a challenge as far as daycare goes, but every school can be different. Pick a solid BSN program and you can make it work for you. Pick a substandard program and your life will become very hard to manage.

    It sounds like you have the capacity to make it through nursing school and be a good mom in the process. Nursing is an emotionally and sometimes physically draining profession that only those who love it can excel in it. I had a lot going on while I was in nursing school and it was purely my desire to reach my goal that carried me through it. Your GPA is fine, say goodbye to straight As in nursing school! Anything 3.5 or above is acheivement!

    Be a nurse, you won't regret it
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    I'm still in school, so will let the others answer the rest but I know you would start clinicals at or before 7am and/or finish after 6pm often at any of the nursing schools around here. That does not count travel time, which can be up to an hour. From the school, if you live in the opposited direction from the school then that much longer. You could check with the schools you are considering.
  11. 0
    Quote from KellyRNCCRN
    sweettooth,

    The other posters are correct in that nursing is not the most flexible job in the world. But I have to disagree with some of it...
    If you work in a hospital, normally you work 12 hour shifts. Its a long day, but 3 days=a full week. If thats all you need to pay your bills, that gives you 4 days off a week! There are also weekend warrior contracts where you can just work weekends and make as much as you would working 3 days/week somewhere else. Also, the hospital I work at does not require nurses to ever be "on call" (at least not in the ICU). If they are short staffed and need someone to come in, they call you but you can say yes or no (or not answer the phone at all).
    You're right. I shouldn't have generalized. In my experience, it's common but my experience shouldn't be the gauge.
  12. 0
    Thanks again for all of the help! I really appreciate it.
    Cuddles, I really understand a lot of your points and they're all valid. Because of your comments, I've decided to make a list of contacts and begin to call or e-mail the admissions and program coordinators of the programs so that they might be able to give me more insight into the time constraints and commitments that I'll have to encounter. This might be the most important step to deciding which path I'll go down.
    KellyRN, your comment also helped A BUNCH! You know, realistically, ANY job that I'll get is probably going to have it's disadvantages because as a mother, I have the HUGE commitment of making my son my top priority. I wasn't aware of the "weekend warrior" term but, am glad that you enlightened me about it. I didn't realize that it was yet another option. HONESTLY, best case scenario would be to find a PARTNER to share responsibilities with. But, I'm single and satisfied and if I have to pull all of the weight, I will. I really feel like an accelerated program in nursing is the best and fastest way to one of the most rewarding types of careers that a person can have. I have a lot of nursing friends who are either competing to get into the two year program or are continuing on after already graduating from with their BSN. I definitely have my work cut out for me. But, living on campus helps along with my son's daycare being walking distance from our residence. Hopefully, I'll gather enough info with the next month and be able to make the next move. I take the GRE early January and am NO WHERE close to being ready! I hope that tons of cramming over winter break and allowing my parents to babysit will get me somewhere...It's all or nothing at this point. But, I'm excited.
    OKAY! One more thing! Do new grad nurses always get stuck with the night hours??? And are the night hours considered the worst shift to have? (meaning do most people take up daytime shifts or do they prefer less traffic/patients at night?) Because THAT would definitely change the ballgame if I only found hospitals with night shifts open. Then, I'd have to have a night-time babysitter...MR. RIGHT NEEDS TO HURRY UP! lol Miracles happen, right?...


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