Potential career change to nursing...lengthy thoughts within...

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    Hello to everyone,

    Many thanks for reading this and for any support or insight you give because I really need some guidance. Also, I apologize for the randomness and length of my upcoming thoughts. Here is where I am at right now:

    I am interested in getting into the nursing field, specifically in pursuing a BSN. It would be my 2nd degree- first is a BS in Psychology from 2006. I have no experience working in a hospital. I am almost 31, happily married, and have no children but do want to start a family at some point soon. I work at a book store part-time right now and make almost no money but enjoy the position and it would afford some flexibility with school. I have been floundering for years; worked at mental health non-profit, museum, music store, etc.

    My interest in nursing has been vague but slowly evolving for several years. What has brought it into the forefront has been the recent role I have assumed as caregiver for my father. He was diagnosed with stage II pancreatic cancer, underwent a successful Whipple Procedure on 11/1, was in the hospital for 10 days, and released to his home for a 6 week recovery. At the end of this home recovery he will begin chemo & radiation treatments. I have been there for him in many ways, including: emptying his drains, emptying/cleaning bedside urinal, assisting with diabetes testing (he is type II), cooking, cleaning, paying bills, taking him to and from appointments, being an advocate in his appointments, emotional support, encouragement, etc. He can function independently and I no longer am staying there every day. I travel back and forth between his home in VA and my home in Baltimore 2-3 times a week. I am the only person doing this (he is divorced from my mom, no family around, etc). I could write a lot more about the challenges of this but I wanted to leave it at the basics of his physical & emotional care that I have experienced.

    I am also assisting in the care of my grandmother. This is temporary but I want to share as it seems to relate. She experienced a fall (about a week after dad got home from hospital) due to dehydration from a horrible stomach virus and broke 2 vertebrate in her neck. The virus seems to be gone now, and I am not doing major assistive duties with her (she is in skilled nursing; normally lives in independent living at her retirement community; she is 94 if you can believe it) but I am helping with laundry, transporting her to and from her apartment in wheelchair for her to get things she needs, interacting with healthcare providers, emotional support, etc.

    Also, as an aside again because I feel it is related experience, I have helped my mother in the past when she has had back surgery (changing dressings/bandages; she has had 3 back surgeries from degenerative disc disorder .)

    Whew, okay, so basically here are things in my head that are swirling around:

    I am drawn to nursing because it fascinates me, I want to help people, and also because nurses and CNAs were the ones at the hospital who got to know my dad, cared for him consistently, had a lengthy amount of time with him, etc. as part of their job. I loved that and appreciated the really great ones who were truly *there* for him. I saw many different healthcare providers, but none seemed to have that intimate, consistent contact with the patient that the nurses and CNA's had. I realize that perhaps this may be because of his particular condition (i.e. if he needed heavy PT I would have seen a lot more from PT, OT, etc) Many helped him, but again, that intimacy resonated on a tangible level for me as a family member (they helped me as well) and also as a potential nursing student. Am I just seeing this profession through the eyes of a family member and would it be significantly different for me interacting with strangers?.....

    I feel like it would be wise to get certified as a CNA and gain experience (for myself, as a future nurse, and also to be able to have that under my belt to be a more competitive potential student and hire after school), but I am scared it would push me away from the field because of the many folks who share the burnout that comes with this position......also it is an investment (~$1000 or so that I honestly don't rall have right now)....I don't know if it would be wiser to try and go full-force with taking pre-reqs to hopefully get into nursing school (perhaps volunteering in hospital; get another position in hospital; stay in my current position and focus on school)?.....

    I am in Baltimore- not sure about the new grad hiring here (or projected hiring in the next few years?) I am scared of the few opportunities that might be the reality as they seem to be right now....

    I have spoken with some nurses in the course of all this. One in particular stuck out for me as far as her advice-giving; she encouraged me to go for it, said that nursing is cyclical employment-wise but that I will make it if I work hard, indicated that if I do get CNA training and end up in a hospital that the hospital would likely hire me as an RN after my completion of education & licensing (I'd have a relationship with hospital/staff/etc), and that nursing continues to be a strong career with much room to learn and grow....she did not do CNA training but did get hired (this was in Northern VA)...

    Argh..so much more.. I am a little overwhelmed what with all the other stuff going on in life..but I am anxious to grow up, finally get my life/career started already, help people, heal people, learn, grow, achieve, contribute, start a family, earn a living wage, etc upon etc...........

    Thank you so much- I truly appreciate any help. So sorry for the length of this...it has been swirling around for what seems like eons :/......
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