Career Educator seeks advice to switch to nursing

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    I have a Masters in Educational Leadership, Bachelors in Sociology and over 20 years in the field of education. I am 43 years old. I am burned out of the field of public education because I feel I have all these credentials and I am not making any money at what I am doing. I am considering nursing, but I don't want to completely start over in my educational endeavors. I want what I already have to count for something. I am not sure which way to turn. I have considered becoming a nursing educator or director of education for a hospital but all require the nursing background. I am also needing funding to return to school. What suggestions do you possibly have for me?
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    I would urge you to first see if you are comfortable in the patient care role before even thinking about nursing. Try volunteering at a hospital or getting your EMT cert and joining your local fire/ambulance company.

    If, after getting your feet wet, you decide patient care is what you want to do, an Associate's Degree via your local community college will almost certainly be the lowest cost and fastest route to becoming an RN. Your can follow that with a low-cost online RN-BSN program. Unfortunately, a great deal of your previous coursework will not be relevant to nursing, though work in the social sciences, bio, chem, math and some liberal arts will transfer. This will still leave you with anatomy/physiology, nutrition and perhaps some social science (most CC's require at least developmental and abnormal psych, not just intro), in addition to the nursing courses.

    I have a somewhat similar educational background with a couple of years in Engineering school, a BA in Communications and an MBA. I had all of the social and natural science prereqs plus math through calc 2 and stats, so I really had only nutrition, A&P and the nursing courses to compete my ADN. In fact, I had most of the work needed for my BSN, which I completed shortly after I passed the NCLEX. Depending on where you live however, the nursing education can be the easy part.

    You will absolutely need to have some significant nursing experience to be considered for any nurse educator position. Getting that experience could prove challenging. In my case, I have had only a handful of interviews for nursing positions since becoming an RN several years ago. In many parts of the country, hospitals, and now increasingly nursing homes, usually state two things: "BSN required" and "one to two years of nursing experience required." Your area may be different, and of course if you can relocate, it won't matter but it's worth looking into that end of things before making the leap.

    I would also caution you on salary. There is a perception that nurses are well-compensated but that too is largely inaccurate. In my area, the 5th largest metro area in the country, nursing salaries in LTC start in the low to mid thirties and in hospitals, in the high thirties to low forties. This may be higher than starting teacher salaries but I suspect only marginally. Again, I'd urge you to check the situation thoroughly before making a decision.

    Best of luck to you.


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