SLP or RN/BSN? Making career decisions

  1. I'm considering a mid-life career change from education to some field in allied health. I'm seriously looking at either speech language pathology or nursing, and I would like to work in rehabilitation. I'm concerned about the implications of the Medicare cuts but feel that there will be a need for professional services in either area. Any advice on the realities of working in either of these fields? Any insights that might help with this decision? Will my experience in education serve me well in helping people to retrain in living skills and to adjust to new challenges in their lives? Thanks in advance.
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  2. 7 Comments

  3. by   MMT
    rehab services were cut a few years ago because of budget/reimbursement concerns, but the market has come back around....home care services are especially desirable, since the push to get people home sooner continues.
  4. by   mom and nurse
    Hi - I have a Bachelor's Degree in Communication Disorders (which some schools formerly called Speech Pathology and Audiology). I earned this degree in 1981 when I first attended college. Speech Pathology is a rewarding field which now requires a Master's Degree. I believe I would have had to go back to school for 2 years to obtain the Masters.

    Instead, I recently I earned a degree in Nursing (BSN). This was a personal choice and it just appears to me that the variety of job opportunities appeared to be more numerous for nurses than for Speech Pathologists.

    I did my senior practicum at a rehab hospital and will probably return there to work. It does appear that Speech Pathology is a less stressful job......but I enjoy the challenge of nursing and the variety of job opportunities. And not all nursing jobs are equal in their stress levels. Much depends on the nursing area you choose to work in.
  5. by   Quickbeam
    My best friend from high school is a SLP. I called her when I saw this post and she said, yes, a Master's is baseline now for any professional SLP job. From what she said there aren't a ton of jobs and people tend to stay in the job they have for a fairly long time (kind of like some forms of nursing...school nurses, occupational health nurses).

    I wouldn't let this dissuade you from SLP...it is a great field. I'm an interpreter for the deaf in addition to being an RN and I know SLP has greatly bettered the life of many of my deaf friends.
  6. by   DC2RN
    When budgets get tight (which is inevitable,) insurance companies and the government are going to cut or severely restrict nonessential services. This happened to physical therapists in New York about five years ago after the Medicare laws changed. I saw PTs salaries go from $75,000/ yr to about $45,000/ yr in just a short year, and many PTs could not get jobs. Nurses are absolutely essential to heathcare, and the demand for them is projected to increase for the next 30 years as baby boomers retire.

    I am a chiropractor. The insurance laws have changed recently here in New York, and about 50 percent of the business was wiped out. I make $20,000/ yr less than I did 2 years ago, but in reality, I feel lucky to have a job. Many of my friends do not. I also feel lucky that I almost have my RN license. It will be a pay cut, but when I factor in benefits and no malpractice and overtime, I will probably make more as a RN.

    SLP is a great profession, but still more at the whim of insurance coverage changes and law changes than nursing. Plus, nursing has so many different types of opportunities. So I would recommend nursing.
  7. by   Quickbeam
    DC2RN, too bad you don't live here in Wisconsin! All insurers in WI must by law cover chiropractic care. The DCs here have an extremely powerful and aggressive lobby. They do quite well here.

    Re: SLP....yes, as an allied health field, they do suffer the whims of funding. However, in pediatric services, most care is mandated as necessary for special ed kids and fairly safe. There is a far more limited demand than for nursing care so you are right, it will never be as safe a field to enter as nursing.
  8. by   mom and nurse
    Quote from Quickbeam
    My best friend from high school is a SLP. I called her when I saw this post and she said, yes, a Master's is baseline now for any professional SLP job. From what she said there aren't a ton of jobs and people tend to stay in the job they have for a fairly long time (kind of like some forms of nursing...school nurses, occupational health nurses).

    I wouldn't let this dissuade you from SLP...it is a great field. I'm an interpreter for the deaf in addition to being an RN and I know SLP has greatly bettered the life of many of my deaf friends.
    I'm curious Quickbeam that you said you are an interpreter for the deaf as well as a nurse. As I mentioned in my previous post I have a B.A. in Communications Disorders. When I was obtaining my degree I learned sign language at my college and at a college (now a university) called Gallaudet in Wash D.C. At the time, I ended up interpreting for the deaf (at my church and on the job for a deaf employee). I was also working with deaf children as a volunteer teacher's aide.

    As a new nurse I'm wondering......how often did your skills in sign language come in handy as a nurse?
  9. by   victoriac
    I posted the original question about deciding between becoming an SLP aor RN. You have all given me something to think over carefully as I continue researching, thinking, gathering information. Thanks for your help! Your professionalism is inspiring!

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