Career change advice

Nurses General Nursing


Hi everyone,

I've been looking around this website for a few weeks now, and I thought it was time to ask a question. I'm considering a change from my current career to nursing. I'm not going to post the details, but its enough to say that my career doesn't do it for me (and it never has).

I'm a part time EMT in a busy 911 system, and have been for 2+ years now. I enjoy the work. I went into EMS to get a basic feel for the healthcare system - to see if it might be something I want to do, and if I could handle the environment. Aside from EMS, I'm enrolled in an A&P course for the fall semester. Just one class, and I haven't applied for any nursing programs yet, because I want to take things slowly to make sure that I don't fall into the same trap that I did with my current job.

On to the questions. I'm planning on applying for an associate degree program, because of cost and flexibility (so I can work while in school). I think I want to go into pediatrics, and I enjoy the trauma/emergency med side of things. Does an associates degree sound like a good fit, or would I need a BSN for that career path - does peds require more from a candidate?

On a more specific note, I live in a major metro area and plan to stay. I'm hoping to make minimum $25/hr. Is this a reasonable expectation? Also, I understand that nursing is usually flexible in its scheduling. Is this true, and is it in terms of vacation/sick days or shift times?

My goal is to get an understanding of the job, something I didn't do the first time around. Thanks for taking the time to read and respond. :up:

Whispera, MSN, RN

3,458 Posts

Specializes in psych, addictions, hospice, education.

An ASN leads to an RN. An RN can lead to peds. Lots of new grads go into peds. As for the peds trauma/emergency things (like air angels and that sort of thing), I think you'd need experience as a peds nurse first.

In a major metropolitan area, usually, you'll make at least $25 an hour, sometimes a whole lot more.

Flexibility...hmmm...depends where you work, but it's not always flexible.


25 Posts

I am a new BScN grad here in Canada. Right after school, I managed to get a job in the Peds ICU. I have no experience in peds or Critical care from schooling, but had always been very interested in both. =) I have a full time position, but the need for staffing here in my hospital is pretty high. Some coworkers works part time (like 2 shifts a wee, etc?) and can still pick up extra. so i guess depends on what position you have, it can be pretty flexible? :) I agree with Whispera that $25/hr is a reasonable expectation (if not more). for me, it's 32/hr.

good luck with what ever decision you make!!

Specializes in Med-Surg/Oncology.

One of the only reasons you would need a BSN over an ADN is if you were planning to go back to school eventually and get your MSN (Master's Degree in Nursing), or if you are planning to be in nursing management at some point. You must have a BSN to get an MSN. Other than that there really is no distinction made on a hospital floor between BSN and ADN nurses.. It's my understanding that charge nurses on floors are typically BSN prepared (because BSN prepared RNs get all that leadership theory stuff in addition to clinical skills knowledge), but this probably varies from hospital to hospital. That's really the only difference in preparation between an ADN and a BSN, is that the BSN nurses get a lot more theory study going on, whereas ADN typically sticks strictly (or mostly) to clinical skills.

Flexibility depends largely on the hospital you work for, the floor you work on, the manager that runs the floor, and how many other RNs are employed on the floor. Typically you will either work day shift or night shift (not both), and usually you will work 12 hour shifts (7a-7p or 7p-7a), but again, this varies by hospital and floor. I work 7a-7p three days a week (and the days I work vary each week) with the option to request overtime if I want it; some hospitals have mandatory overtime, especially if they are very short staffed.

Every hospital most likely has a recruitment department that would be happy to sit down with you and talk specifics if you are interested in working for them after graduation; obviously you're not expected to sign anything just yet ;)

Nursing has something for everyone, but I caution you to keep your mind and eyes open if you choose to enter into the field; I went in thinking I wanted to do labor and delivery, and found that my passion was really critical care, so that's what I'm working towards now as a new grad on a med/surg floor. :)


2 Posts

Get your BSN, with your EMT experience you will easily be able to get into the emergency room as a new grad. Alot of hospitals in major metrpolitain areas require BSN to enter the emergency area now.


7 Posts

Thanks for all of the responses.

Beachbumnrs, do you think that having an ADN will put me at a disadvantage when trying to get a job in an emergency department?


337 Posts

Specializes in Gyn/STD clinic tech.

i would like to add that the actual adn program, the associates degree, is not flexible, and they recommend that you do not work.

they will give you a few classes and times you may take them, you do not get to pick your schedule. unless you go for a specific night and weekend class, pretty much every nursing program is full time, days, plus clinicals.


38 Posts

Specializes in trauma,cvicu,micu.

I agree with beachbumnrs, get a BSN, it will open more doors. Yes, you can go into peds and er with an ADN, but lets play devil's advocate for a minute, lets say you get a ADN and later on you are in a similar situation like you are in now. Board to tears or just hate being an RN, but you have a BSN and go right into a NP program, CRNA program, or you want to teach. Well with the BSN you have you can go right into that. On the other hand, with a ADN, you will first have to go back and get the BSN then go into those programs. I.E. more time, money , and frustration. Now to your questions, with a BSN some hospitals, mine included, pays more per hour for BSN -vs-ADN. I live in florida, and work in a major city at a large hospital, our pay starts at 32 an hour with a BSN. ADN's start at 30. The scheduling issue is dependant on your hospital, but in general, yes nursing is in general pretty flexible in scheduling. What shift you work is basically up to you, and what is avalible at the time, but night shift pays a pretty big diff. Good Luck with your decision!

Specializes in Case Mgmt, Anesthesia, ICU, ER, Dialysis.

Depends on where you can get in. I agree with the folks above that your BSN will ultimately be more valuable, both career and monetary-wise, but if you can get into an ADN, go! Nothing says you can't do a BSN online...

Good luck. :)


113 Posts

Specializes in telemetry, medsurg, homecare, psychiatry.
Thanks for all of the responses.

Beachbumnrs, do you think that having an ADN will put me at a disadvantage when trying to get a job in an emergency department?

Absolutely not! ADN nurses can, and do get jobs in an emergency department. It will be fine. If you are looking for more than working in a clinical setting than a BSN would be the route to go. Administrative/Management Nursing positions tend to ask for BSN a lot. I am a diploma nurse and have always been thrown into Charge nurse positions. I have never been told that I am not wanted as a Charge nurse because i have a Diploma..."I WISH".

Good Luck


205 Posts

Specializes in mental health.

If you're still exploring...go for the BS. You'll have more options.


7 Posts

To be honest, if tuition money and time were not an issue, I would go for one of the many accelerated BSN programs in my area (accellerated/second degree programs). The cost of the BSN programs are significantly more than the ADN programs, and I don't want to take on the additional debt to enter one of the programs. Also, I will be able to work while attending all of the ADN programs I am interested in, because the credits from my earlier degree will pass me out of the general education requirements (english, psych, math, etc...) lessening my course load each semester.

So is the consensus is that availability of clinical jobs is equal between a BSN and an ADN?

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