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Career change to Nursing...not interested in Clinicals, should I continue?

jbs203 jbs203 (New) New

Hi I am 27 and have been working in clinical laboratory for 6 years. I have a great M-F 9-5 schedule in a great hospital. And I've been so eager to leave my field to find a career that will allow me to work anywhere, make decent money, and have a flexible schedule.

I've been reading forums and it's causing me to have doubts. Too be honest I'm not scared to take risks, but at my age and the foundation I built in my current career I'm starting to have doubts. I just started my first 'trimester' of nursing school and I don't understand how to study for the fundamentals. No matter how hard I study I still can't get a decent grade. And I always get Bs and As. I only get Bs if I start to forget content. I get Cs when I just can't understand the course and am not interested.

My questions for senior nurses and new grad nurses:

1) How was your first year on the job?

2) Do you feel burnt out from work more than anything?

3) Do you feel like you are getting paid well considering the duties you perform?

4) has obamacare really changing hospital healthcare?

5) Do you think you have a lot of free time when you are not at work to enjoy leisure activities?

I really need the HONEST truth about nursing as a career. Because I'm thinking of going to do Nurse Practitioner but I'm starting to think this is not the right path because I'm not totally interested in what I do in clinicals so far. Even though it's just basic nursing and it will change in later clinical settings.

RunBabyRN

Specializes in L&D, infusion, urology. Has 2 years experience.

No one else can determine for you if this is your right path. If it's the difficulty of fundamentals that are getting to you, have you considered working with a classmate or two to work on stuff? Or perhaps hiring a tutor? How have you been studying? What's worked for you in the past?

Being a nurse is very different from being a phleb (I was a phleb, too). You have to look at a lot that's going on, and a lot is on your shoulders. You are the last line of defense before a patient receives most treatments or meds. Learning to think as a nurse, rather than as a phleb, takes time. You have to keep your mind open to this new way of approaching patient care.

As to your last question, what do you think will be different about this versus your current job?

Are you familiar with the current job market, particularly for new grads? It's really tough. In addition to being a phleb, I have other extensive health care experience, and I am currently working in retail, with my BSN (I let my CPT-1 lapse years ago). I am newly licensed, but I had a job lined up, and it fell through. I have put out hundreds of apps, and am having very little luck. Just be sure you know what you're getting into, and keep the phleb job if possible.

Good luck whatever you decide!

I"m not a phleb. I'm a clinical technologist specialized in molecular oncology testing. We use DNA or RNA to perform testing when docs/np suspect cancer related to genetic alterations. A lot of science and DNA and genetics, etc. A lot more technical work. I work the M-F 9-5pm schedule. We get 5 wks vacation, no need to clock in. holidays off. no weekends. but since i'm so specialized I can't really find a job in my field that has great benefits with a reputable hospital unless I go to TX or CA. No patient contact. I guess I"m scared of investing my money and time for something that may feel like a mistake? The forums make it seem draining and sucking the soul out of you. Also, I feel like after 6 yrs in my current field I don't want to do physical demanding jobs. I'm lost.

I've been reading the chapters, reading ATI books, and using NCLEX book and their online resource to practice answering the questions. Last exam there was a major curve for everyone.

The medical calculation first exam was pretty easy. Math isn't difficult, it's universal.

Edited by jbs203
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classicdame, MSN, EdD

Specializes in Hospital Education Coordinator.

nursing is physically demanding. I get the impression you want a good paying job that is more brain work than back work. Nursing involves both.

RunBabyRN

Specializes in L&D, infusion, urology. Has 2 years experience.

My apologies for assuming you were a phleb- sounds like you feel pretty locked in with something so specialized. I can understand your desire to move on to something else, in that case.

Regarding the age issue, I wouldn't focus too much on that. Nursing is one of those fields where people enter later in life all the time. You'd still have been on the young end in my class.

As classicdame said, nursing is physically demanding, and if you're not okay with that, it's not going to be the right path for you.

As to your comment about nursing sucking your soul, I think most people with reasonably demanding jobs would say that about their field. Attorneys, doctors, teachers, etc.

Have you considered asking a nurse if you can shadow for a day or two on the weekend? It might be a good way to see what they really do all day (if you're not already in clinicals), and see if this is the right path.

What drew you to nursing? Do you like patient contact?

The questions in my first response remain, regarding your studying.

SubSippi

Has 2 years experience.

I"m not a phleb. I'm a clinical technologist specialized in molecular oncology testing. We use DNA or RNA to perform testing when docs/np suspect cancer related to genetic alterations. A lot of science and DNA and genetics, etc. A lot more technical work. I work the M-F 9-5pm schedule. We get 5 wks vacation, no need to clock in. holidays off. no weekends. but since i'm so specialized I can't really find a job in my field that has great benefits with a reputable hospital unless I go to TX or CA. No patient contact. I guess I"m scared of investing my money and time for something that may feel like a mistake? The forums make it seem draining and sucking the soul out of you. Also, I feel like after 6 yrs in my current field I don't want to do physical demanding jobs. I'm lost.

I've been reading the chapters, reading ATI books, and using NCLEX book and their online resource to practice answering the questions. Last exam there was a major curve for everyone.

The medical calculation first exam was pretty easy. Math isn't difficult, it's universal.

It sounds like you have decent benefits...you will not get anywhere close to five weeks vacation as a nurse. Two is standard, and keep in mind that you don't get any regular holidays off when you work in a hospital.

The hours are exhausting, and having to work or sleep at times when everyone else you know is off, and then being off and everyone else is working can be very isolating. There are perks to working weird hours though, I have a love/hate relationship with my schedule (I'm in a major hate phase right now).

I've been a nurse for over a year now. My first job was pretty unpleasant and stressful, but I got a new job that I love. It's in an ICU so it's still pretty high stress, but that last job was so bad, I think it makes everything look easy.

If you want to be a nurse, then be a nurse. But if you're looking for a higher paying, more flexible job there are much easier, much less stressful ways to do that. And, remember that while the pay may seem decent at first, it's rare that a nurse gets a raise ever, for any reason (at least in my neck of the woods).

SopranoKris, BSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care. Has 5 years experience.

Keep your day job!!!

llg, PhD, RN

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development. Has 43 years experience.

I'm confused. What made you think you wanted to be a nurse in the first place? What made nursing attractive enough to you that you started nursing school?

nursel56

Specializes in Peds/outpatient FP,derm,allergy/private duty. Has 33 years experience.

Hi I am 27 and have been working in clinical laboratory for 6 years. I have a great M-F 9-5 schedule in a great hospital. And I've been so eager to leave my field to find a career that will allow me to work anywhere, make decent money, and have a flexible schedule.

These are very valid, common reasons to pursue nursing. They were spot on for decades. The ground has shifted in the last 5-7 years to the point I wouldn't rely on them to make a life-altering choice without doing extensive research into your desired locale and the specifics of that job market.

I've been reading forums and it's causing me to have doubts.

I love allnurses, but it is not the place to get an accurate reflection of nursing as a whole. I would suggest you network and try to find a variety of resources. Talk to or ask to shadow people who are doing the job you visualize yourself doing as a nurse, etc.

Too be honest I'm not scared to take risks, but at my age and the foundation I built in my current career I'm starting to have doubts. I just started my first 'trimester' of nursing school and I don't understand how to study for the fundamentals.

I don't know why this is, but I have noticed it's not unusual for high-academic achievers to have this problem. It is usually temporary, so don't beat yourself up over less-than-perfect grades just yet.

I would not give up just because your current nursing fundamentals coursework isn't interesting. With the highly specialized work you do now, it's not at all surprising that you would feel that way, but nursing involves your head, your heart and your hands which makes it something you need to experience to understand. You have to hang in there long enough to know. That is the the dilemma lots of people face but the toughest to answer because we don't know you personally.

Here is a composite answer to the list of questions . ..(except the obamacare question too soon to tell imo) I was very fortunate to have job flexibility, schedule flexibility and decent pay and benefits when I started, but all of that has been on a descending track due to nurses not being in as high demand as they once were.

My first year was very challenging and stressful, and I'm anxiety-prone. I got through it and was very proud to have done so! However, all along I knew I could switch to a lower-stress job within nursing if I needed to.

Everyone defines burnout differently. My view is that I've seen a few cases of true burnout and I did not experience it. Usually a person with this type needs outside help to get through it. Hope this helps a little!

I thought I wanted to become a NP. or I had this vision that maybe I can be ok because I just have to get through clinical in nursing school then apply to MSN in NP.

What made you think you wanted to be a nurse in the first place? What made nursing attractive enough to you that you started nursing school?

I wanted to become a NP. but I knew I had to do BSN first then apply for MSN. At the time I thought I can handle this. but it's definitely a different field from what I'm used to.

Fiona59

Has 18 years experience.

So you want to be an NP without having to do the "icky" stuff and learn your craft from the bottom up (pun intended)

HouTx, BSN, MSN, EdD

Specializes in Critical Care, Education. Has 35 years experience.

Just wanted to chime in.

First of all, our working schedules are absolutely NOT "flexible"... heck, nurses are so rigidly scheduled that we are actively discouraged from ever calling in sick. srsly. We work weird hours and trying to get any vacation time is often a very difficult issue.

Most NP programs require clinical experience (as a nurse) in order to be admitted. Of course there are some programs that admit people with zero experience, but - at least in my part of the world - employers will not hire NPs with no clinical experience.

I think laboratory science is an amazing field... well respected & meaningful work. Very different from 'our' world. Nurses are the lowest professional rung on the acute care hierarchy. No power, minimal respect. . . responsible for all the scut work that no one else wants to do.

llg, PhD, RN

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development. Has 43 years experience.

I thought I wanted to become a NP. or I had this vision that maybe I can be ok because I just have to get through clinical in nursing school then apply to MSN in NP.

I had similar thoughts (but not identical goals) when I was in nursing school many years ago. I knew that I did not want to be a staff nurse on an adult med/surg unit -- and that I simply had to endure the undergraduate clinicals in order to get the BSN that would open other doors for me. It was not easy, but I simply "sucked it up and endured it." Yes, my grades suffered horribly during those 2 years -- but I survived and perservered.

Fortunately, I found a clinical area that I enjoyed (NICU) and was happy as a NICU staff nurse for a couple of years. Then I went to graduate school and became an "A" student again ... and have worked in CNS/Staff Development/Academic roles ever since.

I guess it's just a matter of whether you have the strength to get through the parts of school that you don't like in order to reach your ultimate goals. Only you can answer that.

I won't say it was easy. It was incredibly difficult and I got a few permanent scars along the way. I have often wondered if I shouldn't have taken the difficulties of my undergraduate experience as a sign that I should have taken another career path. But I was stubborn and refused to quit. People see me today as someone who has a great job, good income, etc. nearing retirment. But still I wonder ...

If you are looking to advance to the NP role without actually being a nurse, I don't think nursing is the right path for you. If being a nurse is something you have to put up with while getting an advanced practice degree, it doesn't seem fair to your patients IMO.

I don't know what your undergrad picture looks like, but I would suggest looking into PA. It would allow you to be a mid level without being a nurse.

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