Do I have what it takes to be a nurse?


Hi All,

I'm not sure if this belongs here so if I'm posting in the wrong place please let me know and I'll move it over. I'm 35 yrs old and really need a career change. I have been thinking about nursing for years but beyond lurking on this site and looking into a couple of programs in my area, I haven't done much to work towards it. I've been weighing the pros and cons and I'd love to get your input.

When I was in my late 20's I was a massage therapist, and I loved it. I loved helping people and working with them to strive towards better health and well-being. It was the most gratifying job I had ever had, especially when I saw people start to feel better. The only problem was I could only do about 4 massages a day, and working for a chiropractor I wasn't making enough money. The only way you can really make money at massage is if you open your own studio/private practice, which was not out of the question for me but it takes a while to get going. I thought about nursing at that time, but then another job landed in my lap which was related to real estate. That was when the market was good and I started making really good money. Obviously it is not a good profession to be in right now and I'm tired of the roller coaster ride. The only aspect I liked about it was working with people (and the money). But there are a lot of things I can't stand about it and I've never seen myself doing this for the rest of my life.

The parts about nursing that really appeal to me are: helping people, having a challenging career that never gets boring, the diversity of opportunities/specialties, and the stability. I love the idea of being able to get a job wherever I go, and to be able to further my education and change specialties if I get restless. Also having benefits would be great too. Most of all, there is an aspect of massage therapy that I've lost in my life over the past few years, which is that I feel like it made me a better person. It brought out all of the compassion and caring and non-judgement that I never knew I had. I feel like nursing could bring that back even more.

The things that are holding me back are: I've never been a scientific/mathmatical person. I have a BA in English and I always hated math and was never great at science, although I did like Biology and LOVED my A&P class in massage school. I am fascinated with how the human body works but I'm definitely more of a right-brained thinker. I don't get grossed out by blood but I do have a really hard time with vomit and poop. I would also probably need to go to school part-time since my husband and I live on two incomes. I'm also a little discouraged with how competative schools and new grad jobs are in my area (the Bay Area). And of course the years of school and loads of debt are daunting. But my biggest concern right now is that I'm 9 weeks pregnant with our first child, so I'm worried that my timing is off and I'll get too overwhelmed when the baby comes. On the upside, having a baby will probably help me get over the aversion to vomit and poop! :chuckle

I would need to take a bunch of pre-reqs that would proabably take about 2 years to complete at a community college, so hopefully I could get accepted into a nursing program around the time the baby is a toddler. I'm not sure if I would try and go to school part-time, or take out loans for living expenses (and rack up even more debt). I know it would be a long hard road and harder with a child (or maybe two), and I would probably be in my early 40's before I started working, but I feel like if I don't try and do it I will end up miserable.

I guess I'm just questioning if my pros outweigh my cons, and I need to gather some confidence in this decision before diving in. Sorry this is so long and I'd love any input or advice. Thanks so much!


3,362 Posts

Specializes in ICU/Critical Care.

It doesn't matter what WE think, it matters what YOU think. If you really want to become a nurse, go for it.


76 Posts

Specializes in cardiac. Has 10 years experience.

I don't know if you'll be good at it or not, only you can answer that. But most nurses have their "things" they don't handle well, such as phlegm or blood or vomit. Mine is poop, makes me gag, but I do it because I have to. I didn't mind changing my babies but the smell of adult poop is something entirely different!

Anyway, don't let that hold you back unless you REALLY can't handle it.

As for the math, I hate math too but that's never stopped me from doing my job.

I decided to become a nurse while I was pregnant with my first child; I started finishing the pre-reqs when she was a year old and my 2nd child was born while I was in nursing school (whoops--I had to graduate a semester later than my classmates!). I worked part-time and did the ADN program at my local community college, which has a very good reputation for its nursing program. You might consider this route and then follow up with your RN to BSN later, if money is an issue; often hospitals will help employees with tuition assistance for higher education.

It's all up to you but I can tell you I've never regretted my decision. Well, maybe a couple times around 3AM during a code, but not REALLY. Good luck to you and congratulations on your pregnancy!


22 Posts

Thanks so much for the insight and I guess I just need to stop second-guessing myself! It's reassuring to know there are lots of other people who face these challenges while going into this.

I'm just wondering, do most people volunteer or shadow another nurse for a day before making the decision to move foward? Is this something you did?


238 Posts

Work as a CNA for a year or so. I got that advice when I was thinking of going into nursing and it's the best advice I ever got in my life.


15 Posts

:twocents: We didn't shadow but we had to be CNA certified before applying to the nursing program.

I went into nursing without a clue. Seriously, other that check-ups at a clinic, I had not once volunteered in a hospital or any healthcare setting but I still liked it. Yeah, the poo and the vomit can be gross, and yeah pt's can be mean at times but I like it. I like learning new things everyday. Nursing is not the same old thing everyday -- that's what I like about it.

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