From Cop to Nurse


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I'm there with you everyone. I had to retire from being a cop in a busy - high crime rate area - broke my pelvis and hip and that was all she wrote. I was very depressed initially, but after learning to walk again - and getting my head out of my a**, I realized that God would open another door for me. Anyone who's been a cop knows that it's not just what you do, it is a lifestyle that - for better or worse - you become totally engrossed in. Now, at 45 years of age, I look forward to my classes starting in August. I know that I can react with calm fervor in the face of high-stress traumas. And I look at it like this - when we were cops, we reverted to our training when sh*t hit the we can revert to this new training AND our law enforcement experiences on this new journey. Una Stamus brothers and sisters.


5,345 Posts

Specializes in burn ICU, SICU, ER, Trauma Rapid Response. Has 16 years experience.

FWIW I work with a former deputy sheriff who at age 63 is still working 80 hours a PP. He has mentioned several times how much he regrets not staying with LE until he was eligible for a pension, in his case at age 43, THEN gone into nursing. He thinks he could now be working fewer hours and be much less concerned about his retirement finances. Most nursing employers do not offer any sort of pension


205 Posts

ImThatGuy was on here back in 2010 or so. Finished a BS RN degree and moved on. But you might get something from his posts and threads.

His history:

...prereqs from a previous B.S. degree and have spent most of my working years as a police officer, and I'm still in law enforcement. I've also worked off and on, in a part-time basis, as a paramedic. ...

After he completed the degree:

Didn't like it:

Joker269MPCO I was curious if you could tell me a little bit more about your experiences. e.g. what state you went to school in?

I'm in a similar situation in that I would love to pursue nursing via an accelerated second degree program while working as a police officer. But this doesn't sound physically possible. For one thing: when would you sleep? how were you able to get all your classes and clinical time done AND work full time???

Please help, I would really like to know if this is something that can actually be done, because if its possible to work as a cop while in nursing school, this could be the most optimum solution to the situation I'm in.

Thank You,



27 Posts

Has 3 years experience.


I was actually on Active Duty with the Army when I did nursing school. I was a police officer and a member of the Army Reserves. My Reserve unit was activated and sent to Iraq in 2003-2004. When I returned from Iraq, I elected to stay on Active Duty since I was making twice the amount I was as a police officer. I was eventually assigned to recruiting duty with the Army. While in recruiting I decided to make the career change.

I enrolled in an ABSN that was only a mile from the MEPS station where I worked. Classes were a bit tough with the schedule and clinical. Luckily being in recruiting I had a lot of freedom to come and go as I pleased. So I would just act like I was going to a recruiting event or applicant visit and instead go to class. I was still able to accomplish my recruiting mission and at the same time complete school. On days when I knew I would have clinical all day I would just take a leave day since I had about 75 days of leave built up.

The hardest part was once I graduated. I knew I eventually wanted to go to CRNA School so I needed to land a job in an ICU to get my year of ICU experience before I could apply. Luckily, I found a great hospital that was willing to offer me the schedule I was looking for and was also willing to take a new grad into their ICU. I would work Fri, Sat, and Sun nights in the ICU and then I would go into the recruiting office on Monday and leave about noon to go home and rest. Then I would work T, W, R, and F all day and then flip back to nights for the weekend. YES it was tough and it was a strain on my marriage. I was never home and when I was all I wanted to do was sleep.

I made it through and I am now finishing my first semester of CRNA School. I knew I could not keep the same schedule during this program so I left the Army and I am now a full time student with no job. The financial aid for the program is pretty generous and we can survive for the 28 months it takes to finish. I know I will have about 160,000 in loan debt when I am done but it will be worth it.

I know this is a long response and I hope it was helpful. It would be extremely hard to do school and stay a full time police officer at the same time. The only way it would work would be to have a very flexible boss and somehow only work weekend shifts. I know that is about impossible at most departments because of court and in-service and other training that is required. I was the only one working full time during my program and it was tough. If I was not in recruiting and allowed so much flexibility, I would have not been able to do it.

I will gladly answer any questions you may have and will help you in any way I can.


PS. To me it is totally worth it. I loved the ICU and believe it or not there is a ton less of stress with this job. When your shift is over you can leave it at the office and don't have to take it home with you.


136 Posts

i think that you would be a good nurse!


192 Posts

Completed unrelated, but cops here have been treating me awfully unequal lately. I do not typically speed unless I am on the interstate. Normally my speed ranges from 75-90(ish) depending on my personal discretion of the surrounding environment (traffic, amount of people on the road, et cetera). Just recently must have been the forth or fifth time I've gotten lights on behind me, the officer rides my rear for a moment, and then goes around me after turning his lights off. All seemingly because I have a parking decal for a local hospital on my window. I just don't get it. :laugh:


179 Posts

^ that probably has more to do with going 90.

that has gotta be a reckless in all 50 states. I can't believe you are not getting pulled over.


2 Posts

Sorry for the looooong delay! For the longest time I couldn't log on here and then just forgot about it. I went into nursing to become a forensic nurse and I'm happy to report that's exactly what I'm doing now. Never been so happy! I love going to work! 😃


46 Posts


I am a deputy (14 years) and I am hoping to do the LPN then bridge to RN. My reasons for taking the long way around...I can NOT quit working I am single parent and I have a mortgage and bills and part time won't pay it all and my agency doest offer it. The LPN is only a year so if I pass the Nclexpn I can quit L.E and work as a LPN without losing to much money and bridge to RN. I have had to enroll into a very pricy but approved/Accredited for profit school because I work a 12 hour rotating shift and they are the only one in my area that would work with my schadule. I would love to hear from others who have done the same!


5,345 Posts

Specializes in burn ICU, SICU, ER, Trauma Rapid Response. Has 16 years experience.

Question for all you LE and former LE guys on here. My understanding is that LEO's can be eligible to retire with a pension after only 20 or so years of LE work. My county sheriff's office advertises on it's recruiting website that deputies can retire with a pension after 22 years of service. Isn't this pretty typical?

My assumption (correct me if I am wrong) is that a LE pension would be a lot like a military retirement pension, not enough to allow you to do nothing for the rest of your life, but enough to give you some options about the kind of work you have to do. For example one of our nurses is retired from the army as an E8. He only needs to work half time as an RN to meet his lifestyle goal when combined with his retirement pay.

You guys need to take into consideration that pensions are scarce as hen's teeth in nursing. Even having an employer contribute to your 401K pre tax is going away in many places. Even the VA doesn't offer much of a pension Nurses I know fully expect to have to continue working until 65-70.


46 Posts


In my agency its 30 yrs to retire and we pay into/for our retirement and there are no health benefits that go with that even with full retirement. Due to my age I will not make it the 30 years so I need to have a plan in place and my first choice was to be a RN 20 yrs ago so thats why I am doing this.