career change, looking for advice.

  1. Hi there,

    I'm looking at moving into nursing. I currently hold a BS in Computer Science, which you may have heard is the employment touch of death these days, but am looking at moving into nursing. Specifically, anethesia.

    From what I've read, not many people switch INTO nursing. As a matter of fact, there seems to be a mass exodus away from nursing.

    Being as how this decision will effect the rest of my life, I've got a TON of questions. I'd really love it if I could get some help from the people on this board.

    The most obvious question I have is, "What is driving people away from Nursing?" Why would I want to go into nursing, when so many other people are leaving?

    Another question...when I went into Computer Science, they were handing jobs out like candy. If you could switch on a computer, you had a job. Four years later, there's not a job to be found. If I invest the next four - six years of my life into nursing/anesthesia, is the same thing going to happen? Will I come out of anesthesia school only to find that there aren't jobs availabe anymore?

    I'm sure I'll have more questions, but those are the two biggest. Thanks for your insight!!!

  2. Visit hokiecsgrad profile page

    About hokiecsgrad

    Joined: Oct '02; Posts: 8


  3. by   SmilingBluEyes
    there is a great CRNA board here and I am sure those fine folks can tell you ALL you would need to know. Good luck Ryan, in your decision and future.
    Last edit by RENAISSANCE RN on May 24, '06
  5. by   montroyal
    Originally posted by hokiecsgrad
    Hi there,

    . If I invest the next four - six years of my life into nursing/anesthesia, is the same thing going to happen? Will I come out of anesthesia school only to find that there aren't jobs availabe anymore?

    If you haven't even started nursing school yet, you may want to redue this time table. It will be one to two years to get your RN. Then anesthesia school will be atleast two more. In between those two, you will need several years of ICU/Critical Care experience and thats if you get a job in a hospital with a really good internship program. Most of the CRNA's I know have between five to ten years critical care experience before they went to CRNA school. You may be an exception, but those years of experience give you a strong foundation in knowledge and skills to build upon. You should go to to find a list of programs and their requirements for entrance. Good luck with your future.
  6. by   Genista
    In answer to your question about why nurses are leaving nursing, it has been answered on this website on another topic board:

    Warning: Many of our comments are negative on those posts! ;-)
    Many of us who went into nursing for all the right reasons, have become burned out by the working conditions and responsibility. I wasn't aware of the staffing issues until I was an RN myself.

    However, I think if you do decide to become an RN, you will have great job flexability (shifts, specialties, etc) and steady income. It can be very challenging & rewarding, too.

    We'd be lucky to have you aboard!
  7. by   hotelgirl
    HI Ryan,

    I'm also thinking about a career change into nursing. I currently work in hotel sales and am looking for something more meaningful to do with my life. Everyone thinks I'm crazy for even thinking about starting it now - I'm 34, B.A. in English, and have no science or health related background at all. I want to take a different direction in my life, and I want a job where I don't sit at a desk for 10 hours a day. I've been reading all the nurse biographies out there I can find - there are two by Echo Heron that are great. The books and all of these posts are indeed depressing, but I still get excited when I think about it.

    What I'm afraid of is - it all sounds exciting in theory, but how will I know if I can really handle it until I'm in that atmosphere? And I'll have to start at the beginning with all the prerequisites...I just wish I had thought about this earlier in my life...

    I'd love to hear what you decide to do!

  8. by   np2b
    With respect to montroyal, these days there are ways of entering into the nursing profession and "bypassing" the in-between years of nursing before you get a masters degree. They're called a lot of names (masters-entry programs, direct-entry programs, etc.), but they all work under roughly the same premise: you start with a bachelor's degree in something other than nursing. Once accepted into one of these programs, you spend several months (12-16, roughly) going to school full-time, preparing to sit for the NCLEX. After passing that step, you continue straight through to the masters part of the program, which can last up to a couple of years (depending on whether you go to school full- or part-time). All in all, you usually graduate in about three years...although prerequisites for these programs can be pretty extensive, which might make it more of a four-year process.

    Once such program for CRNAs is emerging at Georgetown:

    It's not the best route for everyone: the curriculum in these programs is pretty intense, and there are a few people who bail a term or two into the program because they didn't quite understand what they were getting themselves into, "nursing-wise." (I've actually heard of some students accepted to some of the more prestigious schools being horrified that as a nursing students they were going to have to wipe some butts...which just floors me.) But I think that for people who are going into it with eyes wide open (and Ryan, I think you're taking a great step by starting this thread!), it's a fantastic way for motivated (and financially-able...some of these programs ain't cheap) to get where they want to go in relatively less time.

    Ryan, if you're interested, there is a website that's a few of these types of students-to-be visit at It's a little sleepy, but there's a lot of information on there about the application process, GRE test-taking strategies, school listings, etc. that you might find useful.

    Please keep in mind that I'm totally biased in favor of this type of program because I plan on participating in one myself!

    Best of luck,


    P.S. If you want to talk with someone who ISN'T running away from the nursing profession, don't hesitate to drop me an email if you like:
  9. by   np2b
    OOooH For Ryan and lkh...I totally forgot to mention this: what was, for me, the best way to really appreciate the nursing profession was to volunteer at the local hospital. At least where I was volunteering, I worked nearly exclusively with nurses, and had lots of opportunities to observe what they did, what their gripes were about, etc.

    Anyhow, I'd highly recommend it. I'd also recommend that you express your interests/needs to the volunteer coordinator where you work: if you explain that you're considering the nursing profession (or a certain nursing specialty, like CRNA), they might be able to put you in touch (or even place your volunteer position with) someone in that specialty. If you have access to a couple of hospitals in your area, don't be afraid to shop around to see where you can find the best "fit." In my area, most hospitals ask for at least a 6 month committment, which sounds like a lot, but it's completely worth it. (In fact, I found that I got some of my "best information" after those 6 months, because the staff had come to recognize me as a regular, and knew me by name.)

    To be honest, I realized at my hospital gig that hospital nursing wasn't quite what I wanted to do for the rest of my life (for a lot of reasons, some of them related to working conditions, but a lot just related to the nature of the job). But I knew I was getting close, so I started volunteering at a local free clinic, which was staffed by lots of nurse practitioners. That's when I realized I'd found my career match.

    Hope this helps,

  10. by   MICU RN
    Nursing is hard work and can be very stressful, nursing school is hard and can be very stressful the programs put you through hell. I had many people in my nursing class who already had a BS/BA and a couple with master's degrees, who all felt that nursing school was much more work and stress than their previous degree programs. It is not that the material is that complex it is the volume and speed at which it is covered and most of the stress is related to the clinical training. And I think it is this process they put you through that sets you up for a big let down once you are out in the real world. The pay is not that good compared to other professions that require a college degree, in general you don't get plenty of respect or autonomy. And you are expected to perform the duties of a nursing aid, maid, clerk, and waiter on a regular basis. The work conditions can be very bad also, for example unsafe nurse to patient ratios are a constnt in many units. Not every job is like this but many are and thus the main reason people are getting out of nursing. Bottem line, nursing is still at the bottem as for as professions go and until that is changed people are going to continue to choose more prestigious professions. The days of most college educ. woman going into nursing or teaching are over. They now are going to law, med. eng. ect. The nursing schools and hospitals don't want to accept this and face reality. They still think a new wave a young college bound young people will be knocking down their door for theses jobs. And that the shortage will just fix itself. They have a rude awakening, those days are over. Either bring nursing into the 21st century or suffer with shortages and a continuing exodus from this profession. so I would not recommend it, unless you really having a burning desire to this type of work.
  11. by   hokiecsgrad
    Originally posted by montroyal
    If you haven't even started nursing school yet, you may want to redue this time table.
    Actually, none of the anesthesia schools that I looked into mentioned needing any more than one year critical care work. The standard requirements for entrance were:

    BS in Nursing ( or equivalent degree )
    ~1400 cumulative score on GREs
    3.0 GPA in undergrad
    One year of experience, as a registered professional nurse
    Letters of recommendation

    I still think that with the information I currently have, my five - six year timetable is about right.

    Obviously this is something not to be taken lightly. And, to be honest, my main motivation here is job security. Maybe I'm fooling myself, but right now (after having been unemployed for nearly a year) I feel like I can (and will) do anything to be able to support myself again.

    Continuing as a computer professional is not going to get me anywhere. And I'm no slacker. I have really great experience, an amazing work ethic and wonderful letters of recommendation. But that's not enough to find a job in computers these days. I SHOULD be making about $60k / year right now, but I'm lucky if I make $15k this year. And there are TONS of people still going into Computer Science degrees as freshmen in college. There are just TOO MANY. It's very depressing.

    Nursing runs in my family. I kind of shocked everyone when I went into Computer Science as opposed to nursing. My mother is an Neuro ICU nurse and my father is a CRNA...shocking. I haven't approached them about this yet, for all kinds of different reasons. Suffice to say, I want this to be *MY* decision if I end up doing it at all.

    Thanks for all the info!!! Keep it coming!

  12. by   hokiecsgrad
    Originally posted by FutureRNTerri
    Hi Ryan,

    I too have a degreen in computer science and currently work in that field.
    You have a job? Congrats. =)

    Well the thought of doing the same job was making me have extreme depression . ( I realized that I really hated what I was doing. The reason why I stayed at my current position was due to the fact that I really liked my co workers and I was generally contented. Well then I started to do some soul searching. I realized that I have always been drawn to helping and caring for people. (Afterall that is what nursing is)
    Well, see, I REALLY love working with computers. The work I used to do was really challenging. I was almost never faced with the same problem from one day to the next and it was very exhilerating.

    But then the company went out of business. =(

    Do you have that desire? Do you mind getting your hands dirty ( figuratively). If so I realize that this switch will be painful. At least it has been for me. I have to keep a double duty.. Still working in IT and taking nursing classes ( pre reqs). ( have to pay the bills).
    Well, yes and no. I have always wanted to help people. But, honestly, I don't know how well I'd do at it. I like helping people, but I really don't like being around sick people. =)

    There's a specific reason that I want to go into anesthesia, and that's because your patients are asleep most of the time! =) Kidding...sort of.

    Someone mentioned looking into some volunteer work, and I think that's a great idea. I'm looking into that.

    The decision is yours to make, but I wouldn't come to nursing just because you think it will be stable work.. I think it way too difficult a job for that....
    Spoken like somebody who has a job. Sorry, I don't mean to sound bitter, but I am. I think you put too little weight on "stable work." I will do ANYTHING for a job right now. Even completely switching careers if that's what it takes.

    I didn't wake up one day and decide that I wanted to be a nurse. I have spent a lot of time considering my current skills and education, my potential education, time investment v career payoff, etc...The conclusion that I have reached is that I am willing to invest another six years into education in a field with a high potential for financial security when I've finished.

    This decision would certainly spark enthusiasm from my family. Nursing has a long history in my family, so it's in the blood, so to speak. Yes, I CAN do it. I know I can. Will I like it? Will I have a passion for it? Who can say? I'm willing to take the plunge, as I have NO OTHER PROSPECTS. Really, makes the decision a lot easier.

    My father has been a CRNA for a long time, and he doesn't have a passion for it. He doesn't even necessarily like helping people. As a matter of fact, he doesn't even seem to like his job that much, but he does it and he provides for his family. And he spends a lot of time doing what he loves on his time off. Doesn't seem so bad to me.

    Sorry, don't mean to go off like that, but as I said earlier, I'm more than a little bitter right now.

  13. by   MICU RN
    If crna is your definite goal and you are prepared to do what it is going to take, go for it. Many of the negatives I mentioned in my previous post concerning bedside nursing are not a problem at the crna level, mainly respect, compensation and being required to do non essential stuff. Most crna's I have talked to enjoy their role in healthcare and are compensated very well.
  14. by   ICUBecky

    as you have probably heard...there is a huge nursing you could do any type of nursing you desire. however, you do have to face the consequences. short staffing, very unhappy coworkers and patients, demanding doctors, long shifts, working weekends and holidays, in some cases mandatory overtime, working midnights, crappy income for what you do...etc. these are hard things to get used to, especially if you are not used to it. but, nursing is a VERY rewarding profession, when it all comes down to it.
    as far as anesthesia, it seems like the career choice for many RNs my thoughts are that in a couple of years, the need may not be as great, and it may be hard to find a job. but, that is my opinion, as i really haven't researched it. i would go into the CRNA thread and ask them what they think... i already know that in Ohio, it is hard to find a nurse practitioner job.