Where to start....How to begin...

  1. Hello all I'm a 25 year old father of 3(!) and currently attempting a career change out of the IT field into nursing. Just discovered this board so I hope to pick some of your brains over the next few months if ya don't mind

    I don't know anyone thats in the field or has gone into it and not quite where to start.This is what I've done so far:

    *Getting ready to enroll in my local community college for their 2 year associates degree attending part-time...for nursing I suppose it is.

    *Have a job as a Nurses Assistant lined up ..its entry level but I think it'll give me some experience in the area. (its also a huge pay-cut but I'm gonna go for it I think.

    Any logical progression I should take in trying to become a RN? Like CNA first then LPN? I'm afraid I'm not too clear on all the positions entail.

    Any comments or suggestions would be appreciated.
  2. Visit Stray FL profile page

    About Stray FL

    Joined: Nov '01; Posts: 14


  3. by   CarolineRn
    Hello and welcome to the boards!

    You sound like you have done some research. Enrolling in your community college to get your ADN is a good start.

    Depending on where you stand financially, and how much time you are willing to put into it, I always encourage people to get their BSN if at all possible. The reason I do this, is because almost all the ADN's I know of (students included) plan to go back to school at some point to get that degree. Not becuase BSN's make much more that ADN's, but because the BSN is needed to pursue Master's degrees. And that's where the best money is. (CRNA, NP, etc..)

    On the other hand, if you are like many of us (myself included) opting for the 2 year ADN program is the fastest way to get out there and start working, with the goal of continuing your eduacation part time. Some hospitals are staring to require it anyway. (BSN within so many years)

    Do you already have a college degree? Have you taken some of the prerequiste courses for the ADN program? (Anatomy, microbiology, psychology, etc..)? Because once you factor in all those classes, and depending on which classes your program will let you take concurrently, the ADN route ends up being a little more than 2 years.

    As for CNA experience, I don't think it will matter. What it will do is give you a good foundation and a greater appreciation for what these people do, and since ultimately as an RN you will delegate tasks to them, it will help you. But will it give you much of an edge with schooling? Nope. As a matter of fact, by the end of your first semester in ADN school, you will have surpassed CNA duties. I do think one has to be licensed in most states to be a CNA too.

    An LPN is very much like an RN, except the program needed for that one is only one year (not sure about their prereq's) The entry level pay isn't as good, though I have heard of some long time LPN's making better money than brand-new RN's.

    Best of luck to you in your endeavors!!

    One last thought. Does your nursing program offer an LPN to RN tract? If so, that may be the fastest way to go in order to make a little better money while pursuing your RN.
    Last edit by CarolineRn on Nov 27, '01
  4. by   meownsmile
    I have to agree with Caroline. I will finish my ADN in May and have gone part-time until this year. I worked as LPN for 10 years. With core classes and pre-reqs for nursing it has taken me almost 4 years to finish(1-2 classes a semester). I didnt however go to a LPN program that required some of the classes that comm. colleges do. So i had to start fresh with all core classes and micro, chem. etc. before i bridged.

    LPN to RN bridge tract may be the way to go for you if you have 3 kids to look out for. You can work and take an evening class toward the RN program, and still be able to make ends meet somewhat, and have some benefits for the family.

    Going to college with 3 kids takes real co-ordination. Taking a class or two at a time will also help the kiddos make the adjustment of letting you study when you need to. And still give you time to attend to things they need. It can be done though, my kids were 2,3 and 8 when i went through LPN school. I had a lot of late nights after the kids were in bed studying, but it can be done.
  5. by   Stray FL
    Caroline..I noticed your from Bradenton..I live in Seminole along the beaches and plan to go to SPJC....as for it having a LPN to RN Tract I'm really not sure...I don't currently have a degree and this is my first experience with SPJC.

    I was going to take a nightjob at a local hospital doing "Nurses Assistant" its pretty entry level and I imagine grueling but I was hoping it would give me some experience in the field..although I'm not sure its all that needed if the demands as large as I hear.

    The more I learn the less I find out I know.

    Thanks for taking the time to read and respond
    Last edit by Stray FL on Nov 27, '01
  6. by   Stray FL
  7. by   NurseDennie
    Hi Stray FL

    First of all, I'd ask about your motivation for changing fields. This hits pretty close to home, as I was in IT before I became a nurse.

    I hope you're not thinking about changing Just (or mainly) because of the slump in the IT field. When I left that field -- and I worked for a not-for-profit group, so I wasn't making top dollar --I took over a 50% pay cut. Then when I looked around in about 1999, I was still making approximately what I'd started out with (very small raises, even with highest level evals, no bonuses, no profit-sharing). My buddies still in IT had gone from about $60,000 to $130,000 and more. Granted there are fields where the nurses make a lot more than I do, and I don't work extra shifts or two jobs or anything like that to increase my income. I'm just talking about one job and comparing the basic income one-to-one.

    I could justify a 50% pay cut to my family, but it's pretty hard to deal with the huge discrepancy now.

    I did it years and years ago, and although this is obviously not what is going on with *you,* I think that maybe I was having a mid-life crisis. Truth be told, it would have been cheaper and probably less disruptive to my family just to have an affair and buy a convertible.

    So - I'd never discourage you from changing fields. I'm much more fulfilled and have much more pride and self-esteem than I did before. But if you're not sure of your motives, you might end up resenting it. Just a thought.


  8. by   Stray FL
    My motivation for changing careers is I couldn't imagine lying down to die and be happy that I helped some people reconnect to a network and feel satisfied.I want to be able to help some people while I'm here and able to and figure this would be the best field to achieve that.

    (my motivations in life dont revolve around money or material posessions.I make good cash at my job now but am pretty unhappy with my role in the universe so far)

    I recently spent alot of time in the hospital when my twins where born prematurely and so many times I've seen people call for a nurse in the middle of a crisis and when the nurse got their this look came over them like they knew everything was going to be ok.

    I also for some reason keep finding myself in situations in public where I happen to be in a grocery store or restaurant and always happen upon someone needing help (i.e. heart attack, fell down, one person was recently struck by a car and no one stopped to pick him up or check on him)

    My first instincts where maybe pursue the paramedic or EMT field but after talking to alot of people in the field I find that the jobs stress level is pretty high (not saying that nursing isn't) and maybe nursing maybe more my cup of tea.(I couldn't imagine being the first on a scene in an accident involving children..sure I could deal but it would still haunt me)

    I'm pretty determined to pursue a career where I actually help people...and so far it seems nursing is the place I want to be. (no matter how many times my friends wanna rag on me for it )
  9. by   boggle
    Hi Stray,

    If you go for the nursing option, just make sure to set up lots of support for you and your family before the program begins. Nursing school is VERY demanding of your time and energy, even for "mature learners". So get those emergency baby sitters, carpool drivers, meals in the freezer type arrangements set up before your school starts.

    Not to discourage you from nursing, but have you thought about using your IT skills in the health care field? I know several folks in that field who are directly involved in the clinical application of computer technology in hospital settings. They express much satisfaction about making a difference in patient care, by the support and improvement they make in the nursing documentation systems, pharmacy applications, lab reporting etc. Just an idea!
  10. by   Stray FL
    I'm really trying to run away from anything PC related if I can.I know it somewhat negates the past experience I have in the field but I really don't want to be doing this anymore. (if I can help it )
  11. by   shyviolet78
    My situation was somewhat similar to yours. I am 23, I left the IT field and I am now pursuing a career in nursing. I've wanted to be a nurse for as long as I can remember, planned on doing the ADN program right out of high school, but at the time I couldn't afford college. I didn't want to earn minimum wage and I knew that the IT field was fairly easy to get into without formal training and had the potential for big $$. I never intended to make a career out of IT, I only stayed until I'd made enough money to get financially settled so I could go to nursing school. I took a huge cut in pay and a slight cut in hours to become a nursing assistant and it has been a great decision for me. I don't know if this is similar to your situation, but I do understand you not wanting to stay in IT, regardless of how great the money is.

    Anyway, there are basically 3 types of nurses (barring advanced practice)

    1. RN - with a BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing)
    2. RN - with an ADN (Associate Degree Nursing)
    3. LPN

    The BSN takes 4 years. The ADN program is 2 years, but usually requires a third year in order to complete all the general education classes. BSN and ADN grads take the same NCLEX-RN exam to become licensed. The LPN program takes about 1 year and grads take the NCLEX-PN licensing exam. In my experience, CNA is a good position to have while in school because most hospitals provide on the job training. To become a LPN you go to school for a year and then to bridge over to the RN program, they only grant you 14 credits for your LPN experience. So, if your goal is to become an RN asap, becoming an LPN first takes you about 2 semesters out of the way. But for some, this is the best and sometimes only option, due to personal situations. If your family can afford for you to have reduced earnings (as a CNA) for the extra year, I'd strongly recommend going that route.
  12. by   Stray FL
    Wow great info...thanks.

    Shyviolet your situation sounds ALOT like mine.I'll be taking a paycut..but if thats what it means to get into the field I want and out of this one then I'll do it.

    What would be required of me to become a CNA?
  13. by   oramar
    Thankyou, all of you for sharing your stories with me especially Stray FL. I enjoy hearing peoples personal stories. Now could some one tell me how to get a career in IT going?.
  14. by   Stray FL
    IT = pooey.