No Idea Where To Start

  1. I'm a 33 y/o male currently working in disability claims adjudication and have become very interested in taking a step into the medical profession.

    In high school, I was mildly interested in becoming a doctor and (more seriously) pursued pharmacy school. I ended up, though, with a business degree (of note: I had very few math/science classes) and a rather tragic and bumpy series of jobs that I've had absolutely no passion for.

    My current job is the best fit so far; but I don't want to spend the rest of my life being a low-paid government employee. (My supervisor has been here 10 years and is barely pushing $40K!) Not that it's all about the money, but...being my age with no retirement savings, etc. it does seem to be worth considering that I take steps to accelerate my earnings potential.

    More importantly, though, my personality requires something that keeps me busy throughout the day and that engages me mentally, intellectually, and emotionally. In my current job, I interact with physicians on a daily basis -- read medical charts, and make disability determinations based on what amounts to a couple of weeks of medical terminology training.

    So I'm very interested. I've tried to talk myself out of it in the past by thinking about things I might run across that could "gross me out" (blood doesn't bother me sponge baths to fat ladies) but I STILL keep coming back to it. Each time more and more seriously. In spite of the roughshod government training, I've managed to familiarize myself with common medical abbreviations, common illnesses/signs/symptoms/treatments, common drug therapies, etc. and it all makes me feel even more engaged with the medical field.

    This posting is already way too long...I just want to add a few more things:

    * I anticipate that my ultimate goal would be advanced practice nursing (nurse practitioner, etc.) although I can't be sure. But I'm not the type of person who tends to get to one level and then stop. I do like the idea of working in a non-hospital setting, having shorter encounters with patients, assessing/diagnosing (from an "intellectually-stimulating" standpoint).

    * I'd also be interested in working alongside a doctor in an advanced specialty setting that I see in medical records a lot of times where an RN might dictate reports for the doctor, kindof act as their "right hand".

    * I'm also interested (possibly more-so than either of the above) in psychiatric nursing to possibly include psychiatric nurse practitioner, CNS-Psychiatry...with interest in both psychotherapy and medication management.

    As you can see, I'm all over the place. I've tried to be as candid as possible in order to allow the most candid responses. I really don't know where to go to start in A) trying to figure out what exactly I want to do and B) how to make it happen.

    Any and all thoughts are greatly appreciated!


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    About adamdm

    Joined: Dec '09; Posts: 1


  3. by   CrunchyMama
    Your 1st step obviously is to start school. Look into area programs and go from there. I'm assuming you know that nurses do more then "bathe fat ladies"....actually the years I spent as a CNA, I never seen one RN bathe anyone. Anyway...good luck with whatever you decide.
  4. by   melmarie23
    Have you thought about PA school? I am just concerned that nursing might not be the best fit for you because you said you prefer "shorter" encounters with patients. The bulk of the care a patient receives is that of from the nurse, so I am not sure your desires fit this profession.

    What about shadowing both RNs, APRNs and PAs to help get a better idea?
  5. by   CRIMSON
    I would agree that PA school would be a better fit. PA's do the job you are primarily describing as wanting. Working with the doctor, diagnostics, ect. First place, research requirements and prerequisites and set up visit with counselor. Take all your nonPA classess and then apply.
  6. by   GoalsInTransition
    I have to agree with the previous posters-- if your own inclination is against providing actual patient care (which can get "gross" as you put it), then perhaps a future as a physician's assistant is a better option for you.

    There is nothing wrong with your motivating factors-- though some posters here will swear that you must exude altruistic desire to help others in order to enter the nursing profession-- but if the mere idea of providing up close patient care is "gross" to you, you might be happier in a profession which is less hands-on.

    Many PA programs give advanced standing for classes previously taken, BUT- many also require that you have 500 or more hours of patient care prior to beginning the clinical phase. This can be work as a CNA, home health aide, medical assistant, etc., but you may need to do some of the less-pleasant stuff first. :-)

    Good luck!
  7. by   kayskate
    You may find that you like giving pt care. I love giving pt care. You won't know until you try. I agree w the person who suggested shadowing. That's a great idea. You may even want to volunteer in a hospital to get a taste of it. In your 1st semester of RN school, you will give bed baths. You will do this throughout school. However, from what I have seen in clinicals, the CNAs and Pt care techs do the bed baths. However, giving a bath is a great oppy to assess your pt and communicate w him/her.

    Have you taken the prerequisite classes? You need basic chem (1 semester), A&P, general psych, etc. The general ed you will already have from your previous education.

  8. by   Sand_Dollar
    Nursing has many specialties that don't necessarily entail bedside care if that's not your thing. But, if someone genuinely needs your help, you tend to look past (or at least work through) the gross stuff. If you decide to go this route, you need to start with school. Along with 2 year community college RN programs, there are the BSN programs too. With a previous degree, accelerated BSN programs are open to you, cutting it down to about 2 years or less (not including your pre-requisites). You just need a few pre-req's like Anatomy & Physiology (1&2), statistics and microbiology to apply. As far as I know, if you do decide to become a Nurse Practitioner, you need a BSN.

    Look at the schools you are interested in, I initially did a speadsheet to keep track, and then eliminated all but the relevant ones. Along with pre-reqs, be sure to note application times and requirements. I can still work on select pre-reqs for the University I applied to, however they just changed it so you need to be finished all of them before you can apply. Every school can be different.

    Lastly, read everything you can find on allnurses! Check out your state section, because there will very likely be threads with helpful information on state specific schools for you. Look at the specialties, check out pay, if your school is accredited or not (BIG ONE here if you want to become a NP), even the difference between RN and BSN... it's all helpful, and relevant, information. Nothing beats lots of information!

    Well, that should keep you busy for a little while at least. Good luck no matter what you decide to pursue!

  9. by   TeleRN44
    I'm sorry that you've been dissatisfied with your previous jobs but glad that nursing has sparked your interest!! Like some of the other posters have suggested, I strongly recommend shadowing each of the positions (RN,NP/CNS-psych, and perhaps a PA thrown in for good measure and comparison) you might be interested in before you spend the money to take the necessary prerequisites. Each of those specific professions has pluses and just have to find the right fit for YOU. Nursing school isn't easy (friends have told me PA school is no picnic either...LOL) but you get out of it what you put in...just like anything else, right?

    I would like to add this, however, men approach nursing differently than women (and why wouldn't they?) and for that reason (and several others) I believe we do them a grave disservice to discourage them from entering the field of nursing or recommending that they try other fields more suited to their "tastes". There are roughly 10 males in my BSN program and several of them will continue on and pursue their master and doctorate degrees in various areas of nursing. For now, they provide a much needed dose of testosterone and a new perspective in our estrogen-rich environment. I would never dream of suggesting to one of them that they might be a better fit elsewhere.

    To the OP, best of luck to you! It is very exciting to realize that something new has sparked your interest...if you need any help or have any questions, please feel free to send me a message. I'll try and help in any way I can! :-)
  10. by   MammaNurse2Be
    My advice is to jump in with both feet and start taking classes. Whether you go to NS or PA school, you will still need the basics-anatomy, phyio, micro, math etc so just get going. as you are in these classes, you can look into your options more closely and decide which way to go and what fits your life at the time. Good luck!