Graduate Degree in Engineering? (Career switch worth it?)

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by CardiTeleRN CardiTeleRN, BSN Member Nurse

Specializes in Cardiac, Telemetry. Has 4 years experience.

Hello,

I am considering obtaining a graduate degree in engineering which means I would leave the nursing profession entirely. I wish I could continue in the nursing career; however, the market is becoming to business oriented and less patient focused. The cattiness with the limited staff we may have is mentally exhausting, the management is terrible 90% of the time, the hours are rarely appropriate for a work-life balance. I don't get the logic behind newer nurses having to "do their time" on chaotic med-surg floors on night shifts before being able to apply for "normal" positions. I learned and was exposed to more working a specialized step down unit than I did working med-surg. The step down unit may have specialized but we received multiple disciplines of patients. 

I've tried working inpatient doing the night shift 12's which was terrible. I worked inpatient doing 8h full-time medsurg which was worse because I felt I was there every day after the mandatory extra on-call shifts + holiday shifts. I've worked LTC part time nights which was simply a mental break on my part from the previous. Then I went to home health, which I actually enjoyed. Only reason I had to leave that is because of the pandemic and it forced me back to inpatient because bills have to be paid of course. I recently left inpatient due to that increase in burnout feeling approaching again and currently in an outpatient setting that I think is very simple. The issue with this particular employer lies solely with management and disorganization. There's plenty of toe-stepping and some subtle intimidation amongst the management/CEO team. With them doing that with each other, it causes the little guys, us, to have to manage ourselves with no full understanding on what certain processes should actually be. This employer is new for me and the staff attempting to train me are lost and confused on what to do and I feel for them because they are trying their best given the poor managing that we have to work under. I can't take this job seriously because of this and that makes me feel like I let myself down with nursing overall. Only thing I appreciate from this current position are no weekends or holidays. I would've LOVED to go back to home health but since I've relocated, home health would not be ideal in this new location. 

With all of that being said, I have been strongly considering a new career path. I originally wanted a graduate degree in nursing admin, education, or policy to implement changes to some of the issues I've mentioned. I wanted to be an advocate for nurses/patients, but Im losing all faith in nursing.

Suggestions, comments??? Should I see it through with nursing or make my exit?

JBMmom, MSN, NP

Specializes in New Critical care NP, Critical care, Med-surg, LTC. Has 10 years experience. 4 Articles; 2,201 Posts

Well, it's going to be hard for strangers to evaluate your motivations and talents to give you advice, but I would start with- why engineering? Do you have experience in engineering that you enjoyed? Losing all faith in nursing is a big thing, so if you really don't see any place for yourself then you might want a total switch. You already have a strong background in nursing, so obviously something in the nursing realm makes more sense than starting all over to get an engineering degree. Good luck with your decisions. 

JadedCPN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Pediatrics, Pediatric Float, PICU, NICU. Has 16 years experience. 1,476 Posts

I agree with the previous poster and I think there are a lot of options in nursing that you could explore and would take away at least some of the issues you, understandably, are tired of. If you aren’t completely sold on engineering, maybe trying a nursing desk job that still keeps you in the field but away from a lot of those issues, whether that’s employee health, quality, informatics, etc.

TheMoonisMyLantern

TheMoonisMyLantern, ADN, LPN, RN

Specializes in Mental health, substance abuse, geriatrics, PCU. Has 15 years experience. 1 Article; 922 Posts

I have faith in nursing, just not the powers that be that pull our strings. I have considered leaving nursing more than once over the years but ultimately I have stayed. However, if you know that you've had enough, there's no shame in walking away. Sometimes that happens, sometimes you just know you can't do something for another moment. 

RNperdiem

RNperdiem, RN

Has 14 years experience. 4,542 Posts

Your post seems focused on what you want to escape from. Time to look forward and plan for the future. 

Before you make your escape, you need to do your homework and look at what you are getting into instead.

What kind of work will the degree really qualify you for? What kind of job are you looking for and will this path actually take you there? Are you excited about engineering? What is the supply and demand of the kind of work you want to move into? If you start school and hate the subject, what is your next move?

Best of luck with the career change. With some planning ahead and luck, you might find yourself in a better place.

Kitiger, RN

Specializes in Private Duty Pediatrics. Has 43 years experience. 1,722 Posts

On 2/21/2021 at 8:54 PM, CardiTeleRN said:

Then I went to home health, which I actually enjoyed. Only reason I had to leave that is because of the pandemic and it forced me back to inpatient because bills have to be paid of course.

How did the pandemic force you to leave home care? I do home care, and I love it!

hppygr8ful, ASN, RN, EMT-I

Specializes in Psych, Addictions, SOL (Student of Life). Has 20 years experience. 4 Articles; 4,573 Posts

First of all, let me say I here you.  You do not say how old you are but I will take a guess that you are in your 30s. I would suggest that you look at your options with a career counselor and see an engineering career will pay you VS the cost of school and establishing yourself in a new position. Don't do this on feelings alone because getting a foot in engineering can be difficult. Also there are many different types of engineers and they all have different training. My DH is a Control Systems Engineer working in the aerospace industry and it pays very well but he's been at for a long time. Having difficult management and coworkers is not unique to nursing. I listen nightly to the difficulties he has with the people her works with. To be fair he is on The Spectrum  classified as very high functioning and he tends to perseravate of things like a dog with a bone. 

If you find the answers to your questions then go for it. 

Good luck 

Hppy

SmilingBluEyes

Specializes in Specializes in L/D, newborn, GYN, LTC, Dialysis. Has 25 years experience. 20,957 Posts

I agree with Happy.  I will just say, Whatever makes you happy is worth it. But do consider the cost of school versus income. I am willing to bet you'll do better in engineering than nursing could ever provide you.

Best wishes.  If I were not as close to retirement as I am, I would find another path.

PollywogNP, ADN, BSN, MSN, LPN, NP

Specializes in Med-Surg/Tele/ER/Urgent Care. Has 45 years experience. 237 Posts

There are different types of engineers. Mechanical, civil, electrical, industrial, aerospace and they all have sub specialties. You have had 4 different nursing jobs in 3 years? Nursing has so many varieties of jobs. Sometimes changing specialties is as easy as applying for a new job. No job is perfect, they all have things we love, things we hate/ dislike and things we are willing to tolerate. What types of jobs did you do before becoming a nurse? Why engineering? Do you know any engineers?

CharleeFoxtrot, BSN, RN

Has 11 years experience. 836 Posts

9 hours ago, SmilingBluEyes said:

I agree with Happy.  I will just say, Whatever makes you happy is worth it. But do consider the cost of school versus income. I am willing to bet you'll do better in engineering than nursing could ever provide you.

 

I've got to say, my husband is an engineer (ME) and never works nights weekends holidays and has no idea what being "on call" is. I can remember early on in our relationship the utter confusion on his face when I mentioned I couldn't make plans because I was working that weekend. He makes great money. 

sevensonnets

sevensonnets

975 Posts

What about biomedical engineering?

PollywogNP, ADN, BSN, MSN, LPN, NP

Specializes in Med-Surg/Tele/ER/Urgent Care. Has 45 years experience. 237 Posts

16 hours ago, CharleeFoxtrot said:

I've got to say, my husband is an engineer (ME) and never works nights weekends holidays and has no idea what being "on call" is. I can remember early on in our relationship the utter confusion on his face when I mentioned I couldn't make plans because I was working that weekend. He makes great money. 

My my brother is an electrical engineer, does cyber stuff.  They are on call & works nights evenings week ends sometimes.