HELP: Employment options for RPN while pursuing BScN?

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Hello Nurses!

This is my first post. I'm a newbie here, but long-time reader & I desperately need your help. Background: I'm a Registered Practical Nurse (RPN), RPN diploma, also have a Baccalaureate degree in PolySci, am a member of many nursing associations, and have a lot of continuing education at the university level. I'm struggling to pursue my BScN degree (hitting lots of barriers), and I work casually in gerontological complex continuing care at a large hospital. I need to work while I study, always have and probably always will.... but am learning that gerontology and working in a hospital setting are just not my cup of tea for so many reasons that to explain would only waste your time in a series of tangents. I know some nurses who love working in gerontology and have long-careers in this specialty, but I know in my heart I will not be one of them. It's just not for me. I'd like to avoid a debate/discussion about why I dislike gerontology & hospital work. PLEASE NOTE: I don't mind working with older adults, I just can't tolerate working in a specific/exclusive gerontology area.

When my job dissatisfaction first began to set in (12 months ago) I began desperately searching (to no avail) for other employment options in nursing that might be a better fit for me. Before my job hunt commenced, I met with a nursing association career adviser to help me polish my job hunt skills and help improve my odds of finding another job. The career adviser reviewed my resume and my job application/interview/follow-up strategies; the career adviser then told me that I was already doing everything they would have advised, told me this is a tough economy and to just "keep at it until something comes up". Well, I have kept at it and no one is calling me for interviews. My efforts have left me feeling that the only jobs available for RPNs in Ontario are few and the jobs I do come across are ALL in gerontology, mostly nursing homes or home-care nursing. Personally, I would prefer to work in ambulatory care clinic or even a doctor's office but every job I see that closely resembles these types require you to be a RN. Ultimately, my dream "nursing" job would be to teach future nurses, but that requires a BScN and/or Masters so it's a long-term/ distant future goal of mine.

For now, my objective is to find a nursing job I can at least tolerate to help me sustain myself and continue being a nurse and job satisfaction is a priority over pay. I just want to like what I do, I don't need to LOVE it (I've given up that expectation) but if I could find something I LOVE that would be tremendous. As it stands, for an RPN, my hourly rate is on the high end, but I am not making much money because my current job/working conditions have become so intolerable that I have narrowed my availability and am purposely accepting very few shifts. Can I financially afford to do this: no! However, I cannot afford psychologically, emotionally and physically to accept too many shifts either. I am approaching a point where I need to quit soon. Don't' get me wrong, I'm able to do my job very well and provide high quality nursing care with a smile on my face; my patients and manager are always satisfied with the care I provide... basically no one knows I hate my job except me and it's really starting to wear me into the ground. So, I do not mind if I find a new, more appropriate job that pays less so long as I could approach each work day not feeling exhausted/dread/anxious/sick-to-my-stomach upset. If anyone reading this has worked as a RPN while completing their BScN, please share:

  • What are some non-gerontology job options for RPNs?
  • What Ontario Graduate Certificate program would be appropriate to help me as an RPN obtain a job with a more diversified patient demographic, and in an out-patient/ambulatory setting?
  • In what area of nursing did you work while transitioning from RPN to RN?
  • How did you balance work/study?
  • Any other advice you can think of?! Please and a million thank yous!

Please comment with anything, I am begging you, if you have the time to comment to give me a glimmer of hope I would be so appreciative and grateful. I am feeling so burnt-out and defeated I am contemplating leaving the profession and retraining for something else because I am reaching a point where I feel I have no options and I can no longer physically/emotionally tolerate working in gerontology.

Thank you in advance!

Esme12, ASN, BSN, RN

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Specializes in Critical Care, ED, Cath lab, CTPAC,Trauma.

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272 Posts

Specializes in AC, LTC, Community, Northern Nursing.

I am an RPN in Ontario and have worked outside of gerontology areas. I have worked in complex continuing care, palliative care, community, med/surg, and northern remote nursing so i see postop pts, obs, med/surg, peds etc. I do not know where you work or live but there are many options available for RPN's. I know RPN's in ER and who also work at doctors offices.

I am also getting my BScN through Nipissing's blended distance learning pt. I have a teen who has special needs and i am a single mom so i have to work and can't do school FT. It is all about time management and it can be done.

@Trishrpn80 Thank you for your reply. I live in Toronto and the majority of jobs currently available (that I'm finding anyway) for RPNs here are in LTC or nursing homes. I am willing to travel/relocate though. I've been job-hunting for a while now and all the jobs I'm finding are for LTC or nursing homes. I'd love to work in an MD's office. I'm willing to travel or even relocate, but I'm having a tough time finding anything other than LTC or nursing homes. Where are you located?


272 Posts

Specializes in AC, LTC, Community, Northern Nursing.

I live in a northern remote town in ontario (no road access out). It is a difficult place to live and requires a lot of research.

There are tons of jobs on indeed. You can apply for community nursing if you have a car through places like bayshore and saint elizabeth. There are other companies as well.

Hamilton has quite a few job postings at the various hospitals as well. Toronto has waaaaaay to many grads and sucks for employment. Look north like thunder bay, sudbury, sioux lookout as

well. I get a daily email from indeed with new job

Postings. There was just one for a family doctors office in georgian bay area.

@Trishrpn80 I sent you a PM reply also.

Yes, Toronto totally sucks for a number of reasons but employment for sure. Despite currently holding a position in acute care in a large hospital, I am finding NO other employment options for RPNs here that aren't nursing homes or LTC. I'm looking to leave bedside nursing, but if I stay in Toronto and leave my current position those will be my only options unless I relocate. So, I guess I'll be relocating.

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