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I am considering a career change to nursing


Specializes in ER. Has 5 years experience.

This is my first post, so be gentle. I have been poking around on this site as a guest on and off for a few weeks and finally joined to bug you with some questions, and ask for some input.

I will start with some background info. I am 34 years old, and have been a master automotive technician (Jaguar) for nearly 10 years. Prior to that I was in the restaurant business as a GM, by accident as it were. I graduated from the University of Delaware with a BA in Criminal Justice, and never followed through with law school (which was my true goal thru undergrad) mainly due to being burnt out. I ended up in the restaurant business because that is what I did/knew during college. I quickly grew tired of it! I decided to work on cars because I was always good with my hands, and had a knack for learning technical information quickly. I progressed very quickly.

Fast forward to the here and now. I dislike my job, mostly because I now have no room for advancement and have grown tired of the complete lack of respect and lack of appreciation for what I do. I have 2 little girls, and my wife has been a stay at home mom for almost 6 years...and she will be going back to work about the time I finish school. I am very good at what I do, make good $, but I do not enjoy it. Now that my family's dependence on me as the sole breadwinner is nearing the end, I am considering going back to school (evenings) for nursing. I know I will take a pay cut, and I am OK with that.

I am still in the investigatory stages, but think my skill set may transition to nursing. I constantly have to manage my time, and prioritize my workload. I am always eager to learn, and there would certainly be no shortage of information to take in. In my current field, information/diagnostic/analytic techniques are always changing...I'm sure medical information is no different. I am no stranger to hard work, and have a tremendous desire to remain ethical with regard to my work (sometimes difficult in my industry). I am looking to make a clean break from my current field.

I read about people from many different backgrounds changing careers into the field of nursing, so I suppose anything is possible! I am wondering if any of you have had experience or contact with nursing students or nurses who came from a similar background. If so, how did they transition? I have a friend who was an auto technician and is now an RN...I will be speaking with him about this also, but wanted to ask here to get some input from a more broad range of people.

What do you like about your job?

What do you dislike?

If you could go back and do it all over again, would you?

What is a typical shift like for you?

Thanks in advance for you patience in reading this, and for your input!

Well I would say from the start, if you want a career where someone will actually hire a new graduate, forget about nursing. I got my license in Sept 2008, good grades, some academic awards, success in my last career--nobody wants to interview me, let alone offer a job.

IMO, if you're going to go to school for something with no (or few) career prospects, do something you like. Sorry if this sounds grim, but I'm a little bitter and frustrated right now and think that people should know the real deal the next time some smiling recruiter from the nursing school goes on about the "nursing shortage." :\


Specializes in ER. Has 5 years experience.

I think the economy is affecting hospitals just as much as any other business. They are not hiring, in part due to tightened budgets and perhaps current employees working more to compensate for a spouse's job loss....so the immediate need for new hires may be low. I would expect that the job market will open up within the next 6-12 months as the economy levels and improves.

I hope anyway.

I'm sorry you are having a difficult time finding employment, I'm sure it is frustrating. It will be a few years until I would be entering the job pool, so I am not as concerned with the current hiring freezes.

I am kind of new to this site, and have many many questions myself about finding a new career in Nursing...going back to school for it etc. But, I want to address the Dad who is interested in a career in Nursing. Not because I know ANYTHING about Nursing...but, I do know some things about life.

First of all, you sound very responsible and prudent about how you are going about this. Don't under-estimate those qualities, because, at least my own life has shown to me that they will get you through - when the ups and downs happen, as we both know... always do in the best of circumstances.

Secondly, I would just say...don't worry about who is hiring who right who right now. You have schooling to go through first, anyway. That in itself will be rewarding to you for the time being. I say that because you sound like the type of person who enjoys learning. I think the odds of changing to this new career for you are greatly in your favor because of that, and because in general, if you are pursuing work in something that you enjoy, the career will come...just give it time. I've heard many good nurses say that the money is a perk...but, that's not why they are nurses, and you sound like the kind of person who could be saying the same thing one day.

Thirdly, back to being responsible again...you are responsible. After all, I don't hear you saying that you're going to quit your job after nursing school is over in order to go look for a nursing job. Not at all, you sound smart and you would know too that, "There's many ways to skin a cat... and, if you find, as one of the previous writers wrote...that there are "no jobs" for someone with no experience, then, you might do, as what I'm planning to do...to get some experience along the way as either a volunteer in a hospital for limited hours/week or even get a CNA or LPN first, to get the lay of the land and a paycheck...and some experience.

I graduated from College in 1976. I didn't do much with my degree at the time, except to find some teaching jobs and then some tech sales jobs, met my husband...and eventually had three sons and have been a stay at home Mom for the last 23 years. My husband changed careers several times, allowing me to stay at home...which I have greatly appreciated! He always made sure that we were all OK financially while he made the changes, and though at times things were a bit tight, we pulled through and were both glad for the changes in his career. In the long run, he was happier, and so we all were too. But, I've always been intrigued by the medical field and nursing/nutrition...etc for myself one day. Now, the time is here for me, and, like you, I have many many questions about how to go about it too. But, something about your letter just compelled me to encourage you....I guess, I'm encouraging myself too! I wish you the best...hang in there and I hope that you do go for your dreams too.


Specializes in ER. Has 5 years experience.

That's for the positive input Cycler.

I spoke at length with my friend yesterday about his experience with his job and training. It was a very productive conversation. I will be taking pre-req's beginning this summer, as it is the earliest I can start. I am going to meet with advisors from a few of the schools I am considering. I'm hoping to avoid some of the pre-req classes since I had them when I was in college. A lot of the Soc/Psych and other basic classes would be repetetive. I hope they see it the same way.

Does anyone else have any input/repsonse to any of my above questions?

What do you like about your job?

What do you dislike?

If you could go back and do it all over again, would you?

What is a typical shift like for you?

Do people entering the nursing field as a second or even third career tend to transition well?

Thanks in advance!

Tweety, BSN, RN

Specializes in Med-Surg, Trauma, Ortho, Neuro, Cardiac. Has 28 years experience.

You're questions are pretty heavy, and a bit difficult to answer in a post. To get a feel for our issues perhaps check out the First Year in Nursing forum or the general forum and read the various threads if you haven't already. For example answering in a post "what is a typical shift like for you?" isn't easy. Each day is different, each day has different patients and different challenges.

Nursing can be tough and demanding and is very stressful at times, depending on where you work. Nurse to patient ratios can be high which is the biggest thorn in my side.

Another thorn in my side is that customer satisfaction is becoming more and more of an issue. In fact in the years to come reimbursement from medicare and medicade is going to be based on customer satisfaction surveys. So you have to deal with demanding patients and families knowing if they give you a bad score your facility doesn't get paid well and your job eventually could be jeopardized. Economics is a big issue these days...duh.

However, I get much satisfaction in looking after folks and taking care of all their needs, and helping them get well to the best they are able to get well. I love it when a patient comes to my unit out of ICU severely injured, confused, with a trach, tube feeding, unable to walk, eat or take care of themselves and within a few weeks they walk out. Another thing I like is putting the pieces together, making an assessment that actually saves the patient, or rescues the patient from a bad outcome. We do indeed make a difference.

I enjoy my job and my only regret is that I didn't get into nursing earlier fresh out of high school.

People entering nursing as a 2nd or 3rd career are common and generally transition well. The one's that seem to have difficulty are the guys who are older, whom may have had positions of power, who have a hard time humbling themselves to be the new guy that doesn't know anything and whose charge nurse and preceptor are the same age as their children.

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