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Insight for a newbie

Hello there,

I'm currently a student at the University of Waterloo (Ontario, Canada) finishing off my third year as a Bachelor of Arts student with a Major in Psychology. Ive been researching the field of Nursing for a while and have discovered that I may be interested in persuing a career in nursing. I've viewed alot of other people's comments on nursing lifestyle and education, but still need a few more answers. Im debating on receiving my education between Canada and the US. Could anyone please help me answer the following:

1) What do you feel I need to know about nursing in terms of pros/cons?

2) What is the future for nursing?

3) What is LPN, BSN, RN and so forth? The differences in level of education, salaries etc...

4) How long will it take to be a CRNA and what do I need to become one?

5) Could my current education be converted or in other words, do I have to start over by doing my BSN or whatever?

6) If in canada, what colleges would you recommend to further my studies?

7) If in USA, what colleges would you recommend to further my studies?

Thank you!



Hi and welcome. That's a LOT to answer in one post. I suggest you use the search button here. Put one or two words in and read what has been posted. At the top of this page is a sticky with all the abbreviations you asked about. https://allnurses.com/forums/f8/glossary-nursing-medical-degrees-certifications-113134.html

As far as schools, does your current college have a school of nursing? That's where I'd start as they can immediately answer your questions about transferring credits etc. Look at several surrounding areas and check out their websites. You will usually find a good description of their academics.

Welcome again.


Thank you, that site was very helpful! :wink2:


I'm a nursing student in Canada, since you are finishingf a degree University of Toronto has a program that you can go in 2 years if you have a degree already.

Mac, Queen's, and Western are the well known schools in Ontario. Most Universities in Ontario have a colaborative program with a college or 2, exept Queen's. Queen's no longer has the colaborative program. feel free to Pm me if you have any questions about my school and what I think.


nursemike, ASN, RN

Specializes in Rodeo Nursing (Neuro).

Can't do better answering most of your questions, but since I'm pretty new to nursing myself, I wanted to put in my two cents: nursing school is hard work, and working as a nurse is harder. I can't imagine anyone who wouldn't find it challenging. But, if it's for you, it can also be profoundly rewarding. Doing something difficult, and knowing how much it matters, can bring a real sense of accomplishment.

The first time a patient asks for a different nurse will crush you. The first time a patient asks for you more than makes up for it. The former is very likely to occur, but the latter is up to you. You have to be able to really care for people, and nearly as important, show that you care, but also to maintain a sense of detachment that allows you to practice objectively. The patient who is a joy to be around and the one who gets on your last remaining nerve are both human beings.

Nursing appears to have a fairly bright future, but it demands a lot. I'm speaking mostly of bedside nursing, since that's my area, but there are a lot of ways to practice nursing and a number of ways to advance. On the whole, the pay for RNs is pretty decent, but not spectacular.

Nursing is a wonderful profession. i am an Ontario nurse- worked in Toronto, Hamilton and now up North (love it love it love it-Northern nursing that is) I don't suggest you aim for RPN. They are minimally educated and are being laid off in droves in acute care here in Ontario. The thought process behind the lay offs is that the education for RPNs is inappropriate for acute care clients and is more appropriate for chronic care aka nursing homes (if you want to do more then a med pass stay in acute care-it keeps your brain cells firing) The salary range for an R.N is $23.33 hr for a newbie (approx-give or take a few cents-we have had our union contract negotiated recently and Im only familiar with approximations) to $35 something an hour after 9 years experience. RPNs max out at about $20 hr in Ontario. Our contract expires in March and we expect a cost of living allowance to be negotaited at that time. Nursing in canada is wonderful. You can go anywhere in the world. Here in Canada the eastern provinces are notoriously low paying (@ RPN wages) and have great difficulty recruiting, although the cost of living is quite low. Alberta is the highest paid province, followed by BC and then I think Ont , Sask Ans MAn are all close. You can pretty much pick where you want to work due to the nursing shortage. Basically, FT work is harder to find then PT. You p rtetty much have to put in your time as a PTemployee and wait for Ft positions to come up. (it only took me 6 months here up north, but I was getting in excess of full time hours when I was part time) There are frequent nursing recruitment expositions @ the Royal York Hotel in Toronto and the Convention Center. Recruiters there can provide you with alot of info. zGood luck. Choosing this career was the best thing I ever did. I live in absolute paradise. The beach is at my door, I go skiing almost every day in the winter, there are bear, moose and wolves out my back door and I feel like Grizzle Adams R.N most of the time ( choose whatever lifestyle turns your crank and insert said lifestyle here) Good luck and follow your dream

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