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Is now a good time to go into nursing? I would be leaving my well paying career to pursue this


I am at the peak of my career, making over 80k in my mid 30's. I work a 9-5 no weekends or holidays, but honestly I am starting to dislike my career. I am able to provide well for my family (2 kids) and also get other fringe benefits from my employer but I no longer have passion for my current position. I have been doing my current job as a hospital contractor for 3 years. I started nursing some time ago in undergrad but failed out and converted to a different degree. The thought of nursing never left my mind, but I was out here just trying to make it financially in life as I was swamped in debt.

Now after a few bumps in the road with marriage and stuff I am ready to try again. I know I would have to probably quit my job and settle in the beginning to accommodate 3 12 hour shifts. I use to work as a CNA about 10 years ago so I have an idea what nursing is like but its been so long since I've been out of the game. I don't want to mess up my financial future in the meantime, but I don't see any other way to pursue this without giving up something. Please advise. Thanks in advance

From someone who has been there I would have to advise you to not mess up your financial future, especially since you have a family.


Specializes in Med/Surg, LTACH, LTC, Home Health. Has 35 years experience.

I’d think long and hard about that if I were you. Depending on the area, new RNs’ entry-level pay is barely over $20/hr. I know when I transitioned from LPN to RN and left the metro area, a fulltime RN wage in the area I was considering was far less than my previous float pool LPN wage.

If you’re making $80k, especially in a time when some nurses are being furloughed, I’d find a way to fall in love all over again with my current position if I were you, taking whatever online general education courses available (at my convenience) in preparation for better ‘nursing’ times just in case.

Thats my 2cents..

llg, PhD, RN

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development. Has 44 years experience.

I agree with the others -- particularly in light of the fact that you tried nursing once before and it wasn't a good fit for you.

Don't mess up your financial life. If your current profession leaves something in your unfulfilled, find other, more sensible ways to fill that satisfaction gap. Volunteer some of your time for a cause that means something to you. Find ways in your current career to boost the satisfaction factor. etc. None of those strategies will ruin your finances or hurt your health. Build more satisfaction into your personal life and current career -- rather than throwing away your current career and money into something that might not work out again. Even if nursing did "work out," you would be making less money and working less attractive hours.

Different view: You're never going to be happy in life if you aren't willing to take risks. The guy who played it safe his entire life is the one in the nursing home regretting his life, wishing he got to do more when he was younger.

Shop around for schools. There's nursing schools that do night classes for people like you who have to work full time during the day. Thanks to COVID, maybe we'll start seeing some schools go 100% online lectures and you only have to go in for labs and clinical. See what's in your area that can work for a working adult.

But then remember this has to a group decision for you since you have a family now. If you're going to have to stop working or cut down a lot on how much you work, that's a decision both of you have to make together.

And it's true, you're not going to get out of school and make anywhere close to what you're making now. But that doesn't mean that you can't. But it might take more school. It might take giving up the dream (yet lowest paying) job as a bedside nurse on a med surg unit.

If money is what's going to dictate your choices, then you have no choice other than stay at your current job until you retire. If you're willing to sacrifice some money and take the risk, then going back to school can be good choice, you just have to do it responsibly.

If you are dissatisfied with your current job you probably won't like nursing either. The pay will be less than you make now. The workload won't get any better. I am actually ready to leave nursing as soon as I can find a job that pays close to what I make now. Our newest job requirements include getting nasal swabs every week for Covid. I can't imagine what they will come up with next. When I started nursing I never dreamed that part of the job would be routine invasive medical testing. Good luck to you.

You aren't thrilled with your current career, so naturally you are looking for something that will thrill you. Bear in mind that nursing is not a guarantee or even a strong likelihood of being thrilled every day. Or even most days. It is a good, solid career, but best considered by someone who is earning less or has fewer options in life, more portability, etc.

You have a family, a solid career, and financial stability. I don't know that you are giving this the weight it deserves in your discussions with yourself about your future.

One can be less than happy in a job and find LOTS to be happy about outside of that job! Your financial resources now allow you to have/do things with your kids, and they can have/do things that only come from a firm financial padding. Are you really going to give that up to chase the possibility that you will be happier as a nurse?

My suggestion is to volunteer in a hospital. Volunteer at a nursing home, actually since that's usually where inexperienced and plentiful new grads often start. Give your time in volunteer settings and see what you think. If you love it, keep it as a volunteer gig to enhance your life. If you don't, drop it and look for something else that looks interesting.

But don't drop what you have to be a nursing student. Giving you the best, most honest advice I can.


Specializes in Oceanfront Living. Has 21 years experience.

Don't do it....stay where you are.


Specializes in Telemetry RN. Has 2 years experience.

I hate to echo most of this thread but I wouldn't advise it. Go volunteer or shadow for a couple shifts if you can (I know pandemic and all you may not be able to) and if you are completely in love look at scholarships and cheapest options--read: DO NOT go into debt for this field. Also, I did my last clinical on 12 hr nights and was a shell of a human. I could not do nights. I could have when I was 25, not now, something to think of if you aren't a night owl and are a little older. I'm lucky to have gotten a day job out of school I am paid $24/hr in a mid sized city on the east coast. It's barely enough for basic expenses-- rent, electric, cell phone, car, gas, groceries, and internet. My health insurance sucks, which is a joke to me. Go read Nurse Abnormalities insta post on her pay history, it sank my heart. I wasn't unlucky, all nurses are underpaid for the heavy work we do all day. Also a 12 hour shift is never 12 hours, it's 13 or 14. That is a long time to be on your feet constantly (I hike and am active but it wipes me out). It blows my mind. No one should do this for the money, I didn't, but I stress about bills every day in addition to high stress job. I'm angry and hurt at the root. I deserve to enjoy my days off but it's impossible many times. I thought about getting pregnant and I don't even know if I can afford a kid on my earnings (hello student loans) at 37 this is scary to me. Two years into my first career out of college with a generic degree, I earned 15K more than I do one year into nursing with a master's and I was no where near as burned out and anything I did only effected how much a marketer paid for an advertisement. I left a $100K a year job because I thought money doesn't buy happiness but actually there's a study that shows the salary that in fact supports happiness (like $70K?), so silly me I was wrong haha. I wish someone had told me the cold reality. I may still have gone into nursing but I would have taken a different path with no student debt and while working. So if you can do it without sacrificing much then go forward and try it if you are convinced you will love it. This is ONLY my advice, I can't tell you how your future will play out. I will tell you I long for the days when my bills were paid, I bought sushi when I wanted it, I bought gifts for friends birthdays without batting a lash, gave to charities with ease, and had vacations to look forward to. Unfortunately we live in a world ruled by money and being low paid is a hard reminder of that (and everyday you will also be reminded of many who have it much worse which only makes me more sad). There is a reason depression and anxiety is engulfing healthcare workers in general...A lack of quality leadership, environment, fair pay, respect, outdated practice that doesn't acknowledge evidence, and much more I can't think of off the top of my head. I hope to be part of a real change for workers and for the patients. My dissatisfaction may also be because I've been a manager before and I see a lot of management flaws all day long. And my parting comment is that there are moments in the past year that also make me smile deeply, helping a patient through a family betrayal, a successful code blue for a young person and several others. It's not all bad but things, but it must change for this to be the wonderful career it could be and oh to make nurses stay and reduce the horrible attrition! The money people take advantage of nurses because we do have big hearts. :( Good luck to you.


Specializes in Oceanfront Living. Has 21 years experience.

Agree...don't do it. Just volunteer. I promise you won't regret it!

InSchool4eva20, MSN, RN

Specializes in Instructor of Nursing and Med/surg nurse. Has 13 years experience.

My post is coming from someone who was a licensed massage therapist and went to an ASN program and became an RN. I worked my way through BSN and MSN and now PhD. The latter I would not recommend but the others were well worth it.

Your decision depends where you live. I loved one of the posts above where he said to look at annual salary for the demographic area in which you live. Most hospitals have programs where they will pay partially for your school, if you work as a CNA, so you would have to research that also. I have five children and priority for me was cost, longevity and opportunities and it still is.

Nursing is something hard on you physically, but there are so many job opportunities now after you gain experience that you can do. This requires research and thinking outside of the box.

Finally, the knowledge you gain through school and as a nurse is priceless for your family's well-being. I can't count how many times I have used the knowledge for understanding hospital visits, due to accidents and illnesses. I am now taking care of my parents and I continue to use this knowledge. It is priceless.

Nnnooooo. Do not put your or your children’s stability at risk. I’ve been a nurse for 36 years and it just plain sucks. It will break spiritually, mentally and physically. My friends that are nurses that retired? Yeah, one died at 64 and the other one is barely physically able to function. I can’t express to you enough what the collective trauma can do to someone after years of this backbreaking work. If you’ll notice, the ones that may encourage you have advanced degrees and are most likely not on the floor. If you had difficulty in school before, what would the difference be now with more burdens and responsibilities now? Maybe volunteering would be a safer bet or maybe you need to find your passion in something else other than your job. So, in my non nursing life, I am also an artist and it’s what has kept me sane.

bitter_betsy, BSN

Specializes in Emergency / Disaster. Has 2 years experience.

I did it but I waited until my child was in high school. In the non-covid world our graduations from college would have been in the same week. We were actually afraid that we were graduating on the same day at one point. We struggled a lot when she was little because I hated what I did, but I hated being away from her more.

Money isn't everything, but you need enough to survive. Sometimes money can provide security but it provides insanity at the same time. I'll never get back the time, but I have a kid who calls me when she's away from home just because she wants to talk with me. Now I don't have to worry about being on night shift permanently or working weekends. I can work specifically to pick up all the differentials and work the shifts no one else wants.

I felt that my daughter was the priority until she was grown. When she was old enough - I started working on me a little. She's an adult now and its all about what I want. Not really because now I have time to spend a little more time taking care of my mother - but she doesn't care when I show up as long and I come and see her.

Its about perspective. Just remember - you don't get do overs with your kids - time keeps ticking. They will grow up no matter what you do.

ThatChickOmi, ADN, RN

Specializes in Med/Surg. Has 2 years experience.

Before I became a nurse I worked in delivery driving a box truck for almost 9 years. The money was alright, but the work was just downright brutal, working outdoors at all weather conditions, rigorous and physical, lifting heavy stuff, working 45-50 hours a week on average, sometimes more. Nursing isn't a walk in the park either and sometimes it gets downright annoying dealing with the same people dealing with the same stuff, not complying, verbally abusive, frequent flyers, etc.... but I make more than I did as a box truck driver and I only work 3 12-hour shifts instead of 5 shifts....that is a fair trade-off for me. Just working on finishing my BSN program hopefully by early next year, I'll be golden.

My work-life balance is much better.

Edited by ThatChickOmi


Specializes in VA, Ortho, Med/Surg. Has 25 years experience.

Forgot...how did you become a hospital contractor? And what is it exactly LOL

I suggest making a list of pros and cons because we can only give you opinions based on our experience but only you and your family know what's best for your household. Having said that, I suggest getting a hobby to fill the void of being disappointed at work.

What does a hospital contractor do? It may help with suggestions.

This is a really difficult one!

Although I will say that money does not always equal happiness, and if you're having doubts about your career then it's definitely time for a change. Being unhappy in your job isn't what life is about.

If you feel financially stable enough, and are willing and can manage to take a hefty pay cut then it's worth doing, but I would definitely make sure nursing is 100% what you want to do.