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Lawyer to Nurse

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by layne228 layne228 (New Member) New Member

1,668 Profile Views; 6 Posts

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EnRsmom has 1 years experience.

1 Post; 883 Profile Views

I recently completed the career change from lawyer to newly licensed RN! I have been a lawyer for over 15 years, and worked in corporate litigation. I must admit that it was the best decision that I ever made regarding a career change. While getting through nursing school was not easy, since I was juggling work (in a hospital), two young children, and a husband, it has definately paid off. Now I work 3 days a week instead of 6 or 7, and I am happy to go to work, see my coworkers and help the patients. Not all days are easy or perfect, and I still have a lot to learn, but I am enjoying myself. For whatever it is worth, it is doable.... I am in my early 40's, just graduated with honors in December and passed the NCLEX.

If you are interested in nursing, look into it and give it a try! We need nurses and it may be the perfect career change for you!

Good Luck!

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6 Posts; 1,668 Profile Views

EnRsmom, it sounds like I have a job very similar to the one you left. I am in corporate litigation at a large firm and pretty much handcuffed to my blackberry 24/7.

To those who think that being a lawyer provides autonomy, yes and no. As a lawyer your work is completely client driven, and you may have a choice in when to complete it, but with client and court deadlines, and only 24 hours in each day, that autonomy doesn't feel like a pro of the job, it feels like a definite con.

Thanks for all of the replies. It definitely gives me something to think about.

And yes, ProgressiveThinking, the way the legal market is right now, I would not reccommend going to anything less than a Tier 1 school. Even so, those who graduate at the bottom of their class will find it difficult to find a decent paying job.

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6 Posts; 756 Profile Views

I don't think nurses and lawyers are polar opposites. There are good and bad nurses just as there are good and bad of any profession. Lawyers advocate for their clients, as do nurses. I will tell you, it's easy to become disenchanted in nursing and often I leave work not feeling as anything has been accomplished. You encounter the criminal, drug-addict, noncompliant, and generally unappreciative person daily. Think this one out long and hard. Good luck, my friend.

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60 Posts; 1,391 Profile Views

I think that their are some parallels, such as in both careers you are an advocate for the patient or client. (just dont tell the doctors you were an attorney, JK lol). You are there to protect the rights of the patient and to see they are getting the care they deserve.

You will have to give up time with family in the meantime, while going to school. Nursing school is different than regular school ( I have a degree in psych as well), and I think that it was good advice to get a job as a tech first to see if you will enjoy it. There are a lot of fallacies about nursing that are widely accepted, like you come home everyday feeling as though you made a difference and its always rewarding. sometimes its not and its frustrating and you are abused by patients and family and its hard. Im not trying to talk you out of it, but just trying to make you aware of some of the down sides.

I hope you come join us in an overall rewarding career and I hope it gives you what you are looking for. Good Luck and if there is anything I can do to help, let me know.

I have heard that a patent attorney is a highly sought after lawyer (and you if you already have a bachelors in science , you just need 3 more years) and they are paid well. I have been thinking about that myself. So those of you thinking about getting JP, its something to look in to. What do the attorneys reading this think?

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2 Articles; 5,682 Posts; 50,338 Profile Views

I realize your comment regarding lawyers being on the dark side is said in jest. Nevertheless, it's a sensitive subject for me. Spend some time in the criminal justice system and see how people with substance abuse problems or mental health problems are treated; you would be shocked to tears. I defend these folks. Lawyering is not necessarily the polar opposite of nursing. Defending people is the last hope for a free society.

Still, after fifteen years I've become extremely burnt out.

I applaud you and all the PD's out there. You're about the only class of lawyer for whom I really have any respect at all. You're obviously not in it for the money nor for the warm fuzzies since a great proportion of your clients are guilty as sin and you certainly know that. The PD's are among the few who went into law for noble reasons.

My "dark side" sentiments derive in part from stories just such as yours... the system, created and run by attorneys, beats up and beats down people like you (and a few others that I know) until you finally have to walk away for your own sanity.

Regardless, while nursing is also a very high-burnout career, it certainly offers up moments of gratification. My encouragement to jump ship stands.

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47 Posts; 2,033 Profile Views

Hi layne228,

I know this is a fairly old thread, but I'm wondering if you've made any further progress toward a nursing career? I'm also a lawyer, and recently left my job and am about to start looking for a CNA job to see if this is really what I want to do (I just finished my CNA class). I still haven't told many people I'm doing this b/c I get such mixed reactions from people when I do tell them, but I really felt like I was in the wrong career as a lawyer. And it's interesting to see there are others on here who feel the same way. Anyway, just wanted to see if you're still considering this change...

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KeeperMom has 10 years experience and specializes in ED.

639 Posts; 8,895 Profile Views

While I am not a lawyer, I was a REALTOR before changing careers and my husband (soon to be ex) and I own a bail bond company. Talk about "seeing it all."

As an attorney, I'm sure you know how many law firms hire nurses for research and as expert witnesses. If you go to nursing school and you decide floor nursing or the real get-your-hands-dirty jobs aren't for you, that may be an area that would be right up your alley.

One bonus that I'm sure you have considered is that it seems that it would be fairly easy to take on a few clients while going to school so you are least have some income. I only work as a PRN patient tech right now and I still have my real estate license so it is pretty nice to have at least a little income to support myself. There is no way I could work full time and do school.

It is going to be a huge adjustment but I think if you are really unhappy in your current situation, only you can know what is best for you and your family. Being miserable in one area of your life makes being a partner or parent even more difficult.

If you have some connections with anyone from the hospital, I'd try to go shadow for a few days in some different areas. You may find that nursing isn't what you thought it was but you may also find an area that you just belong in.

Good luck with whatever you decide!

meredith

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1 Post; 577 Profile Views

I graduated from law school in 1994. I worked briefly in litigation then worked in an alternative legal career as a sales rep. for a publishing company. I decided to go into estate planning because I love helping people. I now realize that I should have done the sole searching 10 years ago before I had kids and gone into nursing then instead of investing my time in obtaining an LLM in taxation. Nursing has been on my mind for a number of years and I realize I should have gone back to nursing school instead of pursuing the LLM. However, I stuck with what I knew but realize that practicing law just does not make me happy. I don't regret my experience though because I think it will be really helpful when I am a nurse. I know how to document and I have learned how to ask those tough questions.

In the fall, I will be starting on my pre-reqs while working. I hope to quit next fall 2011 and focus on the pre-reqs while being a stay at home mom. My daughter will be starting kindergarten and my twin boys will still be in pre-school. Many people have said I am crazy and I should just find an alternative career in the law. However, I can't stand sitting in front of a computer all day long and really get excited about medicine and helping people. I go crazy with the office being so quiet and no interaction because everyone has to bill hours. My day is dictated by the client and it does not matter if I have to work on a weekend if a client wants the work done. So, even though I may be able to make decisions, it is all reviewed by the partner and I don't really have a lot of autonomy because things are dictated by the client. It appears there are so many options for a lawyer who wants to become a nurse. You are not stuck with bedside nursing. As long as you have a little clinical experience, you can work in risk management or quality assurance. I say go for it. I know the road will be long and difficult but at least for me, I have 20 plus years of working so why not do something that is fulfilling. Dreading going to work everyday is just not a good thing....

Good luck to us all!

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112 Posts; 3,326 Profile Views

I am a lawyer (8 years) in nursing school. I love it! I also work at a hospital as a nursing assistant.

I personally do not find the careers so opposite. I help people in one way as a lawyer, and help them in another as a student nurse/nursing assistant/one day RN.

What's awesome is that I now have time for pro bono work! I can't wait to be a nurse attorney! And no, I will not be suing anyone :)

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6 Posts; 1,668 Profile Views

Thanks everyone for resurrecting the old thread! I love all the new points of view and am so excited to learn there are so many lawyers out there who have made the leap to nursing. It is very encouraging.

I am still a practicing attorney, about to start prereqs for nursing school. My plan is to see how/if I enjoy the science classes (I have many to take as I was a business undergrad) then do some shadowing, and then begin an accelerated BSN if I still think this is the path for me.

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pedicurn is a LPN, RN and specializes in CVICU, Obs/Gyn, Derm, NICU.

696 Posts; 8,743 Profile Views

I love my hours - three 12's a week ...perfect.

However, coming into nursing from a professional role may be difficult as previous skill and aptitude will not be utilised. This may grate on you when you have to adapt to yet another change that has not been as well planned/designed/executed/communicated as it could have been.

The hard part is realising that the ability to do a better job (and aptitude) is often right there in the staff nurse group (with its mix of ex-business, law, engineering etc)....but never being asked for input.

If you are a creative thinker .... then bad, bad fit with nursing

I am crispy fried now. Am now in the position where I could start moving up however it's too late and I will go soon.

Too long as a bedside nurse, slaving away, having reduced bedside staffing while watching more and more back office ex-bedside nurses enact cumbersome, poorly planned and poorly executed initiatives ... while knowing I could have done a much better job myself.

No more replacement staff nurses, no more aides ... however half a dozen in back office working on their 'projects' ....in many other fields ONE PERSON is expected to put it out, and get it right the first time.

Their effort would be fired in other industries

Edited by pedicurn

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PacoUSA has 7 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in PCU / Telemetry.

3,418 Posts; 43,957 Profile Views

Oh shoot, how did I miss this thread? :D

I'm another lawyer-to-nurse here! Well, I am in the prereq stage of the game (pretty much done), in the process of starting my applications soon to start my RN degree program somewhere next year. I'm more excited now about this career move than I ever was about law school. Just today I responded on another thread that I should have listened to that inner voice my first semester telling me to drop out, but instead I stuck it out and pursued what I thought would be a career that would get better after graduation, and sadly did not. But at the same time, my education and experience I feel is an invaluable gift I take with me as I become a nurse. In hindsight, I never shadowed a lawyer and had I done that, I am sure I would have never pursued that career. But now things are different. I volunteer at a hospital (going on 17 months) and I have shadowed a couple of nurses. Seriously, I am convinced 10x over that THIS is where I am supposed to be!

To the OP, do whatever it takes to follow your passion, if nursing is what you want to do, pursue it head on. You went to into law for a reason, and nothing is finer than taking those learned skills with you into this new career. I am looking forward to seeing how things develop. I feel I will be a better nurse because of law school.

And I have to agree with prior posts, that if you're considering going to law school, don't even think about going to one that is not a Tier 1 school (I would even go out on a limb and say stick to the Top 10). This coming from a lawyer who went to a Tier 2 law school. Do you know how many job postings I have come across that specifically requests that only top 25 school graduates need apply? It's all about prestige and name schools, irrespective of how one did academically sometimes. It's an unfortunate reality of life in the legal industry that we can't fight, but YES: the bottom of the class @ Harvard Law will ALWAYS get the interview before I ever will.

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