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Lawyer to Nurse

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by layne228 layne228 (New) New

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Paco386 (and anyone else), what type of experience did you have with volunteering at the hospital? I am interested in doing this, but all the volunteer positions I can find are basically desk jobs that would not allow me to work with or observe nurses. I want to find a volunteer position that can help me determine if this career is for me. Any suggestions?

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

3,424 Posts; 44,157 Profile Views

Paco386 (and anyone else), what type of experience did you have with volunteering at the hospital? I am interested in doing this, but all the volunteer positions I can find are basically desk jobs that would not allow me to work with or observe nurses. I want to find a volunteer position that can help me determine if this career is for me. Any suggestions?

Layne, you'll want to secure a volunteer position that allows you patient contact, that's the important thing. Avoid gift shop or information desk type positions. But if you get to work in a nurses' station, that would be good. If you speak with the volunteer coordinators at hospitals you're interested in, they will be able to direct you to appropriate services. I am currently working in what's called in my hospital "messenger service". This involves getting calls from the same-day surgery or inpatient nursing stations when patients are getting discharged and assisting them out of the hospital in a wheelchair. It's an opportunity to interact with patients and hone in on your patient interaction skills. Depending on the day, it could be very busy or a little slow. During those downtimes, I have a few duties I can attend to such as specimen transport or collecting cards from suggestion boxes, but these two account for 10% of my time.

A new service just started in my hospital called the emergency department patient advocacy program, where volunteers serve as liaisons between patients, staff and visitors. They provide comfort measures to patients and their families during their stay in the ED, such as checking in with them, offering warm blankets, ice packs, reading material, etc., all in an effort to make the patient less stressed about their visit. I would love to work on this service as well but I feel tapped out so far with a full-time job and classes when I have them. I'm surprised I am able to fit in the 4 hours for messenger service per week! :eek: ... But I'm going to look into it and see if I can. With both services however, I get to interact with MANY nurses and in a similar capacity you will get to know them and they will get to know you.

In hindsight, I should have looked into volunteering at a children's hospital as that's pretty much where I see my future headed as a nurse, but at the time proximity to home and work was a priority (besides, I have met some REALLY great people where I am now and some of them will be recommendation letter writers for school). The closest dedicated children's hospital to me is about 40 miles away. My hospital closed its pediatric wing about 2 years ago due to low census and it is now a step-down unit for ICU patients. I noticed the other day that there are some kids that use the ED (and if hospitalization is required they are probably transferred to the closest hospital with a pediatric unit) so perhaps that would be a good way for me to get some patient time with them.

Keep us posted on what you end up doing! :)

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nobhill has 1 years experience and specializes in Geriatric.

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OP, I hope things are going well as you change directions in your career!

I am a plaintiff's attorney and switching to nursing. I am in the middle of my CNA classes and hope to take the exam on August. I'm so excited! :)

While I used to work at a firm doing employment litigation, the 60-70 hours a week and constant stress made me ill. My father was in the hopsital and I left the job. I thought that at the end, I would have rather spent time with my dad rather than do one more deposition. Also, it didn't help that I didn't get the money I was supposed get. It was then that I figured, why work crazy hours just to make someone else rich? And by the way, I don't think the money was that good to justify not having any kind of life. For plaintiffs lawyers who work on a contingency, it is usually feast or famine, and for the past several years, it was mostly famine.

Right now, in order to support myself, I am doing projects for different law firms through word of mouth. I'm also teaching a class here and there, doing some writing, and selling real estate [i have had my license for over 10 years, but have recently gone active again.]

Everyone, especially my family, thinks I am overeducated and nuts [probably both are true :) ] but I like doing different things and I need to support myself. In any event, I am learning practical, useful skills for a job that hopefully won't be outsourced. I can also help my dad if his medical situation worsens.

I know being a CNA is not a big money making position, but at least it will allow me to work somewhere on a regular schedule and get health insurance, which I need for my medical condition. Also, it will give me chance to see what the facilities are like and go from there. I know this is a stressful job, but it is a different kind of stress, and a kind I can better handle.

Also, I volunteer at the hospital, and have worked at the hospital's memory clinic, which gives me insight to the dementia residents.

As Barbara She says, "do what you love and the money will follow." :)

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

3,424 Posts; 44,157 Profile Views

Also, it will give me chance to see what the facilities are like and go from there. I know this is a stressful job, but it is a different kind of stress, and a kind I can better handle.

Exactly. The two jobs don't compare in types of stress but life is so much better handling stress in a career that you enjoy. When you hate your career, the stress is much more compounded. If anything, I am privileged enough to have noticed the difference ... just in time :)

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I'm a former public defender about to start nursing school in NYC this fall. I wish I had done it 10 years ago, but I wanted the "prestige" of law.

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I'm a former public defender about to start nursing school in NYC this fall. I wish I had done it 10 years ago, but I wanted the "prestige" of law.

Better late than never. Get ready for an interesting turn of events. Good luck.

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I am so happy to find this thread. I just finished law school at a third tier school in May 2009. You can in fact find a job as an attorney after going to a lower tier school. But, you need to graduate in the top 25% of your class. I still have friends looking for jobs.

I knew before my last year of law school that I did not want to be an attorney. But, I was so close to being done I finished it. I do not entirely regret that decision. I have now been able to work and get a good salary for a year. The firm I work at includes many great individuals. So now I know for sure that no positive environment as an attorney will help be enjoy being alone in a quiet office will never fulfill me.

I did work at several law firms during undergrad and law school. I always thought that either a) the area of the law was not for me or b) the firm was not a good fit. I have now worked at very large and very small firms. None of it feels right. I can do this job fairly well. But, I do not like it.

I am now taking my pre-requisites to go to nursing school here in Kansas. I am going to do some nurse shadowing at an area hospital. You have to go through the "education" office to get this set up. Many hospitals were quite resistant b/c I am not in a nursing program yet. But I think I found one. I am also doing a CNA course to try and work part-time in the area and make sure I like it.

Anyone that has been an attorney - now a nurse. Does your JD help at all with advancement within a hospital after you have experience? I could see myself enjoying administration at some point.

Thank you all SO much for your stories. I am NOT alone!!

Take care everyone.

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Hello all! This is my first post. I am so happy to have read this thread. I too have my JD. I was a prosecutor right out of law school. I took some time off to stay home with my kids. Now, the economy and job market has changed and dried up dramatically! Back when I was an undergrad, nursing was on my top 3 of majors, but I went in another direction.

In January 2011, I will be taking my prereqs in order to enter into an accelerated BSN program.

Is it naive to plan to work a 3-day night-shift on Fridays and weekends when I become a nurse, doing the 12-hour shifts? My relatives in South Florida tell me that weekend night shifts are most in demand. While keeping my weekdays free to work Mon-Thurs, 8a -5p as an attorney, with a partner doing med mal, nursing home abuse and social secuity disability.

Opinions? Advice?

Edited by Grindaholic

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81 Posts; 2,764 Profile Views

Anyone that has been an attorney - now a nurse. Does your JD help at all with advancement within a hospital after you have experience? I could see myself enjoying administration at some point.

Thank you all SO much for your stories. I am NOT alone!!

Take care everyone.

You're not alone! eHugs!

I reached out to someone who has a doctorate in nursing, as well as a JD. She was a nurse first, then a lawyer, and now an educator running a nursing program at a large university. She did say that as long as you learn to leverage your previous education and knowledge, the JD can help with career advancement later, in either academia or health care adminsitration. The BSN/JD combo helps in the legal world as well, in the role of a consultant, expert witness, health care lawyer, risk managers, and other roles in the health insurance industry. She suggested that I contact taana.org. She went on to elaborate that there are lawyers who specialize in representing nurses, physicians, and other health care professionals appear in front of their respective governing boards to defend ethical, negligent, and criminal complaints.

I thought that perhaps that I was being naive by aspiring to practice law and work as a clinical nurse. But she did for decades. Now that she is in academia, law is her part time gig, where she is free to take on a few cases at her discretion. And now that the economy has tanked, she has seen a handful of legalheads in her program. So, with that said, I feel empowered to pursue nursing even moreso now.

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Remember that both nursing and law are professions of practice. That is, one's marketability as a nurse or a lawyer is not just in the degree/licensure and education provided in school, but in the professional practice experience one brings to the table.

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I am in my final year of law school and I realized last year how unhappy I would be if I devoted my life to a firm. I have worked in the public sector and in a private law firm, but neither one is for me. I will finish my pre-reqs this year and will have some tough decisions to make once I graduate. I love this thread because I would LOVE to hear your stories!

For those who left the legal profession, what was your first job? What is your job now? What jobs do you recommend for RN JDs? Thanks to anyone who replies!

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

3,424 Posts; 44,157 Profile Views

For those who left the legal profession, what was your first job? What is your job now? What jobs do you recommend for RN JDs? Thanks to anyone who replies!

Good luck with your transition! :)

I am still transitioning, for me it's taken longer than most I guess because when I stopped practicing law I was unsure what I wanted to do but I knew what I did NOT want to do, and that was law. I practiced for almost 10 years before I made a clean break. I left my job in downtown Manhattan and moved to FL with no job in hand. It was a bold move I admit, but nevertheless it was my only option at the time to get out of law. Ironically, I still have an active license to practice law and I renew every 2 years but I don't have to do those nasty CLE's anymore which in some cases can be a disadvantage because I am as stale as they come right now with law matters :D ...

Anyway, I ended up working in the education field which at first was great (still in it now almost 5 years), but I eventually felt that I had not found my passion even then. I accepted the fact that this was going to be my limbo job until the lightbulb went on, and that it did in March 2009 (which is ironically the same time I joined allnurses.com). It all made sense, so at that point I used my job as a way to pay the bills while I completed prereqs and researched schools. Hoping to start a nursing program next year, and looking forward to leaving this job behind because it is more clear than ever that I must move forward with nursing in 2011.

I am not saying you should make the clean break that I did, but if you really want to change your direction in life, you have to make some sacrifices.

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