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Lawyer to Nurse

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by layne228 layne228 (New Member) New Member

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Hello,

I was very surprised to see this particular post. I graduated law school in 2000 after 2.5 years, then worked as a Federal attorney for 5 more. I then went to get my LL.M in Taxation and got hit by an uninsured drunk 19 year-old driver. This also happened the same year Arthur Anderson and Enron went down which destroyed every tax job in the southern united states. I had job options but they were all with people that had no ethics and were all about money. So, I became a nurse.

That said, I think I need to respond to people thinking all attorneys are out to make money or have no soul. I helped veterans and the disabled, I made less than half of what my fellow graduates made. I love taking care of people, I did Nicu, pedi, and now adults. However, I miss having my boss believe that I should get to eat lunch...or urinate within 12 hours...rather than work me like a donkey. I love....must I stress this...love caring for people. However, management, and MD's, do not really seem to care about me. It is sad. Nursing was harder for me on many levels than law. I was not a stupid lawyer either, I was in the top 2% on my LSAT. However, I did not like my job because I never got to actually help, or be near people. But, after having 145 thousand (yep...that is the unfortunate figure...) in debt I realize I either have to go to management or back to law. Nursing is easier to get a job in, but you will not be able to assert your judgement unless you work in a speciality (and then it depends on the hospital). I think the best thing people can do to be happy is to take a Meyers Briggs test and see what you probably like.

Obviously, money or other factors may mean you have a career different that you thought. I am hopeful that nursing would be better in other states. If that is not the case, then I will go back to the law. Either way, I will help people who can not help themselves. In nursing or the law. I constantly have people literally go at me simply because I was an attorney. It makes me sad that people do not understand that there are caring, giving, ethical people who protect all of our rights. Sometimes, those people make my job so hard that I do not want to be a nurse anymore. However, after being a nurse I have a much thicker skin. If I do go back to being an attorney, I will be far better after becoming a nurse. Being a nurse has been far harder than an attorney to me. I hope everyone good luck in what they choose. I can open my own firm if I choose after being a contract nurse. $38/hour houston full time. We will see what happens, but do not choose nursing for the money. Yes, you deserve good pay. Yes, there are a lot of jobs. But, there are MANY easier ways to make money than nursing. I have seen people die, scrubbed the skin off of pediatric burn victims, and more.

Well, I have to admit this posting is not edited or particularly well formed. It is late at night, and it is a little bit of a "who should I grow up to be" rant. In case my language was not clear....nursing is hard and a wonderful profession....and some lawyers have amazing hearts and should be praised for that based on their actions and not some stereotype.

I am not sure I can give great information to anyone who wishes to switch from one career to another, but I have done both and would be quite willing to try to help.

Edited by Lee77006
wrong spelling

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2,748 Visitors; 81 Posts

Hello,

I was very surprised to see this particular post.

That said, I think I need to respond to people thinking all attorneys are out to make money or have no soul.

Obviously, money or other factors may mean you have a career different that you thought. I am hopeful that nursing would be better in other states. If that is not the case, then I will go back to the law. Either way, I will help people who can not help themselves. In nursing or the law. I constantly have people literally go at me simply because I was an attorney. It makes me sad that people do not understand that there are caring, giving, ethical people who protect all of our rights. Sometimes, those people make my job so hard that I do not want to be a nurse anymore. However, after being a nurse I have a much thicker skin. If I do go back to being an attorney, I will be far better after becoming a nurse. Being a nurse has been far harder than an attorney to me. I hope everyone good luck in what they choose. I can open my own firm if I choose after being a contract nurse. $38/hour houston full time.

In case my language was not clear....nursing is hard and a wonderful profession....and some lawyers have amazing hearts and should be praised for that based on their actions and not some stereotype.

I am not sure I can give great information to anyone who wishes to switch from one career to another, but I have done both and would be quite willing to try to help.

No one here said that all attorneys are only out to make money and devoid of souls. No one said that all nurses are girl scout Nightingales. Making comments about one does not condemn the qualities of the other.

When I was younger in college, nursing (and all of the science pre-reqs) intimidated me. Whereas, law seemed as if I'd have more autonomy over my career. Now, I view both w/more maturity and can appreciate what each careers brings.

I am literally surrounded by nurses: mom, 3 sisters-in-law, 2 best friends, neices, etc. I've heard horror stories, politics, and the rewards. So, I have a pretty good understanding of what nursing is really about...good and bad. There are all personalities in all professions. I went to Catholic schools as a kid and there were some of the kindest and meanest nuns and teachers there. When I was a prosecutor, I met some of the most devoted attorneys and some of the slimiest. When I worked in corporate taxation, I met some of the most money-hungry folks just there for the check, and some of the most intellectually-charged attorneys who truly enjoyed the challenge of tax code.

No one in this thread has bashed or denounced the entire legal community, nor has anyone romanticized the nursing profession. I post this all to convey, we're merely sharing experiences with peers.

In fact, your post mostly affirms many of the opinions of the posters that you're trying to school. You say that nursing toughened your skin, but yet you wrote some of the most hypersensitive, stereotypical post here. But I get the feeling its projection from the stuff you've experienced at your job(s). Rest assured, people do understand that there are passionate, caring professionals in both law and nursing.

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558 Visitors; 2 Posts

I am posting to make sure that my points are not reinterpreted (which happens anyway, but at least I can make certain points clear). I am not going to get into some back and forth commentary. I made my comments based on the very real fact that some people are uneducated about people and do discriminate. If this were not the case we would not have laws relating to discrimination (obviously, no protection for having been an attorney). I did not read anybody's post and think they thought lawyers were without a soul (nor did my post indicate such, name such a poster, or anything close to it). Are there nurses in the world that think that? Yes, and I can give you their numbers (I wouldn't, but I could). It is a big deal to switch careers, and I assume as lawyers they will research all the main items. My personal experience has been mainly positive, but I have had to watch my rear-end from those that really do not like a legal background.

I am glad there are people (not just nurses) that understand that there are good and bad people in all professions. I am also glad that my personal experiences (of which there are many) are respected in terms of how SOME nurses react to a law degree. If other people have not encountered this discrimination that is wonderful. However, for those individuals going into nursing from law it is a very important thing to realize that some nurses will not be so accepting of your law degree.

If I sounded hypersensitive or someone thought I was attacking their life choice directly then I am sorry. However, I am glad that it is noted that this forum is not just to respond to other posts, but rather share our life experiences. Some nurses have not been accepting or welcoming of someone from the legal field from my PERSONAL experience (feel free to do your own survey). I have won numerous awards for customer care, and many of my fellow workers give me hugs when I come back from vacation. This does not change the fact that there are nurses who do not like my legal background, for whatever reason. On the other hand, I have nurses who push for me to move to management based on my law background. I am giving my experience as a less than five year nurse.

I have worked at some of the largest and best known hospitals in the country as Houston has the largest medical center in the USA. Most negative attitudes have only come from older nurses. The younger nurses think my legal background is wonderful. They, however, are not often supervisors. I will not speculate as to the reasons for this because I do not need, or want to have to defend them. Plus, I am not a nurse that dislikes people with a legal background. For me to try to list the reasons for how they behave is only going to be attacked by some, and agreed with by others. I am not omniscient. But, I can relate my experiences.

I am the first person in my family to graduate from college, and I have had to learn things on my own. I have friends who are not lawyers anymore, and applaud me for changing careers. I aso have nursing friends that can not understand why I changed ( I think they glorify it a bit, but again I am not them). So, aside from the obvious, I felt it was important to let future RN/JD's know that not every nurse or doctor thinks that way. Do not carry fear in your heart, but also realize there may be people that focus on you because of your legal career. I would feel like a poor nurse or counselor to not forewarn. It has been worth the trip for me, but I have had to deal with some pretty despicable reactions. Typically, I do not share my legal background except with those that I can tell are unlikely to have a problem with my background. At the same time I will not lie about my background if asked.

As I continue in my nursing career, I know for a fact that doors will open to me as a result of my legal background. But, that does not mean that in the early years I will not, and have not, taken hits as a result. There are good and bad qualities to nursing and to the law. If a nurse asked me about the law I would tell them both, not just the good or why I was happy to make the change. I owe over $140,000 for law school so I made a very big decision to switch. To do that, I looked at the good and the bad. But, some people's reaction to my legal career could only be experienced, rather than researched. For those still wanting to make such a change, I applaud them. For those who do not switch, that is equally valid. Regardless, I get to finish this message knowing that I shared a very specific set of experiences as a lawyer/nurse which is informative regardless of their decision. I could speak to numerous experiences, good and bad, after switching from law to nursing. But, I felt that it was important to discuss how there are some nurses who will not be kind, accepting, or glad that a lawyer entered the nursing profession. I could guess as to the reasons, but I really do not know. And, it can affect your life, license, and care for your patients. Sometimes, nurses have the same issues because they are women, men, black, white, gay, straight...on and on. There are people (not just nurses) who do not like some people. Fact. Most nurses treat me great. But, some do not. It is a big deal to switch careers. As someone who prefers to do the best I can for myself and patients, I felt it was important to relate my experience so it would not be a surprise to some. Please, feel free to contact the lawyer/nurses on here with no negative experiences as well as those that did not have such rosy responses. It is how we learn as professionals and people in any field.

Monday I will be going to work, where 1 out of 7 supervisors stated specifically that they can not stand attorneys (before she knew I was one). I do not paint every nurses with this brush, but such an attitude had been displayed several times in nursing school, and at every job I have had since. As a result, I feel it is important to relate. Not as a poor, poor me sort of thing. I am doing fine, the other supervisors know she has a problem. They told me I am doing a great job, and to ignore it. But, that does not mean that this attitude does not exist. I will get to a point where such behavior does not matter so much, but for new/junior nurses it is more worrying. Nursing is hard enough without have weird discrimination things coming into the mix. I go to work to care for people, not deal with that sort of thing. That being said, I think one must be an adult and realize that some people may not like you for reasons that have nothing to do with how good of a person or employee you happen to be. That is life. Luckily, they did not brand me with JD on my forehead when I graduated so I can at least see some of those crazy people coming. Please, please, take this post for what it is, what I said, and not add in extra things, or things I did not say. And, if you do feel the need to respond regardless, feel free. It is a free country and people are allowed to do many things (such as change from lawyer to nurse or vice-versa). I have been on this forum for over 7 or 8 years, I can not remember. This is the first item I have responded to because, in general, others have been able to cover other topics as well or better than I could. On this particular issue, I noticed that negative issues relating to changing from lawyer to nurse were not being addressed equally. If everyone else has not had a negative experience, then I am very glad and envious at the same time. What state and institution do you work in? Those places will be on my short list of places to live.

I will respond, in private, to anyone who wants to discuss my personal experiences from such a change. Otherwise, I hope my posting informed someone.

Thank you

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2,748 Visitors; 81 Posts

My personal experience has been mainly positive, but I have had to watch my rear-end from those that really do not like a legal background.

I am glad there are people (not just nurses) that understand that there are good and bad people in all professions. I am also glad that my personal experiences (of which there are many) are respected in terms of how SOME nurses react to a law degree. If other people have not encountered this discrimination that is wonderful. However, for those individuals going into nursing from law it is a very important thing to realize that some nurses will not be so accepting of your law degree.

If I sounded hypersensitive or someone thought I was attacking their life choice directly then I am sorry. However, I am glad that it is noted that this forum is not just to respond to other posts, but rather share our life experiences. Some nurses have not been accepting or welcoming of someone from the legal field from my PERSONAL experience (feel free to do your own survey). I have won numerous awards for customer care, and many of my fellow workers give me hugs when I come back from vacation. This does not change the fact that there are nurses who do not like my legal background, for whatever reason. On the other hand, I have nurses who push for me to move to management based on my law background. I am giving my experience as a less than five year nurse.

I have worked at some of the largest and best known hospitals in the country as Houston has the largest medical center in the USA. Most negative attitudes have only come from older nurses. The younger nurses think my legal background is wonderful. They, however, are not often supervisors. I will not speculate as to the reasons for this because I do not need, or want to have to defend them. Plus, I am not a nurse that dislikes people with a legal background.

So, aside from the obvious, I felt it was important to let future RN/JD's know that not every nurse or doctor thinks that way. Do not carry fear in your heart, but also realize there may be people that focus on you because of your legal career. I would feel like a poor nurse or counselor to not forewarn. It has been worth the trip for me, but I have had to deal with some pretty despicable reactions. Typically, I do not share my legal background except with those that I can tell are unlikely to have a problem with my background. At the same time I will not lie about my background if asked.

As I continue in my nursing career, I know for a fact that doors will open to me as a result of my legal background. But, that does not mean that in the early years I will not, and have not, taken hits as a result. There are good and bad qualities to nursing and to the law. If a nurse asked me about the law I would tell them both, not just the good or why I was happy to make the change. I owe over $140,000 for law school so I made a very big decision to switch. To do that, I looked at the good and the bad. But, some people's reaction to my legal career could only be experienced, rather than researched.

But, I felt that it was important to discuss how there are some nurses who will not be kind, accepting, or glad that a lawyer entered the nursing profession. It is a big deal to switch careers. As someone who prefers to do the best I can for myself and patients, I felt it was important to relate my experience so it would not be a surprise to some. Thank you

I apologize if I've offended you in anyway. I only have the JD, and since you have both the RN and JD, I defer to your experiences. Your last post expressed your intent more clearly and I truly respect you for your passion. I actually thank you for this post, because it did touch on dynamics that I'll face - very important to be forewarned.

Let's start on a lighter, more productive note.

I owe a ton in loans as well. Is that one of the reasons you went into nursing? How long did it take you (with pre-reqs and the program)? Did you include the law degree on your resume when seeking that first RN job? Did you work while in nursing school? Do you plan on consolidating the two degrees later down the road? What are your hours and how many days do you work? Were you scared to make the transition?

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

43,951 Visitors; 3,418 Posts

Go to a state school ... Chamberlain is way overpriced!

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2,748 Visitors; 81 Posts

After spending tons on law school, I plan on attending PBSC for pre-reqs, and preferably FAU for its ABSN.

However, I'll go to PBSC for its BSN, which is schedulled to start in January 2012.

Also, Chamberlain seems to be a proprietary school, as opposed to a traditional university. I've had a negative experience with that type of school...so I am sticking to the traditional schools.

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

43,951 Visitors; 3,418 Posts

After spending tons on law school, I plan on attending PBSC for pre-reqs, and preferably FAU for its ABSN.

However, I'll go to PBSC for its BSN, which is schedulled to start in January 2012.

Also, Chamberlain seems to be a proprietary school, as opposed to a traditional university. I've had a negative experience with that type of school...so I am sticking to the traditional schools.

Smart move! These for-profit schools prey on students eager to circumvent state school waiting lists and stiff competition. They are really no better than state schools and at an inflated premium.

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503 Visitors; 3 Posts

Lawyer to Nurse . . . A bit of advice . . . I am a CPA (our jobs (JD & CPA) and the environment in which we practice are quite similar) who is also an RN. The biggest disappointment that I have found in nursing (vs. CPA) is that there is NO professionalism in nursing. No matter how much nursing preaches about being a profession, it is not. It is a blue collar job in which you are worked like a dog, have to put up with b**chy female nurses (another problem with nursing - female dominated), are abused by doctors, patients, and families, and face the possibility of injury, either from assault by a patient or by lifting/moving someone. Moral of story, be absolutely sure you are going into nursing because it is what you know in your heart you want, not just because if offers good job opportunities. And that is another matter. Nursing goes through cycles of shortages, during which tons of people go to nursing school because of the promise of a job. Thereafter, there are too many nurses (who really don't want to be nurses) and jobs are harder to find. It gets particularly bad when the economy is not good, as is the current situation.

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2,748 Visitors; 81 Posts

Lawyer to Nurse . . . A bit of advice . . . I am a CPA (our jobs (JD & CPA) and the environment in which we practice are quite similar) who is also an RN. The biggest disappointment that I have found in nursing (vs. CPA) is that there is NO professionalism in nursing. No matter how much nursing preaches about being a profession, it is not. It is a blue collar job in which you are worked like a dog, have to put up with b**chy female nurses (another problem with nursing - female dominated), are abused by doctors, patients, and families, and face the possibility of injury, either from assault by a patient or by lifting/moving someone. Moral of story, be absolutely sure you are going into nursing because it is what you know in your heart you want, not just because if offers good job opportunities. And that is another matter. Nursing goes through cycles of shortages, during which tons of people go to nursing school because of the promise of a job. Thereafter, there are too many nurses (who really don't want to be nurses) and jobs are harder to find. It gets particularly bad when the economy is not good, as is the current situation.

My husband is a CPA and I've actually worked in corporate tax. I always saw it as a pink collar job, similar to teaching and cosmetology...but that is splitting hairs...I get what you're saying.

Are you a nurse currently? Are you planning to somehow merge the two fields? Do you regret your decison to become a nurse?

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755 Visitors; 3 Posts

Paco - I would be interested in hearing more of your story. I am an attorney, with almost 5 years out of law school and am thinking about going back to school, take the required classes and apply to nursing school.

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503 Visitors; 3 Posts

I am still licensed as a nurse, although I am not currently working as a nurse. I do not regret my decision to become a nurse, for several reasons. First, no education is ever wasted, no matter what it is in. And generally, out of every life experience comes some good, or at least an opportunity to broaden one's outlook on life and open one's mind. And every once-in-a-while, you know that you have really touched someone's life.

What I have found is that every time I leave accounting to go to a nursing job, I end up coming right back to accounting. It is not the work of a nurse that gets to me; rather, it is the working conditions. As I mentioned, I have encountered many 'blue collar' attitudes in nursing, even in well-known medical-school-affiliated university hospitals, and I am intolerate of that kind of low-level thinking and approach to interacting with peers. Even RNs with advanced degrees seem to carry that type of thinking with them on the way up the ladder, and never really transition into professionals.

I do not know where you are located in the country, but if you are not in a state with mandatory nurse-patient ratios, get ready to be dumped on with too many patients, placing your license and your patients' well-being at risk.

Then there's dealing with medical students with attitudes, nursing students who end up just getting in the way (yes, I've been one of those students, also), a**hole doctors, and b**chy nurses. Enough of that. Yes, there are problems in the accounting profession, but generally not so many. And the fact that there are more males in the accounting profession helps to temper the estrogen. There are not nearly enough men in nursing. Male nurses are the antithesis of females - they aren't b**chy, are willing to help when you need it, and don't gossip. (I am not a male. I am just a big fan of male nurses.)

If you really feel you want to be a nurse, make sure you engineer your career to get into a high level specialty (NICU, as an example). You will find more better educated and collaborative nurses in these areas. You might want to think about becoming a nurse practitioner which is what I am going to do if I decide to go back to nursing. You could also do med-legal consulting after you get some experience.

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2,748 Visitors; 81 Posts

Dungbeetle, your post made so much sense. I always say that education could never be wasted. This is especially true for the trades where you pick up tangible life skills. I really take your posts seriously because there is a sense of autonomy with careers such as law and accounting. So there does seem to be a trade-off for someone switching careers and starting out as a newbie staff nurse. But I'm also glad you mentioned there's more professionalism and collaborative attitutudes amongs NPs or specialized nurses, because that is exactly what I want to do, ASAP.

The med-legal consulting is right up my alley as the best niche, encompassing both fileds. Its nice that some of you are sharing prospectives after having been in corporate America. It makes me feel like I am going in forewarned.

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