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Leaving the JD behind for a RN --> NP?

by CrimJ2BRN CrimJ2BRN (New) New

I just wanted to get some professional opinions on my particular situation...

I am 23 and just graduated college with my Bachelor's in Criminal Justice. When I started out in my higher education journey I was focused on eventually entering nursing school. After a few prereqs I set my sights a little higher and transferred to a University (where I got my degree) and became a Medical Technologist/Biology major. I even became a certified Phlebotomist one summer at my local community college to get some experience. After 2 1/2 years in the program I decided I hit my cap on upper level science courses. I had gotten through several Bio's, Inorganic & Organic Chem, as well as physics... ultimately I was done with the hard sciences for awhile.

Because of this I switched my major to Crim Justice. My mom had been in the field forever and I was raised around people who were so Law School was my second career choice.. and honestly I was good at the legal classes. I graduated college with honors, took the LSAT, and have been accepted to a handful of Tier 1 law schools - something I'm very proud of. BUT... I have that itch again.

Nursing is something I can really see myself doing and I would have the possibility of going on to become a nurse practitioner. I have a family member who is one and grew up going and seeing her and knowing what's involved with her scope of practice. Am I crazy to give up a JD for the medical field? A JD is going to put me is considerable debt -- somewhere in the $200,000 range.. which is... crazy :no:. I honestly don't want to put myself in that much debt. Nursing school going all the way through a possible Nurse Practitioner master's degree would cost MAYBE around $50,000. Both my parents are great and really support me in whatever I want to do. My mom actually would prefer me to go the nursing route..


Thanks guys :)

I am a lawyer. I've been one for about 15 years. If you do not have a burning desire to be a lawyer, I highly recommend you do something else. The job market for new lawyers is probably worse than the market for new nurses. If you do not graduate at the very top of your class from a top law school, you may be looking at a salary of $45-50k to start. And that's if you get a job. If you can't, you do document review at $20-25/hr -- no guarantee that'll you'll work (you string together temporary gigs), no vacation, no benefits, no chance of advancement.

I'm not a nurse so I can't to the pros/cons of that avenues.

Talk with/shadow both lawyers and nurses. My disgruntled opinion is just that -- mine.


Specializes in Operating Room.

I went through the same thing as you I graduated with a criminal justice degree but always had nursing in the back of my mind. I was going to start law school and after a talk with my cousin (law school graduate) I decided not to go. She told me if law wasn't my passion I shouldn't go to law school. She's not even practicing law. She going to school to be a pharmacist now. Not going to law school was the best decision of my life. I'm currently in a RN program and work at a clinic part time. This is my dream. Cant wait till I graduate.

akulahawkRN, ADN, RN, EMT-P

Specializes in Emergency Department. Has 6 years experience.

A former co-worker of mine was a Deputy for many years and eventually decided to become a lawyer. So, he went to law school and after he finally passed the Bar, he started looking for a job. He eventually landed a part-time gig, but it was very much part-time and no benefits to say the least. He continued looking for a full-time position and after the better part of 2 years he found what he was looking for. He's now a Prosecutor for a local DA's office.

To say the least, he's had a tough road. To my knowledge, his student loans aren't that bad, but I'm sure he still has to pay back quite a bit. Once he's done with that and he's got some decent experience, he'll earn quite a bit more than I will.

I'm sure he'll say the same thing that many above have said: follow your passion. While passion alone won't pay the bills, it'll certainly help you get through the lean times between graduation and your first stable job.

HouTx, BSN, MSN, EdD

Specializes in Critical Care, Education. Has 35 years experience.

PP was absolutely correct re: currently, the ROI for Law School is much worse than Nursing. There has been a lot of information in the news on the plight of newby lawyers.

That being said - you don't really have to make an 'either-or' decision. I know a lot of very well paid RN/JDs working in Healthcare Loss Prevention/Risk Management. We (nurses) are particularly suited for this role since we know all the ins and outs of clinical processes and patient care. The folks I know all had several years of clinical experience before moving ahead with their JDs. My advice? Go ahead with nursing school & keep that JD in mind for future career growth.

You can always go into legal nursing

That way you'll be doing a bit of both

KeepItRealRN, BSN, RN

Specializes in CVICU. Has 28 years experience.

Get your nursing degree and get some experience. During the time you are getting your experience, put money in savings. If you still want to go to law school then you will have a nest egg and a very good paying job that you can do part time to help pay for school without going into debt.

I've known a couple of nurse turned lawyers who were able to combine the two quite successfully.

meanmaryjean, DNP, RN

Specializes in NICU, ICU, PICU, Academia. Has 44 years experience.

"When I started out in my higher education journey I was focused on eventually entering nursing school. After a few prereqs I set my sights a little higher and transferred..."

If you truly feel like nursing is a 'lesser' profession, don't do it. We have plenty of washed out pre-med and other students who 'settled' for a career in nursing.

I meant higher as in just being able to go straight through education wise - I didn't mean nursing was a "lesser" profession