Career change with kids....

  1. Hi all, my name is Jason and I'm considering getting into the nursing profession. I have a BS in health science and I'm trained as a paramedic. My background is in pre-hospital patient care for the last few years, but I did wok as a CNA 10 years ago when I was first getting started. I'm also a military veteran with educational benefits that will pay for nursing school completely, but I have a family at home that I've supoprted for the last few years. Going back to school would be a huge financial hit with a 3y/o and a 14 week old.

    What would you do??
    Does anyone know of programs that financially assist nursing students while in school?
    Am I making no sense?

    I knoe my wife will have to return to work, but she really wants to stay home with the kids for a while, so they don't gerow up in daycare. I feel somewhat guilty for wanting to return to school, but I can't support my family with paramedics pay.

    Any advice?

    Jason
  2. Visit jthewood profile page

    About jthewood

    Joined: Oct '06; Posts: 36; Likes: 4

    11 Comments

  3. by   traumaRUs
    Hi Jason and welcome. I worked in a level one trauma center for 10 years and have worked pre-hospital (as a pre-hospital RN) with several paramedics that went back to school. Since you already have a BS, the pre-reqs should be fewer and you might find that you can work part-time, especially since school is paid. BTW - as one vet to another - thanks for your service.

    Check out the local schools near you and check into accelerated BSN programs - that is the way to go. That way, if later you want to move further along the food chain, getting an MSN will be easier with the BSN already out of the way.

    The paramedics that I know that went back to school for nursing did very well. I love the pre-hospital environment but I only do it on a volunteer basis because the pay is so crummy for such responsibility.

    I wish you the best - there will be others along soon with more (and probably better) answers.
  4. by   kukukajoo
    Jason- It can be done!! I am a single mom of three and figured out a way and I know you can too with the support and love of your wife.

    I would first check to see what pre-reqs are required and make sure you have those done and that there is not a time frame on them (Such as taken in last five years). Then check into what classes need to be taken for completion of the program. Is it possible to start part-time and maybe also take some of the courses online? I did both and as well as attended night classes after my job.

    Look at ALL your options at local schools and compare coursework to see what is needed as each school may have different courses needed. I took classes that were needed at other school for two reasons- although not needed at my school they were very relevant and also I wanted to keep my options open for possibly attending another college in case I did not get accepted, moved, etc.

    If you have all the core courses out of the way, it is much easier and many of my classmates are working now. I will be soon, but recovering from an unexpected medical condition.

    Also, I paid off all my bills, and did not start any new ones. I sold my house for a smaller townhouse (less maintenance) and made sure all my appliances and my car would last a couple years. I take out extra loans to live on and so far it has been okay, but things are hard at the moment due to having to pay added medical and COBRA rates for insurance as I can't afford to go without until my med issues are completely resolved.

    I pared down all my monthly bills- got the minimum phone package, got internet thru the phone co as it was cheaper than any other, and I really Watch my spending.

    Also, Not sure if you are a homeowner or considering but between your VA benefits and also a program at USDA Rural Development you may be able to get a very inexpensive mortgage! The mortgage I got on the new place adjusts with my income. It will never go above 5.375% but at the moment I am paying 1% as it goes by income. Without this loan, I don't think I would be able to attend school!

    Best wishes to you!
  5. by   jov
    Quote from jthewood
    I'm also a military veteran with educational benefits that will pay for nursing school completely, but I have a family at home that I've supoprted for the last few years. Going back to school would be a huge financial hit with a 3y/o and a 14 week old.

    What would you do??
    Does anyone know of programs that financially assist nursing students while in school?
    Am I making no sense?

    I knoe my wife will have to return to work, but she really wants to stay home with the kids for a while, so they don't gerow up in daycare. I feel somewhat guilty for wanting to return to school, but I can't support my family with paramedics pay.

    Any advice?

    Jason
    kind of a problem here. On the one hand, you can't afford to pay your living expenses while you go to school, but on the other hand, you can't afford to pay your living expenses while you don't go to school. Do you see what you're saying? In the long run, you would be better off to go to school.

    But there's those little complications called "kids." Play out in your mind what one-two years of school would look like, on a daily basis. Monday, your wife leaves for work at 8:00 a.m. You're feeding the 14 week old a bottle, with your textbook propped open with your feet and your 3 year old whining for a toaster tart. And the day goes down hill from there.

    Plus your wife is definitely going to feel resentment if she has to go back to work and misses out on raising her babies. So you won't have support there.

    A few things to consider:
    1) What options do you have for childcare? If you have Grandma or Auntie available, and they are good caregivers who can be depended on for say 20 hours a week of free childcare, that's a possibility.
    2) What options do you have to get some liquid funds? Home equity loan? Family member loan? Cash in some stocks or bonds? Sell that '69 Mustang of yours?
    3) Are you having any more kids? And if not, are you SURE? (like talking vasectomy here?)
    4) What do you think you are going to do for health insurance for you and your family while you are in school? (our univ insurance for dependents has only a $100,000 year limit - so what if your baby gets leukemia?)

    I would think long and hard before going back to school in this situation. It's unfair to ask your wife to give up her dream for yours. Unless she believes it is benefitting ALL of you, she won't be behind it.

    If you aren't having any more kids, an option is to start planning ahead for funds to carry your bills when you go to nursing school in 4 years. Take those extra side jobs. Pay down your debt to get your living expenses as low as you can. Maybe give up vacations (not that big of a deal when your kids are that little) and put that money aside instead. Start crunching numbers as to what $ you will need. The last few months of your program you can live on credit cards, but you gotta be ready to get the job and pay them off fast. Make sure when that date rolls around, you have two cars in good condition to get your wife to work and you to school without buying another...

    You won't be too old to go to school in 4 years (heck, I'm 47!) but most importantly, you won't have regrets that you missed your little ones' childhoods. That's one of the great treasures in life that can't be postponed. Nursing school turns out to be just another job.
  6. by   Medic2RN
    jthewood,
    Have you looked into any online programs such as Excelsior College? Since you are a paramedic, you may want to explore those options. Just a thought...
  7. by   futureTNnurse
    I'm not sure where you are from. But, in some state there are paramedic to RN programs available. You could get your RN, get your foot in the door and take your BSN online. I'm in TN, but I'm sure there are several others.
  8. by   Arvidwashere
    Hey,

    My name is Arvid; I am a parmedic too with a 2 1/2 yo boy. Just started school. Lots of Crap in my situ .... however.

    Be mindfull how you judge your guilt or make assumption of how other will judge you. I have many of those same trepidations ..... Daycare ... ugh vs BIG picture.

    Prior learning makes the studies go smoother even though ya still have to show up and do the werk. Keep things simple and communicate you feelings with your sweetie and others, like here. I have opted to go LPN, get working and bridge later into RN. Made sence for me and my fam.

    Take care of yourself and your family.

    Good luck,
    Arvid was here
  9. by   Wave
    I feel that where there's a will, there's a way. Our son (11 months old) doesn't go to daycare. Originally when I started my nursing program, I was working full time. Currently, though, M-W he's with my dad and the other two days he's with me. My wife watches him in the evenings and when I'm at clinic on Sat A.M.'s. The evenings where I have to go to lecture I drop him off with my wife (at her work). I work 24 hours and still draw benefits. In addition, my workplace ihas a pilot program they're in the process ot trying out. I get a stipend just about equal to what I would have made if I worked the two other days. Sure, the credit cards aren't getting paid off as fast, but when I finish school, I'll be earning more than I was in my technical position. I figure in 3-4 years working as a nurse, I will have made back all that money and then some.

    I used to work retail with this woman. During the day, she was home, then in the evening, she would go to work and her husband took care of the kids. (I believe that he a mail carrier for the U.S. Post Office.) He went in early so he could get out early. She was always saying how wonderful a relationship that "daddy" had with their children. Sure, it can be hard on the spousal relationship, but nothing's free. With a little compromise you can do it AND not miss your children growing up.

    When my wife wanted to finish her degree, I supported her and now that I've decided this is something I want (nursing), she's behind me 110%.
    (She's really a far, FAR better typist than I. This post has taken me forever to type with my hunt and peck style.)

    One last thought, about the daycare. At the right age and in the right [daycare] setting (which is key), it's a great place for children to learn socialization skills. Your children will also have a chance to do activities (crafts and what not) that you probably wouldn't do at home, not to mention certain games that require more that two people. Obviously cost can be a huge factor, but that's all part of the equation. What do you think is going to happen when your children go off to school?
  10. by   Wave
    here are a few links to info here in this forum:
    https://allnurses.com/forums/f50/i-n...ds-167385.html
    and
    https://allnurses.com/forums/f50/how...ks-114842.html


    Like it says in one of the posts in the top link, call and/or go in person. That way the people that you want to loan/ give/ extend you money can put a face to a name. Helps avoid that "just a number" senario. I'm sure that if you go this route it'll be a lot of knocking on doors and jumping through hoops to get that "free" money, but maybe it's worth the effort for you.
  11. by   Arvidwashere
    Thanks for the reply ...... We use the daycare primarily for the social setting. It is small and well run. We know all the parents and kids and usually get together at other social play date related things. Great thing about small towns!!!! Wife HATED :angryfire my paramedic shift schedules. Not much for family time ...... some shifts I was tied to the pager, I could be at home but would have to just up and go. ICK! Ment I could not be the sole care taker during that shift. Wife just Dx with multifocal infiltrating breast cancer .... SO ... I don't think I will be able to keep up with studies and working 2 jobs . That was a challenge enough before the Dx. Will need the nursing career if I end up widowed and being a single dad. MMMMmmmm just rambling now. Guess just needed someone to talk to right now. Thanks

    Glad you are able to make it work, and yup, it is only for a short time.

    Arvid was here
  12. by   Wave
    Quote from Arvidwashere
    Thanks for the reply ...... We use the daycare primarily for the social setting. It is small and well run. We know all the parents and kids and usually get together at other social play date related things. Great thing about small towns!!!! Wife HATED :angryfire my paramedic shift schedules. Not much for family time ...... some shifts I was tied to the pager, I could be at home but would have to just up and go. ICK! Ment I could not be the sole care taker during that shift. Wife just Dx with multifocal infiltrating breast cancer .... SO ... I don't think I will be able to keep up with studies and working 2 jobs . That was a challenge enough before the Dx. Will need the nursing career if I end up widowed and being a single dad. MMMMmmmm just rambling now. Guess just needed someone to talk to right now. Thanks

    Glad you are able to make it work, and yup, it is only for a short time.

    Arvid was here
    hey, it's O.K. to ramble, obviously it's something on your mind.So sorry to hear about your wife! Talk about a shock. I'll be sure to keep your family in my prayers. I won't pretend to understand the Dx beyond the basics. I had a recent "revelation" about breast CA from a patient of mine who really opened my eyes. Made me feel awful for all the uninformed misconceptions that I had.
    Yeah, the retail setting was tough, too. Close the store at 10, clean up by 10:30, cash out by 11:00. Then home, to wake my honey up and send her to bed while I have supper and because you're still so wound up, watch T.V. until 2:00A.M. I was working two jobs then myself, but that was P.B. (pre-baby).
  13. by   jthewood
    All: thanks for the reply's! I'm still in the hunt for nursing school, just trying to figure out the logistics of pre-req's, family, health insurance, etc. I know school will only be a one-year program, but I don't want to disrupt the family too much if at all possible.

    Arvid - I know the pain of bad Dx's. My wife was Dx with MS around 5 years ago. It totally changed our lives and really thrust us into the realm of uncertainty of what the future has to hold. Don't get stuck in there! Focus on the positive and keep your head up. Since our Dx we've had 2 kids, bought 2 houses, I finished by 1st BS and my wife's almost done with hers! Hang in there and ask for help when you need it.

    Best,

    Jason

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