Need Serious Advice!

  1. I am going to start nursing school next Fall (2006) and thought I had everything planned out just right.

    Before I made the switch to nursing, I was a Criminal Justice student looking at becoming a cop. I had been training for 3 years and had a year of schooling under my belt. I felt confident that I knew I was going to be in law enforcement until the day I died, but I began to recieve negative feedback from my parents about the dangers of the job. I knew the risks, and have many friends who have gone into law enforcement and have also made many friends in it. I began doubting myself and felt unneeded. Also to stir things up a bit, we had a deputy in my area (a good friend to me) killed in the line of duty. With this tragic event, my eyes were opened to the risks that I took when going into this field. I understand I can be killed in any job I have. I also know that in nursing, I could be stuck by a dirty needle and catch "the virus." With the pressure of my family and several online cops, I immediately switched to business management and instantly knew that I hated it (business). I transfered back into CJ and wondered why I ever got out of it. I consulted many law enforcement officers from many agencies and asked them how they got through times like these, and why they went into law enforcement knowing all of these risks. I won't list the answers I recieved for lack of time, but every single one of them let me know that is why/what they were taught the things they were taught. I was instantly relieved and felt like I knew where I was going to end up.

    After I graduated high school (I took college classes while in high school), I decided I was going to take CJ and major in it. Once again, with pull from family, and high school staff, I was influenced to look once again at my career path. This time I chose nursing. My grandmother was a nurse 20 years ago and has nothing but good to say about it. I am currently set to go into the RN program next Fall. I am taking a CNA type course (in OH - STNA) and just started. I am already getting depressed because I don't see myself as a butt wiper and an old person babysitter. I love people and work well with them.

    Anytime someone asks me what I am going to school for, I hesitantly respond, nursing. I know it is not the most manly job in the world to get into, but I know people can make differences in others' lives in it.

    I don't want to be a millionaire banker who lives in a mansion, but I do want a good paying career where I can make a difference in someones life, support a family with children (when I have one), and have a nice home to live with them in.

    Is nursing a good career? I have heard stories from both sides. I have been trying to weigh the good and the bad for each profession and still can't decide. I have thought about sticking nursing out, but the work of paramedics seems more interesting to me. Are they similar? I have also looked at going back to law enforcement and doing something active in that. I know that a nursing degree is universally accepted and jobs are out there somewhere.

    I don't want to make the biggest mistake of my life by going into nursing and realizing $20,000 later that I have. I know I am young (18) and have the rest of my life before me, but am afraid of failure. I have always had that fear while always trying to satisfy others, when in the end, I am the one that has to be satisfied.

    All answers are greatly appreciated.
  2. Visit mcknis profile page

    About mcknis, ADN, BSN, RN, EMT-B

    Joined: Dec '05; Posts: 989; Likes: 438


  3. by   ShockerGirl
    I say do what YOU want. this is something you will be doing for the rest of your life! Thats at least 40 years. If CJ is your passion do it. You are right, you can be seriously hurt/killed in any job. Its just like getting in your car and driving. Yea, you could be in an accident and hurt or killed but you don't run from driving do you? Nursing is a good career (in my opinion but i'm going into it! lol) Nursing isn't the only job you can help people in, with a CJ degree you can help people - which i'm sure you know. So over all (after all my ranting :wink2: ) this is what i say:
    1. Pick out careers that interest you (nursing, CJ, paramedic, etc.) then get in contact with local paramedics, nurses, or police officers and see if you can set up a time to talk to them and get a feel for what they do. or you can do it over the phone usually also.
    2. Explain to your family once you've decided, thats what you want to do and you want their support, thats a major thing to know they back you up.
    3. Finally, even if you go thru nursing school, become a paramedic, or what ever you decide to do, you can always do something different. hopefully you will find something you want to do for a lifetime, but there are options out there, be sure you know that!
    Good luck! let us know how it goes!!
  4. by   EricJRN
    You might consider volunteering at a local hospital to get a better idea of what nursing is all about. With your law enforcement connections, if you know any medics in your area, ask them about scheduling a ride-along. You could then have at least a little basis for comparison between EMS and nursing.

    Many of us are involved in EMS first, then get into nursing. The average pay is better for nurses in most areas, and you'll find that you can switch specialties/job types more easily. But one advantage of EMS is that you tend to have a lot of autonomy, with no doctor to look over your shoulder in the field.
  5. by   DapperRN
    Its a tough spot trying to figure out what it is you want to do. First and foremost if you really desire to do something specific then go for it. As far as nursing goes, this profession has the opportunities to do anything. I myself am not a "butt wiper" I'm also no stranger to a code brown. I work ICU/ER and moonlight occasionally by working on an air ambulance. Nursing has a lot to offer, I think if you decide on nursing as a profession you need to find an area that best suits you as well. I could not and would not work Gen. medicine or surgery again (I'm too much of an adrenaline junky). However, there are so many options with nursing, such as travel, disaster relief, military.... Its endless. I can't vouch for the American nurses salary, but I hadn't even been graduated for a year and I bought a new car and a house. (I am not rich by any way shape or form) I do have a comfortable life and would be able to support a family. So research the heck out of it, job shadow various units in the hospital, jump on an ambulance for a day, and I think you'll find something that strikes a cord. As far as being manly, when I first entered nursing school I when people asked what I was studying I would typically say Bachelor of Science and leave out the "in Nursing" part, but it wasn't too long before I realised the only one who was insecure about it was me. Now I've got more RN pins and nurse propaganda, that everyone knows I'm a nurse, and I'm still frequently suprised by the immediate respect. Besides I like being the guy that when it hits the fan in a public place and everyone is losing control I know what to do (adrenaline!). So best of luck to you, I have to say I have yet to regret becoming an RN, I've seen and done some great things!
    Last edit by DapperRN on Jan 9, '06
  6. by   Thunderwolf
    For an 18 year old, I am very impressed.

    You have done your homework.

    I've been a nurse for 20 years...I couldn't think of anything else I'd rather be. There are MANY fields in nursing.

    My friend, follow your heart...which I think you are.

    Best wishes.
  7. by   nursetim
    Hey there Brother,
    I've been exactly where you are at. You re young yet. Nursing provides a vast array (SP?) of choice. and freedom. I was in law enforcement around your age, it was cool, offered comraderie, and mach excitement. As a nurse I've worked ER, CTICU, and agency. Think about what it is about law enforcement and see if nursing fits. Excitement, ER, ICU, Flight nurse, Forensic nurse, correctional nurse. You can rarely go wrong with a nursing degree. That said, you have to really care about people and their pain and suffering and have some degree of empathy for people. Stick with what your heart tells you. Try joining air force security police or navy SP. then let uncle sam pay for further training like EMT or Paramedic. see which one fits best then run with it.
  8. by   mcknis
    Thanks guys or all of the replies. I have been going through this for a while and really needed a wake up call. You guys provided it! Thanks!

    I am excited about nursing and have only shawdowed on a med/surg floor at the local hospital. Was exciting enough for me at the time because I didn't know what all I could get into. Within the first few minutes of me being there, there was already a pt throwing up. The nurse told me I handled it well, but its not like that was a fun part.

    Danny: I am glad that I am not the only one who has been in my shoes. I was scared that you all knew exactly what you wanted to do when you were younger and I would be thought of as an idiot for even posting. Its good to know that I have wiser men to go to for assistance who has actually been doing this.

    Tim: Its good to hear from someone who has been in law enforcement before. I loved the action part about it the most, and love the adrenaline, too. I am also a member of a volunteer fire department and know that my nursing experience will come in very handy down the road no matter if I am running into a burning building, arresting a convicted felon, or helping my grandmother cross the street.

    Thunderwolf: As a newbie here and in nursing, I will probably have to look you up sometime or see you on here to get more advice. I have seen your posts, and its nice to know someone with your experience would be willing to share it with all of us.

    Thanks to all again, and I will be sure to keep everyone posted on what comes about.
  9. by   froghair
    they say in your life time you'll have 3 careers. your young there is plenty of time to do what you want, try and experience as much as you can and the decision will become easy