Published Jul 24, 2009
I've got quite a list of questions and a life scenario to impart, so beware! Please be patient!
I am in my late 40's, and I'm tired of trying to fit my square peg career into round holes. I have worked mostly in clerical jobs, both in manufacturing and in the life insurance industry. I wanted to be a vet but that never happened. I did get a BS in Physics, and it was several years ago.
My husband and I are selling our house in PA, and will move back to the Chicago area. He is on disability, and cannot work. I, therefore, am the sole provider for the household income. I wanted to find a new career that is in demand, and I've chosen Nursing. I like people, I'm not afraid to learn, I'm willing to work hard. I have briefly looked over the programs at Rush, Loyola, DePaul and UIC for the Accelerated Programs.
One of my concerns is this - it's been years since I've been in school, and I've "matured" a lot since that time. My GPA wasn't that great (3.41 out of 5), primarily due to lower scores in my physics core. How obsessed are the admissions departments about grades? I'm also rather "low" on references - our lifestyle is rather reclusive due to my husband's disability. My last boss was a hard-a$$ perfectionist, and no reference is forthcoming there. I see many programs requiring certain classes be taken prior to admissions (like Organic or Biochemistry, Medical Terminology and such), and I would expect if I do well there, then I may be able to wrangle a letter or letters from the teachers. If any of you have been in my shoes in this department, please let me know!
My third concern is costs - if/when we sell our house, we'd have some money from that, but it's going to have to go towards paying bills and such, plus for our future retirment. What has been your experience there? I'd like to try towards the top of the pile, but Rush costs $47K roughly (from what I've read, and provided I'm accepted in the first place). Online courses sound attractive, but is there a bias against those classes? I expect I'm going to have to work a bit, albeit perhaps part time just to maintain living expenses. Any advice there?
BTW, there's just me and my husband, no kids.
I'm open to advice and suggestions!
My advice would be to go to a community college and get an ADN in Nursing. I too also have a B.A., yet the pay difference at UIC for an ADN vs. BSN is only $1.05/hour. At 48, you probably won't work long enough to make it worth your while to earn the BSN. A community college will cost you less than $8,000 a year (my guess) vs. the $100k you would spend in 2 years at RUSH getting your degree. This is just my opinion of course.
Its all about where you want to be in the long -term. With a ADN you may not be able to move into administrative role if you want - i.e. greater pay, etc. For most of the director, assistant director or even educator positions, they want someone with a BS or MS or CNL degree.
The DePaul program costs about 50k over 20 months. You get a MS RN. then not many more months and you can get an APN. GPA is fine, but you need to work on the other stuff, like references - maybe from co-workers or friends?
If you don't care about moving into administrative role - then I agree, go ADN.
And by the way - there is NO shortage here - just graduated with a 3.92 and cannot even get an interview at some places... so beware, the Chicago market is TOUGH to get a RN job right now... it may be COMPLETELY different in 2 years when you graduate, but just letting you know...
I don't really plan on retiring, frankly. I'm in the social security age group that will have to postpone SS to age 67, anyway. That will probably change in a year or two to age 70. I'm not so much into administrative, but as I get older, that may suit my abilities more.
The admissions page says "teachers and employers" for references. My friends and co-workers would gladly write great letters of recommendation.
I don't know if you are willing to drive, but there is one at Methodist College of Nursing in Peoria IL. It is a Accelerated BSN 5 semester program that starts in Spring.
Hope this helps.
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