Attorney to RN--best education path?

  1. I'm an attorney hoping to leave law and start a second career as a nurse. I'm struggling to scope out a realistic educational path. I would ultimately love to become a NICU or labor/delivery nurse, but I'm also very interested in bedside care in an acute care setting.

    There's only one accelerated BSN program in my area, and it's quite expensive (about $60k). There are also a few entry-level Master's programs for about the same cost. Since I already have a hefty amount of debt from law school and undergrad, I'm hesitant to take on more, but would be willing to do so if necessary.

    A number of community colleges in my area offer much more affordable ADN programs. But because of the number of prerequisites I'd have to take (since I didn't take any science courses in undergrad), those programs would ultimately take 1-2 years longer than the accelerated BSN program, or about the same time as the accelerated Master's programs. For all of these programs, I'd knock out the prerequisites on a part-time basis, then attend school full time for the actual nursing program.

    The other option I'm considering is to first become an LPN, then work as an LPN while attending school part-time to become an RN. Because the LPN programs require a lot fewer prerequisites, I could become an LPN a lot sooner, and could defer the costs of education by working while attending school. I also wouldn't mind working in more of a clinic/office setting as an LPN for a few years.

    Oh yes, and one more wrench to throw in: my husband and I are also hoping to start a family within the next few years (for sure within 5 years). So I'm also trying to plan ahead for how that will realistically fit into all this.

    Anyway, I would appreciate any advice, suggestions, or input! Thank you!
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    About wobegon78

    Joined: Nov '12; Posts: 1


  3. by   sunbaby0811
    I'd check the requirements for the accelerated BSN program. All the ones I've seen have the same pre-req requirements as the associates level programs. I already have a bachelors but have spent the last 2 yrs working my way through the sciences. I work ft and have 2 small children so I'm sure it can be done faster but that's my pace.

    And fwiw I personally wouldn't pay $60k for a BSN!! The program I hope to attend should come our to < 20k. In the 2 yrs I've been doing pre-reqs, I've been saving like mad. Works out that the money will be saved by the time I'm done!

    Good luck to you!
  4. by   HouTx
    Agree with PP - go for the BSN. Hiring managers are very reluctant to hire entry-level MSNs.

    Check around for better priced BSN programs. Most traditional schools now have launched alternative pathway BSN programs, including online options. The pricey programs do not produce any different outcomes so you would be paying a ton more money for the same degree. Just not smart.

    I know a lot of people who worked while attending nursing school (including me). It's not impossible but you do have to be motivated - I once went 18 months without a single "day off" & I had small children at that time. Thank heavens my hubby was an active participant in parenting and household management.

    It's interesting that you are moving from law into nursing. My company employs several RN/JDs, but they all went the other way - nurse first, then law school. Most of them are employed in Risk Management or the Legal dept.
  5. by   TopazLover
    You peaked my curiosity. I know there are a glut of lawyers coming on the market, and also for nurses. Do you want to use any of your law education? If so, it is a different path than if you really want bedside nursing. Boy is bedside different than legal work. I have known teachers who became nurses and nurses who became teachers but never met a person who would give up law entirely for nursing.

    I agree with other posters. If you want bedside don't go the MSN route. If you would like to teach some aspects of nursing or use your legal experience in a different way the MSN might work. If you wish to start a family in 5 years you could probably be done schooling and then work part time so you don't get the problem that many new grads have, no experience and working in a non-nursing job.
  6. by   PacoUSA
    My advice? Bite the bullet and do the accelerated BSN.

    That's what I did in your situation. I was so discouraged in my career as an attorney, I always felt something was missing. Once I found nursing, my life and outlook has changed dramatically for the positive. I love being a nurse and working as one. Bedside nursing is very different from drafting complaints and litigating in court, but I don't regret a second. I debated for a while doing ADN or LPN or ABSN and ultimately chose to get it over with and I figured I would have better chances to get a job with the highest degree. I got a job right after graduation, and this is in the NYC metro area, which is one of the toughest job markets for new grads. One year in an ABSN will go by VERY quickly, trust me, and to know you will be in the job market faster is a plus. You're a lawyer, you know what networking is about, it's no different in nursing. That's the key to getting work in nursing these days, it's about who you know and who knows you --- standing out in clinicals and being kind to everyone you meet, and that means CNAs and staff you meet along the way, not just RNs. My unit has 2 former lawyers, me and another nurse, I think that's unprecedented anywhere right now in one medical unit. Having that law degree is nothing but an asset. It's not a guaranteed ticket to a job, but it shows employers off the bat that you are groomed in professionalism and have life experience that makes you a better nurse.

    I agree, $60K is a tad expensive for an accelerated BSN, but if you have no other options, I would do it in your situation. Taking the longer road of LPN or ADN would be in some respects too slow for where you want to be (and less income earned along the way). Is there a state univ ABSN in your state you could possibly attend instead, even if that means being away from your family for a year? I know many parents that have done this as the sole breadwinner of the family. It can be done.

    My law degree and experience will not be a total waste, as I plan to use it to my advantage later on in some way. Merging my law and nursing career is something I want to do eventually, not sure how though. But for now, I am happy to invest at least 5 years at the bedside just to learn the nursing craft.

    Good luck, I look forward to seeing more lawyers enter the nursing profession (as long as nursing is their true calling).
  7. by   Peanut&Buttercup
    I realize this thread is old, but I was happy to see that someone else is an attorney who wants to leave the law. I am doing the ASN route; hopefully, I'll find a job when I'm done and then get my BSN online. Due to timing, an accelerated BSN or direct entry MSN would only be one semester less and $15,000 more. After taking out a bunch of loans for law school, I'm not interested in doing that again.

    Anyone else out there?