Doctor becoming Nurse? - page 2

I'm a doctor of optometry and I am considering a career change to nursing. The worst part about my current job is that there are absolutely no benefits (i.e., insurance, vacations, retirement, etc.),... Read More

  1. by   Ginny Weasley
    You spent all that time going to medical school and you want to be a nurse instead? That seems like such a waste to me, but that's only my opinion. It kind of reminds me a of guy I know who was a graduate from UCLA, a prestigious 4 year university that is hard to get into, and he decided to pursue a career as a dental assistant after that.
  2. by   MA Nurse
    Quote from Valerie Salva
    Most nurses make in the mid to upper 20s per hr, all across the US. The "nurses make big money" thing is a myth.

    Here's a really good graph w/ info on RN wages.

    As for the benefits being good, that varies widely. I've been a nursing supervisor, and my employer did not offer any medical ins.

    I do know a CRNA who makes $190,000./yr.
    Upper 20's?? all across the US? Not in Ca. On call nurses who have 15+ years experience can make $60-70 an hour in the SF bay area!
    Even our new grads start at 30-40 an hour. So it's not across the US.
  3. by   colleennurse
    I think CA and NYC are probably the exception. The cost of living in SF bay area is much higher than most of the US.
  4. by   Logos
    where I live starting salary for an RN in a city hospital (in Pittsburgh)
    can be as low as 18-19 an hour
    after 10 years you may get 35 or 38 - not big bucks
  5. by   RNnewgrad
    Check out for salaries. Adding to those salaries is all the doubletime/overtime offered by many hospitals. RN's who choose to take on extra days during a pay period(a normal pay period is only 6 days of work in two weeks) can make six figures. AND, you don't have to carry a pager when your not at work!
  6. by   nurseaboveboard
    Hi. I am thinking after reading your posts that if you're miserable in your current situation (feast or famine), maybe you should take a serious look at changing your priorities. Would your family require less money by downsizing, etc? Is debt and/or lifestyle the issue? Kids in college? Is your family loving and supportive enough to stand behind you while you make a change? These are some of my thoughts for what they're worth. I can tell you that the older I get, the less money means to me, and the more I value other things. We live very modestly and don't have a lot of debt, and in fact I am currently unemployed, looking for a different job, but determined not to take a job that will make me miserable (I've had a few of those). Don't know if this helps you, but generally folks are helped here by throwing around ideas. Best to you and yours though, whatever you decide!
  7. by   jolleygirl
    Have you considered moving to a bigger practice. The clinic I work in has several optomitrist and I'm pretty sure getting vacation off is not a problem, with great benefits as well. There are probably 6-8 Docs in that dept. I think they are extremely busy there also, but there probably are slower periods. I do believe the Nurse anesthetist is the highest paying nursing job. According to the CRNA's in my dept they are definately making under 100,000 yrly. Good Luck
  8. by   nursegia
    Quote from tenrec
    I'm a doctor of optometry and I am considering a career change to nursing. The worst part about my current job is that there are absolutely no benefits (i.e., insurance, vacations, retirement, etc.), and if I want to take any time off, I not only don't get paid, but have to find and hire my own replacement. The business is extremely variable and there are times, like now, when I make very little money, while at other times I am very busy. The idea of nursing appeals to me and I believe that the fringe benefits are a lot greater.

    My family situation demands that I make at least $100,000 a year and preferably $120,000 or more. Am I going to be able to make anything like that as a nurse? I think I could as a nurse anesthetist, but I don't know if my situation will permit me to complete the educational program, which is full time for more than 2 years after becoming an RN.

    Just from a financial standpoint, is a nursing career likely to meet my needs? Thanks for any advice you can offer.
    I must say that I never heard of a doctor wanting to become a nurse (quite interesting). I became a nurse on Sunday and I'm actually trying to do it the other way around, because I want to experience the nursing experience so that I can be a better doctor. I always thought doctors make more than nurses and obviously you do if you need that much just to maintain living comfortably. I feel like going to nursing is going backwards. You should try to go lateral or up. Do what some others said, try a different specialty thats in demand more than yours. Or research your own specialty a little more if thats what you like bc look at what 1 person said about where she works, that there is 6 people doing what you do and they are busy. I would only suggest nursing if this was your life long dream. My bf said you can also try to research possibly consulting to others for people in your field, you would make the money but not the benefits. GOOD LUCK
  9. by   sallber
    I totally disagree with the comment that a nurse cannot make $120,000 a year. There is NO CAP on what a nurse can make. A nurse can work at a hospital making $60,000, work for agency making $75.00/hour, and can easily make over $100,000 a year if he/she wants to.

    My aunt is a nurse, and she makes more than $100,000 a year. So, that's not true that you cannot. And besides, I feel very uncomfortable putting a cap on what a nurse can make, because there are so many ways a nurse can make money. Agency, private duty, hospital, etc.
  10. by   Mijourney
    Hi tenrec. I agree with those who suggest that you should research nursing and shadow a nurse to see if it's something you want to do. If you find that nursing is for you, I feel you should consider going for the nurse practitioner license because that will more than likely give you the autonomy that you're experiencing now as an optometrist. More and more nurse practitioners are being used in acute care but they are on staff for the hospital. Not sure of their salary but I would bet with them working under more autonomous conditions than the average RN, they would make pretty close to six figures. This also depends on the region of the country in which you live. You could conceivably get benefits from the hospital by working part-time as an NP and maintaining your optometry practice. Then maybe on down the road, If you've experienced the opportunity as an NP in critical care, you may decide to go for nurse anesthesia training and license if you feel up to it. Your education as a nurse can become quite involved. It just depend on, as others have indicated, if you feel it's worth it.
  11. by   CountyRat
    Tenrec; first of all, know that we would welcome you into our ranks. However, I suggest careful thought about this carreer change.

    You will not make $120,000 a year. Period. Oh, maybe after many years, if you work the equivalent of two full-time jobs, you might. Is that really the life you want? I have been a registered nurse for 25 years, and I am always amused by people who tell me how much money I make. Huge myth!

    Nursing education is a full-time job. If you are willing to ignore your family for a couple of years, you could hold down a part-time job while completing your education, but you will not be able to support a family and pay fees, tuition, books, etc. on that. You will have to barrow money. When you graduate, you will be in substantial debt. Factor monthly payments on this debt into the $40,000 or so you are most likely to make your first year out of nursing school. (Yes, you can make more than 40K your first year in some states, but not much more, and as has been noted by previous posters, these higher wages are usually found in states with higher costs of living.)

    You can make more money working per diem as a nurse, yes, even as much as $60- $70 per hour. However, that assumes that you are working in a high-acuity setting like critical care. No one will hire you for critical care practice until you have a few years of clinical experience in a lower accuity area, where you will earn much less. And, per diem possitions usually do NOT include benefits, which are important to you. Your mileage may vary, as different hospitals and agencies have different benefit options. Some are not bad. However, if you are considering this route, check it out very carefully, do the math, and make sure that it really gets you where you want to go.

    I've saved the most important point for last: Nursing is a wonderful profession. I love my profession and I am very proud to enjoy the privillege of calling myself a nurse. However, it is a lousey way to make more than a living wage. More to the point, most people are not cut out to be nurses. Most people would hate it. Many nurses do hate thier work, and they are miserable men and women. (The reason there is a nursing shortage is NOT because there are too few nurses; it is because too few of those who are nurses are willing to accept the work and workplace conditions that have become routine in modern nursing practice.) I would urge you to do some volunteer work in a hospital, or take a quick course and become a nurse's aid (you could pull shifts during those slack times in your optometry practice). See what our work really involves. See how we are treated by patients, family, physicians, and administrators. Then, ask yourself whether you would be happy in that role. Be brutilly honest with yourself; a lot is riding on this!

    As I said, we would welcome you into our ranks, but would you welcome being one of us? Most people would not. We do not need any more unhappy, disillusioned nurses, and you, and your family, will not benefit if you become one of those.

    I wish you, and your family, God's blessing as you consider this very serious decission.