Hello! I live in Florence, AZ and have been reading several of these forums for some time now and finally decided to make a post with a plea for help from all of you with expertise who've "been there...done that"
Although it has been extremely intimidating, I have decided to seek a second career later in life to the field of nursing. There are several reasons why I have decided to jump from a background of human resources and business administration (and before that....finance) to the healthcare field and specifically
nursing. In 2005, I was laid off when I was 4 months pregnant with my first child. My husband and I decided to try and make a go of it on one income. It's now the middle of 2007 and we now have two small children (one 19 mos and one 5 mos) and have literally tapped every financial resource possible to prevent me from having to go back to work. Having two children so close together (and one high-risk pregnancy) with all the doctor visits and long L&D/recovery/hospital stays, I have been seriously thinking of going into nursing over the past six months sheerly for the practical experience and ability to use it in my home and for my family. When my kids are sick, I don't want to have to rush to the doctor and pay a $20 copay to find out they have a cold that was caused by a virus and there isn't anything I can do about it but give them Tylenol or Ibuprofen for comfort. I also like the idea of being able to work anywhere in the world, anytime, doing almost anything -- it's so flexible. I always admired nurses and their knowledge and caring ability to interact with and treat the human body and soul. My third reason is so I have the training/experience under my belt in case something happened to my husband. I didn't want to be left with two little kids and a resume full of business "fluff". I want something practical and interesting and useful all at the same time. So, I decided to surf the internet for ideas on how to get into nursing.
I found this forum almost immediately through a google search and found a discussion thread about the best route to get to an RN. With my lack of experience and need to go back to school anyway, I decided to start with a CNA program. It was the shortest way to get certified to do something in healthcare. I started a medical terms course online through Rio Salado community college (online) a few weeks ago and that is going fine. I think there are only two more classes plus the nurse assisting lab before the program is finished. (It's only 8 credit hours.) All of this is with the idea that once the CNA is finished, I can apply to nursing school and move into an RN program. I think Rio Salado's has exit points at the CNA, LPN, and then RN level. In the meantime, I thought I'd be smart and seek a job at a hospital so I could work nights and not have to put my kids in daycare (which we don't want -- don't worry I have a mother-in-law to help so I get some sleep). I revelled in my genious thinking how I could be going to school at my own pace (at least in the beginning) yet working for someone who could PAY for my schooling. All of this practical experience in a hospital setting of course, would also serve the purpose of helping me decide whether I really wanted to be a nurse. After all, I know there is a difference between having a dream and actually doing the everyday nitty gritty dirty work. It would be irresponsible to decide to "go to nursing school" without having some experience in a healthcare setting to see if I really even liked it. Sorry for all the background, but I felt it necessary to any reader who might be able to give me some real-life suggestions...even if it's something I don't want to hear.
So, I updated my resume with a different objective statement and added a cover letter stating that I'm in the nursing program originally seeking a CNA to RN path. I've even gone out on my own and taken the certification for BLS for Healthcare Provider even though I'm not a healthcare provider yet. But now I have it for my resume!!! I googled all the hospitals within an hour drive of me (I live in sort of a remote area.) and applied for dozens of jobs that I feel I am qualified for...but the whammy is that I don't have the healthcare experience. I thought it was going to be so easy with being a later-in-life career-change seeker, but boy was I wrong. I've applied for patient financial service reps, patient care assistants, health unit coordinator/secretary (which I am definitely qualified for except for the lack of experience in a healthcare setting), among others, but I haven't heard back from anything and most websites change the application status from submitted to "no longer interested" almost immediately after I apply. The only reason I apply to these jobs is because the job description says experience preferred...none of them said "mandatory" or "must have." The jobs that said that, I didn't even bother with.
Is it just that hard to break into the healthcare field, or am I doing something else that is wrong. Maybe I need to start in the cafeteria or housekeeping and move up from there.
I would appreciate any help from anyone who has time to give some constructive criticism to a frustrated mom. Maybe what I'm trying to do is impossible and I won't be able to get a job working nights in the healthcare field until I actually have some credentials (such as a CNA), but I'd love to hear from someone that feels sorry enough for me to help
Thank you, in advance, for any thoughts, suggestions, hints, comments that you may have. This website is an amazing gold mine of experience and knowledge and cheers to all of you!