Midlife Career Change to Nursing - Advice, please - page 2

Hi all, I'm a 42-year-old lawyer who's seriously considering making a career change to the nursing field. (I've been an unhappy lawyer, in several different law positions, for 18 years now...). I... Read More

  1. by   DoeRN
    It's funny. I'm going back for an IT degree and then to law school. But actually there are a lot of lawyer turned nurse members on this board. I agree with the above that there is no shortage. But you could use your law degree to your advantage as an RN attorney. Of course you would have to get experience first but you can combined your 2 degrees.

    And yes there are a LOT of unhappy nurses out there. I'm one of them. I like being a nurse but there is so much crap that comes with being a nurse. And if you think your clients treat you like a servant think of everyone in the hospital treating you like a servant. And everything is blamed on the nurse. The TV not working, blame the nurse, the heat isn't working, blame the nurse.

    A good example of our abuse. The question that is asked the most is when will the doctor be in? We get blamed for family having to wait all day to talk to the doctor. Then we are asked to call the doctor to see what time he/she rounds. I don't call because I know the answer. I had a family member get super indignant with me about this. She demanded I call the doctor because she didn't want to wait all day to talk to him. I called his service and when he called back I put him on speaker phone. I told him so and so's daughter wants to know when you make it in to talk to her? I step back from the phone and put it real close to the daughter. And yes I received the answer I expected. The doctor said when I get there in an extremely irritated voice. I asked can you talk to her on the phone? He yells no I can't talk to her right now! I'm headed to such and such hospital and hangs up the phone. Needless to say the daughter apologized and she waited for the doctor to come in.

    And trust me that example is mild. So we aren't saying that nursing is all bad but if you do go into nursing be prepared to have your behind handed to you on a regular basis if you work at the bedside especially. If you can even get a bedside or any nurse job as a new grad.

    Oh I forgot to add I make $45 now but I have to work my behind off and I don't have benefits.

    Sent from my iPhone using allnurses.com
    Last edit by DoeRN on Mar 22, '13
  2. by   One1
    I wouldn't recommend it. You will invest a lot of time and money into prerequisites and nursing school only to be one of the gazillions of new grad nurses looking for a few open positions. Chances are (of course there are always exceptions) that you will not be able to start in your preferred specialty right away. You will receive app. half of your current pay and work 13+ hour shifts with or without break. If you have to start on nights (which is common) you will mess up your sleep schedule and it might take 1-2 days to adjust to "daytime life" whenever you are off. With half the pay of what you make right now, you might have to work extra shifts to pay your bills or continue your current standard of life (or simply pay off your school debt), so you might end up picking up extra shifts, and all of a sudden you will find yourself working 4-5 shifts a week. You will most likely be required to work holidays and weekends. Regarding personal satisfaction of helping others: yes, that aspect is there, but often much less than you are hoping for, due to the fact that you will be overworked on an understaffed floor with so many patients that you will not have enough time to give them the care you desire. Your majority of the time will be spend documenting and doing required paperwork that will keep you from your patients' rooms. I am a second-career RN, and although I still like some aspects of my job I am unsure that I would do it all over again if I knew back then what I know now.
  3. by   marcos9999
    One illusion most of us carer changers have is that nursing is all about patient care. That would be nice but nurses spend almost or 1/2 of their time charting and doing tedious and very detailed oriented paper work. Not only this paper work is like office work but worst is done out of an office, at the nursing station with no office implementation and perks. This work has to be done precisely and any small detail missed could be a med error which could get you fired or somebody killed faster then a patient reaching for the call light. Hospitals today are big corporations that only care about their huge profits and not about the patient or the social service their provide in other words not very nice places to work, their are mostly toxic places.

    If you really want to go into health care you might still want to seek the nursing carer but be open and look into different venues, such as primary care, preventive care. Bed side nursing is a place you don't want to be right now...specially if you are not young and pretty...sorry but not even these kids are getting jobs...
  4. by   nurseladybug12
    I went to nursing school in CT and in my last semester I applied to every nurse residency program in CT I was allowed to starting in Jan 2012, and I applied weekly to new openings at every hospital in CT until June and never heard back from one hospital, only rejection emails. I moved to Florida and within 1 wk of getting my license endorsed here I got a job-however, instead of the $30/hr I thought for the 3 years I was in school I would eventually be making as a new RN,I am making 21.50, and another hospital I started out at was paying me 19.68/hour. The cost of living in FL isnt that much cheaper than CT really, so to be making less than 2/3 the national average is very disheartening. Onet.org is a great govt funded database which has every occupation you can think of, with the skills,training, and median wages by state, and also the projected job growth for the next 10-20 years. It is a really great website and will help you plan what part of the country you would want to relocate to if you had to. I know that NY is a very tough place to get a RN job in, I looked at job listings and most hospitals want 1 year experience plus BSN, I only had ADN and obviously no experience. I would say that if it is your life's passion to be a nurse, go for it, and hopefully in the next few years the economy will turn around just in time for you to be stepping foot into the job market. If it is purely for economical reasons, I dont think it would be a good decision, we definitely do not get paid close to anywhere all nurses deserve!
  5. by   gloryfied
    Don't Do It.

    ...plain and simple.
    save yourself.
  6. by   Benedina
    Whether or not your previous career will be given consideration depends entirely on the person doing the hiring. My previous career has helped me land four positions in health care since I made a second-career switch to nursing.

    I've found jobs in both urban and suburban settings without any problem. I'm not disagreeing that it can be hard on a new nurse today but professional skills are an asset in the job search. As a lawyer, you probably have above-average job search skills, no?

    As for stress--every nurse in my new cohort thought nursing was highly stressful except for the three of us who had held highly-paid positions in other fields. We found nursing decidedly less stressful compared to the chronic stress of our previous careers--and we each took a substantial paycut to pursue nursing.

    (By the way, my own track: pre-reqs while I held down my full-time career. Two years to earn my BSN, while I kept up with part-time work on the side. Full-time employment in an urban acute care hospital, mostly day shifts, within six weeks of graduation. Several of my classmates did just as well. The horror stories are out there, but so are the success stories. Just do your research.)

  7. by   NicuGal
    I always have to warn people in their 40's that it isn't easy becoming a nurse now....it is hard on your body, you will be working an off shift most likely, you will be working weekends and holidays, if you are in a large unit you Amy not even get a summer vacation for 5-10 years depending on how good their retention is. It is just a lot of change for some people.

    And being in the New York area ( I think that is where said you were from) you have to be BSN prepared.

    I love my job, but at 40 something, , I am Looking forward to being able to retire when I am 51!
  8. by   toonsis
    Wow! So so cynical I am sure she appreciates the honesty, but not one person could say anything positive. I hope I never become this way.
  9. by   beeker
    Quote from gloryfied
    Don't Do It.

    ...plain and simple.
    save yourself.
    I agree. I am a career changer, did so in my thirties. It was a bad decision. I work a million times harder and make way less. My body hates me. I've become so unhealthy! Working 12 hour night shifts was necessary to get my foot in the door and it as aged me so much! Coming from a lawyer background you are probably analytical and appreciate logic. Ths will hinder you in healthcare. There is no logic and you are discouraged from questioning policies that make zero sense. Nursing no longer is centered on caring For patients, it is all about making money and working the staff to death to squeeze out every last drop.
  10. by   gloryfied
    @ toonsis sad to admit yup, but we are doing this person a favor. I wish someone would've scared me before I came into this, i wouldve been in a different situation in life. While nursing is not the worse, HMM well i guess i cant say that confidently, but hoonestly i think it's a pretty draining job. Whether you LOVVEEEE helping people, and CARRIINNG for the sick, and HEAALLLINGG. Thats all great, who doesnt want to help sick people get better. That's like doing good deeds every day you work, but the FIELD of nursing apparently has become more robotic than natural. You may love it in the beginning, but sooner or later, you'll find your self in a schizophrenic mode, just out of control who knows.

    Im just saying. It's something that is just.......something,no words
  11. by   tokebi
    I graduated just last year, and my program being an entry-level master's geared towards career changers, there were quite a few older students, with a couple of lawyers too. It's true job search is brutal -- I live in California -- and possibly more difficult for older new grads. But eventually almost everyone I know from my cohort have a job now.

    If you're truly certain this is what you want to do, here's what I would suggest.

    Get stellar grades on your pre-reqs and get into a really well-known, reputable nursing school.

    Get to know your faculty. There might be research opportunities. They might connect you to managers and recruiters.

    Keep an open mind about what nursing is. It's not just bedside nursing. There are research, public health,... You will be exposed to various opportunities throughout school. Explore different nursing paths instead of making up your mind on a specialty early on.

    Try to get a healthcare job before or during school, such as CNA or even a volunteer. It may or may not pan out but it will still be an advantage over other applicants who never got exposed to such work.

    I hope this shines a ray of hope, since all other posts are so emphatically gloom.
    If I were so miserable in my current profession, I would gladly take the chance and go back to school. Jobs are hard to find, yes, but they're there. You just have to become one of the candidates who get hired.
  12. by   armychic
    I agree! There are jobs out there. You just have to be willing to do what other won't do. That is how you get ahead in my opinion. Also, networking during clinical works wonders for potential job opportunities. I wonder if the original poster thought about the direction she may want to go? His/her own business, legal nurse, something that incorporates her current skills into nursing. It's hard to find your niche per say..
  13. by   anotherone
    Everything everyone said is true . competition for nyc jobs is in the 1000s . ny grads, ct, nj, pa, mass, ri etc. and all the other thousands in US that want to work and live in nyc and recent hospital closures. yes there are ltcs and dialysis and prisions but there is competition there too.Some can only find part time work. Many east coast big city grads had to relocate for jobs beginning in 2008 even with BSN. being a lawyer may be a plu us depending on who is looking at your resume. i like that i make wbout $25/hr, work 3 nights etc. those might be cons for you. The schedule may not be consistent. nights, days, holidays, weekends. I was able to relocate because I do not have other people I am responsible for but it was still rough. Oh and I am in my 20s and dont know if I can physically do this for 30more years ( a bit dramatic but it is not exactly a desk job) .