Nurse or Cop?

  1. Hello all,

    My name is Brian, and I've currently been accepted to go back to school for a second bachelor's in nursing. My first degree was in biology and i worked as a field rep for stryker medical for 2 years before deciding to change career paths. However i recently was called back for a job as a police officer near my hometown that i applied for on a whim that pays similar to what b.s.n. nurses start at here. I'm not sure if anyone here has any advice on which career path has the better future as far as pay scale as I couldn't find anything solid online.

    Thanks

    --Also, i've been reading the forums for some time and appreciate everyone's insight.

    Brian
  2. Visit knigry01 profile page

    About knigry01

    Joined: Mar '07; Posts: 4; Likes: 4

    12 Comments

  3. by   Tweety
    One of the problems with nursing is that there seems to be a cap in the salary and the range hospitals pay staff nurses is narrow. Here it's $21.00/hr for new grads and capped out at $30.00. After 15 years with the same organization I reached the top of their salary scale, and unless I move up to a management, charge nurse, or other position I'm not going to get another raise until they make a market adjustment.

    On the other hand I'm making about 150% more than when I started precisely because there is a nursing shortage here and the market has steadily adjusted upward.

    Also another way to make money in nursing is to work per diem, work for agencies or travel nursing. Here in Florida there are seasonal contracts that don't pay benefits put pay big bucks.

    The salaries for nurses vary regionally throughout the USA with the west and NW and NE USA making more than we do in the SE.
  4. by   MT RN
    I don't know where you're going to be a cop, but I was one for 23 years before I retired and went into nursing. At least in my situation, nursing pays A LOT better than law enforcement...and it's much less dangerous, at least most of the time!
  5. by   classicdame
    Nursing is very flexible. You can change jobs without changing careers or even where you live. There are MANY types of nurses, so your options depend on what you want to do. I don't know if that is the same for police work. Both are vital to the community. I hope you consider more than salary, however.
  6. by   jjjoy
    While some hospitals do have clear "clinical ladders" in terms of one's formal "level" (RN I, RN II) in the hospital and the associated pay differentials, nursing doesn't always have any clear progression of professional status. A bedside nurse of 15 years versus a bedside nurse of 5 years may or may not be earning more at the same facility. The facility in the next town may be paying substantially more or less than the one in town. Many nursing jobs don't provide any kind of pension and are more likely to have a 401k program that may or may not have a matching program. Many nurses take advantage of available overtime to increase their income. Thus, averages of nursing salaries and benefits are hiding a wide range of actual salaries and benefits. This is just my understanding. Anyone else is welcome to correct me.

    More important, it would seem, would be how you want to spend many of your waking hours... working as a nurse or working as a police officer. If you truly don't have a definite preference, then I guess either choice would be equally good for you, each with its unique pros and cons.
  7. by   MT RN
    Another thing to consider is if you ever want to relocate to another state, as a nurse it's fairly easy to get licensed anywhere once you have your initial license. As a cop, you generally would have to go through extensive training at a different department in order to switch, regardless of your experience.

    For example, when I moved from Indiana to Florida I would have had to go through several weeks of training to re-enter law enforcement here, even with all of my years of experience.
    Last edit by MT RN on Mar 21, '07
  8. by   58flyer
    I always thought I would do nursing as a second career after I retired from LE. But when the time to retire came, an opportunity to go with another agency presented itself. So now I am in my second LE career in a fantastic position, great pay and bennies, and working with wonderful people. So I won't be changing jobs any time soon.

    If you have found a job with an agency that pays good from the start, that's great. Granted, it isn't always about the money. But, after all is said and done, you still have to provide for yourself and your family. So pay is important.

    The LE job is a government job. That can be good or bad. It depends on the politics where you're at. Every time a political position changes hands, be it sheriff, mayor, governor, or whatever, it will have an effect on the troops. It can go either way. The mayor of a city will appoint the police chief (most of the time) and there are usually politics involved. A new governor will come in on a promise to cut taxes, and public service is usually where they start. Sheriff's elections are often cut throat, and the new guy will come in with sweeping changes, sometimes involving personnel. For example, in the sheriff's dept where I worked for 24 years, I supported a fine candidate. But he lost the election. Within a very short time a lot of people, myself included, went from very desirable positions back to riding a beat. But it can go the other way too. The requirements for the job I have now was written around my qualifications. I was friends with the person making the decision. That can be the nature of government.

    As another poster pointed out, changing jobs in LE means starting out as a new recruit, often having to go through training again from the ground up. This is true even if you stay in the same state. Nursing does have an advantage there. Just as in nursing, there are many different types of jobs within LE.

    One thing I have noticed on this forum. There is a lot of dissatisfaction that you see posted in various threads. Nurses "eating" their young, difficult co-workers, nasty doctors, backstabbing, burn out, cattiness, pathetic nurses (that's an ongoing thread), it just goes on and on. Now go and read the LE forums. You don't see nearly as much dissatisfaction on those boards. I have to have to conclude that nurses aren't nearly as happy with their choice of careers as cops are. But then cops have to get along, the warrior mentality requires that you trust your fellow officers. Your life depends on it.

    Law enforcement is definitely more dangerous. I have been shot at more times than I can remember, and hit once. I have had to go into burning buildings to get people and kids out. But it's been a rewarding and satisfying career. I'm still at it after nearly 30 years.
  9. by   SteveNNP
    Quote from 58flyer
    I always thought I would do nursing as a second career after I retired from LE. But when the time to retire came, an opportunity to go with another agency presented itself. So now I am in my second LE career in a fantastic position, great pay and bennies, and working with wonderful people. So I won't be changing jobs any time soon.
    Welcome.... So what are you doing on a nursing forum? ;>P




    One of my close nurse friends has to work fulltime because her husband (police officer) makes about $10/hr less than she does. While the long term benefits/retirement are appealing, I would definitely consider the flexibility and variety of fields nursing has to offer.


    Stephen
  10. by   58flyer
    Quote from SteveRN21
    Welcome.... So what are you doing on a nursing forum? ;>PStephen
    For the same reason you are Stevo. I come here to learn, interact, converse, and when I can, contribute. I have had an interest in nursing for a long time. The time will come when I can pursue that career. For now, I hope ya'll don't mind if I drop in for a visit every now and then, do ya?
    Last edit by 58flyer on Jul 6, '07 : Reason: Removed possibly identifying data...
  11. by   cuddlebug
    $ is important but where's your heart? What do you believe is more meaning for you. Which job gives you the most satisfaction?
  12. by   cuddlebug
    Quote from 58flyer
    For the same reason you are Stevo. I come here to learn, interact, converse, and when I can, contribute. But if you're a cop and a pilot, and an agency issues you a police car, an office, a brand new airplane, a helicopter, and tells you to write your own schedule, then doubles your salary, what else are you gonna do? For now, I'm staying. In the police business that is. I'm in a good job right now and I will stay there as long as it's good. Tomorrow at noon I will climb into the 2 million dollar helicopter that's parked in my back yard at this moment and I will fly to work. I have had an interest in nursing for a long time. The time will come when I can pursue that career. For now, I hope ya'll don't mind if I drop in for a visit every now and then, do ya?

    Sounds too good to be true. Have a 2 million dollar helicopter in your back yard, for your convience at the expense of the tax payers.
  13. by   58flyer
    Quote from cuddlebug
    Sounds too good to be true. Have a 2 million dollar helicopter in your back yard, for your convience at the expense of the tax payers.
    It really doesn't matter where it is parked, it costs the same whether it's parked at home or at the municipal airport. There are times though that having it parked closest to where I am enhances mission response time after call outs. There have been times when I was called from home and was able to be on scene in minutes as opposed to having to drive to the airport and pull the helo (or airplane) out of the hangar before I could even get it started. Having to go to the airport usually means a response time of up to 2 hours. I agree that it can be convenient to just hop in and fly from home. Just one of the perks of the job. But it does serve the interests of the taxpayers too, or else my boss wouldn't let me do it. Since I happen to live in an airport community, it is a safe place to operate an aircraft.
  14. by   cuddlebug
    Good neighborhood security.

    Have you had a chance to read this......I found it on allnurses.com here's the link-


    https://allnurses.com/forums/f58/my-...ive-48365.html

close