Working towards being a nurse, but need expert advice please!

  1. I'm a second career student, with an unrelated BS (Business Admin & Math), and 5 years experience in the corporate world. I want to help people, and have a purpose (as most of you probably do) and sitting at a desk all day makes me cringe. Not to mention I was getting headaches from it, and repeatedly pulled my hip flexor because I sat too much. I work out 5x a week and was training for a I'm not out of shape, I just can't sit for hours! I made a good living before, but I've come to terms with starting over professionally. I'm 27, so I have lots more time to work.

    I'm looking at PT/PTA, OT/OTA programs but the excitement and lower barrier to entry for RNs is really appealing to me. I'm just scared of your profession! I have a lot of respect for nursing but it also seems as most of you are undervalued. I started off looking at PT since the pay was good, and the stress was low but I can see the pitfalls there too. Since I have a bachelors the programs, aside from an accelerated BSN are about the same in length, and require most of the same pre-reqs.

    My specific questions to you guys are:

    1- Even with the craziness, do you have more good days than bad? I've been told by a few friends not to quit and purse a second career because it's all work in the end. I can see their point, but life is too short to not try to find your passion!

    2- I live in VA and have about 5 aBSN programs to pick from (yay!) - but they're so competitive. How does getting my Associates compare? I had a lot more options then. I was reading postings on this site comparing the two, and it sounds like the big perk of the BSN is you can go into administration easier and have more managerial opportunities. If that is true, wouldn't my BS help me out there?

    3- What are reasonable starting salaries? I know the average is about 65k, but I assume that is 5 years experience? 10? I know it can vary by specialty, and I'm interested in NICO, Oncology, and possibly CRNA. I'm not ruling out the idea of masters; in fact I would prefer to get that, but one step at a time.

    I've been around this forum a lot in the last 6 months, so I apologize for asking a lot of the same questions but I know some of this has changed a lot since some stickies were last modified. I have a ton of respect for nurses, and appreciate any insight provided.

    Thank you!
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    About dbs317

    Joined: Sep '12; Posts: 2


  3. by   HouTx
    A lot of people have unrealistic expectations of fulfillment from work - and expect nursing to be different somehow. Well, it really isn't. In fact, it can be very much worse because so many people have an idealistic perception of nursing go into it with very high expectations so the 'reality shock' is much worse. Not like people who go into accounting or retail. The sad truth is, nursing is a job at the very bottom of the healthcare professional hierarchy. Unlike other health professions, nurses "hold down the fort" 24X7 while the other professionals have more natural working hours. It is physically exhausting with disproportionately low external rewards for the investment (physical and emotional) involved.

    Salaries vary widely, so you would need to check with your local market. New grad salaries in most areas are more in the $40k range, and dropping as the number of new grads exceeds available jobs. There has been extreme salary compression since 2008 - and it is getting worse as healthcare reimbursement is slashed each year as a result of political cost-cutting measures. Entry level salaries may be slightly higher than other jobs with similar education, but they top out very quickly, while income for other professionals continues to rise throughout their career. Most organizations prefer BSN grads, due to a number of market forces but they shy away from hiring grads from any sort of "accelerated" pre-licensure programs so you may want to check the situation in your area before you invest a ton of money in an ABSN.

    I don't know what "NICO" is, but these days, new grads are grabbing at any job that is offered and hoping for a chance to enter a preferred specialty at some point later on. Advance practice roles (CRNA, NP, CNM, etc) all require a clinical MSN ... and you'll need specific types of clinical experience to be accepted to one of these programs.

    Bottom line - unless you are in continual torment as a result of your current job, don't do it. At least not now. Wait until some of the "Healthcare Reform" dust settles and see what is going to happen to nursing and healthcare in general. In the meantime, look for opportunities and advancement that is in line with your current career field.
  4. by   WeatherB
    any tip on schools that dont request for chemistry for FNP direct entry? (career changer). Thanks.
  5. by   dbs317
    HouTx, Thanks for the insight. My mom works as a unit clerk in a hospital, so I think if I really want to consider nursing I need to get in there and see what it's really about. If I was still in college I would seriously consider this but as a changer I might just have 'grass is greener' syndrome. I appreciate your response!