Advice and honest thoughts about Nursing school needed.

  1. I recently went through a CNA program and was told I would not be successful. The clinical instructor did say that I was very compassionate but all over the place. I passed the class but was slow at the tasks and had difficulty lifting patients, even with a gait belt. I'm older, early 50's and it was not easy but I tried and stuck it out. I have been taking pre-req's for nursing and have a 3.88 GPA

    Now, I wonder if I should move on. To be honest, after seeing what nurses do on a daily basis, I'm nervous about having that responsibility. I hate to invest more money and time on a occupation that I won't succeed at now or in the future. I've been reading the forums and I pick up that career changers think it's better but in reality, it's harder. Anyway, just thought I would chime in and add my story to see if anyone had any thoughts on my dilemma?
  2. Visit all in a days work profile page

    About all in a days work

    Joined: Apr '18; Posts: 6; Likes: 8
    from MI , US

    9 Comments

  3. by   meanmaryjean
    I think that the person who knows you best is YOU! And it sounds like you have given substantial thought to this.

    I commend you for doing your due diligence- so many times here at AN late in life career changers have this idea about nursing that is totally driven by what they see in media. They will not listen to reasonable points of view that differ with their 'dream' of what nursing is like. They only want validation that it is a good thing to go tens of thousands of dollars into debt to chase something that they only know about from TV. They are often the same ones who return here to endlessly gripe about how hard the work is, how nursing isn't what they thought it would be and how unprepared they are for the job.

    YOU, on the other hand. went out and tried it with the CNA course, and have decided (it seems) that perhaps it is not for you. It is OK to not be a nurse. It is OK to continue the pursuit. But whatever decision you make, make it for what is right for you.
  4. by   maxrand
    Nursing is a very broad field. From your post I noted a couple of things that will limit your practice fields, but they don't mean to write you off completely.
    You probably won't get a better answer than "it's ultimately up to you", unless you can tell us more about you and your situation.

    What career did you have before switching to medical?

    Have you explored other employment options?

    What nursing means to you? Is it a late calling or better income opportunity?
  5. by   all in a days work
    Thank you both for your thoughtful responses and taking the time to write back. I have always wanted to be in healthcare. I started out as a unit secretary in the 1990's and did that for about 6 years. At that time, employment was more part time then full time. I was a secretary right when computers were starting to be utilized and managed care came on the scene. This was long before HIPPA, leaving us had to write out the doctor orders on the med sheets and chart them in triplicate. Long story short, I ended up in customer service that somehow led to computers. I worked in that field for about 18 years and ended on a high note making comparable wages to a nurse. But, there has always been something missing and I keep feeling that my calling is in service.

    In the computer field, there is a missing human element. I remember one of my co-workers had pancreatic cancer and one day, his wife dropped him off to have lunch with us. Our management told us we could visit for a few moments but work was more important. For whatever reason, I realized then that I wanted to make a difference. I stayed late that day to finish my work because I couldn't walk away from my co-worker who clearly needed to feel part of something. I know too, just by reading many of these posts that profits in health care and budgets are sometimes prioritized over staffing levels. Basically, a business is in business to make a profit.

    Yet, I see through all that bureaucracy, something more tangible, beautiful even. At the heart of any healthcare organization is a nurse and his/her assistants. I really want to be part of that but I'm getting this nagging feeling that it's not the right field for me. In society, we are told that age is just a number but for me, that's not true. I have a 22 year old and a 6 year old whom I had at 46. I didn't bounce back and it took a year to heal from my c-section. In any case, I took the last 5 years off work and that's a death sentence in computers. Add age to that and it's an uphill battle to get a job and definitely not one where I can make top wages. So, for the past year, I've been working as a substitute teacher and I enjoy that, but the wages are not the best. My husband encouraged me to take a CNA class so I could go back to work while working on Nursing pre-requisites. I would like to work in healthcare but realize my limitations as well. I completely understand what a nurse does and it's not for the faint of heart. And, I ask myself the type of person I would want to be cared for in a hospital. The image that comes to mind is of someone who is proficient, caring and on top of things. I hate to admit this but I don't think I'm strong enough to be that person.

    Still, I loved being with the patients and enjoyed cleaning them up and making them the best bed that I could. Yet, the workload in long term care was too much. I don't want to hurt anyone or hurt myself either. Which leaves me, with some training that I could use or forge ahead anyway into nursing school. I am at a crossroads and unsure what direction to take. I've been reading these forums for a long time so I thought I would ask for advice. Thanks again for reading
  6. by   forevernursem
    This makes me really sad because it seems like after you were told you wouldn't be successful as a nurse, you started to doubt yourself. If nursing is your calling, then go for it! Don't let people ruin this dream of yours. With time, you will become faster at the skills, and really get the hang of things.

    Your GPA is really good. If you keep up your grades and work hard, you will succeed in your future nursing classes, and as a nurse.

    Best of luck.
  7. by   maxrand
    It seems to me that you put a lot of time to think about nursing and weighed your options.
    Correct me if I misunderstood you, but human element and caring for people that need help are two most important things for you. Nursing can definitely provide both, so it does make sense to go for it. However, most of the bedside nursing is just as taxing on you and your body, as long term care CNA work, if not more. Some areas are not as strenuous, for example, home health or palliative/hospice. At the same time, case management can also be an option, but you will end up sacrificing some of the hands-on experience that you seem to value a lot. It's a great gig, and you can really make a difference for someone by connecting them with resources necessary for their care. Some doctors' offices or walk-in clinics might also be an option, but it depends on the patient flow, so I can't really say with certainty that it will be a good match.
    Have you thought about trying to find some private clients to help with CNA tasks? You can also ultimately find private clients as an RN as well. It obviously requires some legwork and connections, but I feel that you have what it takes.
    Do not give up on your dream, if this is your dream. There are always options.
  8. by   all in a days work
    Thank you! I will look into Home Care and see where I can apply. Maybe the slower pace is what I need as far as learning skills. I would also get that one on one time that I really enjoy. Thank you so much for all your comments and suggestions. I hate to spend all that money on CNA training and not try in some capacity. As far as nursing, I'm still signed up for my last few classes of pre-req's. Maybe a few months of working will help me gain some clarity.
  9. by   Mavrick
    Quote from meanmaryjean
    I think that the person who knows you best is YOU! And it sounds like you have given substantial thought to this.

    I commend you for doing your due diligence- so many times here at AN late in life career changers have this idea about nursing that is totally driven by what they see in media. They will not listen to reasonable points of view that differ with their 'dream' of what nursing is like. They only want validation that it is a good thing to go tens of thousands of dollars into debt to chase something that they only know about from TV. They are often the same ones who return here to endlessly gripe about how hard the work is, how nursing isn't what they thought it would be and how unprepared they are for the job.

    YOU, on the other hand. went out and tried it with the CNA course, and have decided (it seems) that perhaps it is not for you. It is OK to not be a nurse. It is OK to continue the pursuit. But whatever decision you make, make it for what is right for you.
    I cannot "like" this enough so I have quoted and highlighted it!!

    Back to OP, however, with all the vast knowledge of your situation that I possess I will render an opinion. I think you can make it in nursing. It will be challenging physically so get good shoes and buy your non-prescription pain reliever of choice in the bulk bottles. Learn and use the safe lifting techniques they teach in Physical Therapy classes. Ask for help and work together. Let gravity be your friend. Allow yourself time to recover as able.

    There are physically "easier" fields of nursing. Some have already been mentioned. I would add Outpatient Surgery especially Pre OP. I'm guessing at Dialysis or Infusion Therapy as requiring less lifting so let the professionals correct me.
  10. by   all in a days work
    Thank you very much for your suggestions! It's good to know there are physically easier fields in nursing.
  11. by   lifeisnow11
    I wanted to piggy back on the post about working in home care to gain those CNA skills (which is a good idea). As someone who started in home care and then switched to LTC I wanted to share some experience. When I started in home care they paid for my classroom training, which was great, but they gave me ZERO in the field training. What I found was that I showed up at people's homes and had no idea how to approach clients who were resistive to care. "The Approach" is such an important skill to learn that I would suggest asking for in the field training. If they won't do that for you I would skip it, unless you're already comfortable convincing a depressed and ill client that they should take a shower even if they don't want to. Another option is working in an assisted living facility for at least 6 months or so and then switching to home care. An ALF would be less physically demanding than a skilled nursing facility. It is still very physically demanding, but a lot less lifting and transferring. I had planned to stay doing home care the whole time I was in nursing school but I found I simply wasn't able to learn enough without working alongside an experienced aid. My year in assisted living has been priceless. I love it and I've learned SO much from my fellow aids and the nurses I've worked under.

    Good luck! It sounds like you will make an excellent nurse!

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