Fearing the Unknown

  1. I've been dancing around options for a second career for some time now. Everything I am truly good at is creative but I don't think I would want to use my escape as a job, not that there are a lot of them anyway. The other things I've always been good at is being an empathetic caretaker, being a calming agent to aggressiveness, and reading people pretty well. I've been a good student for vocational studies or independent studies but have never been in a long-haul program. I'm not good at math.

    Nursing has been a consideration off and on for all of my life. For a 46-year-old I'm told I'm pretty youthful, but I don't feel sure at the moment because of the questions pinging off of the walls of my head.

    If I do decide to pursue this dream, will I find myself in debt up to my ears and hating life? Is it too late to train my brain? Am I too right-brained for all that math? Will it suck up all of my energy, even on my days off? Will it be worth it?

    If anyone has been in my place, I'd be grateful for your insight.....
  2. Visit dolphin1966 profile page

    About dolphin1966

    Joined: Mar '13; Posts: 21
    Hospital Billing Customer Service; from US


  3. by   hodgieRN
    You are never too old to go to nursing school. So don't let that get in your way.

    You do have to use math in nursing, but it's basic math. School will probably be more difficult than the actual job itself. I knew of a program that offered "math for nursing majors" or something like that. It was generalized and basic. You will probably have to take algebra. It's not bad. They will teach you everything that you need to know to pass. You won't have to take upper level math unless you decide to get your bachelors.

    As far as debt, a community college is far less expensive than a university. It's probably a third of the cost. Once you graduate, it won't take you that long to pay off loans from CC. (I think college education is still a tax credit if you go full-time...not sure. If it is, a nice portion school is technically paid for when you get your tax return back).

    If you really want to do nursing, then the length of time should be a factor.

    If you are concerned with time, you can look into getting your LPN. However, some LPN programs are expensive. It is quicker though.

    Look into the academic part of nursing. You say you are not good at math, but a&P, micro, patho, med/surgical, pharmacology are very extensive. Do you think you will be good at understanding medical theory, memorization, and writing lots of papers? It's endless in nursing school. You can always talk to an academic adviser. Good luck!
  4. by   dolphin1966
    Thank you hodgieRN, I appreciate your taking the time, sharing insight, encouragement and for being completely realistic. You gave me some very key things to consider and some very good information.

    I will look into math for nursing majors. I guess I'd be okay; some years back I did slam a community college online basic math class into one summer after 25 years since high school and only failed by 3%; no calculator allowed. I use basic math in my billing customer service job and haven't made a blunder yet. I have always treated medication with a healthy respect and have a habit of checking and re-checking, just in everyday life. I guess it isn't math I'm afraid of, it's making a medication mistake...but then I hear there are tighter systems in place. The only thing on your list that gives me pause is memorizing. I will have to write little songs and use mnemonics, I guess!

    At my age and with the fact that I have to work full time I think I'm a good candidate for a career school. In our small town we have few colleges so LPN is not an option, since my focus is bedside, but we do have a Carrington College with RN. I will hopefully have tuition reimbursement available soon. I was always hoping I could be a full-time student so I could excel instead of just survive.

    Thank you again, I will discuss your key points with an academic advisor!
  5. by   hodgieRN
    No problem!

    You can also ask which instructor is more liked or which better with the students. Some classes can be a lot easier with the right teacher. If you work in billing, then math shouldn't be an issue since you work with numbers.

    There are many systems in place to help with medication errors. But, they still happen. Most meds these days are mixed by pharmacy and smart pumps are the standard. (Smart pumps are computerized pumps that have med lists and safety features.) You will be a pro by the end of nursing school. Meds and calculation will be drilled in.

    Make sure you are able to balance your work with school. Full-time and school can be done, but it can be difficult. It will depend on how much you need to study.
  6. by   dolphin1966
    Well that encourages me, Hodgie, thank you! I'm meeting with HR at the hospital I work at soon to discuss tuition reimbursement, and I have another appt with Carrington to get some more questions answered, and plan to see a regular counselor to overcome some of the fears I have. I spoke with a nurse today who was exposed to HIV and the tests she had to have done, etc. and I have to admit, it almost deterred me, but I know there are nursing jobs that are more hazardous than others. Thank you again.
  7. by   hodgieRN
    Good luck with everything. The exposure is actually not that bad, so don't let it stop you. There's always risk, but if you do things the right way and don't cut corners, you'll be fine. The risk of contracting HIV from a needle stick is actually very low. You'd have to get some actual blood transferred before the risk rises. And, there is a rapid treatment after a needle stick. They flood you with antivirals right after it. Hepatitis is probably more of a risk than HIV or exposure to airborne pathogens, but all those things have very strict precautions. Nurses that poke themselves are usually working too fast and not paying attention.