It's time for a career change into nursing...

  1. Okay, after some life-changing events, I have begun to feel the calling to go into nursing. It's weird, when I was in high school and college, I was asked more than once why didn't I want to become a nurse, that I had the right attitude and desire to "help people". I never really had a good answer at the time. After I graduated from college in 2000 (BA in Sociology, Minor in Psychology; 3.69 GPA), I was commissioned as an officer in the US Air Force. I've been serving for some time now, and have certainly enjoyed my career thus far. I had actually started working on my Master's in Social Sciences this year, but not sure what I would do with it. I have felt somewhat empty and have felt the need to do something more direct in helping people.

    After going in/out of hospitals last year, once my daughter was diagnosed with and then passed away from Spinal Muscular Atrophy, I have certainly had my emotional ups/downs. Although I'll never get over her loss, I'm starting to finally feel better and have been soul-searching to see what else I want to do. And then it dawned on me - I was always so in awe with the nursing care we received with our daughter, so many nurses took such good care of her (and of us), whether on the pediatric floor or in the PICU, and those nurses will never know how much they at least made our situation at least more "tolerable" (though I told them that repeatedly). Anyway, I've always had good patience and I love children and after being on the "receiving" end of good nursing care, I'm thinking that's what I'm truly called to do. With our daughter, I learned more about NG and NJ tubes, suctioning (through nose and mouth), BiPAP machines, Cough Assist machines, oximeters, and I did them all myself when we weren't in the hospital. When the nurses first told us I'd have to learn how to do this stuff, I thought they were nuts, but then once I did, I realized, I'm doing this to help her, and I became proficient at it, and really loved that at least I was making her more comfortable.

    Nothing good can ever truly come from the loss of a child, but maybe it can at least point me in a new direction that I can feel more passionate about. I've been doing a lot of praying, and I really think this is what I'm meant to do.

    So, to today... I have begun researching local nursing programs. I am not able to separate from the AF for at least two more years. However, I have the GI Bill to help pay for college and want to start school in the evenings. My husband is also going to school full time right now (getting his MAT in Special Education) but will start teaching in Fall 2008. My long-term goal is to be a neonatal nurse, possibly also working in labor/delivery.

    Locally, we have two universities that offer full-time BSN programs, but I don't have the luxury of being able to attend school full-time. Even if I waited two years, I'm still going to need a job to supplement the hubby's income as a teacher. So I was thinking about getting the AD, finding a job, and then working towards the BSN afterwards. We do have a community college that offers the Associates Degree, I'm meeting with an advisor there this week to ask my many, many questions. But after perusing this site, am I to expect a waiting list for the AD? How hard is it to work on the AD while working full-time? What about clinicals - how do you fit those in when you're already working? And once you're working as an RN, how difficult is it to do the RN-BSN programs? I'm a pretty good student, I just never took many science classes so I'll essentially be starting from scratch there, but I will have the humanities classes and such already done.

    Sorry for the long post, I'm just getting anxious and it feels good to finally feel called to do something. I'm looking forward to meeting the advisor at the community college, but I wanted to get some advice from some of the folks on here who have juggled making these decisions.
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    About live4rachael

    Joined: Jun '06; Posts: 134; Likes: 9
    Pediatric Hematology/Oncology


  3. by   WDWpixieRN
    wow.....first let me say, i am so very sorry for your loss...i can only imagine the pain you have endured....

    second, you sound like you've truly thought this out and are on the right track. meeting with a counselor will be a great start.

    hopefully you'll get replies from people in your area of the country that can tell you about wait lists. i think it's different everywhere. i waited 2 semesters on a list that's strictly first-come, first-served based on when you get your name on the list. i hear in other areas where everything is weighted (gpa, experience, residency, etc.) the wait can be interminable. definately check in to all of your options, and maybe post on the sc board under the united states nursing forums. i bet you'd get some great insights there.

    as far as your sciences go, hopefully you won't have any problems. it had been over 25 years since i was in high school and i had avoided the sciences then and all through my bachelor's degree. i was petrified to take them, but found that they weren't as difficult as i was afraid they'd be and that i actually enjoyed quite a bit of them.

    lastly, i have read on these boards of folks who have worked full-time while in school. i'd have to guess it's "slightly" easier while working on an ad rather than the accelerated bsns, but maybe others who have been there will shed more light on that subject. i will be working at least part-time myself.

    best wishes!
    Last edit by WDWpixieRN on Jun 11, '06
  4. by   hospitalstaph
    I have heard (and experienced) the wait list. I would encourage you to ask many, many questions and make your face and your name well known to the school that you are interested in. I am sure that it is different everywhere, but I have heard that one of the ADN programs near me has let some very well qualified applicants in on the first try, without being placed on the wait list.

    I am truly sorry for your loss. As a nursing student who watched my spouse nearly die and struggle with the continuing health problems, I can assure you that your experience will give a different perspective on nursing and life in general. I think that there is a tremenous gift in knowing what it is like to be on the patients side of things. In all that you have lost, you will have so much to give.

    Best of luck to you