If you do it the way I did, you decide it's time to be a nurse, you don't realize that there are several different points of entry, so you apply to the nearest school's BSN program, get in, take your pre-requisite classes, don't realize that at some point a test you took on a Saturday morning heavily factored into your entrance into the nursing school, go to classes and clinicals while working full-time, study a bunch in some areas, not so much in others, nearly get divorced over the strain, graduate, take the NCLEX, throw up, get notification of passing, and stumble into your dream job after a couple of interesting and very educational pit stops on other units.
In other words, I think you may be over-planning
. In general terms: there are three points of entry to becoming an RN - diploma, associates degree and bachelors degree programs (I leave it you to search the many threads pertaining to this to determine what works best for you in the context of available offerings in your area.) Apparently there can be substantial waiting periods in some/many schools.
Yes, it's a lot of work to get there. Your pay will vary - a search of your Sunday paper or the HR job listings at your local hospitals should give you some idea of the starting salaries in your area. When selecting an area to work in after school, you'll have to factor in a combination of shifts, personal preference of unit, and whether there's anything available that closely matches those. Yes you can specialize immediately (althought don't make the mistake of not realizing that med-surg, I believe what you're referring to as more general experience, is a valuable and challenging specialty of its own and not a stop along the way to grander things.) Also realize that the entire scope of nursing doesn't begin and end in the hospital.