Can I please get honest advice from current RNs, please? My name is Daniel and I will be 45 years old soon. My background is in business. I have a BS in Business with no RN prerequisite courses. I am considering a career change to become a nurse. It is something that has always interested me. The current epidemic has given me an even higher appreciation for nurses and the work they do. I would not be pursuing this career for the "hero" status. It's not about how other people would perceive me. I genuinely have an interest in the nursing profession and the thought of helping people in need seems so satisfying to me.
I live in Los Angeles. The waitlists for nursing prerequisite courses at local community colleges are horrendous, I am told, not to mention the waitlists to be accepted into the actual RN program. At age 44, soon to be 45, I don't have time to waste. I have looked into a couple options and I would like to please get current RNs honest assessments.
Option #1: the second bachelor's BSN program at National University in Los Angeles. Time duration is about 39 months NOT including 9 prereq courses I would need to take before even applying to the program. Cost of the program NOT including the 9 prereq's is about $66,000. At least one prereq course I would have to take at National University, not at a community college, and the cost for that course alone is like $1,700 (I know Cal State LA and Cal State Northridge also have second bachelor's BSN programs, but since the acceptance rate is so low - around 10% at Cal State LA - I am not even seriously considering these two schools. My undergrad GPA was 3.14 cumulative. Not bad, but not outstanding either.)
Option #2: the ADN program at American Career College in Los Angeles. The advantage of this program would be the relatively short time to completion. I would be able to complete the program AND all the prerequisite courses in only 20 months. However, the cost is ... ugh ... $74,000. Short time to completion but expensive. Also, I have noticed the handful of RNs I know who work for Cedars Sinai and UCLA Ronald Reagan all have BSNs; so does this mean a new grad with an ADN from American Career College has little chance to be hired by those two big-name, prestige hospitals? Or any hospital in LA? Or is it just a coincidence that the four or five people I know who are RNs at those two hospitals just happen to all have BSNs? Going into debt for an ADN and landing a fulfilling job is one thing, going into debt for an ADN and then having to beg my current employer for my current job back would be a living nightmare. I already paid off my loans for my BS in Business degree, so I know what it's like to have student loan debt.
Option #3 - slug it out in community college waitlist hell at age 44 and finish .... ever at all?
Option #4 - the LVN route. LVN programs in Los Angeles are around $30,000 and time to completion is 13 months. Thirteen months and then I could start working as a nurse. However, is it really practical to say "I am going to work full time in a new career as an LVN AND go to school to become an RN AND have some semblance of a life?" Thoughts? Please be honest. Also, as RNs, do you look at LVNs and think, "Why didn't you just go for your RN in the first place, are you dumb or lazy or something?" Is that at least partially accurate or way off-base?
Is there another option I am not aware of? I love the idea of helping people in need, hence the desire to seriously consider becoming a nurse. However, could you honestly say if you were me, at 44 going on 45, with a non-nursing background, you would pursue a nursing career given the extreme amount of cost and time involved? Not to mention living expenses in Southern California! Please do not sugar-coat your responses. I am in need of honest, brutally honest advice from people who know. The "follow your heart" advice I have already heard. I am in need of an honest assessment based on practicality, time and money. Thank you in advance for your time and your candor. Thank you also for the important work all of you are doing.