A lot of valid points from former posters but I disagree with some of the dissuading comments. Nursing is a great stable career and a great return on investment. You have family members who are nurses which is helpful. I suggest shadow a hospital nurse (for the full 12 hrs like someone has said)- at a hospital, because nursing homes and home care are different from hospitals. Consider having to work weekends, holidays, nights etc. Also go straight for the BSN. A lot of hospitals require than lately. I initially did a BS in public health and a masters in healthcare management and consulted for a bit and that wasn't as great and then I did an accelerated 1yr BSN. I was 30 when I did nursing as a second career. I do not regret it at all and I have never had such a peace of mind career wise. Is the job hard? Absolutely! But it is rewarding. You also don't have to work in a hospital if you don't want to. After passing my boards, it was the first time in my life that my main problem was deciding which offer to pick. As someone mentioned, in Hawaii, landing jobs at a hospital as a new grad may be dire. It is the same thing in NYC unless you know someone, but just move, get the hospital experience in some other hospital for a year or two then move back to hawaii or wherever you'd like to be. In nursing, your pay also increases with experience. Or you can decide to work in LTC or nursing home as you can land a job in these, fresh out of school. When I was doing my accelerated 12month BSN, all the students in my class were second-career people. One was a 45 yr old MD from Cuba who did not want to go through the boards and 4yrs of residency all over again in the US (as that was protocol if you were an MD from another country) but she still wanted to work in healthcare for it's rewards and choose nursing. There were accountants, an IT guy, graphic designer etc etc...One doctor on my unit used to be a lawyer then switched to medicine...what I'm trying to say is that people have a change of heart and it's ok to follow your passion. It is never too late. Just be aware that nursing is a hard job but definitely rewarding. You will also never be bored like you state and learning is continual. For instance, I am just completing my 1yr as a general surgery nurse at a great hospital and now in my 2nd year I just got an offer in oncology at another competitor hospital and I am already reading up. Prior to picking oncology, I shadowed for openings in the cardiac OR, general OR, Trauma med/surg and MICU but loved and decided that oncology it is this time. Basically, I am saying that you will have your options to pick from.
Also you don't need to do your DNP now as most hospitals pay for schooling. So why spend the extra money now. I personally don't care for being an NP, even though the hospitals I work at offer tuition reimbursements. One of my main reasoning is that, although the work-life balance will be better with great day hours as an NP, I do not want to get bored & complacent once I specialize as an NP, nursing gives me the option to diversify specialties much easily than it would if I were to go on to be an NP. I am also not of the entrepreneur mindset, meaning I have no intention of having my own NP practice. A nurse who worked on my general surgery floor for 15yrs just recently switched to go into the NICU, a new passion of hers. The general surgery NP who's been there much longer than she has been would like to switch but she still hasn't been able to do so. This is not to discourage you, you can still go for it, but I'm giving examples for you to work with. With regards to dipping on your IRA for funds, there are hospitals that still offer pensions and retirement benefits and you can easily research that and find out when the time is right. So you will resume good benefits in nursing and get your returns back. Lastly, do not go to an overly expensive nursing school, especially now. I wish you good luck on this journey. I'm sure you will not regret it. You will have those days that are hard at the hospital but if you have a passion to get into nursing, I don't think you will regret it.