Quote from pattylee1122
HI All! I am making a career change as I have been contemplating on becoming an RN for two years now after I resigned from teaching in 2010 for family obligations. . . .I know one of my nurse friend stated how the economy is limiting nursing jobs too; however, I see more jobs online for nurses than teachers (maybe those nursing positions are competitive though).
. . .
1) How did you make a career change to nursing and get by financially?
2) Will becoming a CNA although it's a low paying job, be worth it in the long run?
I was also considering LVN through a community college program but other nurses seem to discourage it if I want to be a RN anyways.
3) Getting my foot in the door as an Unit Clerk/Health Unit Coordinator without any hospital experience seems virtually impossible too. I feel stuck trying to find entry level hospital related jobs at this point. If I can't find any entry level jobs then my last option would be to find other jobs to get by until I am ready to be a full time student.
I would appreciate your help and advice! Thanks!
As others have indicated, getting a job as a PCT or CNA provides a huge advantage in landing a nursing position after graduation. In most parts of the country, hospital jobs for new nursing grads are quite hard to come by and even positions in LTC are becoming difficult for new grads to get. This may not be the case in the DFW area but it will almost certainly be worthwhile for you to get - and keep - your foot in the door in an entry-level job at a local hospital. If there is a part-time nursing program in your area, it would really be an advantage to continue to work as a PCT or even in a clerical position while you are in school.
Your post mentions the LVN program at your local community college. I would second the advice not to go that route for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the job market for LVN/LPN's is small and shrinking. More importantly, getting your LVN will require a fair amount of work and won't result in shortening the amount of work needed for your RN by a reciprocal amount. Many community colleges have ADN programs - perhaps one in an adjacent county offers one. Getting your RN this way while continuing as a data-entry clerk or PCT at a local hospital would be ideal, even if a BSN is your ultimate goal. I would think your chances of being hired as an RN after finishing the ADN program would be good and after that, you could do an on-line RN-BSN program.
In the interest of full disclosure, I am also a second-career, second-degree RN who attempted to make the change after 20 plus years in the workforce. I went the CC route to nursing in the evening/weekend program and kept my non-health care job while doing so. This turned out to be fortunate because in my area, the job market for new RN's - especially those without BSN's - is awful. I've just continued in my old job while completing my BSN and am now working on getting some certifications (ACLS, PALS) and waiting for the market to improve. While many of my classmates struggled to find nursing jobs, all of those who were already working as techs or CNAs (my state allows nursing students to sit for the CNA exam after successfully completing the first semester of nursing school) were hired on by the hospitals they were already working in.
By the way, don't be fooled by the on-line advertisements for nursing jobs. I'd be willing to bet that the overwhelming majority state something like "one (or even two) year minimum experience required." If you really want to get a sense of the nursing job market, I would urge you to look at the BLS data for RN employment in your area over the past several years. Compare that data with the number of new RN's entering the workforce, which your state BON can provide. This will give you a much more accurate picture of the nursing job market in your area than looking at job postings (many of which are never filled).
Best of luck to you.