Second career nurse? Accelerated BSN. Need advice.

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by Lawlipop Lawlipop (New) New

Hi all!

I’m searching for some advice from nurses and nursing students. I want to become and nurse and I can’t decide if I should get past the fear of nursing school or just move on. 

Some background information- I graduated from college in 2010 with a degree in pre-nursing, meaning I took all of my pre-requisites (with A’s and B’s). I applied to several nursing programs and was accepted to Nova and Keiser. However, I had a stable job at the time with an above average salary and decided to pursue a sales career instead. 

Fast forward 10 years- I am 31 years old and continue to live with the regret of not completing my goals and simply giving up. I think back to all of my hard work and dedication during my pre-requisite courses and can’t believe I just gave up. I have the constant thought of reapplying and just going for it. 

Recently my bf had major back surgery and I was caring for him during his recovery, at the hospital and at home. The way I felt knowing I was helping someone heal and made a difference in their life is the reason why I wanted to be a nurse in the first place. But to be honest, the thought of going to nursing school intimidates me, especially since it would be a major career change at this point in my life. 

I’m so confused and don’t know if I should apply to the Keiser accelerated BSN program. Any advice or insights you need can offer me would really help me in making my decision. Thank you!!

Golden_RN

Golden_RN, MSN

563 Posts

I don't know much about accelerated BSN programs but I will say that being an RN in the hospital does not give you much time to provide one-on-one, touchy-feely care like you are able to provide to a family member recovering at home.  It's more like running around with your head cut off.  

Are the schools you mention private universities?  If so I HIGHLY recommend looking into junior colleges and state universities.  Not only will you save tons of money, but hospitals in my area hire almost exclusively from our local community colleges and public universities.  (Will that change in the future with Covid?  I don't know.)

Definitely don't let intimidation keep you from pursuing a career you've been thinking about for a long time.  

araew2129, ADN

Specializes in MSICU. Has 1 years experience. 349 Posts

If you will always wonder, I say go for it! I also second the recommendation to look into community colleges or state universities. Don't go into crazy amounts of debt because all new nurses start at the same level. 

SmilingBluEyes

Specializes in Specializes in L/D, newborn, GYN, LTC, Dialysis. Has 25 years experience. 20,957 Posts

Do NOT get that degree in a private/for-profit school. And make darn sure they are accredited or else you will regret later!  You won't be able to easily get your master's or beyond if not accredited. Reputable nursing schools always are.

Lawlipop, you are in a great position to really stop and think about what you want. Let me say this- 31 is NOT too old to go back to school for nursing! I graduated last year from an accelerated BSN program, and 31 was probably around the average age of our cohort, nowhere near the oldest. (I am way older than 31!).

You have a job currently, I'm assuming, and are thinking of quitting to go to nursing school. I did exactly that. I planned, saved the tuition (and more) and quit my job. Here are a few things I would have done differently:

   1. Volunteer or go through CNA training. I'm not sure where you live, and how close you are to some big hospitals, but I would really suggest if you are interested in bedside nursing ("default" new grad position), you should definitely see how nurses in the hospital work. A lot of my cohort had been CNAs to get training, and it showed in their familiarity with patients, equipment, basic procedures, time management, etc. I worked up until my program started and did not have any formal hospital training (I did about 250 hours as a volunteer, but the role was extremely limited). I felt extremely unprepared and wished I had known what I was getting myself into. CNAs handle all of the daily duties such as vital signs, feeding, toileting, cleaning- sometimes with help from an RN, sometimes not. If you want to know if you will like nursing, this is a way to see if you can handle what the RN is responsible for.

   2. Make sure you are leaving your current job for the right reasons. Another poster here mentioned that an RN doesn't always have the time on the floor to provide touchy-feely care, and that is the truth. There are times you want to give a patient attention, and you can't. Unfortunately, prioritization will dictate who gets your attention first and how much. The patient you like the best because they are pleasant is likely not the one you will spend the most time with! And for me, I find it hard to cut off a patient who is chatty- I know this about myself- but I have to, or face not finishing my work/ neglecting my duties and other patients. Again, you will not see this reality of nursing if you do not spend time as a nurse in the hospital. There may be other specialties that allow you better patient contact like home health or clinics- but check, because they often want you to have some bedside experience. 

   3. Take a look at your life right now. Do you have weekends off? Do you get holidays regularly? Do you plan to have children in the future? Nursing is a career that has a lot of flexibility in some ways and not in others. For example, I worked an office job before nursing. If one of my children was sick, I could tell my boss directly, leave to take care of my kid, and maybe even get some work done from home. Bedside nursing is a 12-hour shift, and you can't really "work from home." I wonder now, if my husband can't pick up my slack, what will happen with a sick child if I am on shift during the daytime hours (night shift makes this less of an issue, but has its own set of problems!)? What if I feel sick in the middle of a shift but there is no one to cover for me or I have to wait a few hours before they can call someone in? Are you OK working weekends (some places rotate who works weekends, others just dictate what your schedule is, etc)? Holidays? Is your significant other OK with you essentially being MIA for three days out of the week?

   4. Here's food for thought. You are 10 years into a pretty decent career. You're an expert and feeling good about where you are (I assume). It is HARD to start over! I didn't mind being in school, but as a new grad I find it overwhelming to have literal lives in my hands. The sense of responsibility is very different than the job you have now. You will be licensed and will have to act within the rules and regulations that govern your license, as well as your facility. I definitely feel the weight of that responsibility just because it is very different from how I worked before. My stress level is way up, even though I found my previous work stressful.

You liked nursing your boyfriend back to health and you found that rewarding, and that is not the worst reason to consider nursing I've heard. Before you jump all the way in, do your research. Home health might be a good fit for you, but what will you have to do to be able to get that position? It is also COVID times, and know that hospitals will use you, even as an inexperienced new grad, to take care of whatever patients they have. I would talk to the BSN coordinator about any concerns you have before you apply, if possible. A lot of times, non-nurses have an idea of what nursing is... and are very wrong! Or at least have a very limited picture! Try to do as much as you can to inform yourself of what nursing is in real life so you know if it's something you want to take on. Best of luck!

Hopeful RN

Hopeful RN

Has 1 years experience. 34 Posts

Lawlipop,

Being an RN is VERY different from caring for a loved one. Being a nurse can be an exhausting and stressful job. You'll be caring for 4-6 patients & running around like a chicken with its head cut off. @RNtobe26 brings some REALLY good points!

Reading a lot of the content on sites such as this one is awesome because you'll get some good advice. Look up content on Youtube like "Day in the life of a nurse." Some nurses are pretty honest because they want to be real about what it's like to be a nurse. Volunteer at hospitals. Try starting as a CNA; that will definitely give you a taste of the multitasking required and you'll get to be around nurses and see what their day is like. 

A community college is a good way to get an associates degree because it's cheaper than a university, but it still allows you to get your RN license. It's better than paying university tuition in case you change your mind. 

I was in a very similar situation as you. During my freshman year in college, I couldn't decide between a nursing or business major. I chose business because I was very intimated by the nursing program. I worked in business administration for several years. I had the weekends & holidays off from all jobs. The last job I landed was awful. I quit the job and enrolled for nursing pre-requisites. I loved the feeling I got when I volunteered in my community and was seeking something more rewarding. I too, didn't want to live with any regrets, so I met with friend's relatives who were nurses and they told all the good stuff... how rewarding it was to be a nurse and the good $$$, etc. Online I also read all of the "nice" things about being a nurse. It wasn't until I was in nursing school during my clinicals that I learned the reality of nursing. Most of the nurses I got to shadow in the hospitals told me they were back in school because they were tired of bedside nursing and wanted to do something else. School made me so anxious and clinical days were no longer fun. The only thing I enjoyed about it was interacting with the patients. At that point, I felt like it was too late to quite so I finished the program and got my license. Had I known what I know now, I personally would not have pursued nursing. It's such a misconception! Instead, I would have remained in the same field and just look for a new job. I think that even that job that was awful in my old industry is still better than a nursing job because at least I don't have the huge liability. I don't mean to to sound pessimistic, I just felt the same way you did.... and there were several people in my program seeking nursing as a second career and we were all disappointed with the reality. Nursing might be for you, but just make sure you get exposed to it before going all in. 

Good luck to you! Best wishes!! 

 

Leader25, ASN, BSN, RN

Specializes in NICU. Has 39 years experience. 1,295 Posts

On 7/21/2021 at 6:16 PM, Golden_RN said:

I don't know much about accelerated BSN programs but I will say that being an RN in the hospital does not give you much time to provide one-on-one, touchy-feely care like you are able to provide to a family member recovering at home.  It's more like running around with your head cut off.  

Well stated ,gave me the chuckles during this dark pandemic time.