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Should I Become a Nurse?

Nurses   (2,032 Views | 13 Replies)
by thyme-is-honey thyme-is-honey (New) New

479 Profile Views; 1 Post

Hello Everyone,

I am a 28 year old who is considering making a transition to a nursing career. This is a completely different path than the one that I have been on. I have my B.S in Environmental Science, taught environmental education for years, and then have been a classroom teacher for the past five years.

At this point, however, I am not feeling as though I am doing what I am truly meant to do. I love working with my students. Nothing makes me happier than our personal connections, but I do not love the work itself. I have been considering going back to college for sometime. Initially I considered the educational or environmental field, but I have not necessarily found career happiness in either field, and have also not felt financially secure in either field.

Upon reflecting and thinking about all the things that make me happiest, I keep coming back to those times where I have worked with people, made them smile, answered their questions, encouraged them, or listened to them. I don't mind rushing around and working hard - that is what a teacher does 24/7! If I am doing something meaningful, I am glad for the work. Therefore, I am now considering getting my ADN in nursing (and then going for my BSN). I'd love to focus on becoming a Childrens Nurse based on my background.

I would greatly appreciate everyones thoughts on this. Is it too late to switch careers yet again? Can I support myself in the nursing field? Is it challenging to find and get jobs? Is it just a job.. or do you find it to be more than that?

As a final note, I have heard and read that people recommend shadowing a nurse. How would I go about that? Can a member of the public who is not enrolled in a program ask for such a thing? It seems to me that this might be an issue, but I am curious to hear responses.

Thank you so much for your time and feedback!

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MassED has 15 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in ER.

1 Article; 2,636 Posts; 20,512 Profile Views

There's so much information out there on the cost to become a nurse, the areas where one can specialize, the career outlook, etc. If you really love science, medicine, truly helping someone, and the human body, then I would say go for it. Don't go into with illusions of grandeur, because this would not be the path for you. It's hard hard work, but can be rewarding as well.

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TheCommuter has 14 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych.

4 Followers; 226 Articles; 27,607 Posts; 320,853 Profile Views

Upon reflecting and thinking about all the things that make me happiest, I keep coming back to those times where I have worked with people, made them smile, answered their questions, encouraged them, or listened to them.
If you have a strong background in the empirical sciences, I suggest you go for it. However, do not enter with rose-colored glasses.

You will see the ugliest, darkest side of human nature as a nurse. Due to the stress of illness and other personality issues, patients can be mean-spirited and their families can be downright verbally abusive.

Since you want to work in pediatrics, you will be dealing with behaviors of the children's parents. It can be hard providing care to children whose parents did something to cause the child to end up in the hospital. I'm referring to physical abuse, neglect, prenatal exposure to drugs, and repeated hospitalizations for asthmatic attacks triggered by parents who smoke like choo-choo trains indoors.

You will be attempting to educate patients and families who are resistant to learning anything new. In today's harried healthcare environment, there's not much time to sit around and listen to one patient when you have six, seven or eight patients to juggle. Productivity is rewarded over compassion. Compassion is not profitable.

Nursing entails a huge amount of responsibility with virtually no corresponding authority. It is also one of the only occupations in which outsiders attempt to tell the nurse how to do his/her job. An unruly passenger who attempts to tell the airline pilot what to do will be dealt with by the Air Marshall. A dissatisfied customer will be asked to leave the bank if (s)he starts hollering directives at the teller. However, nurses are expected to take bad behavior from the public and suck it up.

As I previously mentioned, I suggest you go for it. However, go for it with your eyes wide open because the grass is not always greener on the other side. Good luck to you!

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VANurse2010 has 6 years experience.

1,526 Posts; 12,821 Profile Views

There certainly are advantages to nursing in the financial and time aspects of the job. I would strongly advise you, however, that if you're used to being treated in a respectful, professional manner that you look into something else. I would recommend shadowing a nurse for a day, or more, most definitely.

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NurseOnAMotorcycle has 10 years experience as a ASN, RN and specializes in Med-Surg, Emergency, CEN.

1 Article; 1,066 Posts; 24,137 Profile Views

With your background, I think you'll be a great nurse!

As a teacher you've already seen a good range of human behaviors and your science background gives you a leg up on the information you will be juggling.

The nice thing is that you won't be doing as much work at home after hours because the next nurse takes over the care. The down side is the hours. If you work in a hospital, you'll be seeing holidays and weekends sucked up. You may be working on off shifts (3p-11p or 11p-0700).

Regardless of whether you are an introvert or extrovert or soft/squishy versus a battleaxe, you have to be able to bounce back easily from any obstacles. It's stressful and can be very heartbreaking. The television idea of nurses is usually WAAY off so try to talk to some real life ones and get an idea of whether or not you'd like to go for it.

I love being a nurse. Hopefully you will too.

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Muser69 has 42 years experience and specializes in Critical care.

176 Posts; 5,489 Profile Views

No way

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TU RN has 7 years experience and specializes in ICU, PCU.

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"Is it too late to change careers?"

Definitely not. People have made career changes to nursing in their 50s and have posted their stories on AN, I'm sure you can find some. Nursing school, depending on the degree you want, can cost anywhere from $10,000 - $30,000. So keep that in mind as far as financially preparing for a switch.

"Can I support myself in the nursing field?"

I'm not sure I'm understanding this, but if you mean 'can I support myself while going to nursing school': this is generally not recommended. The course work and content is so heavy that the best way to succeed is really 100% exposure, but get real. That's not to say people never do it. I've known many nurses who worked as nursing assistants, pharmacy techs, or unit secretaries while going to nursing school. If what you mean by this question is 'once I'm a nurse, can I support myself': then absolutely. Nurses are compensated well for the work we do. There are two threads on AN (one for new grads, one for 2013) I can think of where users post their hourly rate, job type, and location.

"Is it challenging to find and get jobs?"

On average, right now in today's market, yes. Your employment history and previous experience in education might give you a competitive edge over other applicants though. You mentioned being a pediatric nurse, it might be that a pediatric nursing position will not be available to you when you first start your job search in a convenient location. Some nurses have searched far and wide for jobs only to relocate massive distances for jobs that don't truly interest them. Is this something you could live with?

"Is it just a job... or do you find it more than that?"

You may have heard nurses refer to their job as "a calling." This is really an opinion question with answers that vary from person to person. I became a nurse over a year ago after working for 14 months as a nursing assistant in the same hospital. I had a pretty good grip of the patient population and insight on what nurses do. I entered my position with every intention of advancing myself as a professional and learning as much as possible, and I would say I've accomplished both these goals. I also wanted to make good money and pay back my $30k in loans, which I also did. I never at one point wanted to "make people smile," "listen to them," or "make them happy." That's not to say I don't like when those things happen of course. I do strive for those things, but human nature has a very dark side that is very apparent in nursing. I also like connecting with my patients (who aren't drug seekers trying to manipulate me or in alcohol withdrawal/acute intoxication/PCP and are trying to hurt me), but even then, the corporate influence over our profession had created an environment not conducive to these connections. TheCommuter and VANurse have made accurate posts to my experience and I applaud them both. People are demanding and inconsiderate of others. Nurses at the bedside are not treated as professionals. So to answer your question in short: after 15 months in nursing, it is just a job to me. A means to an end like anything else.

You have to assess you values and wants from your job (and life in general) and compare them with the realistic output from real members of your pursuant profession before making huge leaps. The grass really isn't always greener.

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SierraBravo has 3 years experience.

547 Posts; 8,334 Profile Views

Since you have a Bachelors degree, why not consider an accelerated BSN program? That way you can finish in 1 year and you have the BSN. In NY, many hospitals are only hiring BSN prepared nurses. Getting an ADN and then going on for the BSN will take you 3-4 years, whereas with the accelerated programs you get the BSN in 1 year. It's fantastic for those with college degrees already but be prepared to work hard. It's a challenging curriculum and also very competitive.

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14 Posts; 1,067 Profile Views

I am actually doing the accelerated nursing program. I have my bachelor's in public health and I am currently going to school for my bsn. It's a bridge program that will only take 15 months. Good idea if you want to start right away but it is a very tough course load!

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1,883 Posts; 18,910 Profile Views

Job shadow.

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130 Posts; 11,772 Profile Views

I'm just a patient ---but I have to echo what others said about shadowing a nurse, because in the end only you can decide if nursing is for you. Being a teacher you have already learned skills on how to deal with people parents, family, so you already have a leg up in that area. If you shadow and like what you see and think this is for you I say go for it.

Yes you will encounter rude patients/ families, but you will encounter them everywhere, and I'm sure have encountered them as a teacher. You will also encounter some patients who respect, admire and are thankful for what you do for them.

I'm disabled and in a wheelchair and I have a TON of respect for nurses and have NO PROBLEM expressing it while they are caring for me, I'm always thankful they are there to care for me when I need it.

Also, while shadowing don't let someone pull you aside and say," don't do this you won't be happy" because that's their opinion, just because they are not happy doesn't mean you won't be, remember that! You sound like you would make a great one, I hope you can find a nurse to shadow. Best of luck to you!!

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Britnursecalibound specializes in Home Health, Palliative Care.

44 Posts; 2,282 Profile Views

Regarding the job shadowing. Many facilities won't allow the general public shadow staff in clinical areas due to patient confidentiality. Call a few to see.

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