The road not taken. my RN midlife crisis.


Specializes in CCU, CRRT. Has 6 years experience.

Hello everyone,

Sorry if this message is in the wrong place on this subforum, or if it is a little long. I haven't really posted here or been active on the forums in a while. I've been in the middle of what feels like a mid-life crisis and I'm truthfully just looking for opinions.

Even before becoming an RN I've had many thoughts of furthering my education beyond my ASN (I guess this is what happens when you define yourself as a 'forever student', holding 3 bachelors degrees, the first being in education). As I progressed in my career and changed specialties multiple times, so has my thoughts on what I would like to do as I get older. Before I even graduated nursing school with my ASN, I was dead set on becoming a CRNA as I believed it was the most familiar advanced practice nurse to my background of being a paramedic. I landed a position as a med-surg nurse on a 33 bed orthopedic unit in a very busy level 1 trauma center. The unit had a very high turn-around and burnout for new-grads. Within the year, I gained new responsibilities as a relief charge nurse. A year later, I officially took the ANM position when my predecessor retired. During my two year stint as a charge nurse, I made sure to stay active in all patient's care. Even though I myself identified as a new nurse, I took up the reins as a role model for our newer nurses and always tried to be a resource for them - or find the resources they needed if I wasn't able to provide myself. At this time I enrolled in and completed my BSN program.

After two years of being a charge nurse I started to feel myself enter a rutt. I knew it was time for me to leave the unit to advance my training. I applied and quickly transferred down to CCU where I am currently an ICU nurse. (I'm currently studying for my CCRN certification). Next month, I'm told I will start cross training to CVICU. Working along side my critical care NP's, I've come to realize that I can't see myself doing any other advanced practice job other than critical care. I look forward to the long road of becoming a NP and than acute care NP someday.

I say all this because I have an extreme passion for helping others, often to the point that I put others ahead of myself. It's one of the reasons why the calling of a nurse became so strong with me. I'm going to backtrack now for just a moment. When I was just starting out as a nurse, I met the love of my life whom was at the time working on my unit as a nurse-extern. I kept my feelings secret until the last day she was going to be working on my unit. (she was transferring to TICU as an extern for her last semester). Fast forward 4 years and we are now engaged and set to marry this upcoming 10/10/2020. She still works in TICU, now as a RN. She loves what she does and wants to continue her education as well and obtain her BSN.

Our dilemma is that neither one of us want to sacrifice the other person's education and advancement of their respective careers. She wants to obtain her BSN for extra job security - but she has no admiration of continuing in an advanced practice role. She found her dream job, and she wants to stay a floor nurse in trauma ICU. Myself on the other hand, I see myself in a position that I can stay and continue to be cross trained in all the CCU/CVICU specialties.. but I really would like to further continue my education towards NP. We are currently at the point of our lives after just buying a house together and imminently being in wedlock (and our dream of hopefully having at least 1 kid on the way soon...) that we can only afford one of us at a time to go to school. We are in a crossroad with no road-sign. I told her the other day that I would put my NP dreams on hold this way she can go back to school and get her BSN, if anything for job security (our current employer is not a magnet hospital so they don't require a BSN currently). She wants to go back to school but has mentioned that she is willing to put her schooling on hold for me to follow my dreams. Both of us sacrifice so much for each other, and I appreciate her and she is the world to me. I just don't want my future dreams to sacrifice hers.

Edited by IRN2011

Been there,done that, ASN, RN

Has 33 years experience.

The world is in crisis right now. Time to enjoy each other and your future child. Somebody needs to stay home with soon to be baby, She is satisfied with her position. She could take online BSN courses and mother your offspring. Rethink your priorities.


Specializes in ED, med-surg, peri op. Has 4 years experience.

On 7/5/2020 at 6:45 AM, Been there,done that said:

The world is in crisis right now. Time to enjoy each other and your future child. Somebody needs to stay home with soon to be baby, She is satisfied with her position. She could take online BSN courses and mother your offspring. Rethink your priorities.

The world is in crisis, but it won’t be forever. People still need to think about the future and make decision that will make them happy. Telling them to rethink there priorities is just rude! They need to make decision that will make them individually happy, as well as each other.

unfortunately I have no answer for you. Only you will know what’s right for you. Take you time to figure it out, talk to each other. But in my experience normally life has its way of figuring itself out whether it’s what your want or not.

Emergent, RN

Specializes in ER. Has 28 years experience.

It's not rude to give advice, when asked. I agree with @Been there,done that, enjoy life and start your family. Don't get so goal oriented that you become consumed. You sound like a really great guy who will be a fantastic family man. Your wife can get around to that BSN, meanwhile, you can continue to move towards advancing towards your goals.

Here's my opinion...take it for what it's worth:

1. A BSN is a very valuable degree in the sense of job flexibility. With it your soon-to-be wife can freely change position or even move if need be to support your career.

2. It's really very much more difficult to complete schooling, as a woman, with young children.

2. Most on-line RN-BSN programs can be completed in a year and some even less.

I think your plans should include her knocking out her BSN ASAP because it's cheap, relatively easy and doesn't take too much time. Once that's done then have the kid while you start pursuing whatever end goal you desire. If you plan well you'll be done with school and well-established by the time soccer practice starts.

llg, PhD, RN

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development. Has 44 years experience.

I don't see why either one of you needs to make a big sacrifice. There are so many relatively short, easy, online BSN programs out there that I think you can both go to school -- even while getting married and having a baby. If your bride-to-be starts now, she can probably finish the BSN online before the baby is born.

And maybe you can start your schooling by just take 1 class at a time while she is in school. That way, you are both working full time, bringing in money to pay for your schools -- but both making progress on your educational goals. You just might be going a little slower than you had originally thought, but you will still be moving forward. Once she is done with school, you can pick up your education pace a bit if that pleases you. But I see no reason you would have to stop making progress altogether.

Don't think of it as an "all or nothing" choice. Neither of you needs "all" and neither of you has to settle for "nothing." Think in terms of speed. She can speed it up a bit to get done before the baby ... and you can slow it down a little for the next year or so. But you can both keep moving forward with your education.

curlnbe, BSN

Specializes in Telemetry/Step Down. Has 5 years experience.

First of all, congratulations on your upcoming wedding!

If I were in your shoes, I'd have your bride complete her degree ASAP so she has better job mobility should she want to change things up. She will also have no pressure to get her BSN within 5 years of hire, as many employers require now.

However, if she were to take a long time to complete her degree, say 2 or 3 years part-time, then you two have to think about return on your investment vs time till your retirement. If you were to get your NP first, you'll likely be making more money for your family sooner rather later.

Speaking from personal experience, I got my BSN in 6 months from WGU in 2017 after completing my associate degree in a community college. All the paper writing was tough and I had no life for 6 months but it is possible. If your bride doesn't plan on going back to school for advanced degree, she doesn't need to worry about having high GPA, in which case I'd definitely recommend WGU for her first.

Congratulations on your engagement, your new home and cheers to a wonderful future! Perhaps your fiancé can take one BSN course at a time and you can continue full speed ahead with your graduate program. Getting school out of the way before beginning your will leave lots of time and energy to enjoy pregnancy and the challenges of having a new baby. No matter what you choose, it seems like it’s win-win for you both.

Leader25, ASN, BSN, RN

Specializes in NICU. Has 38 years experience.

On 7/4/2020 at 1:40 PM, IRN2011 said:

I just don't want my future dreams to sacrifice hers.

Huh ,whaat,you say you want a family in the middle of all this??.You need to sit down and make a priority list and a plan,it seems your thoughts about careers are all over the place,and yet you just bought a house together and you are not even married yet,do you realize the legal implications if your relationship takes a dive?

Perhaps some counseling might help you streamline your plans and goals and merge them into a plan that works for both,

check if your employer ins covers counseling because they have really gotten very expensive lately.Good luck best wishes.

Leader25, ASN, BSN, RN

Specializes in NICU. Has 38 years experience.

On 7/6/2020 at 12:01 PM, llg said:

There are so many relatively short, easy, online BSN programs

Name them ,the short easy ones......