Thinking of Nursing as a new job

U.S.A. Washington



I am NOT a Nurse, but thought this forum would help me to make a decision. I Live in Shelton and am considering the Nursing course at South Puget Sound Community College. The reason is that I have 3 really bright kids. My wife homeschools them so we live on a single income. I make pretty good money (15.50) considering my education (High School, misc. college), so its a stretch to make ends meet. There isnt anything left over for savings or college so I have been thinking about other work. I used to be a volunteer fire fighter and enjoyed the Emergency Medical Response traning and thought maybe Nursing would help provide the security I'm looking for for my family and give me MEANINGFUL work.

I am 43 now so w/ the education requirements it would 2-3 years before I would be able to look for a job. I know its a little late in life for this kind of course change- but I would appreciate any input.

Thanks for your time.

The Captain


63 Posts

Hello Captain Nemo! Welcome to allnurses! I've been a nurse for nearly 6 1/2 years and I love it. I can't imagine doing anything else. The pay is very good, although some areas of nursing pay better than others. Were you thinking of becoming an LPN or RN? I encourage you to become an RN. There is much more of a demand for RNs than LPNs and of course they are paid better.

Nursing can be very messy work. You must have a very strong stomach. You must also have exceptional communication skills. Well, I suppose this isn't essential, since I've met many nurses who don't have this skill, but it sure is a good idea. There is a lot of fliexibility in nursing. You can work part time, full time and pretty much any time of the day. If you work in a facility that is open 24 hours, no doubt you'll have to work some weekend and holidays, though. I don't have any children yet, so this hasn't been a major issure but I'm sure it will be. There is almost always the opportunity to work overtime, which might be helpful for you.

Nursing school is tough!!! If you decide to get into it, be prepared to work hard. I was very naive when I went to nursing school. I was fresh out of high school and really didn't even know what a nurse did. Somehow, I thought that nursing school wouldn't be that difficult! I sure was wrong. Thank God I made it through.

I wish you the best!

Gompers, BSN, RN

2,691 Posts

Specializes in NICU.

If you enjoyed the medical course you took before, and want to get into a field where you can make a difference in someone's life - then go for it. I agree with Kar212 - RN (ADN or BSN) is a better choice for you if you're providing the sole income for your family. And you know, some hospitals offer college tuition reimbursment for your children if you work full time and the hospital is affiliated with a university. Something else to think about!




548 Posts

Nursing is meaningful, lucrative, stable, and full of variety. It can be frustrating and physically exhausting, but nurses are never "stuck" in their current jobs -- they can always find a different kind of nursing job somewhere else, in a heartbeat. There's enough variety for everyone to find their niche. And every day in hospital nursing is different, if that is what you choose to do. I returned to school for nursing b/c of the wonderful variety and incredible reward of working with vulnerable people day after day. Nurses KNOW that they "make a difference" in people's lives -- how many other fields can say the same thing??

Practical info, since you're a Dad and supporting a family (I'm in the Seattle area):

After interviewing for my first nursing position out of school, I was offered ALL FIVE positions either the same day or the day after the interview! Pay in the Seattle area for a new grad is about $21-$23/hr start (depending on where you work), +shift differentials. The shift differentials are approximately and extra $2.50/hr for second shift, $3/hr for night shift, and $4/hr extra for weekends. There are "double time" or "time and a half" bonuses for working holidays, double shifts, or coming in extra when they need you. You can work 8 or 12 hour shifts, any day of the week and any shift (ie. 1st, 2nd, 3rd). Experienced nurses that I work with make around $30/hr base. Local travel companies pay anywhere between $23-30/hr base, +all benefits, +a housing allowance (several nurses I know get an extra 2K a month housing allowance on TOP of their salaries). You need a year of experience as an RN before working for a travel company.

Several nurses I know also do extra work on the side. You can work as an "expert witness" for law firms, making around $100/hr. To do this, you need to have at least 2 years nursing experience and be certified as an "expert" nurse (additional coursework). You can also do technical writing on the side, also for good money.

Many nurses return to school for Mater's degrees -- Nurse practitioners, Clinical Nurse Specialists, and Nurse Anesthetists, among many other options. These are obviously personally and financially rewarding options for the RN. For example, Nurse Anesthetists make 100K a year! (lots of liability, though).

captain nemo

5 Posts

Thanks for taking time to reply to my post. I appreciate your input and it has been encouraging.

Thanks Again! :)

The Captain

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