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Trying to figure out what to do with my life

by Nurse Beth Nurse Beth, MSN (Columnist) Educator Columnist Innovator Expert Nurse

Specializes in Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho. Has 30 years experience.

Hello Nurse Beth,

I am trying to figure out what to do with my life. I am 24 and have a bachelor's degree in animal science. I cannot find a job and I am considering going back to get my associates of nursing. It just makes me nervous because I'll be 27 when I graduate. I am already upset that I've got a bachelor's degree and can't find a job, do you think that the associates degree is a good option?

Dear Undecided,

You are feeling the pressure of making career/life decisions, and it's not always easy to know what's best for you.

Nursing is a wonderful career choice in many ways...but it's not for everyone. Be careful not to jump into it for the wrong reasons. Some of those reasons include:

  • I don't know what I want to do
  • It pays well
  • It's my default/backup plan
  • It's a quick educational path

If you do choose nursing, go for the Bachelor's degree in nursing. It will take a few more months on the front end, but open up so many more opportunities for you later on. It's definitely worth it.

fyi- 27 is not old. I started in nursing at age 31.

Best wishes,

Nurse Beth


I would add to that, "being able to find a job easily" isn't a good reason. So many people struggling in their fields get the suggestion to become a nurse from their moms and friends, who think it's an easy meal ticket. Supposedly the job market will improve any time now... for the last eight years. You may struggle to get your first job in nursing as much as you have in animal science.


Specializes in FNP, Derm Research, Critical Care, Oncol. Has 32 years experience.

Decide what is important to you and do it. Patients are NOT animals, so making that jump might not be what you expect. While nursing is a job, it is not so easy for a new grad to find one in NYC. Most institutions here want an RN with a BSN and to have one year of experience, often difficult to do when you can't get hired. I encourage my students to take jobs in other places, nursing homes, SNF--not their dream job but a stepping stone and certainly experience.

Unfortunately, new grads can not be picky. With hospitals down-sizing and closing, there are many experienced nurses vying for the same job!

Nursing is a profession and for many who will do whatever needs to done --a calling.

Look into ELMSN Entry Level Masters in Nursing Programs. I wouldn't waste my time going backwards to another bachelor's or associates program unless you can't get into the ELM program.

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych. Has 15 years experience.

Look into ELMSN Entry Level Masters in Nursing Programs. I wouldn't waste my time going backwards to another bachelor's or associates program unless you can't get into the ELM program.
Recruiters and HR staff from multiple health systems across the US have unspoken, off-the-record practices to avoid hiring new grad RNs with DEMSN (direct entry master of science in nursing) degrees, also known as ELMSNs (entry level master of science). Direct entry MSNs have cultivated a reputation, and let's just say it isn't all that positive in many places.

A number of unit educators, staff development coordinators, preceptors, nurse managers, hospital recruiters and other people in the nursing profession claim they've met too many direct entry MSNs who struggle to comprehend the concept of the 'worker bee.' I have also listened as more than one nursing instructor negatively stereotyped direct entry MSN students as people whose first careers failed to launch.

There are many wondrous nurses who completed direct entry / ELMSN degree programs. On the other hand, many hospital systems covertly give hiring preference to new grads with generic BSN degrees because of prior unpleasant experiences and negative bias.


Specializes in Home health, hospice. Has 5 years experience.

I'm an LPN and me and the rest of my class were hired within 1-3 months. It makes me nervous to consider going RN because it's harder to get a job.

Dragonnurse1, ASN, RN

Specializes in ER - trauma/cardiac/burns. IV start spec. Has 9 years experience.

27 is not "too old" I started nursing school at 38. But being a nurse is a calling, a passion, a driving force in your life that you cannot ignore. Going into nursing because you cannot get a job in you chosen field is(in my opinion) a bad idea. Depending on your area RN jobs are very hard to come by for new grad's.

Can you expand you area of search for jobs requiring your current degree?

Edited by Dragonnurse1


Has 6 years experience.

Nurse Beth - I went into nursing for pretty much all of your 4 no-no reasons and have done just fine. Just saying.

Adding my 2 cents. I started pre-Reqs at 47 and graduated at 50. Tried bedside but not a good fit for oh so many reasons (another time, another story) I became a Blood Center Collection nurse and have been very satisfied with my career with my blood center for over 10 years. No, I'm not making 6 figures but otherwise very satisfied. An RN has lots of options even with an ADN and a BS/BA not in nursing other than bedside.

Edited by srahamim