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Will an LVN, RN, or BSN route open up more opportunities for working outside of bedside?

Nurses   (1,486 Views | 31 Replies)
by Aprilj09 Aprilj09 (New) New Pre-Student

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Hello, all!

After working in clerical hospital roles in multiple facilities and having an up close view of what nurses do on a daily basis, I have realized that I would DREAD working bedside in a hospital. I'm wondering, though, is it possible just to head straight to a clinic or doctor's office upon graduating? Also, is an RN or LVN more likely to work in one of these roles? Honestly, my absolute dream would be to work in a public health setting! I would love to work with underserved populations.

Basically,--and I feel bad saying this--I am looking for a relatively low-stress nursing job (although I know they're all stressful to a degree!). I've witnessed so many resuscitations (more attempted than successful), death/dying, and sudden emergencies and I am just NOT looking to have that be part of my job. I want nursing to be for me, but I'm afraid that my desires may not be reasonable or possible. I hate to put it this way, but I would strongly reconsider moving forward with nursing if it meant that this were not possible.

As I said, I feel guilty admitting all of these things, but I truly am interested in nursing because I feel great satisfaction from helping others, I'm a natural advocate, I keep calm under pressure, and I love to read about everything health-related. I've viewed both the RN and LVN courses at my local college, and every subject seems completely thrilling to learn about.

Also, for background, I live in the Houston area, am in my mid-twenties, married, and have a baby on the way. A good work/life balance is important to me as we want additional children and I certainly want to be involved in their lives. Currently, I'm considering all nursing avenues, and a Bachelor's degree is as far as I'm willing to go at this point (I definitely would be eyeing a public health degree if I did take this route!).

Also, as far as the LVN vs. RN question, I've met a lot of LVNs who have expressed regret for not pursuing an RN degree because of pay and wanting more opportunities. All I'm seeking to do is make a decent paycheck for a comfortable lifestyle and to work outside of bedside.

Basically, I'm at the point where I'm tired of thinking/debating what I want and start doing--and that means finding what works for me and not settling! I am finally feeling liberated and ready to do this!

Any thoughts or advice on any of this is more than helpful to me--I would appreciate it so much!

tl;Dr: Debating between LVN, RN, or BSN--whichever will offer me the most opportunities of working outside of bedside. I do NOT want to work bedside upon graduating and am wondering how possible this is to avoid. I would strongly reconsider the nursing path if this were NOT possible.

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It is not the license alone per se that will lead to these positions, but the nursing work experience that comes after acquiring the license.

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Sour Lemon has 9 years experience.

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Low stress, high pay, and no experience don't really go together.

The competition for a low stress, high-paying position would be intense, if something like that actually existed. A new grad would not be able to compete with nurses who have 20-30 years of experience.

Most "nurses" in doctors' offices are actually medical assistants, and when clinics do hire nurses, the pay rate usually reflects the "low-stress" environment.

Many jobs away from the bedside require experience at the bedside. And as a new graduate, you may not have much of a choice where you work, what sort of work you do, or what hours you work.

I have small kids and work one day a week, per diem. My work balance and pay are very good, but I am at the bedside. Knowing my schedule will be the same every week is a huge stress-reducer, and while I do have to work some holidays, I get to choose which one(s). Even per diem positions require some experience, though. Mine required 2-5 years of acute care experience.

More education is always better with regard to opportunity, but the market in your area and the cost of your education also have to be factored in.

Good luck with whatever you decide.

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On 4/19/2020 at 11:13 AM, Sour Lemon said:

Low stress, high pay, and no experience don't really go together.

This a million times over!

On 4/19/2020 at 11:13 AM, Sour Lemon said:

More education is always better with regard to opportunity, but the market in your area and the cost of your education also have to be factored in.

Also this.

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On 4/19/2020 at 11:13 AM, Sour Lemon said:

Low stress, high pay, and no experience don't really go together.

The competition for a low stress, high-paying position would be intense, if something like that actually existed. A new grad would not be able to compete with nurses who have 20-30 years of experience.

Most "nurses" in doctors' offices are actually medical assistants, and when clinics do hire nurses, the pay rate usually reflects the "low-stress" environment.

Many jobs away from the bedside require experience at the bedside. And as a new graduate, you may not have much of a choice where you work, what sort of work you do, or what hours you work.

I have small kids and work one day a week, per diem. My work balance and pay are very good, but I am at the bedside. Knowing my schedule will be the same every week is a huge stress-reducer, and while I do have to work some holidays, I get to choose which one(s). Even per diem positions require some experience, though. Mine required 2-5 years of acute care experience.

More education is always better with regard to opportunity, but the market in your area and the cost of your education also have to be factored in.

Good luck with whatever you decide.

Thank you for your response! Honestly, I'd totally take a pay cut if it meant a low stress job. Low stress away from the bedside sounds amazing to me.

I totally had a feeling that some experience at the bedside must be gained before moving into a different setting. I get that it has to happen in order to move on. I guess I will just have to suck it up and do what it takes.

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On 4/19/2020 at 11:46 AM, Wuzzie said:

This a million times over!

Also this.

Yes, I appreciate all of your feedback! I would totally take a pay cut if it meant having a more low-key job. Pay is least important to me.

Also, you confirmed my suspicions about the more education, the better the opportunities.

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2 hours ago, Aprilj09 said:

I guess I will just have to suck it up and do what it takes. 

A better way to look at it is just a stop on the journey to where you want to be. Good luck in your future endeavors.

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1 hour ago, Wuzzie said:

A better way to look at it is just a stop on the journey to where you want to be. Good luck in your future endeavors.

Totally true! I appreciate all the advice you've given me.

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"I want nursing to be for me.". It sounds more like you're in love with the idea of being a nurse as opposed to actually wanting to be one for it's own sake. Do you have any idea of the amount of work and clinical hours you'll have to do to become a nurse? I can't think of anything more discouraging than to be working toward something I don't really want to do. Why don't you look into counseling or social work or something like that? None of those will make you rich but neither will nursing, unless you plan on working a WHOLE lot of overtime.

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26 minutes ago, Elaine M said:

"I want nursing to be for me.". It sounds more like you're in love with the idea of being a nurse as opposed to actually wanting to be one for it's own sake. Do you have any idea of the amount of work and clinical hours you'll have to do to become a nurse? I can't think of anything more discouraging than to be working toward something I don't really want to do. Why don't you look into counseling or social work or something like that? None of those will make you rich but neither will nursing, unless you plan on working a WHOLE lot of overtime.

I hear you, and this is something I've struggled with for a while, that is, whether nursing is for me or not.

Truth be told, I took a semester of nursing pre-reqs last year, but then started doubting myself (even though I made A's) and switched to Education this year. I've come to the conclusion that I would love to be a nurse outside of bedside. I know it most likely wouldn't be the highest paying job because I would actively be avoiding working in a hospital, but honestly, as long as I'm making at least $20/hr, I would be totally okay with that. I wish I hadn't mentioned pay in my post--that seems to be what everyone is targeting! I'm definitely not looking to get rich off of nursing, and I apologize for coming across that way.

What truly makes my heart sing is the idea of working in a clinic setting, especially public/community health. There's nothing that would make me happier than to be a nurse in that environment. I know that working outside of the hospital is for me, and working within the hospital is NOT.

I would love to do social work or counseling, however, I've heard too many terrible stories about taking a social work job in my (very) red state. Basically, it's not what you go into if you're looking for something stable. Many counseling jobs require a Masters degree, and that's just not an option at this time.

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Sour Lemon has 9 years experience.

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On 4/19/2020 at 6:42 PM, Aprilj09 said:

Truth be told, I took a semester of nursing pre-reqs last year, but then started doubting myself (even though I made A's) and switched to Education this year. I've come to the conclusion that I would love to be a nurse outside of bedside. I know it most likely wouldn't be the highest paying job because I would actively be avoiding working in a hospital, but honestly, as long as I'm making at least $20/hr, I would be totally okay with that. I wish I hadn't mentioned pay in my post--that seems to be what everyone is targeting! I'm definitely not looking to get rich off of nursing, and I apologize for coming across that way.

What truly makes my heart sing is the idea of working in a clinic setting, especially public/community health. There's nothing that would make me happier than to be a nurse in that environment. I know that working outside of the hospital is for me, and working within the hospital is NOT.

It's fine to want to "get rich", it's just odd to go into a field for the money and then shoot for one of the lower-paying areas. $20 an hour may or may not be realistic, depending on where you're located and how the job market is when you actually start working.

Consider how your education will be funded, too. A baby and student loans that have to be paid back will change your expenses, of course.

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26 minutes ago, Sour Lemon said:

It's fine to want to "get rich", it's just odd to go into a field for the money and then shoot for one of the lower-paying areas. $20 an hour may or may not be realistic, depending on where you're located and how the job market is when you actually start working.

Consider how your education will be funded, too. A baby and student loans that have to be paid back will change your expenses, of course.

Oh, goodness. I wish I had totally dismissed money from my post. I've always been drawn to helping, educating, and taking care of people. I've worked in a hospital, and I don't like the environment. I've just always dreamed of working in a doctor's office or clinic. I'm not trying to make a lot of money from it, just a livable wage to contribute to my household.

The community college courses for both LVN and RN are very reasonable and we're able to pay for them out of pocket. I'm so sorry this has become such an issue in this thread, I'm just trying to help create a better life for my family so it's not just on my husband.

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