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41 yr. old business executive going to Nursing School

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by ESP808 ESP808 (New Member) New Member

234 Visitors; 4 Posts

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I'm a 41 year old single mom (joint custody) who will be an empty nester in 4 years. I'm not sure if I'm going through a midlife crisis but lately my corporate insurance job no longer lights my fire and I am yearning for a career that gives me a strong sense of purpose and the feeling that I'm doing something meaningful.

I have family members who are nurses and they've been encouraging me to consider Nursing.

I'm looking into getting in the GEPN at University of Hawaii- Manoa on the DNP path.

I know that once I start, there's no turning back because I'll be using part of my IRA money for living expenses while I do the 1 year intensive prelicensure before taking the NCLEX.

Do you think Nursing school is a good return of investment at my age (41)?

Thank you in advance. I appreciate the feedback.

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CalicoKitty has 6 years experience as a BSN, RN and works as a Med-Surg Nurse.

77 Likes; 1 Follower; 15,141 Visitors; 544 Posts

Financially, nursing school can be a good ROI. You still have 30+ years of working.

Things to consider:

1) getting a new grad job in HI is a challenge (if that's where you live), and you may need to move to get a first job

2) if you work anywhere but an office, expect nights and weekends (not sure if you're going straight to provider (NP) or work as RN first. Same goes for holidays/vacations.

3) not everyone gets a "strong sense of purpose". some people get very disillusioned when becoming a nurse and realizing how much of a job it is (with all the crap that jobs can bring). Others do find a "niche" and can be very fulfilled.

Good luck!

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234 Visitors; 4 Posts

@CalicoKitty thank you for your advice. I've heard about the tough job market for new grads here in Hawaii. My cousin who is an RN advised me that sometimes it's all about timing and working as a hospital or nurse aide before graduation to get your foot in the door. With hard work and initiative she was able to get an RN job at Kaiser 2 months after passing her NCLEX while some of her classmates that graduated with honors were having a hard time getting job offers. It also took her 1.5 year of checking and applying before she got her hospital job at Tripler Army Medical Hospital.

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CharleeFoxtrot has 7 years experience as a ADN, RN.

110 Likes; 5,918 Visitors; 384 Posts

Before you take this leap, before you gamble your future retirement by taking funds out of your IRA be sure you do it with eyes wide open. Go volunteer at a local hospital or nursing home to get a feel for what the job truly entails. Begin to look at the "want ads"where you live to determine what the market is like. If there is a pay differential between your current wage and the RN wage-and I bet there is- can you live with that pay cut? Read through any number of the threads here on the somewhat unrealistic expectation of what nursing should be as opposed to the reality. Think about working nights, weekends and holidays and the possibility of 12 hours on for 3 days straight. Get to the gym if you don't already because strengthening yourself is a good way to prevent injuries.

Am I trying to dissuade you? No, only trying to ensure you are doing this with a clear understanding of the reality of nursing. Can it be rewarding? Yes, very much so. But htere is a price to pay beyond what you put out in tuition.

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KatieMI has 6 years experience as a BSN, MSN and works as a Internal Medicine.

207 Likes; 40,755 Visitors; 2,321 Posts

If you really just want to do "something meaningful", go volunteering in a nursing home. Become a sub teacher. Or join religious mission to Haiti.

You likely won't be able to work that much as CENA. It is truly, really back-breaking job and you are not that young any more. No strengthening or conditioning will eliminate time factor, and if you injure your back at this point, you face a good probability of life-long problems. Nursing school, depending on your basic education level, can be more or less intence and exhaustive but for sure it will be VERY time-consuming, so it is likely you'll have to eat and live through your IRA and other savings. You likely will face ageism and prejustice toward yourself during clinicals and following work if you ever consider working bedside (without which your "price" as a higher-level nursing professional might be cut down quite a bit), as older and better educated new grad nurses are frequently discriminated against just because they are older and better educated. Not always, but QUITE frequently.

And, yes, I am actively trying to make you thinking VERY hard before even calling admissions. This forum is full of stories of people who came to nursing simply because they got tired of groundhog days and decided that they need to do "something meaningful". It is good if they only lose some time and great deal of $$$$$ while doing so, and not phtsical and/or mental health.

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OldDude works as a School Nurse.

943 Likes; 5 Followers; 1 Article; 27,733 Visitors; 4,559 Posts

I've posted on here before the reason I went into nursing had nothing to do with wanting to help people or doing something meaningful but was the biggest bang I could get for my investment buck. My adult life prior to nursing school was industrial construction and the industry was facing a slow down with salaries actually being reduced for those who were working. I was right about the return on my investment as I have been employed in nursing since I graduated at age 43. I don't consider myself a "nurturer" and I'm not any good at offering comforting dialogue to those in need or to those who've lost a loved one so I don't think I can relate to the emotional aspect of nursing as much as some do.

Nursing school requires a lot of energy and patience and you have to put up with a lot of BS that has nothing to do with nursing. I hated it.

So, my advice to you is, as recommended above, first of all, look at the business model of the industry now and project what it should be like when you graduate...what bang for your buck you can expect. If you're in good physical shape, think you can swing it financially and obtain employment...go for it.

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ruby_jane has 10 years experience as a BSN, RN.

963 Likes; 2 Followers; 6,759 Visitors; 1,976 Posts

There are consequences to taking your IRA money (unless it's Roth) - mainly that may count as taxable income and in a year where you both have a job and quit a job, that's a big deal. That's how I funded nursing school, and I am running to catch up for retirement.

Other than that - the nursing world is not always friendly to those of us who are second career nurses. I wish it was otherwise but it's really the luck of the draw. Your teachers may value your real-world experience or they may decide that you must prove your worth and therefore they will test you. Ditto for preceptors. I don't regret my midlife change from health education to nursing....but would I do it again? I honestly can't say.

Good luck.

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llg has 40 years experience as a PhD, RN and works as a Nursing Professional Development + Academic Facult.

242 Likes; 5 Followers; 57,549 Visitors; 12,974 Posts

I agree with the poster above who encouraged you to add some meaningful activities (volunteering, etc.) to your life without endangering your financial, mental and physical health. If helping others is what you want to do, there are plenty of other ways you can do that without taking such a huge risk. If volunteering doesn't appeal to you ... is there any way you can use your current job skills at different job working for a non-profit organization that serves the community. Non-profit service corporations need business people, too.

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Sour Lemon has 9 years experience.

713 Likes; 2 Followers; 28,846 Visitors; 4,073 Posts

I'm a 41 year old single mom (joint custody) who will be an empty nester in 4 years. I'm not sure if I'm going through a midlife crisis but lately my corporate insurance job no longer lights my fire and I am yearning for a career that gives me a strong sense of purpose and the feeling that I'm doing something meaningful.

I have family members who are nurses and they've been encouraging me to consider Nursing.

I'm looking into getting in the GEPN at University of Hawaii- Manoa on the DNP path.

I know that once I start, there's no turning back because I'll be using part of my IRA money for living expenses while I do the 1 year intensive prelicensure before taking the NCLEX.

Do you think Nursing school is a good return of investment at my age (41)?

Thank you in advance. I appreciate the feedback.

If you were working at Taco Bell for minimum wage, I'd say go for it. If you're over 40, reasonably financially secure, and just looking for change, I'd say ...reconsider. Healthcare is big business, not the Kumbaya crap we see on TV.

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meanmaryjean has 40 years experience and works as a Nursing Faculty.

49 Likes; 3 Followers; 63,695 Visitors; 7,496 Posts

OP- wise advice given by others. I would add this- do a couple shadow shifts. The full 12 hours. If your nurse doesn't sit/ pee/ eat- neither do you. THEN decide if this is something you want to do. TV nurses have vastly different working conditions than actual nurses.

I would also look for a less expensive option like a community college. There is no sense risking your financial future on this. And there are many ways to an RN license that do not involve this tremendous expense.

best wishes.

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xoemmylouox has 13 years experience and works as a Nurse.

39 Likes; 1 Follower; 38,229 Visitors; 3,145 Posts

Stick with your current job. It (hopefully) pays you well. You should have a decent career ladder if you are looking to move up. Volunteer if you want to add purpose to your life. You can volunteer at hospice, LTC, even the hospital holding preemie babies. There are plenty of places that are DESPERATE for volunteers.

Nursing is hard. You sacrifice so much including your body, your sanity, holidays, family time, weekends, vacations, etc. Nursing school does not prepare you for what nursing in the real world is like.

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232 Likes; 3 Followers; 95,230 Visitors; 36,400 Posts

Stick with your current job. It (hopefully) pays you well. You should have a decent career ladder if you are looking to move up. Volunteer if you want to add purpose to your life. You can volunteer at hospice, LTC, even the hospital holding preemie babies. There are plenty of places that are DESPERATE for volunteers.

Nursing is hard. You sacrifice so much including your body, your sanity, holidays, family time, weekends, vacations, etc. Nursing school does not prepare you for what nursing in the real world is like.

I wish somebody would have convinced me of this when I made the same decision at about the same age. Perhaps I wouldn't be trying to support myself with unreliable employment at an age where I should be retired and concentrating on my own declining health. I wasted my retirement nest egg on a nursing education. Don't make the same mistake.

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