Post # 1
I’ve been thinking a lot about my life lately and what I want to accomplish. For a few years now I’ve been interested in Nursing. I’ve always had an interest in Science and Medicine, especially with how the human body actually works. It would also allow me to actually help people on a daily basis, something I feel is lacking in my current job – plus, it would be an actual career and not just a way to make ends meet. My current job has wonderful people and has allowed me to pay down my 21K in student loans to less than 6K in three years, but it doesn’t interest me and it doesn’t pay well (paying it down that much required sacrifices on my part).
I already have a Bachelor’s Degree. When I was young and naive I believed I’d be able to get a job in Publishing with an English Degree – it didn’t happen. I don’t regret my degree at all, but I do sometimes wish I had believed in myself enough to go into Nursing when I first started College.
There are a few Accelerated Programs offered in my state. The benefit of an ACE program is that it would only take about a year to complete all the Nursing courses and earn the degree. . . the downside is that I would need to take the 8 or so pre-req courses before getting into the program.
I’ve ran the numbers and I’m estimating that all the courses (with the pre-reqs taken at a Community College and including books) would cost less than 30K to complete. I would be able to work while completely the pre-reqs, but would have to leave my job if I am accepted into an ACE program (after FI and I marry next year). The money aspect does worry FI (who is an Accountant with no student loans) and I, but we feel like we have options that we could consider for that. We plan to see what type of raise he gets this summer before making any final decisions.
This is something I really want to consider. I want to pursue this partly because I want to know that I could support myself, or my family, if (God forbid) anything were to happen to my FI or our relationship. Additionally, I feel like I would be really good at this and it would help fufill me personally and professionally. . . but I also want to stay home with our kids when they are really little and my FI would really like that as well (it’s just what we would feel most comfortable with). I’m concerned that getting the degree now would undermine my chances of finding work after the kids are old enough for me to return to work, but waiting until then would mean funneling some money away from other things – like saving for them to go to college.
Which brings me to the point of this post: given everything that I’ve mentioned, is it a good life choice to pursue a second Bachelor’s in Nursing?
And if you made it this far, and actually understood something in this rambling post, then please go get yourself a cookie because you obviously deserve it.
Post # 2
I would honestly wait until your kids are older, so instead of leaving your job to pursue furthur education, you use the education as a stepping stone into a new field. Who knows, you may never return to the work force and then all that hard work and money would be for nothing.
Post # 3
- Wedding: May 2014 - Madison, WI
I remember hearing from a friend of mine about a similar situation and I believe the advice was to wait because if you get the degree now and then end up taking years away from nursing while staying home with your children that to go back into nursing you’d have get relicensed. Depending on your state that could be a quick refresher course for a few hundred dollars or it could mean taking hours of courses and clinicals again.
This website kind of outlines that: http://nursinglink.monster.com/education/articles/8249-how-to-get-back-into-nursing-if-youve-dropped-out
Post # 4
dv3849: Ms_Purple: Thank you both. I was starting to lean more towards starting immediately, mostly because I really miss being in school and being challenged on an intellectual level.
For my State it appears that if your license has lasped for three years you need to: take a refresher course, send in the application materials and pay a $180 fee. Anything longer than 5 years would require that and require that you retake the NCLEX-RN exam. Anything less than three years requires just the application materials and fee.
Definitely makes more sense to wait after learning that.
I am considering starting on some of the pre-req courses in the next year though – probably the Psychology and Math courses. Would that be a good compromise?
Post # 5
If you plan on having a family soon, i would probally wait to do the degree. With that being said, i am a new graduate of nursing (lke literally finished yesterday)! I have an ADN, and i am starting in the fall for RN to BSN after passing my boards. Most hospitals are getting super competitive and want “magnet” status. This means they need to have a very high percentage of BSN nurses employed. This also means many doors are not left open for ADN to get a job since most postings are “bachelor preferred”. Anywho, this is how it is in my area. I know in fl where my brother lives, the hospitals are not magnet status and it is quite easy for an ADN to get a job. That being said, if your area isnt huge on magnet status yet, you should be able to find a job but i am hearing BSN will be entry level anyways by 2020. You should be able to complete your degree quite quickly if you already hold a bach degree as well.
I worked full time while getting my degree and it was quite difficult. Many classmates with children and families were unable to work with the crazy hours and clinicals, not to mention studying. Also, im not too sure that starting a career, then taking a long break would bode well for getting back into a career again. i think in this case you might want to wait til your children are older and you are ready to go back to work. Nursing is a field thats always changing so taking a “5 year hiatus” may work against you. Maybe you can research the program you like and start doing pre reqs so that you can enter the program when you are ready
Post # 6
LoggerHead91207: RN here. One thing to keep in mind is that many hospitals will no longer hire ADN nurses, BSN is required and I think we will see more and more of that. I would not get a nursing degree and then take time away. The skills take awhile to build and certainly a decent time to feel “comfortable”. It’s a very stressful job to get into it and especially if you don’t have a solid starting point.
Post # 7
I went back to take my nursing education after I left my first husband and had 2 children. I suggest diving right in! Why would you want to wait until you have children to start knocking back those pre-reqs when you coould do it more easily now?
Take your pre-req courses. apply for the ACE program as soon as you can. If the timing is not right when you are accepted you can always defer until the next intake.
Getting married and having children does not mean you need to put your nursing career on hold. You don’t have to work full time or even regular part time. You can work on-call or casual and work as little or as much as you want. This keeps your knowledge and your license current.
I assume most states, like other jurisdictions, have regulations about the minimum amount of hours you need to work to renew your license each year, but that is often based on a cumulative number of hours over the last 3 or 5 years, so being off for a full year for mat leave like we get here in Canada, has no effect on your license.
Post # 8
My advice is that when you decide to go to school, go straight for your BSN or you’ll never find a job. Not sure about your area, but my hospital won’t hire you unless you have your BSN (which I’m assuming the ACE program is). Good luck with whatever you decide, nursing is full of opportunities and there are so many paths you can take with your degree.
Post # 9
LoveLikeCrazy: Jw1724: julies1949: Isabelle663: Thank you all for the advice. To clarify, the ACE (Accelerated Career Entry) program would result in a Bachelors of Science in Nursing, which seems like it would give me a good chance of finding a job in Nursing.
The program I’m interested in is held at a State University close to where I live. It’s a very competitive program though; they only accept 30 students a year into the program. I have a good GPA from my first degree (around 3.36) and I’m hoping that if I do well enough in the pre-req courses that it might be enough to give me an edge.
I do plan on working while completing the pre-req courses. Students are discouraged from holding a job once they are accepted to the ACE program though because it is a highly demanding program – all the Nursing requirements (including clinicals) are completed in one year and requires a lot of time and effort to finish (they estimate around 40 hours or so, so a part-time job might be possible if I have the energy).
I think the plan of starting some pre-reqs now and then seeing how things go is a good idea at the moment. FI and I are going to talk things over more over the course of the next few months to try and see what would work best for us – he fully supports me in wanting to go back to school, but he really wants to be sure that it’s a good program and choice. I am interested in the idea of working part-time basis as it would allow me to spend time at home with the kids and keep my license current, but I’ll have to look into any rules about how that works here (for instance, whether there is a specific amount of hours required).
Post # 10
LoveLikeCrazy: P.S. Congratulations!
Post # 11
LoggerHead91207: I’m a nurse. Going into it, I was single, fresh out of highschool and had no other life obligations. I’ve been a nurse now for several years and I have to say, it’s probably one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life. It’s an absolutely rewarding career, I honestly can’t think of anything else I’d rather be doing with my life. At the same time, I took this profession on without anything else to really focus on. I was single, without kids and so I had all the time in the world to focus on my schooling. Now I’ve had friends in my class who were a bit older, who had other obligations and honestly I had to give it to them for being able to balance school, work and family. It’s quite possible to do it all- some things just have to be sacrificed in the time being. But nursing school is not without work. It’s rigorous work. Now the accelerated program, I feel, presents its own challenges in that everything is essentially fast tracked and condensed. I had a couple of accelerated students in my junior/senior classes and they were hard core! No breaks for them. If you can really dedicate the time, then go for it. But if you’re doubtful about being able to sacrifice that time, especially with your kids…then I would hold off. In the state I live in, once you take the licensure exam, you’re a nurse for life! You do have to complete continuing education credits every two years (30 credits and you can accomplish them online, most hospitals will give you free credits with seminars and such) in order to renew your RN license, but as far as I’m concerned you do not need to retake the nclex. Another thing that I would consider is how long you plan to be a nurse before being a stay at home mom. In my opinion, it wouldn’t make sense to go through the year long training to only work for a couple of months and then take off for several years. As with everything, when you don’t use it, you lose it. And employers do consider this, the experience you’ve had in relation to the length of time you’ve been without practice. You can work part time or per diem, just a couple shifts out of the month with plenty of time to be with the kids. You can only consider working evening or night shifts…3 days out of the week as a full time position really isn’t terrible! Either way, I hope you find what best works for you…and if you so choose to become a nurse…yay! Best of luck to you!!
Post # 12
- Wedding: September 2016 - State Park
I’m a RN with my BSN. If you plan to have kids anytime in the near future I would wait to go back to school, otherwise in a way you would be wasting your license for an undetermined amount of time. I think taking prereqs now would be a good compromise, but most of the time schools require them to be less than 5 years old, so that might not work either.
On another note, nursing is very rewarding. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else
Post # 13
Lots of good advice here! If you want to stay home 100% of the time when your kids are young, it might be better to wait for the ACE program until you’re ready to jump into the career. On the other hand, I also agree with @julies1949 – consider if you’re willing to work PRN while your kids are small – in my hospital, ‘PRN’ is just 2 shifts a month. If you were ok with working 1 shift a week or whatever while your kids were small, then you could possible have the best of both worlds.<br /><br />My other thought – if you wait to do the accelerated program until your kids are school aged, it would still be tough to balance all of the studying when you’d rather be helping them with snacks, after school activities, homework, dinner, etc. When it’s just you and your FI/DH, you’ll be able to focus more on your schooling. Nursing school itself is demanding, but accelerated programs are markedly more so.
I’m an RN with my BSN (and CCRN) at a level 1 trauma hospital in Kansas City… and later this month I’m starting CRNA School. I decided to go ahead and go through my ultimate goal of becoming a nurse anesthetist before starting a family with DH so that I wouldn’t feel guilty about dedicating 70 hours/wk of my time to school and missing my little ones growing up. I want to work full time a year or two after graduating from my program and then hopefully will be able to cut back to part time while our kids are young.
Post # 14
LoggerHead91207: Don’t do it! Pleeease for your sanity, self worth, body and health, do not pursue nursing! I’m a pediatric and neonatal nurse and I absolutely hate my job. And I can’t think of one other nursing job that I’d like to pursue instead. I’m currently looking at completely different career options, with better working conditions and work life balance. Hospitals have a massive hierarchy, and unfortunately nurses are at the bottom of that hierarchy. We have so much responsibility yet barely any say in a patient’s care. Shift work is awful, you’ll never sleep properly again. You can say goodbye to weekends, holidays, and your social life. Of course there are days where you really feel like you’re touched by a family/patient, but most days we’re just there to do the dirty work. Dish out medications, change diapers and continence pads, clean up vomit, be coughed on, be yelled at by family members, the list just goes on. You’ll have a workload that is so busy that it’s completely unsafe and you’ll always be freaking out that your registration is on the line and you could be taken to court in case an error is made. You’ll need to put on a happy face all the time just to please everyone. Doctors will talk down on you, charge nurses will demand too much from you, and family members will push the limits. Be prepared to be overworked and undervalued. It’ll be almost impossible to maintain working full time with the shift work you’ll be requred to do. Over 80% of the RNs at my hospital are part time, a perfect demonstration of the unbelievable demands of our job and how unsustainable it is on our body and mental health.
Now having said all that, there are absolutely jobs out there which are far less demanding and taxing on our body (yet somehow have the exact same wage). These include home nursing, rehab, mental health community care residences etc. But these may not interest people anad might not have the “rush” that some people desire. Ultimately it’s up to you which you’d like to pursue, but a “typical” ward nurse on a medical or surgical unit will be extremely busy and demanding.
Obviously there are some people who are happy in their nursing career, like the posters above, but I just wanted to get my perspective out there so you have both sides to the story before you decide to pursue anything.
Post # 15
nightowl: Valid points here. There are tons of times where I felt I was pushed to my ultimate limits; being over worked and under appreciated, being yelled at by doctors and residents, serving as the emotional punching bag for patients and their family members. my first few months as a new nurse were awful. I felt so insignificant and small, I’d sometimes go home crying with the amount of stress I would bring home. It didn’t help that I worked nights (7pm-7am) and ultimately, it took a year to adjust to it all. Yes, i despised working holidays and weekends but once I got the hang of it all, I began to truly love it. After my first year, I began to feel more at ease with my clinical skills and worth as a new nurse. I began to build on my professional relationships with my coworkers and i saw these intimidating doctors as my peers. And I couldn’t believe how much I learned in a year! Where I work, we have a great sense of nursing community. Though doctor-nurse issues are inevitable, more often that not, we as nurses are respected and acknowledged. I guess I got lucky and landed a job in a wonderful hospital (my hospital is nationally rankeD and gets tons of funding). Since then, I’ve worked on a stressful cardiac unit, now the ER after three years of nursing. I have served as a charge nurse, have oriented new nurses and it’s been one hell of a ride so far. Though I’ve learned to find ways to decompress (you have to, in order to avoid burning out), I know am lucky to truly love what I do. I am really sorry that you arent happy with what you are doing and I do hope you find (nursing related or not) whatever it is that makes you happy 🙂 good luck to you!!