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Old 11-22-2007, 11:44 AM
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Default Help--i'm scared!!

Hi everyone. I'm new here. I am 36 yrs old and I want to be a nurse. I have a B.A. degree and currently taking a chemistry class as i'm working on my science pre-requisites. I have been doing a lot of research about nursing and honestly, i'm afraid. what if i don't like being a nurse after all is said and done? I made some bad career choices in the past and ended up miserable working as an insurance adjuster for many years. How did you know you wanted to be a nurse? And also, should I go straight into a BSN program or consider LPN then bridget to BSN or AAS or what??? How hard are the accelerated BSN programs? And really important, how do some of you older career changers out there support yourselves financially while in nursing school? My husband does not make enough money to take care of all of the bills by himself. Any ideas?
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Old 11-22-2007, 08:50 PM
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Default New? Me too.

I'm 53 and heading into nursing as a midlife career changer because my last job went to India and jobs in IT are pretty much nonexistent for people in my age range.

When I was a kid, I originally wanted to be a paramedic but flunked the physical exam (too much smoking, not enough wind), so nursing is not a random career choice for me. To be sure about it, I took an EMT-B class at the local city college which included several shifts with an ambulance company. It gave me enough exposure to some of the icky realities of health care that I decided to go ahead and commit to two years of prerequisites and two years of nursing training (speaking of icky, we were the guinea pigs for the paramedic class' IV placement efforts). In nursing, you can work until you drop; there's no age bias and I haven't heard of those jobs going overseas.

I've been trying to decide between an accelerated 2nd batchelor's BSN program at the local big university and several AS programs at city colleges in the area. Big U's program wants more prereqs, plus a GRE. They admit on the basis of prereq grades and GRE scores (the average GPA was 3.66 and average GRE was high 400's. Yikes!). The big U program gives you more breadth and depth, but you still wind up as an RN. BSN is good if you want a career in public health or nursing management.

The local CCs admit to their nursing programs by lottery, plus at least decent grades (core prereqs must be at least a B, others a C). CC is also easier grade-wise; they don't hold an occasional dropped class against you. I started the semester with 16 units, dropped 3 after the 2nd week, and had to drop the intermediate algebra class last week because the amount of study for that and the chem class was making the grades for both suffer. I'll get a W for the math class, but that's minor and not counted in the overall GPA, and I'll just retake it in the two semester format. At Big U, that would definitely hit the GPA.

I intend to go straight for the RN as taking the least amount of time. Becoming an LVN then having to work while doing the RN classes would not be a good thing. You need to concentrate on the classes. The Big U program admin said outright that you can't do their program and have a job; the time commitment is just too great. You can still find a lot of work as an LVN, but the hospitals in our area seem to be phasing them out (along with ancillary support staff) and dumping more workload on the RNs. My wife and I had several long, long talks about how I could do this because she'll be the one with a paycheck for a while. Financially, we've given up or scaled back all the things we used to do when we were both working, like fancy vacations and restaurants and movies. We were dribbling away a lot of money like that. We raised the deductibles on the insurance, dropped the gardener, stopped paying other people for things we can learn to do ourselves (although after digging up the sewer line because of tree roots, I'm not sure that paying a plumber 5 grand wasn't such a bad idea). We're staying home for holidays, no more long car trips. The family is aware that we don't have money for a lot of presents anymore. No HD TV in our immediate future. I now bicycle to school, so no parking, gas and car repair money. The big one was no more credit card buying. Cash only; if we don't have the cash, no buying. It's not going to be easy because I don't qualify for financial assistance and I don't want to get bogged down with student loans. However, doing the prereqs and nursing classes at city college will be the absolute least expensive way to go, much much less than the fees at Big U.

Good luck and don't give up. You'll always find a way.
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Old 11-23-2007, 05:56 PM
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fazeila921, first of all, i would certainly go for the BSN route if possible. if not, definitely go for your AAS. Financial woes are certainly possible while in school, but as quoz21 said, you have to really find a way to make it work by cutting out all of the extras that you have enjoyed for some time now. Also, you can probably get a job working as a NA after you have completed some clinical hours. Some hospitals even hire you as externs, which are good programs for experience that you may not get in the clinical setting.

I would recommend working as a NA for awhile if you are unsure if nursing is the job for you. If you are not able to handle that, then you probably will not be able to handle nursing, at least in a facility type setting. But most of the classes and clinicals focus upon those settings, so it is good experience regardless.

Just some ideas; good luck if you decide to pursue nursing. Although a difficult and demanding job, it is also very rewarding to the soul many days of the week.
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Old 11-25-2007, 05:57 AM
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1. Take a deep breath.
2. Remember that there are more people in your situation than you know.

I did a BAppSci (four years) then worked for four years, at the end of the third year I started to think about changing to nursing and started to look around at the various programs. I knew I could do the work so I went with an accelerated course, which is generally the normal course without the first year, so you are expected to catch-up with the knowledge base. Financially, I only need to support me, but I have a partner who also works who helps me when we go out (I by one round to his two). It is amazing where you can cut money from your budget, but it is going to be a whole family deal (if you have a family). This means no holidays till you finish (it really isn't that long, 16 months), no ice cream every week, no takeaway ever week, limited process foods (cheese, JUICE, expensive breakfast cereals), alcohol and cigarettes; you just might find you get healthy by doing all this as well.

Work if you can, but remember that study comes first! There is no point studying to do BNSci when you are failing all your subjects because you are working too much as an NA. Talk to your husband, this is going to be a group decision as you are going to need him for support at times. Christmas and Birthdays are going to be your best friend now, with text books costing about $50 each, ask family members to give money for them instead of something that you don't really need.

Get all your assignments proof read before submitting when your first start. No matter how good you think you write, you will loose marks or not get the marks if the lecturer can't read your grammar, and after 88 assignments if they can't read it easily they don't try.

If you are worried about the icky stuff, don't. You seem to get over it very quickly when you have to deal with it every day.

When I started every said it was a good choice as there will always be a need for nurses! Good luck and let us know how you go!
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Old 12-01-2007, 07:53 PM
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Hey there- I'm a career changer myself. I didn't dislike what my old career was (in veterinary medicine and animal welfare) but I knew that it was not a terminal career path for me. I thought about career changes passively- entertaining ideas of law school, med school, vet school, any get the picture. I was beginning to think that I was just being a big boob when I realized it was under my nose the entire time. As an EMT, I interacted with ER nurses on a regular basis. I admired their strength, their wisdom, and their flexibility. I thought, "When I grow up, I want to be just like them!" And thus began my journey to nursing school. When I made the decision, I also committed myself to it full throttle.

As for the sacrifices- everyone is making them. We are on a strict budget. My husband, who used to enjoy a daily Starbucks run is on a strict allowance. No more vacations for us. The last time I bought new clothing, even underwear was more than 2 years ago. No more eating out. My husband is a civil servant, which we all know makes a very modest income. We found that we were able to cut out the teeny luxuries and save a great deal.

As for what program to ADN or BSN, this was my logic. Regardless of the program, it was going to be 2 or so years. Since I already had a BA, I could do an accelerated BSN program and be done in 16 months.

Did I make the right choice in going to nursing school? I truly hope so
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Old 12-11-2007, 01:07 AM
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Default Find an alternative schedule program...

Personally, my wife and I had along talk about my going back to school (it was her idea, she knew how miserable I was in my current job). We were at least certain nursing was something I would enjoy (she works in a hospital, and I had always been interested).

Basically we took a leap of faith, which was the hardest thing I've ever done. We took a huge financial hit which we are still recovering from, but for the joy I have in my career it was all worth it.

My saving grace was an alternative schedule program. The local community college system has a single program (of the six they offer) that meets all day Friday and Saturday, and takes tests on Sunday mornings. There is no summer vacation, it goes straight through, but still only takes 18 months to finish with an ADN. I was still able to work 3 -12 hour days in a hospital, go to school full time, and have time to study. I didn't see my family much for two years, but it was an excellent time investment.

The accelerated BSN programs are harder to work while going to school, but there are some who have managed. There also are student loans, but I hate to promote those, I've seen a lot of people abuse them and end up paying back huge bills simply to avoid working for a while...

No matter what, make sure you have a clear understanding with your husband about the time and financial commitment this takes; if you two can commit to it, it is so well worth it!!!

I wish you luck!!!
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Old 12-12-2007, 11:02 PM
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Default Accelerated BSN

I'm currently in an accelerated BSN program, and I think it's the way to go (particularly the BSN part). Anymore, most Associate's programs are only 1-2 classes different than a BSN, so you may as well just dive in and get the bigger degree. In fact, here in WA there's talk of doing away with the AD programs (turning them into BSN) since those students are practically doing the same amount of work anyway. The downside to an accelerated program was just mentioned, and that it's pretty unlikely you'll be able to have a job.

I also decided on nursing after a major career change, and in order to help with those same doubts, I did work as an NAC for a while. It is true that it's "icky" work, but you get over that very quickly and I fell immediately in love with patient care. But if nothing else, many hospitals and health care agencies take volunteers, so you could just put a few hours in some where to see how you like it. Plus it'll help you get into school!

Good luck!!
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Old 12-14-2007, 10:26 PM
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OK, I've already talked about my attitudes towards BS/BSN vs. AD, and I too did an accelerated program, and I too was going back to school later in life (I just turned 50, got my BS and RN 4 years ago). I was lucky, I got some scholarships (they are out there!), some support from my family...and I took out loans. One thing about student loans is that a lot of hospitals have loan payback programs where you commit to working for them and they pay on your loans, so I'd say avoid loans if you can, but don't not go because you might need some financial aid.

As for working, I didn't while I was in my undergrad program once I got in the accelerated program, just couldn't manage (particularly if you get obsessive like some of us do -- I think out of a graduating class of 90 there were 15 of us with 4.0's), however, if you decide you do need to work, and you're in the US, and there's a VA near you, check it out. They often have positions called "Student Tech" which allows you to do anything you've had the schooling for, plus the pay tends to be pretty good, and I have to say I love working for the VA -- there really is (in general) an attitude of respect and feeling that it is an honor to take care of those who have served. The bureaucracy can be crazy-making, but it can anywhere in healthcare!
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Old 12-14-2007, 11:46 PM
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Default Its all right ma, I am only bleeding.

No worries mate. My suggestion is go for the AA degree and work in the hospital. Its only two years and you will probably be able to work a day or so a week while in school. I suggest a AA degree as you already have a bachelors and no matter what it is in you are further ahead than a BSN alone. AA program nurses frequently get more bedside training than in bachelor programs. Only problem is some states require a BSN for public health. But with the current shortage it ain't no big thing. I worked for three different HHAs and none ask to see my public health certificate.

If you take the AA path just be a smart nurse and stay on top of what is happening ( that alone will put you ahead of most of your peers.) It is a great profession and has been very very good to me
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Old 12-15-2007, 10:30 AM
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You shouldn't be concerned about not liking nursing. Nursing is such a broad profession. There are so many different outlets. If you don't like working on a hospital floor, you can do research, work for a pharmaceutical company, psychiatrics....the list is endless.
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