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Discussion Starter #1
I'm thinking about changing careers and going into the nursing field, since there is always a need for nurses and not any for the field I kinda fell into by default - executive assistant - and constantly the first line of lay offs.

Anyway, I was wondering, how to you figure out the difference in nursing programs? Can a squeamish person actually over come being so squeamish  :eek:? I couldn't make it through ER because of the surgeries but did work in a medical facility for a while. Mostly typed up procedures (I'm able to type without reading!).

Any thoughts, ideas, and or advice would be appreciated.  I live in washington state and am 40 (I hope it's not too late to change careers!! :eek: ???)

thanks

theresam
 

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You are looking at a great profession. I graduated from a 2 yr Associate Degree Nursing Program in 1975.
Some of the students who made the best grades were the older students (I was 18) and who were moms and grandmothers. There is so much variety in nursing what type of specialty you choose, what type of facility you work in. It is great money and you can even work part time and still make good money. It is so in demand you can also find work to suit your hrs.
I really don't remember seeing too many overly horrible situations as a student nurse. Patients are admitted sicker than they were many years ago.  With the two year degree you don't have as much clinical experience as a 4 yr student would. I almost passed out watching an orthopedic surgery.... the mask didn't help. It is good you do have some medical background going in to this. I am sure you will have other who can tell you more about their experiences. Best of luck!
Kdawna
 

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Theresa,

For many people, nursing is a chosen second career. After a bunch of life experiences, people realize they want to do something to help people and go into nursing. Life experiences might include their previous work, death of a parent, illness of a close friend, etc. I have also known many retired policemen and firefighters who go into nursing because they stay connected to a helping profession and they are used to shift work (a practical issue). I have known many people who are 40 and over who have gone into nursing.

To answer your other immediate question: yes you can overcome squeamish.

I have taught nursing and most of my career is in nursing academia and I would be happy to answer specific questions you might have. Just PM me. In general, in nursing right now there is a nursing shortage and as a result, there has been an expansion of educational opportunities. Depending on your prior education and experience, you could complete an RN program in 18-24 months. There are also programs for people with bachelor's degrees (not in nursing) to become nurse practitioners in three years. So much depends on where you live, how flexible you are, and like, I said, your background and education.

I love being a nurse. It is an incredible profession that has given me a wealth of opportunity. My son is currently studying to be a nurse and I am very proud of him. If you are interested, I am happy to answer any or all questions you might have, either privately or publicly.

Thanks for asking,

Leslie
 

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Ummm....with the current economy there isn't the nurse shortage there used to be... at least as far as available jobs go....
 

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Nothing much to add to Leslie's post other than to say I have loved every minute of being a nurse. It is a wonderful career choice and very rewarding. As Leslie said it can provide you with a wealth of opportunity. One thing I like about the nursing profession is there is constant change if you want it. This prevents boredom and burn out. Another thing I like is the constant challenge and opportunity to learn.

I worked as an aid in school, then to ER, Labor and Delivery, NICU, Oncology, Office Staff Nurse, Med/Surg...you get the point. There is always something new and different if you want it. Now I work 7:30 to 3:30 conducting clinical trials for non FDA approved drugs. Very challenging and interesting.

Just an FYI, I was 29 when I attended nursing school but there was a 50 and 55 year old in my graduating class. Go for it!  :)
 

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bkworm8it said:
Anyway, I was wondering, how to you figure out the difference in nursing programs? Can a squeamish person actually over come being so squeamish :eek:? I couldn't make it through ER because of the surgeries but did work in a medical facility for a while. Mostly typed up procedures (I'm able to type without reading!).

Any thoughts, ideas, and or advice would be appreciated. I live in washington state and am 40 (I hope it's not too late to change careers!! :eek: ???)

thanks

theresam
Sounds like medical transcriptionist might be an option too
 

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Nursing was a second career choice for me also.  I was 28 when I finished a BSN program and took my board exam.  Started out on a Neurosurgical floor and 3 months later went into the neuro ICU and was able to gain a lot of great experience and confidence there.  Then did some management for about 5 years in the hospital and then started teaching when I finished my Master's degree in Nursing.  Was a Department Chairperson 6 yrs and continued teaching for about 4 yrs after that.  Finished a post Master's degree in Education and want to finish a Doctorate degree (just can't get myself to do the research and dissertation).  Currently working with a publisher doing a lot of writing and editing, again great experience.  I've loved the way Nursing has opened many doors and has allowed me to gain the experience in several areas.  Not many occupations allow for the variety. 
As I said I taught for about 10yrs and had students of all ages.  Some did really well and some didn't.  Really takes a lot of commitment and hard work.  It's not easy but this had been the best field for me.  I'm a workaholic and always have several irons in the fire (I like getting that paycheck and being able to get and do pretty much whatever I want).  Nurses are underpaid, but it's a good living, and you can always pick up shifts to supplement.  I do that anyway just to keep my skills up.  I worked hard to get those skills and like they say "If you don't use it, you'll lose it".  That is so true.  I wouldn't feel comfortable walking into an ICU if I hadn't kept my skills up.
Maybe you can follow a nurse around for a shift and see what it's really like. You will just have to check with a nursing school or hospital.  Patient confidentiality is very big, so there may be an issue there.  It's easy to start as a tech in the hospital after the 1st semester of Nursing School.  That's great experience.  As far as the squeamish issues, I'd say you would have to get over that.  Pretty much anything you do (especially starting out) will involve some of those issues.  Build up your confidence, you'll be surprised what you can do.

Hope this helps,  it's been very good to me and I enjoy everything I've been able to do.  To me that is the most important part is to enjoy what your doing, if not, it's time to move on.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thank you all for taking time to reply to my post. I want to go into nursing for two reasons, the one I listed above (want a job that isn't the first line of lay off) but also wanted a job that would keep me moving and help others. Also my father passed away from esophageal cancer and it was difficult not knowing what was going on and being out of the loop.

Like I said being squeamish would be my biggest worry but I've over come most of my fears of spiders and can now kill them on my own (living alone will do that!) Ok so I use the vacuum, but that's was a hug step for me LOL ;D

Anyway, its comforting to know there have been people my age or older who have changed professions into nursing and that many of you find it rewarding.

I do have a bachelors degree in Business so maybe becoming a Nurse Practitioner would be a good option for me. Though I would have to find something to do to keep me afloat for 3 years :).

Leslie, I will take you up on your offer when I have more questions. I'm going to do some searching for schools then figure out -more student loan <groan>.

theresam
 

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"Finished a post Master's degree in Education and want to finish a Doctorate degree (just can't get myself to do the research and dissertation).  Currently working with a publisher doing a lot of writing and editing, again great experience.  I've loved the way Nursing has opened many doors and has allowed me to gain the experience in several areas.  Not many occupations allow for the variety. "

Wow Kevin63 good for you. I can understand not wanting to do the research and dissertation part! Wonder if you are allowed to pay an 'assistant' to help with the research part. Though that may be more enjoyable than the dissertation! 

'I worked as an aid in school, then to ER, Labor and Delivery, NICU, Oncology, Office Staff Nurse, Med/Surg...you get the point. There is always something new and different if you want it. Now I work 7:30 to 3:30 conducting clinical trials for non FDA approved drugs. Very challenging and interesting.'

Linda, I love the idea of always learning something new and change. My last jobs have all been the same and I'm so tired of it that I can't really make myself get back into it. Their are some area's of Medicine I would like to learn more about. Oncology being one of them. Labor and Delivery another. Not sure if I'd be cut out for ER but won't know unless I try.


Chad, I've looked into medical transcription several times. Its a very hard field to break into. At least where I am located. I did try Medical billing and coding but didn't make enough to survive on and couldn't take the insurance companies.  ;)

theresam




 

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bkworm8it said:
Thank you all for taking time to reply to my post. I want to go into nursing for two reasons, the one I listed above (want a job that isn't the first line of lay off) but also wanted a job that would keep me moving and help others. Also my father passed away from esophageal cancer and it was difficult not knowing what was going on and being out of the loop.

Like I said being squeamish would be my biggest worry but I've over come most of my fears of spiders and can now kill them on my own (living alone will do that!) Ok so I use the vacuum, but that's was a hug step for me LOL ;D

Anyway, its comforting to know there have been people my age or older who have changed professions into nursing and that many of you find it rewarding.

I do have a bachelors degree in Business so maybe becoming a Nurse Practitioner would be a good option for me. Though I would have to find something to do to keep me afloat for 3 years :).

Leslie, I will take you up on your offer when I have more questions. I'm going to do some searching for schools then figure out -more student loan <groan>.

theresam
You'll still need the basic RN licensure. The practitioner program will require you to be a Registered Nurse. There may be a few MSN programs out there that have the RN program as entry level but what I have found with those programs is that you'll end up doing extra courses to cover the RN program so you may as well have that before you go in. Some require (and most, around here in MO, and IL anyway, that's all I can really speak to) a diploma, associate, or bachelor prior to entry. Some states even require the BSN as entry level. The BSN program can be generic (meaning starting the nursing program from the beginning) or as a BSN completion (for those RN's that have an associate or diploma in nursing). There are some states that require the BSN as entry level into the profession, meaning you have to have the BSN to acquire licensure. In MO here, the graduate can apply for licensure with a diploma, associate or bachelor in nursing. I would start with your State Board of Nursing in the state you plan to apply for licensure and find out what the requirements are for licensure. I'd also check with the graduate programs to see what they would require for admission to the Practitioner program. I'd say these are the 2 best places to start. Then find out what kind of program you need to obtain that RN license.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks Kevin, I'll check with the State Board.

On a side note, I really miss lighting bugs, any chance one would survive being mailed to WA? LOL. I lived in MO until I was 18. Loved it there, but when I start to get nostalgic someone always reminds me how bad the humidity gets there!
 

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bkworm8it said:
Thanks Kevin, I'll check with the State Board.

On a side note, I really miss lighting bugs, any chance one would survive being mailed to WA? LOL. I lived in MO until I was 18. Loved it there, but when I start to get nostalgic someone always reminds me how bad the humidity gets there!
It's still a little too cold right now (even though today was warm). They are not out yet. But when they start, there are a lot of them. I don't know if they could survive a shipping. I don't know what they would require to be able to survive. I haven't grabbed one since I was a kid. lol
 

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If you want to be in a medical profession, but are worried about patient contact, you may want to look into becoming a Medical Technologist.  MTs run the tests that are ordered for patients.  70% of the decisions regarding treatment of the patient are based on the results of those tests.  I enjoyed science in college, but didn't want to go into the research aspect of the field.  Being a MT is different every day and there is a shortage similar to what the nurses are seeing.  There is a two year MLT program or a four year MT option.  The pay is usually lower than an RN and there aren't as many options for part time or longer than 8 hour shifts, depending on the medical facilities in your area, but it is a very stable profession.  It is also a good segue for other job opportunities in the future.

Good luck with whatever career path you decide to follow!
 

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Just a comment -- there are nurse practitioner programs that do not require you to be an RN for admission. You do need a bachelor's degree, however. In general, the programs are very competitive for admission and very demanding once you are in.

There are also "fast-track" BS to PhD programs, fast track BSN programs (18 months if you already have a bachelor's degree), two year associate degree programs, etc. etc. Nursing education has evolved to try to meet the needs of a diverse group of students and also to prepare nurses educated at a variety of levels to meet the needs of the workforce. This is actually a good thing, but it does make it complex when you are just starting out and trying to figure out what's out there and what will meet your needs.

Theresa, you are in Washington state, right? The University of Washington is the number one top-ranked school of nursing in this country. I am sure they have admissions counselors who could begin to help you sort out some of this information. Here's a link to their website:

http://www.son.washington.edu/about/

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing is another good resource:

http://www.aacn.nche.edu/

Like I said, please ask all the questions you want! I love to help.

L
 
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Theresa,

I have loved my career as a nurse. As for squeamish, it is all a matter of what you can stand or get accustomed to. I for one can not "do" adult vomit or mucus, however when it is an infant it is not a problem for me. Blood is never a problem for me. I truly love being a "vampire". I am so darn good at it.

Nursing is such a diverse career that even if you can't overcome the problem, you can find something else to do. I for one will never leave bedside nursing. It is all I ever wanted to do. Right now, I am doing some career building roles and those are the worst part of my job. But, I can see that in the long run it will help my unit and the hospital as a whole to become a better place to work and ultimately help the patients, too.

As for starting at your age, it is not too late at all. I am sure that some of your basic credits will count toward whatever degree you decide to do. Another thing to consider is that the different basic programs have differing requirements for clinical work. In my experience, Diploma grads get the most hands on, BSN's get the least, with ASN's falling somewhere in between.

If you do end up becoming a floor nurse, my best advice is find the LPN with the most experience and make her (or him) your best friend. She (or he) will be able to teach you the best clinical skills. LPN's receive the most clinical schooling of all nurses. They are some of the best "hands on" nurses out there. And I am not just saying this because I was an LPN first.
 

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LR I have to say being a "vampire" with infants is a gift. I was never very good at it. Could be one of the reasons I left NICU. I am a good adult vampire though.  :)
 
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Linda, it is something I have strived to become very good at. I am currently one of the few PICC nurses in our unit. It is always such a rush for me to get that difficult stick.
 

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LuckyRainbow said:
Linda, it is something I have strived to become very good at. I am currently one of the few PICC nurses in our unit. It is always such a rush for me to get that difficult stick.
That is so difficult so it is a great accomplishment, you should be proud.
 

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LuckyRainbow said:
Linda, it is something I have strived to become very good at. I am currently one of the few PICC nurses in our unit. It is always such a rush for me to get that difficult stick.
I had one of those put in me when I was in the hospital over Christmas. It was quite an experience but worked very well. It was kinda scary when they explained what it was for.

From my perspective all you nurses are awesome, but I agree the insertion of my PIcc line seemed almost like a minor surgery they way they did it.
 
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