Menu
Jump to content

What's with the ads?

SeaConquest

If you are/were a nurse...(career advice)

Recommended Posts

I am thinking about returning to school to pursue an advanced nursing degree. I'm currently knocking out pre-reqs and have applied to volunteer at a local hospital.

 

The issue is that I have bipolar disorder, and sleep deprivation is a major trigger for me. I'm trying to figure out if this is something I can realistically and healthfully do. My pdoc is not optimistic.

 

My current plan is to apply to nursing school in the fall. I would graduate with a BSN in 3 years. After the BSN, I would like to work part-time as an RN while I study for the MSN (likely 2-3 more years). My goal is to work part-time as a nurse practitioner (not sure on speciality, but have an interest in women's and mental health).

 

I understand that most new grad nurses work nights at first, usually 3 12-hour shifts/week. I also understand that many NPs that work in the hospital setting work some grueling hours. I don't think I'd handle that well.

 

My question is whether I can attend nursing school, complete clinicals, and work PT without compromising my mental health? Do you think I can stick to days and less demanding outpatient settings? I think that my pdoc is projecting her med school experience onto nursing school in telling me that this will be too demanding/require sleep deprivation. I also know that some people work and go to school FT, sacrificing sleep in the process. My question is: if I make sleep a priority, is this realistic?

 

Thanks so much for any advice.

Edited by SeaConquest

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know about school.

 

Career-wise, I know many nurse practitioners with good part time schedules; they generally work in medical practices with other practitioners (mix of doctors, NP's, and PA's)

 

You might also consider physician's assistant. Our family practice doctor often has physician assistant students in his office for some kind of training rotation.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When I was i school 20 years ago, it was pretty grueling.  It was very hard to fit in all the classes and things in 4 years (for a BSN).  That was when I was 18-22!  It would have been very hard doing this while having a family and working outside the home.  The hardest semester was the last one when we did our practicum.  It was an unpaid nurse shadow experience.  We followed the nurse's schedule.  I worked double shifts a few times because I was following her schedule.  It was really hard to have any sort of life outside of school.  It was difficult but if you know what you're getting into before hand you'll be in a better mind set than if you had no idea.

 

As far as working after graduation, I did work nights BUT I only did 8 hour shifts.  I did this for only 1 year as it was too much for me.  I had to work nights because I entered a specialty field (labor and delivery) and that was the only way to break into that field.  I imagine if you worked on a general med/surg floor it would be easier to get 1st or 2nd shift vs. night shift.  I would highly recommend doing your time in a med/surg floor for a year of so just to get the experience.  From there you can switch to almost anything.

 

I worked in a nursing home and hospice which was much more flexible but the med surg experience would have been more helpful than the L & D experience.

 

I would see how just being a regular nurse goes before making plans to be a nurse practitioner though.  You might find it to be too much or just enough and not be able to or want to go further in your education.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not a nurse (and never, ever ever want to be!!! Yucky!!!) but know many nurses, a couple with their own host of mental health problems.

 

First, how are you going to pay for it? You are banking a lot on being successful IF you are considering getting a BSN.

 

Second, what is the acceptance rate at the school you are applying to?

 

Third, don't count anything out with a BSN. What do I mean: I mean that if you want a hospital job, yes you are likely to work nights, which I don't know would be best for you. HOWEVER, depending on the population you want to work in, working at a hospital might not be in your best interest.

 

Between now and when you graduate: decide what population you want to work in. Geriatrics, then go for it 'cause there are always nursing home jobs open. The work will suck and I mean that in the poopy-your-employer-and-most-parts-of-the-job-will-suck way. BUT, you will get experience quickly and move into something else with your NP certification. You have lots of areas to choose from: geriatrics, mental health, ped's, women's clinic, or ???? look around and consider for yourself.

 

Having said that....if this is what you want to do, make a plan and take action. You CAN do it if you choose to make it a priority. Just because the "normal" path includes sleep deprivation, doesn't mean you have to be normal. 

 

Kris

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just to clarify, I already have a graduate degree in a non-science field, so the BSN in 3 years is not an accelerated program. It is just giving me advanced standing for the degree. They do have accelerated BSN and direct entry MSN programs, but I'm not looking for that grueling pace or expense. I'm really trying to be methodical before jumping into something.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have depression and anxiety that is significantlty worsened by lack of sleep. It was this reason alone that I didn't go to nursing school in the last year(I went back for business instead). The homework I could manage, and even working on a regular night shift wouldn't be horrible, but when it comes to clinicals you're at the mercy of the coordinator. I couldn't manage a 5 am clinical time right now.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Kris,

 

I plan to attend the local state college nursing program. It's 3500/semester (and I would likely qualify for some financial aid), so even if I wash out in clinicals, I am not out very much money. My other degree was well over 250k, and I'm not looking to replicate that scenario.

 

Total BSN (before financial aid) = 21k.

MSN is roughly 30-35k, depending on the specialty.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also, re the acceptance rate, it is based on a point system, and I am a competitive applicant.

Edited by SeaConquest
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would ask on the allnurses forums.  <3

 

I hope you can achieve your dreams.

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes - come hang out at Allnurses! If they would only go back to Tapatalk, my life would be perfect. 😉

 

Sent from my XT1049 using Tapatalk

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My dd22 is in nursing school. She hasn't had any crazy hours for clinicals, or classes. Her schedule is a lot more gentle than my dd18 who is doing rotc (dd22 doesn't have any classes before 10 am, though has earlier clinical days, 8am-ish).

 

Dd has some struggles, but she is doing awesome in school, both classroom and clinical. When she graduates in a year, she does not plan to work nights. It sounds like nurses are in high demand where she is, and she will have lots of job options.

 

Go for it! One semester at a time!!

Edited by wendy not in HI
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would ask on the allnurses forums. <3

 

I hope you can achieve your dreams.

Thank you! I did sign up and made an account there today (JD2RN). I just love the advice at the Hive! Edited by SeaConquest
  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I never had to do any nights while in nursing school. But I would recommend going to talk to the people at the program you are interested in and look at their schedule: clinicals and classes. I would couch it as, wanting to see whether you could do it with your family's schedule- there is no need to bring up your confidential medical issues at this point.

 

Then perhaps you could shadow a nurse/nurse practitioner and explore further whether it is what you really want to do.

 

I think you are right that new nurses, and new nurse practitioners, are at the bottom of the pecking order as far as schedule, but it really depends on where you work- if you get a job in a clinic, of course there will be no nights at all.

 

I would think very carefully about this. I usually worked one night a week, and it was so exhausting, I am sure it has taken years off my life! I'm not sure I could have done it as a mother with a family.

 

Aside from nights, there are other stresses involved in nursing, which I would consider. I do not want to be too negative, but you might has well know the worst, from someone who has been there! 1. When you are the nurse or even the NP, you are often not the person in authority-- it is a doctor, who may be a good colleague, or a bully. If a bully, this is a source of incredible stress. 2. You have to get everything right. There is no room for making an error with a medication or treatment- if you make a mistake, someone could die. That is a source of incredible stress for a conscientious person. 3. Nurses often haze young/new nurses. That means stress, just when you are starting out and need a helping hand. 4. The patients & their families are going to be going through intense situations and you need to meet them with stability and be able to give them your full attention. You'll come home exhausted most days and needing rest before being able to care for your own family.

 

Best wishes to you as you try to figure this out.

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you, Nyssa. This is good advice. I'm hoping that volunteering will give me greater clarity about whether this is something that I really want to pursue.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think you have a plan! You have an idea on the student loan numbers...it isn't my job to approve or not, I just wanted you to know to think about it! (you wouldn't believe the number of people I talk to who don't before starting!)

 

{{{hugs}}} 

 

Not that you asked, but do you have listening or attention lectures? (again, you don't have to answer!) My son has MS and he just started community college. They have a voice-recording pen...only more. Hard to describe... check this out: https://www.livescribe.com/en-us/smartpen/echo/ 

 

Anyway, they aren't very expensive and I think they might be of benefit. 

 

Kris

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am NP that just graduated last year so I can chime in.

 

Nursing school will be hard. It just is, whether or not you have chronic mental illness. It is really, really stressful, BUT very much worth the hard work. Of the hundreds of nurses that I know, very few regret their career and what it took to get there. It really goes by fast. 

 

There are TONS of opportunities to work in settings that will not require nights. It may be more difficult but there are non-hospital jobs out there if that's your goal. That's the awesome thing about nursing is so many opportunities and directions you can go.

 

With that said, if you want to go to NP school you may need to consider acute care (hospital) positions in order to get into competitive programs. Working in ER or ICU for example shows that you are able of higher acuity patients and thus able to handle complex situations. It's not a requirement that I am aware of, but I know for sure that my background helped me get into school. On the other hand there are a few of my school friends that worked on the medical surgical floors before school. 

 

Another thing you need to consider is the slow evolution of entry level education. I was the last graduating class of master's degree NP program at my university. It is now a doctorate degree (would have added an additional year or so if I would have pursued this route). It is NOT required to have a DNP to practice at this time (at least where I live) but it will eventually and the trend is moving towards programs eliminating their master's in NP programs. 

 

As an NP, there are so many opportunities that you do not have to work nights. If you are very much against this, you want to look at Family NP programs, or others but you would not want Acute Care NP, which prepares you for hospital work (not bad, but your chances of finding a day job would be lower). Psych programs are very hard to come by BUT....if you go this route you can write your own ticket. It is in HUGE demand and there aren't enough NP's nor programs to fill the need. The one that I know makes an incredible income in private practice. After getting your BSN you should get experience in in-patient psych if this is your interest. Women's health is a good specialty too and your chances of getting a day job are very high. 

 

I think your plan sounds great. The only thing I would suggest is not planning on working very much while you are in an NP program. The first year is doable while working but the last few semesters are nearly full time clinicals. It does take a very supportive spouse/significant other (if you have one) while trying to take care of your family. DH had to take over all my duties especially the last year in school. It was incredibly stressful, but I am so glad I stuck with it. I really love my job. 

 

Good luck!

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Current nursing student here.... I have ADD (not even close to bipolar but that's my mental health status), I'm going for ADN right now. Classes aren't bad if you have a study system, clinicals well that really depends on your clinical instructor. My clinicals start as early as 6 am and end as late as 11 pm (right now my clinicals are 6:30 am - 1:30 pm Monday and Tuesday about 15 minutes from home and 7 am - 3 pm on Wednesday about 2 hours away. I also have a couple clinical days that are 3 pm to 11 pm that will be 2 hours away.) I also work part time as a home health aid.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

clinical depend on the program and your last semester is really your choice.  I did night shift for my practicum.   I've also chose night shift most of my career.  

 

I know in my area we are having nursing shortage and use travel nurses so I believe new grads have no problem getting days.

​next summer will be 25 years bedside nursing and I still love the evening/nights.  I work 3 p- 3 a

 

I have no interest in management or NP.

 

THe NP program was new for my area in the 90's and I have friends that did that when it was new and had  to leave the state to find jobs.  The NP still don't make that much in this state.  I think this is going to change cause they are giving them more autonomy   because we have a GP shortage and mostly rural

 

I know  you can make it through school.  When I attended school we had a student had just finish chemo non Hodgkinson lymphoma.  She was still sick all through school and died a few years afterwards.   

 

So if you really want nursing you can make it happen good luck

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am NP that just graduated last year so I can chime in.

 

Nursing school will be hard. It just is, whether or not you have chronic mental illness. It is really, really stressful, BUT very much worth the hard work. Of the hundreds of nurses that I know, very few regret their career and what it took to get there. It really goes by fast. 

 

There are TONS of opportunities to work in settings that will not require nights. It may be more difficult but there are non-hospital jobs out there if that's your goal. That's the awesome thing about nursing is so many opportunities and directions you can go.

 

With that said, if you want to go to NP school you may need to consider acute care (hospital) positions in order to get into competitive programs. Working in ER or ICU for example shows that you are able of higher acuity patients and thus able to handle complex situations. It's not a requirement that I am aware of, but I know for sure that my background helped me get into school. On the other hand there are a few of my school friends that worked on the medical surgical floors before school. 

 

Another thing you need to consider is the slow evolution of entry level education. I was the last graduating class of master's degree NP program at my university. It is now a doctorate degree (would have added an additional year or so if I would have pursued this route). It is NOT required to have a DNP to practice at this time (at least where I live) but it will eventually and the trend is moving towards programs eliminating their master's in NP programs. 

 

As an NP, there are so many opportunities that you do not have to work nights. If you are very much against this, you want to look at Family NP programs, or others but you would not want Acute Care NP, which prepares you for hospital work (not bad, but your chances of finding a day job would be lower). Psych programs are very hard to come by BUT....if you go this route you can write your own ticket. It is in HUGE demand and there aren't enough NP's nor programs to fill the need. The one that I know makes an incredible income in private practice. After getting your BSN you should get experience in in-patient psych if this is your interest. Women's health is a good specialty too and your chances of getting a day job are very high. 

 

I think your plan sounds great. The only thing I would suggest is not planning on working very much while you are in an NP program. The first year is doable while working but the last few semesters are nearly full time clinicals. It does take a very supportive spouse/significant other (if you have one) while trying to take care of your family. DH had to take over all my duties especially the last year in school. It was incredibly stressful, but I am so glad I stuck with it. I really love my job. 

 

Good luck!

 

This is so incredibly helpful! Thank you all for your amazing responses.

 

I was aware of the move towards the DNP, and that would be fine for me.

 

I am concerned about the bullying issues that were raised. I have always worked in very male-dominated environments, and while they were not free of hazing, men seem to be much more direct in their hazing rituals, Some of stuff that I read online about nurses bullying other nurses has given me pause (e.g. http://www.marieclaire.com/culture/news/a14211/mean-girls-of-the-er/).I am waaaaay too old to deal with that kind of junior high school drama. Is this really as prevalent as online fora would lead one to believe? Is it any better/different for the advanced practice nurses?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is so incredibly helpful! Thank you all for your amazing responses.

 

I was aware of the move towards the DNP, and that would be fine for me.

 

I am concerned about the bullying issues that were raised. I have always worked in very male-dominated environments, and while they were not free of hazing, men seem to be much more direct in their hazing rituals, Some of stuff that I read online about nurses bullying other nurses has given me pause (e.g. http://www.marieclaire.com/culture/news/a14211/mean-girls-of-the-er/).I am waaaaay too old to deal with that kind of junior high school drama. Is this really as prevalent as online fora would lead one to believe? Is it any better/different for the advanced practice nurses?

In my experience, it was just as bad being a CNM: because I experienced some hazing from CNM colleagues (although ultimately well-intended & I learned from it & became a better professional from my colleagues, it was still very painful and uncomfortable and gave me a bad 6-12 months until I spoke with the head CNM and cleared the air), but ALSO from RN colleagues, who hazed me, while I was supposed to be in authority over them- a very awkward situation- especially as I had never practiced as an RN, and was now supposed to supervise women who had 10-20-30 years of experience on me...

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In my experience, it was just as bad being a CNM: because I experienced some hazing from CNM colleagues (although ultimately well-intended & I learned from it & became a better professional from my colleagues, it was still very painful and uncomfortable and gave me a bad 6-12 months until I spoke with the head CNM and cleared the air), but ALSO from RN colleagues, who hazed me, while I was supposed to be in authority over them- a very awkward situation- especially as I had never practiced as an RN, and was now supposed to supervise women who had 10-20-30 years of experience on me...

 

Wow! I have 5 friends who are midwives, and they are so woman-empowered and femme-centric, I cannot imagine them hazing other CNMs. That just blows my mind. I worked at a Planned Parenthood clinic as an intern in college, it was the same -- very supportive environment, which is one of the things I am looking for professionally. I come from a BIGLAW/BIGBANK background, and it was very dog eat dog. I am totally over that kind of stuff.

Edited by SeaConquest

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is so incredibly helpful! Thank you all for your amazing responses.

 

I was aware of the move towards the DNP, and that would be fine for me.

 

I am concerned about the bullying issues that were raised. I have always worked in very male-dominated environments, and while they were not free of hazing, men seem to be much more direct in their hazing rituals, Some of stuff that I read online about nurses bullying other nurses has given me pause (e.g. http://www.marieclaire.com/culture/news/a14211/mean-girls-of-the-er/).I am waaaaay too old to deal with that kind of junior high school drama. Is this really as prevalent as online fora would lead one to believe? Is it any better/different for the advanced practice nurses?

 

 

I've been a nurse for more than 30 years and I haven't come across much bullying of nurses by nurses - some by doctors. I have worked in 2 countries but less extensively in the US.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I finished my BSN program before kids. I imagine it is do-able while homeschooling if you are really good with time management, but I couldn't imagine having done it while homeschooling my 2 girls. Please don't let that deter you, though, if you are used to doing work with kids. 

 

If you work in the hospital, then you will have to work nights, holidays, and weekends. I couldn't deal with nights. I did it for 2 years and then went prn and made my own schedule, which I loved being able to do, but when the kids came along, I had to phase out of working so I could be at home with them. I went to working as a volunteer nurse in a free clinic because I hated to give up working and it was flexible. I did that for a few years and then started doing bookkeeping for my husband's business. 

 

I wanted to go back for FNP. I contacted the colleges, got my applications ready, and bought the textbooks so I could study them before going back. As soon as I opened the books, my kids would need me. There is no way I could do it without being distracted unless I stopped homeschooling. It wasn't the season. I wasn't ready to stop homeschooling. I put the books away and haven't thought any more about it. 

 

If you want a good (day) schedule, choose a NP program that prepares you for outpatient practice such as FNP or PNP. If you do that, then technically, you could plan to work in a doctors office, outpatient clinic, daytime urgent care clinic, or pediatric office after getting your initial nursing degree. I have plenty of friends who have gone that route. One of the colleges I spoke were really interested in me when I told them that I'd worked the past few years as a volunteer nurse in a free clinic. So, you don't technically have to work night shift when you graduate nursing school. I'd check with the NP programs you're interested in to see what kind of experience they want. More than likely, they are going to want you to have worked in the area that you are going to be studying, so FNP - private practice (I have one friend who worked as a dialysis nurse), or urgent care. For PNP - Pediatric practice or pediatric floor nursing. 

 

As for bullying, that is always possible, especially when you have a bunch of women who work together. My advice is just be nice to everyone. There were some seasoned nurses in the neonatal icu who weren't very nice to new grads, but I just listened, learned, and was nice to everyone, and it became my "home". I worked in 2 ERs, and one was horrible. The doctors and nurses were all just mean to each other. I quit. Luckily, there are an abundance of nursing jobs out there, so you can always find something else. Seems the more stressful jobs have more mean staff, so you probably don't want to work in those environments anyway. 

 

I have no intentions at this point to go back to hospital work. At this point in my life, I am spoiled and just want to make my own hours. I personally will probably extend my bookkeeping to take on paying clients. If that doesn't work, I will clean houses or babysit if the need arises. I won't be a slave to someone else's schedule. 

 

Nursing is a very noble, rewarding, and fulfilling profession, and one that provides lots of opportunities for advancement. Good luck!!
 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wonder how it went then?

I completed all my nursing school prereqs over the last year, volunteered in the ER, and am submitting my nursing school applications this month. :)

Edited by SeaConquest
  • Like 9

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also, I've decided to complete the RN/ADN at my local junior college for peanuts, and then bridge to the MSN at SDSU (because of my prior degree, I can complete the MSN in the same period of time as the RN to BSN). So, two years for the RN, beginning this fall, and then 1 year for the MSN. Then, I plan to work for a bit, and if I still want to become an NP, I will only need a post-master's certificate.

  • Like 8

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also, I've decided to complete the RN/ADN at my local junior college for peanuts, and then bridge to the MSN at SDSU (because of my prior degree, I can complete the MSN in the same period of time as the RN to BSN). So, two years for the RN, beginning this fall, and then 1 year for the MSN. Then, I plan to work for a bit, and if I still want to become an NP, I will only need a post-master's certificate.

Sound like a great plan!!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My question is whether I can attend nursing school, complete clinicals, and work PT without compromising my mental health?

 

 

 

My dd is in nursing school and they do not advise you to work while you are in school.  I know my dd couldn't have handled it, and was so glad for the break that she didn't even want to think about a job for the 4 weeks she had off.  Summer break would be ok I think.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...