Sunday, May 29, 2005

Becoming A Nurse - Taking the First Steps

I noticed that one of the folks visiting this blog got here by asking the question "Where do I get information on becoming a nurse". Good question. I am sure not that much insight was found here. Since the title of my blog is "Becoming a Nurse", it seems reasonable that the question of how to get started in Nursing be discussed. Here is my experience.

I started thinking about becoming a nurse three years before I did anything about it. It started when there were a series of illnesses in my family. I spent a lot of time in doctor's offices and hospitals, interacting with doctors and nurses. I took care of my father and later my uncle. My dad has recovered from cancer twice. Primary CNS Lymphoma(97) and later prostate cancer (1999). My uncle, on the other hand, ended up dying of his brain tumor in January of 2000. At that time, I had been working in Information Technology for about 15 years, was working for a large bank, and I was already interested in changing careers. I wanted a career where I could make a difference to real people. I had looked into teaching but the more time I spent observing nurses in the hospital and through hospice, the more that looked like exactly what I wanted to do.

When I first started telling people I wanted to become a nurse, the response was almost universally and resoundingly negative. My husband hated the idea. Close friends told me I was crazy. I started researching it anyway. I live in NYC. I already have a BS in Computer Science and an MBA. So for me, I needed a program that would give me credit for some of my existing education. I found two local programs that I found interesting. One was the Entry to Practice (ETP) at Columbia University. If you have the required prerequisites, this program can be completed in a year. The other was the Combined Degree Program (CDP) program at PACE University's Lienhard School of Nursing. This program can be done in one or two years . The program I ended up choosing is the two year option of the CDP at Pace that allows you to take the prerequisites (Anatomy and Physiology, Chemistry, and Microbiology for me) as part of the program. There are similar programs available at schools all over the country.

I did not apply right away. The negative feedback I was getting from family and friends caused me to wait about two more years. I kept thinking about it, though. I was working very hard and very stressed out at my big bank IT job. Finally, in late 2003, I decided to complete the application, get my transcripts and a couple of recommendations together and send it in. I figured I just had to know whether I could even get accepted. I could always decide not to go later. I just had to know if it was even a possibility. Many months went by. Around June of 2004, I called home from work and my husband said, "Oh, you got a package from Pace University". Me: "Well OPEN it!" It was my acceptance letter plus a bunch of other material. At that instant I knew for certain I had to go. That September, I went to part time on my job and started attending school. I am now in my third semester and looking forward to starting my clinicals in September and graduating next August. SO far I have never regretted my decision.

Once I actually was accepted into a program and made it clear I was going, most everybody changed their tune. My husband has been very supportive, despite his reservations. People at work have been incredibly supportive. Some people have confessed that they would love to change careers and admire what I am doing.

I guess what I would most like to encourage anyone interested in becoming a nurse to do is to just take that first step. Find some programs in your area. Go to an information session. Talk to some nurses. Send in an application. You can always change your mind. You will never know if you don't try...

Go for it.

Here are some links to help you start:

American Association of Colleges of Nursing
Sigma Theta Tau Nursing Honor Society, Schools of Nursing


Blogger Nurse Mia said...

Ditto! My choice to go back to school to become a nurse was possibly the best decision of my life. I have grown so much as a person from learning to be the best nurse I can be.

9:18 PM  
Blogger Unimum209 said...

I agree totally. Going back to University was life changing for me. I am hardly the same person who started out. I have built my confidence, compassion, knowledge and skills but more importantly I have grown into a different person. I am really gratefull for the support of my family but I still come up against negativity when I say that I want to be a nurse. I hope that this will change in the future, I also hope that I never discourage anyone from being a nurse. This post was great.

1:37 AM  
Blogger treemuncher said...

You will find that people who have very little experience will illness/hospitals will be the ones to question your career choice the most. Those such as yourself, who have been touched by the nature of our work are always much more understanding and encouraging.

Part a large part of nursing involves education...patient, students, other health care professionals, and most of all, the public.

All the best with your studies and exciting new career.

11:43 AM  
Blogger Jaxia said...

I'm on a similar journey. But I haven't been accepted into a program yet. Good luck!

9:20 PM  
Blogger littlebitofsunshine said...

Thank you for posting such helpful information. I have recently decided to go to nursing school to get a BSN. I already have a B.S. degree, and so the decision to change careers has taken much thought. Thank you for the insight.

4:43 PM  
Blogger Betty said...

I on a whole tend to question anyone who questions me, so when I went back to school it wasn't up for discussion, but secretly I was really shy and grateful that no one actually did question me. I have finished my first of 4 years and can't wait. I think the thing that people question is me doing it at my age of 36 with 2 kids. Its like people assume because I'm not 18 then I have lost the ability to learn. I applaud anyone who pursues second careers, anyone who decides that they aren't content where they are and are doing something about it. Good on you (and all of us) for going back. Is your 2 year program all year? summers too?

5:02 PM  
Blogger JustCallMeJo said...

I got a lot of negative feedback when I was thinking about it, too. I got, "Well, if you want to do medical stuff, be a doctor, you're smart enough." Missing the point.

I'm glad you stuck with it. You won't regret it at all.

1:56 PM  
Blogger jinky said...

hi there! i am currently in phils. i resigned from my job in dubai for a reason of going back to school and study nursing. really wish of becoming a nurse. school opening will be in two weeks time. I haven't enrolled yet coz my other friends discourage me and telling me what? you're crazy? and now, i'm bothered a lot.
Please..for those who are studying the same and are already CRN, i need your encourgement. I believed it is a fulfilling profession were you care for other people and somehow a great contribution for the world. but with all these, please help me to know what does it like to be a nurse?..i would really appreciate your support..thank you in advance.

11:26 PM  
Blogger Jazz said...

I took am in a similar situation. Married, 28 yrs old with 3 kids and have recently developed a passion to become a nurse. The negative comments from people that would not dare take on this challenge I try to avoid because they will discourage you. I look forward to my career in nursing and I believe it will be most rewarding. I begin my studies in the fall for the ADN program at my local university, it will take me abount 3 yrs to complete...And this is my first college experience so this should be fun.. This website was most informative Thanks...

6:38 PM  
Blogger AndreaB_212 said...

I truly admire what you did! Going back to school and getting *another* degree is an incredible thing to do and can change your life, especially if you are changing your career!

There are a lot of people who have reservations about going to school part time while still working at their jobs. There are sooo many ways for a person to obtain another degree it's insane. In addition to going to school part time you can go online. Here is an example of some accredited RN to BSN online degrees!

Again, I truly do admire what you did, and I hope that other people stumble upon sites like this to let them know that it's never too late in life to do anything! Between going back to school part time at a community college or online the options are nearly endless!


3:03 PM  
Blogger lisamarie said...

Thank you for this wonderful, informative blog site. I just turned 50 and am currently a massage therapist in upstate NY. I have realized that this inner voice speaking about becoming a nurse must be listened to so I have decided to begin the process of seeing how I can do it. I have no degrees so will be starting from scratch. I can't tell
you how inspiring it was to read all of these postings and this blog. I truly believe that this is my calling and I'm incredibly excited about what lies ahead. Blessings to all of you!!!

3:19 PM  
Blogger Deana said...

Thank you for this blog, and everyone's comments. It is so encouraging to know there are people out there like me!I am just beginging my pre nursing courses and am 34 with 3 kids. I have thought about becoming a nurse while I was teaching elementary school. But like many of you I was discouraged by many. I was told that being a nurse requires too much from a mother of 3 and a wife. So I supressed my desire for 4 years, continuing my career as a teacher. It was not until I had my youngest, who was born premature and with complications that I summed up the courage to go for what I do believe is my true calling. Experiencing the care from the neo natal nurses, given to my helpless infant inspired me to go on with this dream. Thank God and to those wonderful doctor's and nurses she is a healthy 2 year old.(I waited until she was old enough to go to day care part time) I am in classes part time and have to admit a bit anxious about taking the entrance exam, but determined and sites like these are so helpful to keep the encouragement and drive. Good luck to all!!!

11:02 AM  
Blogger Snoopy said...

Is nursing right for me???

Hi Im a 26 yr old male from Michigan and Im interested in nursing. I was going to community college for law enforcement and just recently quit. I found out that I would have a hard time getting hired due to some past problems (credit issues, also was a bit of a "job hopper") I also considered being a paralegal bcuz my brother is a lawyer, but hes actually the one who steered me away from that occupation. I seen a list of the MOST IN DEMAND JOBS and nursing was on the top of the list. I just want a career that will almost guarantee me employment when I finish the schooling. Will nursing really do that? The pay sounds very good as well, but how long is the schooling??? 2 or 4 years??? I hope 2 yrs! I seen that my comm college has a nursing program that is 2 yrs but that might be for CNA's and I dont know if I want that. I figure if I go for it, I might as well go all the way and be a RN. Also, would it hurt me that I'm a male? I rarely ever seen male nurses b4. Thanks in advance for any advice.

6:17 PM  
Blogger Srujan said...

Hi, i'm 23 male from New York working as Network admin (IT) and I’m interested in nursing and like to change my career also I’m not sure abt nursing schooling, what is the best way to go head ? How long is the schooling?? 2 or 4 years?? Would it hurt me that I'm a male? I rarely ever seen male nurses b4. Thanks in advance for any advice.

11:54 AM  
Blogger vladtess said...

Great Post. Thanks!

3:40 AM  
Blogger Robert said...

Hello - I am considering entering nursing (school) and my background is similar to yours - BS in Accounting, MBA in Finance - can you offer some suggestions on programs that allow you to take the pre-req's during the program (as opposed to those that require it completed prior as part of the application process)? All the accelerated programs listed on (BS to RN) seem to require completion of the pre-req's prior.

11:16 AM  
Blogger cocoshan73 said...

Thank you so much for sharing your story. After years of being unhappy in my position, I have also decided to go back to school to complete my BSN. I have a bachelors degree in Public Administration and a MBA. I work for Prudential and have been with the company for 18 years. I have no interest or passion in the company's bottom line and do not enjoy what I do. When I thought long and hard about what I wanted to do in the company or another company - nothing came up. Over the years I have worked as a unit clerk part-time in the cardiovascular unit and enjoyed working in a hospital setting. I know deep in my heart - becoming a nurse is my calling. I started at a community college majoring in nursing but ended up changing my major due to personal reasons. I wish I would of stuck with it but nevertheless, I will not waste anymore time and will stick with it.

11:14 AM  
Blogger Alina said...

hi, i am 19 years old and i currently live in Toronto. i studied business in my first year of university and now i am considering transferring and becoming a nurse. i would have to do a year to complete all the pre-requisites for the 2 year program my university offers and then see if i could even get accepted. like the rest, i've been having negative feedback from my friends about my decision which makes me doubt who i want to become but i try not to pay attention to it. they call me crazy and tell me scary stories about nurses and what they witness in hospitals but i am sure of that there are many different types of nurses out there not just ones who witness deaths and accidents. right now i've been trying to research how it is to be a nurse and see if i could actually do it, especially without any medical/scientific experience.

3:48 PM  
Blogger lynette said...

I really appreciate your post, and so happy i stumbled across this site. I am having lots me negative feed back from my husband and reading this makes me more confident in my decision to continue and make an effort. All you gotta do is try and see where it takes you. I hope i succeed and make life even better for my family.

8:43 PM  
Blogger Fun. Fit. Chic. said...

Is your account still active? I am going through the same thoughts you had. I have a BA and an MBA and I am so ready for a career change. I have been considering an accelerated nursing degree. If you still have your blogger account and you receive this email, please send me a message at funfitchicblog{at}

I'd love to hear from someone who did it. I am so scared and overwhelmed.

11:11 AM  
Blogger david said...

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10:54 PM  
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