You`re making a couple of incorrect assumptions about nursing, perhaps the most critical one being that nursing is a nine to five job. It is not. If you want to work an eight hour shift, you can usually work 7A to 3P, 3P to 11P, or 11P to 7A. If you do this as a staff nurse for an institution or a visiting nurse agency, you will have to do it five days a week to get benefits. The alternatives are working 12 hour shifts (7-7 usually) three days a week.
Another option is to work part time, or what is called per diem
nursing, but to do that you generally need at least one year of full time experience and you will generally receive no benefits as a per diem
nurse. There is plenty of opportunity for overtime, and you can work 60 hours a week if you want to. (Usually you are limited to that. I`ve known nurses who have held two full time positions in two different institutions, but frankly I thought they were a danger to their patients for being that stressed.)
Nursing is an underpaid, extremely demanding profession. Due to the nursing shortages the work is often done on an understaffed unit. Before you go into nursing, you should speak with a good number of nurses, since in my experience, most nursing students and prospective nursing students, have a very flawed idea of what the actual duties of a nurse entail. Please, please, please do research on this. If you have a specialty in mind, check that out as well.
Nursing school is not easy, but the classes are no harder than basic college courses. It can be done part time. Oddly enough, the difference in pay between a nurse with an associate degree (2 years) and one with a bachelor`s degree (4 years) is not all that great. Experience counts more than degree in the nursing world. ADN degrees are often offered by community colleges, so you can attend classes in the evenings.
I`ve been an RN (with an AD degree) for about 17 years, worked medical-surgical for a year in DC General Hospital and then worked ER for most of my career as a staff nurse and as a per diem
nurse in major inner city hospitals. I`ve also been a psych nurse, home heath care nurse and now work as a hospice nurse in Florida, making home visits.
I have a book published by a major house (I worked per diem
while I was writing it, since I only wanted to work 24-32 hours per week) and I ran a postcard collectibles business all the while I was in nursing.
Michael Zwerdling, RN
zwrdl5/25/2008 8:23 PM