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Working as a Nurse/ Nursing School
I am a stay at home mom for my 4 1/2 month old daughter. After applying for nursing school, I became pregnant (unexpectedly). I got into the Samuel Merritt ABSN program and was able to get a deferment (I had to ask special permission) until my baby is 9 months old. My partner and I are both worried about the time commitment, stress and sacrifices, especially my spending less time with our daughter. I read the archives, and they were helpful, but specifically I am wondering about those who have been in an accelerated program with different aged children, if they have any regrets, and which ages they think are ideal? It is hard to think of being away from her, so in that sense, it would be easier on my conscience to wait until she is in preschool or kindergarden. At the same time, I was looking forward to having a little more structure to my life outside of mothering, just to feel balanced. But I think that this accelerated program will be all consuming, and I am quite a perfectionist about grades and studying. I am afraid that if I drop my acceptance, with the competitiveness of getting into nursing programs, I won't be able to get in again later, esp. having prerequisites that might need to have been taken more recently (mine were completed 2007-2009). I wouldn't mind doing a program part time, but my understanding is that part time nursing programs don't exist. Any advice/experience would be sincerely appreciated. at a crossroads
Nursing school is very hard work, you don't get to pick and choose your hours or where you'll be placed for clinicals. Missing even a day of class or clinicals is very hard to make up so you'll need a very supportive family/friend network to deal with days when the kids are sick, have doctor's appointments, have a performance at school. My support network got very burned out, VERY quickly because I really had to rely heavily on them. I wish I had waited until my kids were a little older (they are 6 and 8). My daughter told me that when she was in first grade that she thought I didn't love her anymore because I just couldn't give her the attention she really needed in, what turned out to be a very tough year for her. I can't imagine an accelerated program in terms of commitment. With all that you need to learn and the required clinical hours for a license I'd imagine you'd never be home.
But, the worst part for me (and for many, many, MANY new grad nurses right now) is that hospitals and nursing homes are only hiring experienced nurses. Yes, there's still a nursing shortage, but positions are filled by travelers from out of state. I was the top of my class, have *many* certifications (ACLS etc), YEARS of management and leadership experience and have spent months and months now pounding the pavement trying to find a job and there aren't any. Friends have moved to Texas, taken non-nursing jobs etc. I wasted my time, my family's time and am heart-sick every single day.
Nursing has traditionally been a *great* job for moms and a great job for people who love people, love science and love a job that requires hard work and constant challenges, but nursing school is terrible for new moms and is a VERY bad career choice now when there are no positions in the bay area. Unemployed, RN
If you don't mind seeing your kids very little, AND you really want to work as a nurse right away, I would go now. Although the new grad market right now is horrific, so you most likely wouldn't get a job for a year or two anyway, so you might as well wait. I know people that graduated over a year ago and still don't have jobs. Most hospitals are not hiring and have stopped their new grad programs.
Your prerequisites will not ''expire'' -- I would defer for a few years. anon
I'm a mom of two that currently works part-time for my family's business. The economy has been rough on that business, and I want to prepare myself in case it tanks. I'm deciding between becoming a Montessori preschool teacher or going to nursing school. My three year old goes to a Montessori school and I've felt inspired by the learning that goes on there, and I love children. Can anyone speak to life as a Montessori preschool teacher? Is the pay livable (I know it's not great)? Nursing would be hard-work, but flexible and well-paying. However, the first year of nursing school is intense, and I honestly don't know if I can pull five day a week and 10 hour days of school/rotations while my kids are still so young (3.5 and 15 months), even if it's only a year. Anyone have any advice on which path to choose? I should add that I like having some work to do part time, but very much value being home with my kids the rest of the time. Thanks! anon
When I first entered nursing school I was single and spent every free moment I had either in school or studying for exams. For me, it was the first TWO years which were so difficult. I didn't have a social life either as my busy schedule didn't allow for it. But after having become a nurse and working in the field all of the sacrifices I had to make were so worth the effort and almost forgotten in the end.
That said, I know that these days there are many ways which support those trying to return to school to pursue a different career path, namely nursing(like online programs). After I got my RN license I went to University of Phoenix and completed my BSN attending classes only once weekly in the evenings so I could continue going to work during the day. It was terrific!
I'm not sure I could have managed the whole schooling thing with two small kids at home but if you have a good support system then I'm sure that would make it much more manageable. I don't want to deter you from entering nursing as it's been the most rewarding experience of my life. I now have two kids of my own and haven't worked for 6 years but am now ready to reenter the workforce but need to take a refresher course first since I've been *un-practicing* for so long but anything I have to do to get back to nursing I'm willing to do. Jennifer
Hi there ~ about a month ago, a woman wrote in with advice about going into the nursing field. She had just graduated from Samuel Merritt in Oakland and has some good thoughts on juggling motherhood with nursing school challenges. My sister is starting her prerequisites and is planning on starting nursing school in a couple years. She would love to learn more about Samuel Merritt and is hopeful I can track down the woman who signed herself as ''New RN.'' Please contact me if you see this posting (or anyone would won't mind giving my sister more advice) Thanks! Shannon
Your sister is starting her prerequisites, which will include chemistry, biology, microbiology and more. Once she gets into nursing school she will study all of the body systems like Integumentary, Respiratory, Cardiology, Urinary, etc, then she will have rotations for each. For example there is a rotation for labor & delivery, a rotation for musculo-skeletal and so on. These rotations were at different hospitals. I went to UC San Francisco for labor & delivery, SF General for my ER rotation and so on. It's very demanding.
I hope your sister has a ton of support if she has children and an understandig husband.
It's a GREAT profession and I wish her well! angie
After being a public school educator for over 5 years, I have decided to go back to school and pursue nursing as a career. I have chosen to do a traditional BSN program, 3 years, versus a accelerated one or a MSN program,1.5 years, mainly because I really want the extra time and to not feel rushed through a program that will be challenging.
However, I am 25 and would like to start a family with my partner, sooner than later, and would ideally like to have a child while still in nursing school, and another after. Family and friends are giving tons of advice, but none have actually had babies in college at all. Has anyone had children or small children in Nursing School? Has anyone chosen to do a traditional nursing program over an accelerated one? Thoughts? Any current USF BSN students or alumni that could chime in? Thanks. student and mom?
If I were you, I'd wait till after your first or second year so that you get the hang of school again. Then you'll have a better understanding of what's expected of you and if you think it will work for you. Just know, the time commitment for nursing school is pretty tough- on top of classes, readings and papers, you have all day clinicals. There's also a ton of info to learn, and not just anatomy/physiology from a book: medical lingo, how hospitals work, ethics, and how to choose the ''most correct'' answer on a multiple choice test when they're all right answers, and hands-on skills.
If you're up to a challenge, and can work through nausea and fatigue, go for it! But I'd encourage you to go to school first- you can't beat the job security, pay and flexible hours as a mommy. (and I think going through school with a toddler/preschooler would be even more challenging).
FYI, MEPN students have a hard time finding jobs in the Bay Area because they have sort of a bad rap for leaving jobs after 1 year (according to my nurse manager friends) because they get the experience they need and then move on to become nurse practitioners.
Feel free to email if you want, Ellie 2nd yr. grad student with 5 month old son
As for having babies in nursing school, you will really need reliable, flexible childcare. Our clinicals rotated every 6 weeks or so, and we'd have a new schedule, often starting at 7am or ending at 10pm. Also, consider the timing of having your babies, too. You won't be able to miss many clinical days or exams, so you may want to plan on a summer baby. If you wait to have a baby your first year out of school, when you are working, you may not be eligible for disability or FMLA untiil you've worked for a year at any one place.
Anyway, I've got lots of thoughts on this, so if you want to ask me more questions or talk anything out, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Good luck to you! Nursing is a terrific profession - almost as good as being a mom! amy
I can understand that you want to take your time; nursing school presents seemingly endless material to synthesize. But at the same time, I would advise you to think about your long- term plans and goals--is it worth spending an extra year or two paying expensive tuition? What will it take for you to keep your sanity? Having kids right now? What is most important to you? Talk to students in the three-year programs and see what they have to say.
I am not sure if you've taken your prerequisites yet, so that might add on a bit more time to the three years of the program and give you time to start your family first.
I have friends who speak very highly of the USF BSN program; it sounds like a good option (albeit expensive). There's also Cal State East Bay and San Francisco State, both less expensive in terms of tuition but also less organized from what I've heard (e.g., clinical sites and times changing at the last minute, which could be untenable for parents).
Best of luck! New RN
I'm a month away from finishing a BSN program here in the bay area and have two young kids (now 5 and 8). Maybe my situation is different because I'm older (41), but nursing school is exhausting and you don't AT ALL get to choose your own hours nor can you start nursing school and pick up where you left off readily (for, say, going into labor or addressing any sort of longer-than-one-week family crisis). One person was pregnant in my year, but had her baby during the summer. Another had her baby in the summer before starting nursing school. I'm sure both have very nearby family, *very* wired and flexible childcare and the ability to get minimal sleep and still be able to function under a huge amount of pressure.
I would absolutely not recommend doing nursing school at the same time as starting a family. I just can't imagine how it could possibly work out unless you had miraculous timing and the aforementioned gigantic support network.
I am even reluctant to recommend going to nursing school and trying to raise young kids. It has been very, very hard and I'm an organized person lucky enough to have a supportive husband and nearby family (all of whom are completely burned out in the helping dept at this point, by the way). I Miss My Kids
There are many factors to consider-the type of program-there are some amazing intense accelerated nursing programs that allow you to finish in one year, RN programs at a community college, or a BSN at a University. Also factor in whether you have family or a good support system to help you out. You could even start on some pre-requisites in the meantime. I was able to complete most of the pre-reqs before kids, and they were challenging for me. The rest of the coursework is concepts and clinicals for me, so more hands on work, not as difficult, but can be a little time consuming if done all at once.
My sister and brother-in-law just started residency. Many of their classmates had children the second year of med school, which must be hectic, but certainly doable. Sounds like time is on your side too!
Good luck RN in 2010
Fabulous BPN Community: I'm debating whether to go to medical school or nursing school (to become a nurse practicioner) & would love to communicate with some moms who are M.D's or nurse practicioners to get some insight to help me w/ my decision (I'm 23 by the way). I want to be able to contribute & make a difference but I also want to be a mother one day, have a family, & still have time and energy for them! Also, personally, I would like to have kids before I'm 34 & having kids in Medical school sounds teriibly difficult. Also, I plan to stay in the bay area (forever if possible) =)
My questions for the nurse practicioners are: 1) Do you feel that you're limited in the scope of work you're permitted/able to do as an NP? 2) Compared to M.D's & other NP's you know, do you feel that the schedule of an NP is more relaxed than that of a doctor? (e.g. are you ever on-call, can you work part-time and still make enough to support yourself &/or you family? 7) If you are a mother, do you feel like being an NP is more compatible(than an M.D.) w/ raising children? 8) Anyone go to the UCSF MEPN program?
My questions for the physicians are: 1) Do you feel that the time you spent in medical school was worth it? If you could go back in time would you be a nurse practicioner? 2) How (logistically) and when did you have kids? 3) Are you able to find part-time work and still support yourself and your family? 4) Anyone go to a post-bacc after undergrad & before medical school?
Many thanks in advanced for any & all responses!
I chose this route because I'm already 35 with three kids and it fits my lifestyle right now (I couldn't do the residence thing with kids).
Way back in undergrad, I chose *not* to purse medical school in part because I thought being a doctor would not fit well with being a hands-on involved parent.
The irony of it is that now, many of my mom friends who are already established MDs do very well as a mom. They chose specialties where they only work 2-3 days per week. Not every doctor has to be a constantly on call, over-worked freak case. These moms are fairly relaxed and have good work schedules.
Basically to answer your question, I think both NPs and MDs *can* have equally good schedules in terms of motherhood. If I were you, I would go for the MD. -Soon to be NP
Which brings me to my second issue: Most people don't understand the role and training of the NP compared with the MD (understandably, as there is little standardization in the nursing profession). You may feel, as I did, that educating the patient and family about your chosen profession is part of the job, but I can tell you that after ten years of explaining, I feel like Sisyphus. You will be explaining your training as well as your decision to become an NP to patients, their family members, your family members, friends and aquaintences, MD's, RN's, pharmacy staff, and others ad nauseum. And most of those listed, even despite your thoughtful and articulate explanation, will assume you chose it because you couldn't get into med school. I'm not as bitter as I sound. In terms of work-life balance, being an NP is great. Most of my friends and collegues who've become MD's continue to struggle with balancing the equation even with a well established practice. Reconsidering Med School
Another thing to think about is the time it will take for you to be a fully-functional NP vs. MD -- and by that, I mean, working independently and earning ''real'' money. It doesn't sound like you are an RN already, so let's assume you go through a direct-entry NP program. You are talking about an average of a 3 year program, maybe a bit more if you take time off to work between the RN and the NP. Once you are done with that, you are done. You go out into the world, work as an NP, care for your own patients, and earn a full NP salary, while working normal, sane hours.
If you go the med school route: you may need to do 1-2 years of a post-bac program, depending on your undergrad preparation, then 4 years of school. Then comes 3 - 7 years of residency (depending on your specialty) during which time you earn maybe $35,000 - $40,000 while working between 65 - 80+ hours per week and doing LOTS of overnight call in the hospital. After residency, you may need to do an additional 1 - 3 year fellowship, also low-paid and long hours. The upside of all this training is: 1) you know a LOT, you're a specialist in a way that an NP is not and 2) you MAY (depending on your specialty and healthcare reform) make a lot of money once you are done training. The downside is a lot more time spent in the trenches, training, being low on the totem pole, and working long hours for little pay. Not to mention the debt incurred with all that school. I'm an NP, married to an MD, so I speak from personal experience. One more thought in the next message -- this one is too long. Shannon
Think about what you'd like to do in your career: do you want to work in primary care, doing lots of education, prevention, TALKING, working with patients to improve their health -- you can do this as an MD or an NP, but the path is easier as an NP and there are more and more NPs filling these roles. Do you want to perform surgery, be the ''buck stops here'' person, be the one that everyone turns to when they run out of ideas? You can be that as an NP or MD, too (well, not surgery, but work in an acute care setting), but you're more likely to find an MD in that role.
As an NP, you can work very independently -- admit your patients, round on them in the hospital, prescribe meds, manage complicated regimens. BUT there will always be things beyond your scope of practice, which you need to co-manage, or refer to an MD. You will always need to work collaboratively with a physician and you will often be lower-paid and have less general respect from the public than a fully-trained MD. For example, as an NP, I never get the ''wow, you're an NP, you must be really smart'' comments that my husband (the MD) gets. On the other hand, I get ''I love my nurse practitioner, she takes so much more time with me, etc. etc'' comments that he doesn't often get. So, it balances out. I've never had a huge need for outside approval or lots of glory on the job. If you ARE someone who needs that (and there's nothing wrong with being that person), you may chafe at the ''status'' issues which are still associated with nursing.
I wouldn't trade being an NP for being an MD. But they're not interchangeable, and I think some people are better suited for one or the other. So take a little time to get to know yourself before you embark on your journey -- both paths are long and involve a lot of work. I'd give you my email so you could ask more questions off-line, but yesterday was my due date so I don't think I'm going to have time. I would recommend finding a couple of people who work in both fields to talk to, though. S.
Calling all nurses! I am considering going back to school to get my nursing degree. I have a bachelor's degree in biology and several years experience in the health care field doing qualitative research and health project management. I am mom to a toddler with baby #2 on the way. I would love input from any and all nurses about what type of nurse you are, what level of schooling you did, how you use your nursing degree now, and what you would suggest for someone looking into the field now. I have been thinking I would like to do a bridge program that allows me to ahcieve a masters in nursing and get my RN degree. I am not sure specifically how I want to use the degree, but I love helping people, want to be more hands on than my current job lets me be, and I love the schedule flexibility and portability nursing can allow. With 2 young kids, though, money and time are issues, so I don't want to do more schooling than I will actually need. I want the masters degree for my own satisfaction, but a couple of other health professionals I know (who hire nurses), said they wouldn't favor a masters over a bachelors degree unless the masters level nurse had also become a nurse practitioner. I would love to be an NP, but I don't think I can commit more time to an NP program after a masters program (unless I do the NP program some years later). Another non-nursing option would be a physician's assistant, but I suspect the demand for PAs is lower and the amount of schooling is equivalent. Any and all thoughts, suggestions, and advice welcome, along with your personal experiences. Thanks! shifting career gears
Most MSN programs ARE advanced practice nurse (APN) or nurse practitioner (NP) programs -- both of these designate the same thing. I think Clinical Nurse Specialist and perhaps educator programs are not NP programs. However, you could not become a CNS or teach nursing without extensive bedside experience prior to enrollment in a program. I think Samuel Merritt has a generic MSN program that does not lead to specialization in anything; that is, it has all the generic master's level nursing courses, such as theory and research, but if you want to become a NP you have to complete a certificate program elsewhere for that.
Are you referring to a ''direct entry'' MSN program which has BSN courses and clinicals crammed into one year at the beginning of the program, then you complete the specialty master's part in the last 2 years? These DE programs are 3 years full time. It might be possible to do such a program part time, but it would take a very long time to finish. It would also be difficult to do one of these programs full time with 2 small children without a lot of support. Nursing is not easy, no matter what the public image is, and advanced practice is even harder. You need to contact schools offering these programs to ask about part time and other options for doing a program with 2 small children. I do know the programs are VERY competitive for admissions -- it is harder to get into UCSF's program than most medical schools, for example.
I suggest you find APNs you know and ask them your questions. Call the schools you are interested in and talk to the admissions office and ask if they have alumni and current students you can speak with. www.allnurses.com has extensive bulletin boards for discussion on nursing education. If you search ''direct entry'' you will get lots of hits. Look under the graduate school sections. Good luck. Just A Nurse, for now
I also have a masters (NP) which I got after I graduated but do not use - maybe someday... While I would highly recommend nursing as a career I have to tell you nursing school was a total pain! and that was before I was married with kids. It is stressful and time consuming. Things have changed in terms of demographics. There are many more applicants to nursing programs than there are spaces now especially in public schools like the Cal State Universities. So they have long waiting lists. It may be worth it to pay extra dollars to go private and then pay it off once you're earning more money. You are in a unique position in that you may go into a accelerated program since you already have a Bachelor's and that might make getting accepted easier. good luck
What is boils down to is that there are many ways to get into nursing, and it depends on your immediate goals, long-term goals, and your finanical situation. As you probably know, there are many levels of nursing, and the education can be done at a JC, online, public university, or private university, and the length of program, and cost of each, varies considerably!
Have you ever looked into allnurses.com? The membership is free and there are numerous threads/forums on every topic under the sun, so it is a great places to ask questions and read about your different options.
I also want to warn you that they are an opinionated bunch :-) There are many nurses that have been in the field for a long time, have worked their way up from ADN-BSN-MSN-PhD (or any fraction there of), and some of them are not supportive of the direct-entry MSN route because they feel that people need years in the field as an RN before aquiring an MSN. Then there are the direct-entry folks, myself included, that completly disagree.
Please feel free to contact me if you would like any info on the various local programs, or I would be glad to share with you why I chose the route that I did. Either way, best of luck on your new journey! Katie
Good luck! I feel good about what I do at work and I love that about nursing. Also, I get paid really well which helps when I'm dragging myself out of bed to go to work on a weekend!! Best to you. Please email me personally if you want to talk more about this. Nicole
Does anyone know whether private K-12 schools in the Bay Area employ school nurses? Just thinking about some alternative career paths . . .
I have a BS in health education and am thinking about going back to school to become a nurse. I'm just not sure which type of degree I should pursue. A Master's, a second Bachelor's or an Associate's? Is it better to wait until my children are in school to begin a program? (They are currently 4 and almost 2 years old) I have completed all of the pre-req's as an undergraduate, but that was almost 7 years ago....how current do I need to be? Also, I'm not sure which area of nursing I would like to focus on. Do the programs expose you to different specialty areas or do you need to know which area you want to focus on before beginning. Any advice or information is appreciated anon
If you are interested in pursuing a master's degree there are programs that provide your MSN in 3 years. UCSF has a MEPN (Master's Entry Prepared Nurse) program that is quite rigorous. Samuel Merritt also has a program. The kicker is, that most nurses are not paid based on education. An RN w/ a MSN is paid the same as w/ an associates degree. MSN programs in this area are quite expensive- $40-$60k total, while ADN programs cost about $75 per class.
If you did go the ADN route, there are many programs that bridge from the ADN to BSN. You'd do this by taking 4 or 5 bachelor's level classes. You'd then have a BSN and be able to go on for a MSN if you so desired later on in life.
A nursing program prepares you as an entry level nurse in any capacity. In order to specialize you would receive on the job training and education from your employer. For example, if you wanted to be an OB nurse, you'd get a job in OB, be given a mentor and the appropriate education and experience related to that area. The same is true in any given specialty.
Nursing programs are rigorous and expect that your family will make sacrifices due to the extensive time commitment. It's ambitious of you to start a program with a 2 year old, but there are PLENTY of adult learners w/ families in nursing programs. It can be done! geppie
If you want to be an advanced practice nurse, such as a nurse practitioner, then an MEPN program (which takes 3 years to get an MSN) would make sense, but if you just want to be an RN, the accelerated BSN program might be the best choice for you.
Good luck from another future nurse! :) Diane
Hi there, I am currently doing my prerequisites for a nursing program....and i am hoping some of you have been down this path and can answer a few questions for me. First, Has any one done their nursing as a part time program, and where? I am looking at applying to the Sf State MSN, Merritt college and Contra costa city college. None of these schools say on their web sites that they have part time options, but i know that sometimes once your in you can change things up a bit. Second, what would happen if say, i got pregnant and had a baby during the program, could i defer? I am trying to decide if i should apply soon, even though i am going to be trying to get pregnant......or if i should wait until this future child of mine is in school. thanks thanks cris
Ok, lastly...the baby thing. My two are teenagers and it was still difficult for them what with me being so focused on school and having to study so much. Yes there is the option of taking one semester off and restarting the program but why would you want to lose momentum and set yourself up like that? Finish school and THEN have another child or have the child and then go back to school. NightNurse
I want to become a registered home-health nurse, but I cannot find a program that requires less than full time classes. I am an at-home mom, and need night and/or weekend classes. I already have a BA(not in nursing)and MSW degree. I know UCSF has a great MPH/nursing program, but the hours won't work for me in the next few years. For now, I think I just need an RN program. Does anyone know of any place that would allow part-time nursing students? Any leads greatly appreciated! Michele
I'm a 46 year old single mom of a 3 year old boy (I adopted him at birth as a single, so I have no co-parent at all). I am probably going to be laid off of my job soon due to funding cuts, and am considering a major career change. I have a PhD in chemistry and already did one big career change when I switched from chemistry to energy and environmental work many years ago. Now I'm thinking of an even bigger change -- I think I want to be a nurse when I grow up! I want a job that's meaningful, useful, and where I can work directly with people. It's hard for me to think of anything more useful than helping people stay healthy and alive! I'm leaning towards pediatric nursing, either in a hospital or maybe a doctor's office.
I've read all the posts in the archive on this topic, which were quite helpful. However, those posts seemed to mostly be geared towards becoming an ''advanced practice nurse'', which requires a masters degree. I think I'd be quite happy just being a working RN. I'm leaning towards getting an associate degree (ADN) and am considering the program at Ohlone College, since this is way less costly than the various BSN programs I'm aware of.
So, all of this is a long preamble to my questions. I'm interested in hearing from anyone who has taken the associate degree route to RN, especially if you happen to be a recent grad of Ohlone. How many years did it take you to complete the program, including doing the required prerequisites before admission to the nursing program? Is it possible to do this part time (while also working part time), either at Ohlone or elsewhere in the Bay Area? I'd also like to hear from single parents who tried to obtain a nursing degree as a single parent, whether you were successful or not -- if you were, how did you manage? And if not, what were the pitfalls?
Does having an ADN rather than a BSN make any difference in what types of jobs I could get? I've read contradictory things about whether BSN-RN's make more money or not. Are there some specific nursing jobs I couldn't get with an ADN, and if so, what are they?
Also, what kind of salary could I expect as an entry-level RN working in a hospital? In a doctor's office?
Any other words of advice or wisdom for an aspiring nurse? Thanks in advance!
There can be a salary difference for BSN and ADN but it usually is about $1-$2/hour. Yes there are some jobs that you will need a BSN for (management) but at your age I'd go for the ADN and make sure I like nursing before getting an advanced degree. Besides, once you have the RN you can complete a ADN to BSN program in a year (my hospital offers a program for this purpose). By the way, one of my classmates in nursing school also had a PhD in Chemistry - you'll be surprised the wide variety of people you'll find in community colleges. I was by no means the oldest person in our program (I think the average age was 28, the oldest person was 55). Good luck! NightNurse
I am graduating from Nursing School in May and am currently interviewing for employment. I am curious about Highland (Alameda County Medical Center) in Oakland. Any present or former nurses please advise! susan
I graduate from Nursing School in May and I'm in a bit of a
quandry as to where to apply for work. I loved Contra Costa
Regional Hospital in Martinez but the recruiter told me that it
can be difficult to get permanent status. I have several
friends who work for Kaiser and like it but I've felt like a
cog in the wheel during my rotations there. Alta Bates is
convienent but their recent merger with Sutter Health worries
me. How about Mt. Diablo or UCSF? Any recommendations or advice
will be GREATLY appreciated!
I think its really important that you consider where you want to go as a nurse - OB, ICU, OR, med-surg? and you consider your commute. right now most hospitals are desperate enough for RN's that you pretty much have your pick.
I'm an ICU nurse so that's where most of my perspective is from. I work as Highland in oakland and have found it to be a great place to learn. Many of the doctors are also learning and can explein to you why they make the decisions they do which I have found vry helpful. other times these inexperienced MD's make poor decisions and it is your job as a nurse to protect your patients from them. that was very stressful as a new grad but with help from my fellow RN's and experience, that aspect became less of a liability though still stressful at times. Highland is great at trauma, godd at other things, not so much for hearts.
though I have never worked at the Alta Bates ICU but I know 4 RN's who worked there and were more or less miserable. only one left because she relocated. all the others left because it was such a bad place to work - the culture, so I hear, is to encourage the nurses to back stab one another and is very unhelpful. don't go there especially not as a new grad.
on the other hand I know 2 RN's in the Alta Bates NICU who graduated with me 6 years ago and still work there very happily.
I hear lots of good things about Washington hospital in Fremont - they pay the best and seem to treat their nurses very well. I hear they do lots of heart surgeries if that's what you're interested in.
I also worked in John Muir for a few months they seem to have quite an extensive training program for new grads for the ICU - even more so than Highland which I thought was quite good. but after Highland quite frankly I was bored there. they do more with hearts which could be interesting but for trauma, there wasn't much going on.
I have found in just about every hospital that there are problems of one sort or another with unions, or lack thereof, administration and management and each place has its own unique set of challenges. when you go from one to the other you simply trade one set of problems for another. what really makes a nursing job good or not, like any job, is the people that you work with (including the doctors). are they friendly and supportive to you and to each other? do they communicate clearly and are they willing to offer and accept help or do they complain constantly but martyr themselves for some misguided sense ofmoral superiority?
once you find out the basics like pay, benefits, etc. go to the unit on they same shift that you may be hired for (same shift is important because cultures can vary from shift to shift) and talk with some of the nurses who don't seem too busy at the moment or hang around until break time. good luck anon
Second, you are new, and you need to learn a lot. So, I would recommend hospitals with many different kinds of patients, cultures and conditions. For that, check out places like Highland, SF General, etc. You might (later on)want to go back to grad school, and the more varied experience you have, the better.
Then, ask a lot of questions about how they mentor their new grads. Will somebody really be there for you as you adjust to the new job, and for how long? Ask to talk to somebody who did the new grad program there, in the recent past, and ask them what it was really like, pros and cons. Good luck! RN mom
I am interested in becoming a nurse in the next couple years.
I already have a Bachelors in an unrelated field. Is it
recommended that one become an RN first before pursuing a
Masters? If so what are some of the best schools in the area?
I am particularly interested in ones that will provide some
flexibility since I have a small child at home.
I am considering a career change. Long ago, when I was a pre-med college student, I volunteered on the surgical floor of a teaching hospital. I thought at the time that what the anesthesiologists were doing was interesting. Now I'm interested in becoming a nurse anesthetist, but as the path is a bit long and would take me away from my daughter quite a lot, I need to gather information around what nurse anesthetists actually do these days, how the work is, what the challenges are...if you happen to be in the know, or know someone who is, please contact me if you would be willing to chat. Thanks! Ann
Check out UCSF, San Francisco State, Samuel Merritt for openings in their programs. I would choose the program that is going to give you what you want in the time frame you are looking for and that costs the least. No matter how much you pay for the education, you still will take the same boards and have the same license as someone who paid 2-4 times as much! Good luck. Tora
I need to hear from some parents who have been to nursing school on this. Am I crazy to think I can deal with nursing school and my 6 month old infant? Of course I'll have full-time care for her. My question is how demanding is the program in terms of time outside of class and is it doable with a young child. I need a reality check. uncertain
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