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Thread: Help With Choosing A Career Path

  1. #1
    Todd Keefer

    Help With Choosing A Career Path

    I'm considering going back to nursing school in Eastern PA for the Fall semester to get my ADN. I already have a Bachelors Degree.

    There are several reasons why I'm heavily considering Nursing. I'm male and age 40 and would really like to make decent $ while having job satisfaction. So instead of me trying to fit into a field, I've decided to try to find a field that fits me.

    I recently did some vocational counseling and it turns out that I'm very Social / Helpful, Investigative / Organized, and Creative. I guess I've always known that but the testing really confirmed it. I haven't really worked in fields where my skills were used to there full potential and my creativity just doesn't pay the bills (although I'll always have it as an outlet outside of work).

    Counseling and Teaching are good job fits for me also but when I compare the high cost of education (MA / PhD) vs. prospects for employment vs. the salary that I would earn, they just don't make that much sense, hence Nursing.

    I have a couple of interests but I'm not sure what direction to head. I'll post my interests (and then you can laugh...) and maybe someone can give some suggestions?

    I'm very interested in getting an Addictions Certification once I get some experience. I've been involved in Recovery for over 15 years and would really like to understand the 'nuts and bolts' of how the disease works and work with people going through detox. The science behind it sounds fascinating!

    I'm also a very organized person (and I like organizing things) so it sounds like a Circulator Nurse or Perioperative Nurse might be a direction to head as well.

    I thought about being some sort of Patient Educator as I really like helping, communicate well, and since I'll be in the nursing field...

    Finally, I thought about Hospice care. Sounds tough but death and dying really don't bother me. Strangely, I can handle the gruesome stuff. It's the smells that I'm worried about.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    The world of nursing is a wide one but most people are hampered by the job market. You won't be able to work in your chosen area if you can't get a job in it. Just want to warn you that the job market in general for new grad nurses is not great. Some people in saturated markets, San Francisco comes to mind, go as long as two years before they get their first nursing job. So prepare for the long haul.

  3. #3
    Todd Keefer
    Any suggestions on what jobs to look for right out of school? I've heard through the grapevine that Med/Surg is a good place to start. Both because of easy entry and an easy way to gain good, varied experience.

  4. #4
    Hi Todd,

    Welcome. Nursing really does sound like a good fit for you and I don't think your interests are funny at all. There really is no best place to start although many will say "get a solid med-surg foundation." That will never be a wrong thing to do but don't feel it's necessary. The only recommendation I can make is to think about a Master's Degree. Depending on what your Bachelor's Degree is in, it will likely help you along the addictions counseling pathway.

    Good luck, and stay in touch.

    Last edited by Ricu; 06-02-2011 at 08:10 AM. Reason: typo

  5. #5
    Member Extraordinaire hppygr8ful's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Hey Todd,

    Welcome to the site. Good luck with your career path. I am a mental health nurse and am thinking of taking the step of becoming amental health NP with and emphasis on addiction recovery.

    You don't have to have degrees in psychology to be a mental health nurse - though that certainly helps. It does help to have some med-surge base so you can recognize medical problems. Too many people in psych tend to rule out underlyingphysical problems that are burried under the depression or psychosis often with negative results. What you need is lots of passion and empathy and a willingness to work with a population suffering from chronic disease. (oh and the abilityto bob and weave in the face of fling body fluids helps). Very few of your patients will ever get well but they can be stable for periods of time.

    The nice thing about mental health nursing is that even in this recession there is no shortage of jobs. Mental health facilities are always chronically short staffed.

    Again welcome


  6. #6

    It sounds like you put a lot of thought into it, and I'm glad you've decided on nursing! There are a lot of things to compare when going into the field, but perhaps your social skills could come into handy in more of a "service learning" atmosphere? That way, you're not only getting more experience being a nurse, you'll also get to work directly with people that may not have otherwise had health care. It's one of the most popular programs at my nursing school in Chicago. It's a win-win! This could also help you to eventually become an educator yourself, something you mentioned you wanted.

    But if you're really into being organized, a degree in health informatics may be for you. Think about it.

  7. #7
    Todd, Congrats on choosing nursing - a very commendable decision! You will find nursing a rewarding yet demanding career. Addiction recovery is a great decision for you. I understand why you would choose nursing over teaching or counseling. I believe that nursing will be a good fit for you - the next question is where to go. Here is a little information about what to consider when choosing a nursing school. I hope this is helpful to you and anyone else trying to figure out which school to go to! Good luck!

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