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Careers: Nursing/Becoming a Nurse



I am a 25 year old male who graduated in May from Keene State College with a Bachelors Degree in Political Science and Education. I have been on the fence for a few months of whether to go for my Master's degree for Business Management or continue studying Politics. After much thinking and discussing my plans with my mom who has been a nurse for fifteen years I believe I am going to study nursing. I have always been fascinated by the medical field and believe the work is fulfilling, necessary, and a career in which an individual can grow professionally and move up the ranks.

I have some student debt from college and don't want to go for another four year stint. I am wondering what your advice would be as far as what programs to look into, scholarships, one or two year programs, etc. Really anything you think I should know.

Thank you.


ANSWER: James:

Just a few years ago I would have said...use your general education and transfer your credits for a 2 year AAS degree in Registered Nursing. However, in todays day and age.... 2 year RN's are not being hired as much as the 4 year BSN nurses. Nursing jobs are tough to come by now because hospitals are running lean and trying to hire the more educated 4 year nurse for the same money. Nurses are usually paid by years of service and not education. So hospitals take the  more educated 4 year nurse over the 2 year nurse. It also helps them when trying to attain MAGNET status which shows a better nursing staff as it requires a large number of staff to have BSN's to qualify as MAGNET.

So..what I am saying is ...if you want to be a nurse...go for the 4 year program. They will accept your general education. You will probably have to take anatomy and physiology, microbiology and the nursing core curriculum. Probably 2 more years of school.

Nursing is tough nowadays as hospitals also opt for experienced nurses rather than trying to orient new nurses. Its expensive and sometimes new nurses leave after the orientation. So they like experience now which save them on the initial training of a new nurse.

Wish I had better news...but...times are changing. If you can find a would definitely help on defraying costs. Ask your mom how the hiring is going at her hospital. I have noticed this in the Northeast US area. Some other areas of the oountry may be hiring 2 years nurses more readily as they are hard areas to attract nurses.

Good Luck!

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: I am a bit confused as many reports and statistics show there is a shortage of nurses especially male nurses, and that shortage is continuing to grow. I have also heard that if right now all I can afford is a two year program then to by all mean take it and once I am hired have the hiring hospital pay for me to complete more schooling, thoughts?

That being said, if I did decide to go for a 4 year program, how would I go about applying and having my Bachelors Degree count as something. I don't have the time nor funding to attend four more years of school without a steady well paying job.

Thank you.


ANSWER: James:

Ask your mom who is a practicing many of her colleagues have second jobs?  I have 2 jobs and most of my nurse friends also work for 2 or more employers. The shortage is not real as many nurses are doing the work of 2 nurses. Hospitals gravitate to per diem second job nurses as it is cheaper to use them for 2 reasons. Training is 2 days as opposed to up to 6 months for new nurses out of school. No benefits for per diem experienced nurses. They get paid when they health insurance, vacation, sick leave etc their primary nurse job provides that. Hospitals are cutting new hires because many patients have no insurance and get free medical care through our ER system. Law never denies emergency care. They get admitted and treated and just do not pay. Most hospitals are losing money and there is no real shortage of nurses to speak of. Maybe in 15 years when the late boomers like myself retire. Until then its going to be ruff going for nurse jobs.

Hospitals stay lean nowadays and hold back on raises for nurses. They only hire 4 year nurses to get more bang for the buck. They tell us...a raise? are lucky you have a job. I can't argue with that so I just work a second job or grab Over Time when I can to make up for lack of raises over the last 5 years or so.

You can transfer all of your general education classes from your prior degree. All you have to do is the nursing core and required classes like anatomy and microbiology.

Its probably only 2 more years for you since you have the one degree already.


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Many do have second jobs however it sounds like your suggesting to me that nursing isn't a lucrative career and I should look elsewhere. I have read articles which argue both side of the argument and I think it comes down to location. One cannot make a general statement without taking into account every city in the country. Some may be hiring, some perhaps not. Regardless I appreciate your insight. What steps and where would I go to to see if my credits count towards two years of schooling?

Thank you.



You can go to your local college and make appt. with an admissions counselor. Tell them what your intentions are and they will evaluate your courses to see what is transferable to the nursing degree. You could also check in your area with the local hospital nurse recruiter to see if they are hiring 2 year or 4 year RN's. This could give you insight into your local nursing job market and help you decide on the best path to follow.

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I can answer questions regarding all aspects of Nursing as a career in general. If you need help deciding if nursing is a career for you, then let me help you with your decision. As an added bonus, I can answer your questions from the perspective of being a man in nursing who has a wife that is also a nurse. Men is nursing is more accepted today than it was when I began in 1993. Regardless of your gender, Nursing has so much to offer and is among the most respected professions of our time. I have been a registered nurse since 1993 and have been certified in Critical Care nursing since 1996. I am currently a full-time Critical Care Ground Transport Nurse/Mobile Intensive Care Nurse(MICN). I am working per diem as a night Shift Administrator/Nursing Supervisor.


My experience over the years since 1993 have been spent between the Emergency Room and the Critical Care Units. More recently since 2007 I have been working in Emergency Medical Services (EMS) as a Critical Care Transport Nurse/Mobile Intensive Care Nurse(MICN)/Emergency Medical Technician(EMT). This unit is known as the Specialty Care Transport Unit(SCTU). I transport all age populations with critical medical problems from Hospital A to Hospital B in the back of an ambulance. My job is to make sure this patient remains in the same or better condition and to handle any emergency that may arise during the over the road transport. BLS/ACLS/PALS/NRP/ITLS Certified Provider.

American Association of Critical Care Nurses Honor Society of Nursing, Upsilon Rho Chapter, Sigma Theta Tau International

BSN,Nursing/Pursuing MSN in Nursing Administration Critical Care Registered Nurse(CCRN)/ Mobile Intensive Care Nurse (MICN)/ Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)/ AAS Business Management

Awards and Honors
American Ambulance Association-2009 Star of Life Recipient

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