Weighing in on the nursing scale
A guaranteed job upon graduation, a high paying salary, and I would easily be able find a job anywhere across the county.
All connected to helping people when they need care the most.
It was too good to be true!
That’s what I was told at my college freshman orientation when I was signing up to start my pre-nursing requisites.
Keep in mind this was 2006 that I started my journey.
I took a little longer than most to finish my pre requisites and enjoyed my four years in college along the way.
I got my associates degree in applied science in 2008 and that summer I got my feet wet in nursing and achieved my Certified Nursing Assistant licensure. (CNA)
I worked part time as a CNA through the rest of college. I graduated with my bachelor’s degree in biology, since that was the only major that my pre-nursing requisites fell under.
That summer after college I started gathering applications for all the schools in my state since I could not financially afford out of state tuition and board.
While working full-time that summer as a CNA I also enrolled and completed a CNA 2 course to further my nursing skills. In my state being a CNA 2 allows you to work in hospitals and widens your scope of practice a little bit.
I finished school with a 3.6 GPA in my nursing courses along with my degrees, and a couple hundred hours as a CNA.
I was turned down from all the Community Colleges and Universities in which I had applied.
“I was let down but still learning the ropes in the nursing field and understood it’s a long journey.”
I was let down but still learning the ropes in the nursing field and understood it’s a long journey. Plus I had a full time job that was supporting me in the meantime.
Over the next year while I waited to apply again, I took a program to achieve my Medication Administration (MA) Licensure. This meant I was now able to dispense medication in my facility and got a little bit of a pay raise.
When it was time to apply for schools again I was very nervous to go through the same let down process as the previous year. Before I applied again I also retook a class to bump up a grade from a B to an A, which now made my GPA a 3.7.
This time around I had a bit higher GPA, hundreds of more hours as a CNA and now also a few hundred hours as a Med Aide.
To my surprise I was once again turned down from about 8 state schools and only placed on the wait list at one Community College which I never heard back from.
This was pretty much my breaking point. I was enjoying the health care field and got joy in helping my patients.
It started to feel like I was going to be stuck in my nursing career.
Taking my chances
While all this was spiraling down a new trade school had opened up a new nursing program in my area.
I don’t want to use any names in this article, so we will just call it Nursing University.
This school was offering a two year RN ASN program upon admission.
Since the school was new, it was currently unaccredited. But upon graduation of the first class in the program and a successful completion of students on their NCLEX board they practically promised accreditation.
Now if that wasn’t uneasy, here’s the big shocker. The two year associates RN program when all paid in full was going to run around $50,000!
This was also based upon the fact of actually getting accepted. Each cohort of nursing students which start every three months with a class size of around 35 students.
How do they pick these 35 students out of about the 300 that apply?
They filter out the top 35 by having all potential students take a basic version of the HESI exam. It covered basic science, math, and English subjects.
“I was in a rut with my nursing career so I decided to take the leap and give the program a shot with A LOT of help from financial aid.”
To make a long story short I ended up taking the test just to see if I could get in and a few weeks after later I was congratulated that I was in the top 35 of the students that tested.
Just to make it clear I was very iffy on committing to such an expensive gamble that everything would play out correctly with the program itself.
After speaking with financial aid I discovered that I could actually transfer some of my credits into the program thus making it cheaper. If you consider cheap being $42,000.
I was in a rut with my nursing career so I decided to take the leap and give the program a shot with A LOT of help from financial aid.
Everybody in the program was pretty much in the exact same situation as me and this program was a last resort.
Being a completely new program things were always changing. From grade requirements to minimum test scores needed to pass to new instructors every ten weeks.
As I progressed on with the program I started to really rethink my decision on a career as a nurse.
The profession was changing and I was starting to notice it at the facility I worked and in the media all across the country.
Salaries were getting cut, nurses were getting laid off, and new grads were struggling to find a decent job anywhere.
It seems as though the recession has finally hit the nursing career hard.
So here I am. Nine months into the program, on the fence of staying in the program.
I don’t know if nursing is the career I once thought it would be for me.
I have a couple other career paths I can pursue and based on the way my nursing journey has gone I think it might be time to give those other paths a dedicated effort.
I love the nursing field and the satisfaction I get from helping people when they need it most but I need to look out for myself.