Sunday, November 10, 2013

CNA training revisited

I had considered taking a CNA (certified nurse assistant) course after completing my prerequisites and before entering nursing school but decided against it because I knew that CNA training would be more money to spend (and I am already stretched paying for my prerequisite courses). In some cases hospitals hire nursing students as nurse aides, student aides, etc. upon completion of the first semester of clinicals so I also felt CNA training would also be an unnecessary expense. Over the past few weeks however, I have reconsidered the idea completing CNA training, despite suggestions that I don't (I posted a question on allnurses.com). Why? Its simple. I need to make myself as competitive as possible and having just clinical experience without a CNA license may allow me to apply to a lot more nurse aide or similar positions but not all since some specify the CNA license. Also my BSN (Bachelors of Science in Nursing) programs of interest are accelerated ones, specifically CUNY Lehman College ABSN (accelerated Bachelors of Science in Nursing) program and SUNY Downstate Medical ABSN program, which are respectively 12 and 15 months long. It could take a couple of months to find a part-time or per-diem position (given the current job market) and if I wait until I finish my first semester before applying, I would essentially be almost half way through the program before getting a job! If I have my CNA license prior to entering a ABSN program or at least am eligible to sit for the exam, I would not have to wait so long to start looking for jobs. A second career in nursing, or a second career period is an investment of time and money and if its something I truly want (and I think I do) I have to do whatever it takes to increase the likelihood of success. Now if I could just figure out where, when, and how I am going to complete a CNA program...      

Now I need a transcript?

The other day I tried to register for Anatomy and Physiology I for the Spring 2014 semester through Cayuga Community College online campus (this would be the third online course  I take through Cayuga) and I received an error stating that a prerequisite is needed first. I had this issue before so I emailed the registrar to help me register for the course (they actually did it for me a few months ago for the Fall 2013 semester but I dropped the course before the first day so that I could take just Developmental Psychology only). Needless to say I was surprised to get a reply that the school needed a copy of my transcript? Now I took biology in both high school and college during freshman year so that should qualify me for waiver of Biology 101 but I took these courses well over 10 years ago. This is such an inconvenience since I have to wait until I get a copy of my college transcript (I have no idea how to get my high school one since the school no longer exist as I knew it) before I can proceed which could take up to a week or more because of the time I matriculated. Now had I been told this months ago, I would have submitted a transcript and could have dealt with things accordingly. The online section of Anatomy and Physiology at Cayuga fill up pretty quickly so I fear that by the time I get my transcript for submission, all of the sections I want to register for will no longer be available, which may put me back some on my timeline. Sigh. A part of this is my fault for not being more on top of things but I figured being non-matriculated it wouldn't be a problem. It's also the schools fault though because they allowed me to register the first time. I really don't want to take Biology 101 and I hope that I won't have to take it. I already have to complete a total of 7 courses and cannot afford to take another one.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

MSN after BSN?

I really dislike the fact that I have to take a bunch of prerequisite courses in order to qualify for another Bachelors degree. I really do. I always thought I would go for my masters degree at some point in my career but direct MSN (Masters of Science in Nursing) programs don't seem to be widely available in my area and the few that are still require completion of a BSN (Bachelors of Nursing) at some point in the program. That may be financially difficult since I would be out of work for a much longer time possibly. A MSN is certainly a consideration but what would I do with it? For social work, a MSW (Masters in Social Work) is required for licensure so getting a MSW would be essential to be a social worker but nursing? Not so much. Many positions for RNs (registered nurses) are for BSN graduates but a two year degree is still all that is necessary to obtain licensure. That being said my ambition would probably get the best of me and I would eventually get restless at the BSN level. APRN (advanced practice registered nurse) such as nurse practitioner is an option but so many registered nurses go that route so it seems a bit too common but I do like the idea of performing "MD functions" like diagnosing and prescribing medications without going the MD route. As a nurse practitioner I would also still have a great deal of patient contact/interaction which I like, although I understand it's different than that of an RN.  I would like to have a few years RN experience before being a nurse practitioner though as it doesn't make sense to me to be a APRN without being, quite frankly, a nurse first. Nurse educator also sounds kind of appealing since I always envisioned myself as a educator or trainer in some way but I have no idea what job prospects are like. There is also nursing administration but I don't know if I would like administration in any field but I am a supervisor in my current field so it may not be as far fetched as I think. Then there are CNS (clinical nurse specialists) but I really am just not sure what they do exactly to be honest. I guess I should check on Indeed to see what types of jobs are available for masters level nurses. Although it is hard to say what the future holds for me it is kind of exciting thinking about all of the possibilities of a potential career in nursing.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Job prospects for registered nurses

Job prospects for new RN (registered nurses) is a real concern for me. I remember graduating with my BS the first time and how hard of time it was for me to find a job related to my degree; ultimately I am glad I do not work in IT (information technology) since I do not feel I had a passion for it anyway (although my salary would have been better than it is now) but what is going to happen if I go to nursing school and become an RN? It is hard for college grads now and although I know I have a great deal of transferable skills and experiences that would make me a great nurse, I currently have no nursing or direct healthcare experience. I certainly plan to have some entry level healthcare experience during, after and even before nursing school (outside of clinicals) but it won't be RN experience. It's bad enough I won't be working (at least not full-time) if I go to nursing school for a year or more; I'd have to add at least another 6 months of not working for anticipated job searching. Not my idea of a good time but I really am going to have to hustle because returning to previous employment, once I have left, is probably not going to be an option.

The pre-nursing student 4.0 Challenge

Now that I see the competitiveness of BSN (Bachelors of Nursing) and particularly ABSN (Accelerated Bachelors of Nursing) programs, I have presented myself with what's call the 4.0 challenge. What's the 4.0 challenge? Quite simply, my goal is to have a 4.0 in all of my prerequisite classes include the sciences (which are the majority of my classes). I have always been a fairly good student throughout my academic career but I highly doubt that the overall GPA of 3.2 from my previous degree would make me a competitive applicant for nursing school. Fortunately my school(s) of interest place a great deal of emphasis on prerequisite grades (in addition to entry exams).

So how do I propose to conquer this 4.0 challenge? Obviously studying or doing academic related work on a daily basis (readings, assignments, etc.) would definitely help as well as effective time management but that is easier said than done. I remember when I completed my first undergraduate degree I had a similar challenge as well but by the beginning of my third year, my main goal was no longer "4.0" but passing so I could graduate and leave school. School was intense at the time particularly since I completed a relatively hard major (computer science) and I worked anywhere from 20-25 hours a week while being a full-time student. Now it seems harder, not so much because of the material, but because I find it hard to stay motivated. Last week I had a bad cold that kept me out of commission for a couple days; another time, my youngest child had a hard time sleeping which in turn kept me up all night. I tend to be cranky when I am sleep deprived for an extended period of time, and I miss the leisure time I had after 9 pm in the evenings after the kids have gone to bed (now I generally do my studying or assignments around that time or on the weekends). My current position doesn't require me to work overtime, but sometimes I do work overtime occasionally. There are other issues making the 4.0 GPA difficult to obtain but I am just going to have to find a way to keep pressing on. I am generally not a quitter so it makes no sense in becoming one now.