Career change at 36- Finance to Nursing/PA?

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JHU ALmuni
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Career change at 36- Finance to Nursing/PA?

Post by JHU ALmuni »

Hello,

Recently I have been considering changing my career at age 36 and going from finance (risk and compliance) to Healthcare (mainly nursing or physician assistant). I like the work I do now, but I don't feel challenged enough and want something different. I been trying to look for new opportunities in the past few months and received couple offers but nothing was worth the move. Currently I make ~100K a year and work from home half of the time.

Some accelerated Bsn programs can be competed in 12 to 18 months. Currently I'm looking for online program that would allow me to take classes online and do clinical on evenings and weekends so I can keep my current job while going to nursing school.

I would like to get feedback regarding my carrier situation specially from people who done something similar or works in healthcare, mainly:

1. Do you recommend a career in nursing/PA?

2. Is it something I should consider at 36 or just continue to focus on my current career?

3. Any advantages/disadvantages for being a male nurse I should know?

4. Any other recommendations on other careers in health care to consider? Eventually I would like to become nurse anesthesiologist.

5. My background is in engineering/analytics, any healthcare careers would allow me to leverage my analytical skills to consider?

6. How much nurses actually make giving overtime and shift differentials, etc.. I know this will vary by location but would like to get an idea to know what to expect in terms of compensation if I go this route.

Also want to add I'm married with 2 kids, wife currently not working, have ~200K between savings and retirement accounts, no debt, and currently renting.
Last edited by JHU ALmuni on Thu Sep 05, 2019 9:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
runner3081
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Re: Career change at 36- Finance to Nursing/PA?

Post by runner3081 »

If you can choose between the two, I would go the PA route. Will give you the same or a higher salary after the transition.
niceguy7376
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Re: Career change at 36- Finance to Nursing/PA?

Post by niceguy7376 »

What would be the cost of the degree and how do you plan on paying for it?

If you have IT/Analytics background, then there would definitely be jobs in health industry based on that. Look for Data Analyst / Data Scientist and such.
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Re: Career change at 36- Finance to Nursing/PA?

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

I don't know that you'll find a program that fits what you're talking about.

Nursing is somewhat opposite world from engineering. My wife is a BSN and I'm an engineer. For example, even at one of the best nursing programs around, my wife had zero math courses. There's a lot of clinical work required (unpaid) to complete nursing school. You won't be doing that online.

Pay is very dependent on where you are, what you're doing and the shifts you're on. If you want to do the typical hospital work, you'll rotate shifts, do some % of holidays (typical if you don't do Thanksgiving, you'll be required to be on Christmas). You can go per diem and more or less pick your shifts (my wife does this), but most places still have requirements. Wife must work 4 shifts a month minimum, of which 2 must be weekend. Even per diem, she must work either Thanksgiving or Christmas. Per diem in the Boston suburbs, they pay $25 an hour base with shift and holiday differentials (not a lot...like a dollar an hour). Full time is more. In Boston proper, it's more. But in Boston, you're also paying your own parking.

Nursing is also the ones who get squeezed with budget limits. If the next shift nurse doesn't come in, you have no choice but to stay or risk your license. Even per diem, my wife has had the next shift nurse show up....quit on the spot and walk out. Also, an 11-7 shift doesn't mean you clock out at 7 and go home. My wife tends to work this shift and because there's so much paper work to do on a busy shift, she typically won't leave until 9. Sometimes management gets all pissy that she's not out on time, even though over the last 3 years, the number of nurses on a shift has been cut in half.
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Andyrunner
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Re: Career change at 36- Finance to Nursing/PA?

Post by Andyrunner »

I know several nurses, PAs and NAs.

As far as nursing goes, are you ready to do some of the most disgusting things ever? Clean a wound, wipe an old persons rear, deal with mentally unstable patients, work 12 hour night shifts then switch to 12 hour day shifts a few days later? Deal with the nursing unions? I know plenty of people love it, but it is hard on the body. Most nurses don't work a full 40 hours because of the physical demands.

PA and NAs are in high demand, but that also requires additional schooling I assume you are ready for that? I know one NA who inquired for a job and the formal interview was "What do we need to do to get you to come here". But the PA and NA jobs are also, if your shift ends at 5pm but surgery goes an extra 4 hours you dont have a choice but to stay.

As far as analytical skills in healthcare, big time. Especially in institutions that do research, in fact I worked in a place that had a whole finance dept dedicated to helping researchers work on government grants. The researchers had dedicated statisticians, engineers, programmers and IT people. On the clinical side they have analysts who maximize patient care reimbursement, make sure medical tools are calibrated correctly, etc.
Last edited by Andyrunner on Thu Sep 05, 2019 10:23 am, edited 2 times in total.
Cyanide123
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Re: Career change at 36- Finance to Nursing/PA?

Post by Cyanide123 »

I personally wouldn't. Sounds like a grass is greener on the other side kind of a situation.

Are you really considering a 4 year BSN, which means cost of education and opportunity cost? If you go to part time work, your opportunity cost could easily be north of 200k, and that doesn't even take into account the cost of education. What's all that for???? A pay cut??? You already make 100k. A new nurse probably pulls in about 60-70k working 3 x 12 hours a week.

A PA will at least be a pay bump. I'm assuming you will need your pre-reqs to apply to PA school, so that's 1 year of college courses, followed by 2.5-3 years of PA school and then coming out and making 110-135k. Is it worth the opportunity cost and added cost of education when you already have a 6 figure job? I don't know...

To me, a job is a job, after 10 years very very few people get excited about work. You might make this career change, but how do you know you will love this new job 10-15 years down the line?

Edit: you make what a new PA in family practice would make while mostly working from home. Sounds like a pretty good gig you have.
Last edited by Cyanide123 on Thu Sep 05, 2019 10:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
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pennstater2005
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Re: Career change at 36- Finance to Nursing/PA?

Post by pennstater2005 »

Nursing doesn’t necessarily mean full time hospital either. You could be a nurse for an orthopedic surgeon who is at the hospital for surgery a few days a week and then back at the office for follow up and new patient visits. There are many different avenues in nursing.
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Re: Career change at 36- Finance to Nursing/PA?

Post by soundwave »

Sent you a PM
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rich126
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Re: Career change at 36- Finance to Nursing/PA?

Post by rich126 »

This is something only you can decide. I don't think it is a decision that should be based on numbers.

I've known or worked with people that have gone from nursing to computers (CS degree) and were very happy. People who have gone from computers to nursing and were very happy. In all of my examples they were women but that doesn't really matter. In the first case she just was more of a numbers person and enjoyed dealing with computers and not with dealing with people. The second case I didn't know as well. Her husband wasn't happy at the money it cost but it was something she wanted and ended up being happier with.

Can you be happy in finance for about 25-30 years?

Depending on the type of nursing some love the 3/4 work day weeks (although very long days).
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Raymond
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Re: Career change at 36- Finance to Nursing/PA?

Post by Raymond »

I've been a PA for over twenty years, and my wife is an ER RN (25+ years)

A question you should ask yourself (as was mentioned above): "How do I deal with situations that many people would find completely disgusting or horrible?"

Because you will be in those situations, whatever program you choose.

Please do not be like one of my classmates in PA school, who quit six months into the program because he "didn't like to be around sick people" - this was before the days where prior healthcare experience was "strongly recommended" before applying.

Here's a link to the admission requirements for a PA program in Texas:

UT Southwestern Medical Center - Master of Physician Assistant Studies - Admission Requirements

Note the "Hands-on patient care experience is strongly recommended" statement - it's not just "recommended", it's pretty much mandatory, because the vast majority of the other applicants will have it. If you don't have it, you won't even get past the initial screening.

I used to help with applicant interviews at a PA program for several years - most years there were 1500+ applicants, of which 120 were interviewed, of which 35 or so were accepted.

[Edit] Link corrected.
Last edited by Raymond on Thu Sep 05, 2019 12:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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oldfatguy
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Re: Career change at 36- Finance to Nursing/PA?

Post by oldfatguy »

PA programs are extremely competitive, and it is unlikely you have the required prereqs to apply, nor the healthcare volunteer/shadowing/work hours needed to be competitive. It would likely take 2-3 years of preparation to be a serious candidate.

Nursing would be a significant pay cut for you: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/regi ... .htm#tab-5
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greg24
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Re: Career change at 36- Finance to Nursing/PA?

Post by greg24 »

Cyanide123 wrote: Thu Sep 05, 2019 10:14 amI personally wouldn't. Sounds like a grass is greener on the other side kind of a situation.
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Bayoufrogg
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Re: Career change at 36- Finance to Nursing/PA?

Post by Bayoufrogg »

Unless you have an extreme passion for this type of work, I would steer clear. This definitely seems like a "grass is greener" type situation. You are doing very well at 100k+/year. The majority of nursing jobs will bring in half of your current salary. You can do travel nursing in California and make significantly more. Housing will knock down some of the profit though and you have to be willing to move around every 3-12 months.

I work with a lot of physician assistants. The student loan vs professional salary ratio seems way off imo. It's quite a big time commitment to come out of school struggling for years. They work a TON of extra, unpaid (salary) hours dealing with issues the MDs prefer to delegate. I'd personally be looking for a finance job if I had to deal with some of the stuff they put up with.

I would stick with your current profession, moving to another job or taking a vacation if you're burned out.
Aku09
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Re: Career change at 36- Finance to Nursing/PA?

Post by Aku09 »

I am a nurse anesthesiologist and can answer any questions you have about that route.

I will say as a new grad RN in my somewhat rural area pays a little over $20 an hour for work. I worked nights and made an extra $3.50 an hour for my gross salary to be around $45-50k a year. If you live in California a bedside nurse can make close to 100k a year. Anesthesia was always my end goal and the reason I went into nursing. I don’t regret my choice one bit and now make roughly 200k a year plus benefits. Schooling is expensive though..for grad school alone I graduated with 150k of student loans. Hours can be tough (several long days and nights and getting called in at 3am for a labor epidural or some emergency surgery).

PA route would probably be quicker with less overall debt and a similar income that you make now (I’m guessing but I would imagine 80-100k is standard). Probably better hours overall, but you will always be an assistant. With the nurse practitioner or nurse anesthesiologist route you have the option of working independently.

For the CRNA route for example 3 years to get your BSN (May find an accelerated program since you have a degree), work in the icu for a minimum of 1 year, but everyone in my class had 3 years average, and then anesthesia school is 3 years. Looking at anywhere from 7-9 years before you would be a CRNA or NP. Not trying to discourage you by any means only wanting you to have the time commitment understood going into it.

Feel free to ask any questions. If you are seriously considering it I would try to shadow a CRNA at your local hospital and see what it’s really like.
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Re: Career change at 36- Finance to Nursing/PA?

Post by JamalJones »

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Re: Career change at 36- Finance to Nursing/PA?

Post by ohai »

This seems like a huge change. Have you considered careers that are at least partially related to your old job, like real estate or something? You will probably have at least some transferable skills here to give you an advantage.
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Re: Career change at 36- Finance to Nursing/PA?

Post by JamalJones »

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JamalJones
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Re: Career change at 36- Finance to Nursing/PA?

Post by JamalJones »

Cyanide123 wrote: Thu Sep 05, 2019 10:14 am I personally wouldn't. Sounds like a grass is greener on the other side kind of a situation.

Are you really considering a 4 year BSN, which means cost of education and opportunity cost? If you go to part time work, your opportunity cost could easily be north of 200k, and that doesn't even take into account the cost of education. What's all that for???? A pay cut??? You already make 100k. A new nurse probably pulls in about 60-70k working 3 x 12 hours a week.

A PA will at least be a pay bump. I'm assuming you will need your pre-reqs to apply to PA school, so that's 1 year of college courses, followed by 2.5-3 years of PA school and then coming out and making 110-135k. Is it worth the opportunity cost and added cost of education when you already have a 6 figure job? I don't know...

To me, a job is a job, after 10 years very very few people get excited about work. You might make this career change, but how do you know you will love this new job 10-15 years down the line?

Edit: you make what a new PA in family practice would make while mostly working from home. Sounds like a pretty good gig you have.
I agree with Cyanide123. You already have a good job. I feel you're simply in a malaise. You're making good money and working from home half the time is a tremendous benefit, in my opinion. Stick with it.

Like other posters, I know several nurses and PAs. The nurses I know generally like but don't love the work (with one exception). However, one of my friends is a male nurse, and he absolutely hates his job. He tells me "it's just a means to an end". The "end" being pretty good money and lots of time off. I think he's being a little over dramatic with the word "hate", but I get what he means. He does the job because that's the career he chose and he keeps plotting along.

I know another woman who really loves being a nurse and has carved out a pretty decent and diverse career. She's worked at prestigieous hospitals in big cities, worked at mental heath clinics, a staff nurse at a regular primary care doctor's office, emergency rooms, medical device sales, etc.

These two people started down those paths in their early 20s though.

Two others I know did transition from other careers into nursing and PA, but under different circumstances...

The nurse used to do mortgage loan/loan office work and made good money but lost her career in the aftermath of the Great Recession. She had gone to undergrad intending on a career as a medical doctor, but dropped out twice. So after she lost her loan officer job, she finished up her pre-reqs and spent the next 3 and a half years in nursing school, getting her first job at the age of 40 (in order to do this though - she of course didn't work or bring in an income in all that time - she and her husband, an attorney, moved to a less expensive part of town and tightened the belt for a few years. She was fortunate to not have to worry about paying bills or a not having roof over her head thanks to hubby).

The PA I know, spent the first 14-15 years out of college working for some kind of outdoor adventure type company where they would take people out into the Rocky Mountains for 30-40 day camping/hiking trips. As you can imagine, that's not a job one ages into. The physical toll became a little more than she could handle. So she did a two year PA program and got hired right after graduation. Her undergrad degree was in some kind of earth science.

So I guess what I'm getting at is, don't do it unless you're in a situation where you need to transition. You've got it good, stay with your current job and maybe look for career enhancing opportunities in your current or related field, etc.
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Re: Career change at 36- Finance to Nursing/PA?

Post by sergio »

My mom got into nursing in her early 40s after being out of the workforce for 15 years with limited education as an immigrant. She got her medical assistant certificate and starting working at a nursing home while taking classes during off-hours and weekends once my youngest sibling went to high school. It was a slow process but she's now an RN at a really nice hospital in her late 50s and has enough seniority to work the morning shift. So it's definitely not too late to change in your mid 30s.

During busy/stressful/boring times at my jobs I've day dreamed about a total 180 career change. I'm incredibly glad I never made the leap since the difficult times are cyclical.

Edit: just saw that you added info about kids and stay-at-home wife. My answer is a resounding HELL NO.
Last edited by sergio on Thu Sep 05, 2019 1:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
SimonJester
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Re: Career change at 36- Finance to Nursing/PA?

Post by SimonJester »

My wife is an RN so I have some prospective on this...

JHU ALmuni wrote: Thu Sep 05, 2019 9:45 am Hello,

Recently I have been considering changing my career at age 36 and going from finance (risk and compliance) to Healthcare (mainly nursing or physician assistant). I like the work I do now, but I don't feel challenged enough and want something different. I been trying to look for new opportunities in the past few months and received couple offers but nothing was worth the move. Currently I make ~100K a year and work from home half of the time.
You make 100K working from home 1/2 time. You will not be able to do this in nursing. My part-time wife works at times 12-18 hours a day, back breaking work, that is VERY much under appreciated. Every shift someone calls off, they are constantly understaffed and its not because of a lack of willing employees. Health care is now a race to the bottom with lowest cost winning. The field is FULL of drama from both ends (management and workers).


JHU ALmuni wrote: Thu Sep 05, 2019 9:45 am Some accelerated Bsn programs can be competed in 12 to 18 months. Currently I'm looking for online program that would allow me to take classes online and do clinical on evenings and weekends so I can keep my current job while going to nursing school.
Nursing schools are pumping out new grad nurses like an iphone factory, the field is VERY over saturated and some new grad nurses never find work. Most find work in night shifts for the first several years and then less then desirable specialties. Then you also have the debt from these costly accelerated programs. Nursing classes charge the highest tuition rate in my states colleges.

JHU ALmuni wrote: Thu Sep 05, 2019 9:45 am 1. Do you recommend a career in nursing/PA?
No
JHU ALmuni wrote: Thu Sep 05, 2019 9:45 am 3. Any advantages/disadvantages for being a male nurse I should know?
Many dis advantages, you will have to have a female nurse / cna in the room for certain procedures. You will be called upon to lift all the heavy patients. There are a lot of other disadvantages as well which I will not go into here...

JHU ALmuni wrote: Thu Sep 05, 2019 9:45 am 6. How much nurses actually make giving overtime and shift differentials, etc.. I know this will vary by location but would like to get an idea to know what to expect in terms of compensation if I go this route.
This varies big time based on location, but in general you will make 1/2 of what you would in your current field and work twice as much. Overtime and shift differentials do not make up much.

JHU ALmuni wrote: Thu Sep 05, 2019 9:45 am Also want to add I'm married with 2 kids, wife currently not working, have ~200K between savings and retirement accounts, no debt, and currently renting.
Again expect to working a night shift for the first several years, you will work every holiday, miss most of the important events in your kids lives due to the work schedule.


The only reason to go into health care is if you have an absolute passion to help others while sacrificing your own personal time and enjoyment.
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adimoron
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Re: Career change at 36- Finance to Nursing/PA?

Post by adimoron »

niceguy7376 wrote: Thu Sep 05, 2019 10:00 am What would be the cost of the degree and how do you plan on paying for it?

If you have IT/Analytics background, then there would definitely be jobs in health industry based on that. Look for Data Analyst / Data Scientist and such.
Completely agree. Why don't you just look for an Analyst role in healthcare.
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Re: Career change at 36- Finance to Nursing/PA?

Post by Katietsu »

Shadow and/or volunteer in a few healthcare settings. I think it may become obvious pretty quickly whether or not this is something for you. I have a relative who went from business to nursing in her forties. She is very happy with the choice. She finds the work more meaningful than her previous positions. And she values the flexibility in how she schedules her 6 shifts/two week period.

The need and salary are apparently very location dependent. In my area, they are still offering signing bonuses and referral fees due to a shortage. However, your current salary would be greater than what most of my nursing friends are bringing home, including a couple of NP’s.
Last edited by Katietsu on Thu Sep 05, 2019 5:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Aku09
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Re: Career change at 36- Finance to Nursing/PA?

Post by Aku09 »

Something else to keep in mind is the schedule. There are no “holidays” in healthcare. You will be expected to work weekends, holidays, etc. having little kids that can be tough as you may be stuck at work all day.
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Re: Career change at 36- Finance to Nursing/PA?

Post by BolderBoy »

JHU ALmuni wrote: Thu Sep 05, 2019 9:45 am4. Any other recommendations on other careers in health care to consider? Eventually I would like to become nurse anesthesiologist.
(retired CRNA here)

Probably not a realistic goal for you at your age with a family.

The cost of schooling will stun you. It is generally harder to get into CRNA school than medical school. You won't be able to work (at anything) while going to school. The attractiveness of the work is much less now than it was "back in the day".

You need to carefully examine your motive for wanting to do this.
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seawolf21
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Re: Career change at 36- Finance to Nursing/PA?

Post by seawolf21 »

OP wrote why he wanted to leave current career but didn't mention anything about why nursing/PA. Seems like grass is greener/mid-life crisis.
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Re: Career change at 36- Finance to Nursing/PA?

Post by psy1 »

If you can get into an NP program then I would go for it. I prefer PA's (from a clinical standpoint) but in your position I would choose an NP program. They are minting NP's faster than Zimbabwe currency. Lots of possibilities in administration if you have finance/management skills as well. Lots of flexible work schedules as well
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Re: Career change at 36- Finance to Nursing/PA?

Post by kevinf »

JHU ALmuni wrote: Thu Sep 05, 2019 9:45 am ...Recently I have been considering changing my career at age 36 and going from finance (risk and compliance) to Healthcare (mainly nursing or physician assistant)...I don't feel challenged enough and want something different...Currently I make ~100K a year and work from home half of the time.

...Some accelerated Bsn programs can be competed in 12 to 18 months. Currently I'm looking for online program that would allow me to take classes online and do clinical on evenings and weekends so I can keep my current job while going to nursing school...

...I would like to get feedback regarding my carrier situation specially from people who done something similar or works in healthcare, mainly...

...Also want to add I'm married with 2 kids, wife currently not working, have ~200K between savings and retirement accounts, no debt, and currently renting.
My recommendation is to get your EMT (6 months) or Paramedic cert (18 months) and work EMS for awhile. This will provide you with patient contact experience which is pretty much a pre-requisite for any decent PA program if you decide you like "the field". It will also allow you to keep your current job as most ambulance services have set schedules or part-time/per diem options that you can work around. Aaaand it will provide you with first hand contact with RNs, PAs, and Physicians on a regular basis (also giving you the opportunity to gain personal references and network). You can pick their brains about the career while you are faf'ing off in the ER after bringing a patient in. Spend some time doing that and you'll have a really good idea if you want to upend your life to change careers, with very little risk or opportunity cost.

The EMT schooling is dead simple, but the Paramedic schooling will give you a better idea of what advanced practice medicine will require.
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Re: Career change at 36- Finance to Nursing/PA?

Post by 90degreeturns »

Raymond wrote: Thu Sep 05, 2019 11:51 am I've been a PA for over twenty years, and my wife is an ER RN (25+ years)

A question you should ask yourself (as was mentioned above): "How do I deal with situations that many people would find completely disgusting or horrible?"

Because you will be in those situations, whatever program you choose.

Please do not be like one of my classmates in PA school, who quit six months into the program because he "didn't like to be around sick people" - this was before the days where prior healthcare experience was "strongly recommended" before applying.

Note the "Hands-on patient care experience is strongly recommended" statement - it's not just "recommended", it's pretty much mandatory, because the vast majority of the other applicants will have it. If you don't have it, you won't even get past the initial screening.

I used to help with applicant interviews at a PA program for several years - most years there were 1500+ applicants, of which 120 were interviewed, of which 35 or so were accepted.
Great advice above. I will not dissuade you from pursuing a profession that you are interested in because I have seen many people at that age with wife and kids (and more) make a switch in their careers and a few regretted it but most others decisions changed their lives in a positive way. I suggest you get exposed to it and really find out what it is REALLY like before you make the switch. I work in public safety in California and also teach at a local college in their Health Sciences department - and am in the hospital daily and I echo the, "How do I deal with situations that many people would find completely disgusting or horrible?" and "didn't like to be around sick people" and "Hands-on patient care experience is strongly recommended" statement - it's not just "recommended", it's pretty much mandatory, because the vast majority of the other applicants will have it." I have been puked on, exposed, attacked, hurt, had to tell someone their love one has passed away, and everything else under the sun. It is a redeeming career but also career that some things don't just stay at work. I suggest really digging deep and shadow someone or volunteer in the area your interested in to see what it is like. Good luck.
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Re: Career change at 36- Finance to Nursing/PA?

Post by fauxden »

I'm in a Healthcare field. Lots of detail already covered in this thread. But my answer would be a great big no on changing careers. Working from home....dang son. Sounds like the good life... (Ps look at saturation of PA field, oversupply of schools/students)
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Re: Career change at 36- Finance to Nursing/PA?

Post by Paul78 »

Aku09 wrote: Thu Sep 05, 2019 3:51 pm Something else to keep in mind is the schedule. There are no “holidays” in healthcare. You will be expected to work weekends, holidays, etc. having little kids that can be tough as you may be stuck at work all day.
I mean there can be holidays and a standard work schedule (Mon-Fri day shift) if you work in an outpatient setting BUT it very likely requires at least a couple years of hospital experience first. Also it is a HUGE paycut. I switched over to the Mon-Friday day shift outpatient clinic and it is easily a 20% pay cut and OT is no longer an option.
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Re: Career change at 36- Finance to Nursing/PA?

Post by Young Boglehead »

BolderBoy wrote: Thu Sep 05, 2019 10:04 pm
JHU ALmuni wrote: Thu Sep 05, 2019 9:45 am4. Any other recommendations on other careers in health care to consider? Eventually I would like to become nurse anesthesiologist.
(retired CRNA here)

Probably not a realistic goal for you at your age with a family.

The cost of schooling will stun you. It is generally harder to get into CRNA school than medical school.
This is not true.
mmcmonster
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Re: Career change at 36- Finance to Nursing/PA?

Post by mmcmonster »

JHU ALmuni wrote: Thu Sep 05, 2019 9:45 am6. How much nurses actually make giving overtime and shift differentials, etc.. I know this will vary by location but would like to get an idea to know what to expect in terms of compensation if I go this route.
Hospital-based nursing is a hard life. I don't know how they do it. If you do decide that is what you're interested in, please do some volunteer work in a hospital for a few months before you sign on, so you know what you're getting into.

Nursing administrative jobs don't have the back breaking physical stress, but there's a lot of mental stress involved there.

Nurse Practitioners (NPs) and Physicians Assistants (PAs) are much easier lifestyles. Depending on the state you work in, they may be able to work essentially independently in the office setting, just like a doctor. In Pennsylvania, there was a newspaper article about one NP in an office who hadn't seen her managing physician in a couple years. Her patients loved her and she was giving good care to them.
hightower
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Re: Career change at 36- Finance to Nursing/PA?

Post by hightower »

JHU ALmuni wrote: Thu Sep 05, 2019 9:45 am Hello,

Recently I have been considering changing my career at age 36 and going from finance (risk and compliance) to Healthcare (mainly nursing or physician assistant). I like the work I do now, but I don't feel challenged enough and want something different. I been trying to look for new opportunities in the past few months and received couple offers but nothing was worth the move. Currently I make ~100K a year and work from home half of the time.

Some accelerated Bsn programs can be competed in 12 to 18 months. Currently I'm looking for online program that would allow me to take classes online and do clinical on evenings and weekends so I can keep my current job while going to nursing school.

I would like to get feedback regarding my carrier situation specially from people who done something similar or works in healthcare, mainly:

1. Do you recommend a career in nursing/PA?

2. Is it something I should consider at 36 or just continue to focus on my current career?

3. Any advantages/disadvantages for being a male nurse I should know?

4. Any other recommendations on other careers in health care to consider? Eventually I would like to become nurse anesthesiologist.

5. My background is in engineering/analytics, any healthcare careers would allow me to leverage my analytical skills to consider?

6. How much nurses actually make giving overtime and shift differentials, etc.. I know this will vary by location but would like to get an idea to know what to expect in terms of compensation if I go this route.

Also want to add I'm married with 2 kids, wife currently not working, have ~200K between savings and retirement accounts, no debt, and currently renting.
I'm a 37 year old physician and if I could find a job that paid 100k/yr and allowed me to work from home half the time, I'd switch right now;)
Remember that "healthcare" is actually sick care. You'll be around sick and dying people all day. Do you like being around disease and death? Do you like talking to people about their pooping habits? Do you like dealing with angry drug addicts and alcoholics? Have you ever had to do CPR on lifeless body? How about changing bandages from an infected, smelly wound? Or giving a sponge bath to a 500 lbs lady with yeast infections between all of her folds? Sorry to be so vulgar, but that's the life of nurses. They are miracle workers and I thank the universe for them daily (because it means I don't have to do that stuff).

Before you even consider a move like this, spend a significant amount of time shadowing multiple nurses and PA/NPs. You might love it and that's great. But, you might also hate it and save yourself a lot of trouble.
fasteddie911
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Re: Career change at 36- Finance to Nursing/PA?

Post by fasteddie911 »

With a job paying 100k and being able to work from home, I'd stick with that. This may very well the grass being greener. Look for other ways to challenge yourself; hobbies, volunteer, another job, etc.
stoptothink
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Re: Career change at 36- Finance to Nursing/PA?

Post by stoptothink »

BolderBoy wrote: Thu Sep 05, 2019 10:04 pm
JHU ALmuni wrote: Thu Sep 05, 2019 9:45 am4. Any other recommendations on other careers in health care to consider? Eventually I would like to become nurse anesthesiologist.
(retired CRNA here)

Probably not a realistic goal for you at your age with a family.

The cost of schooling will stun you. It is generally harder to get into CRNA school than medical school. You won't be able to work (at anything) while going to school. The attractiveness of the work is much less now than it was "back in the day".

You need to carefully examine your motive for wanting to do this.
Seems like every nurse I know (and I know A LOT, I have 4 on my staff right now and have had as many as 12 at one time) had the goal of CRNA.

To be frank, this would be financial suicide for the OP. Unless they have an unbridled passion for the field, it simply makes no sense. So many opportunities for individuals with OP's existing skillset in the healthcare field.
cherijoh
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Re: Career change at 36- Finance to Nursing/PA?

Post by cherijoh »

JHU ALmuni wrote: Thu Sep 05, 2019 9:45 am Hello,

Recently I have been considering changing my career at age 36 and going from finance (risk and compliance) to Healthcare (mainly nursing or physician assistant). I like the work I do now, but I don't feel challenged enough and want something different. I been trying to look for new opportunities in the past few months and received couple offers but nothing was worth the move. Currently I make ~100K a year and work from home half of the time.
...

Also want to add I'm married with 2 kids, wife currently not working, have ~200K between savings and retirement accounts, no debt, and currently renting.
Risk and Compliance is probably the most regimented area in finance so I can understand the "not challenged enough" comment. But I don't understand giving up a job that makes ~$100k and allows you to work from home when you are the sole breadwinner for a family of 4. It isn't practical to do a nursing or PA program part-time at your age and I don't think you would be able to keep working full time either when it was time to get the necessary hands-on experience. :oops:

I suggest you continue looking for something that will allow you to build on your finance skills. Have you considered becoming an analyst? There are lots of online programs (either certificate or MS) for data analytics/data scientist roles. If you can do SQL and prgram in either SAS, R, or Python you would be golden with most banks. If you want to get your feet wet in this area, I suggest checking out Coursera which is a clearinghouse for MOOCs (massive open online classes).
cautious
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Re: Career change at 36- Finance to Nursing/PA?

Post by cautious »

Consider investing in a consult with a Psychologist/career counselor. Check with your local university for referrals.

A thorough assessment will help uncover your interests, skills, and possibilities for the future, timelines anf financial aid for a program, as well as the local job market. The counselor will also walk you through the realities of making the change as the sole earner for your family.

One of my relatives, uneasy with his work situation went for a thorough assessment, and discovered his current job was really the best fit - he just needed the professional feedback. He was actually relieved, and decades later is retiring at an early age, happy, and financially successful.

Apart from the family responsibility, don't let age hold you back. I started out as an RN, and in my late 30's went through several graduate programs including a PhD in a related field. The mix of professional skills has been very useful, and satisfying as I moved through positions as an educator, administrator, and later in research at a university.

Your background in finance will be a great asset in the health care industry. But it may not be in direct patient care. The real question is what portal is best to get into the field - or maybe not. That's where a Counselor comes in.
sleepwell
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Re: Career change at 36- Finance to Nursing/PA?

Post by sleepwell »

I am a practicing CRNA who will shortly be retiring after a 40-year career. I was fortunate enough to earn a BSN by the time I was 21, worked a year in a pediatric ICU, and was able to graduate from my nurse anesthesia program when I was 24. For me, this has been a good career but times have changed in many ways in healthcare and I am glad to be leaving.

You will not be able to follow my path today. The requirements are much tougher. First, you most likely will need to become a CNA (certified nursing assistant) before you can even apply to nursing school. This might not be the case everywhere but it is in my area. That is a 6-month program here although it is not full-time. Then you have the BSN program itself. Being a male, you might actually have an edge, because males are so under-represented in the nursing field. So that is another couple of years depending on what classes you need for pre-reqs. Next you will need to work a minimum of 2-3 years in a critical care area (ED, ICU, OR).

By now you have invested around 6 years of your life in this idea. You are in now in your early 40s and there is no guarantee that you will be accepted into a nurse anesthesia program. If you do apply to a nurse anesthesia program, please realize that some schools give preference to nurses who work within their own system, so you might want to try working as an RN at a hospital which has a CRNA program. That is not totally necessary but it wouldn't hurt.

Once you get accepted into program, you probably will find that your stress levels shoot up. With young children, this is something to consider. You will need to spend a lot of time studying and your clinical hours can be long. Some programs send students to other locations so that they can get exposure to different patient populations, different anesthesia techniques, and different environments. My class went to a military hospital for one of our rotations, to the county hospital, to a VA hospital. Some of my current co-workers traveled to different towns for periods of a couple of months at a time. Sure, they could drive home on the weekends, but would you want to be away from your family during the week for 8-10 weeks?

Now you have some more information to help you make a decision. You will graduate with a doctoral degree, which I certainly don't have, and you will have earned it. But for all the time and effort you put into becoming a CRNA, why wouldn't you think about putting in another couple of years and going to medical school? You already have a college degree, medical school is 4 years, residency is 3-4 years (perhaps more depending on your specialty), and you have an MD after your name. In many places CRNAs still are required to practice under the supervision of an MD. (This is a battle which has been fought for many years and isn't over.)

Good luck with your decision. Anesthesia is sometimes described as 90% boredom and 10% sheer terror. Personally, I would have loved to have a well-paying job and be able to work from home part of the time. No call, no holidays, no weekends, among other things. Sounds like paradise to me.

Sleepwell
mountains
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Re: Career change at 36- Finance to Nursing/PA?

Post by mountains »

Aku09 wrote: Thu Sep 05, 2019 12:37 pm I am a nurse anesthesiologist and can answer any questions you have about that route.

I will say as a new grad RN in my somewhat rural area pays a little over $20 an hour for work. I worked nights and made an extra $3.50 an hour for my gross salary to be around $45-50k a year. If you live in California a bedside nurse can make close to 100k a year. Anesthesia was always my end goal and the reason I went into nursing. I don’t regret my choice one bit and now make roughly 200k a year plus benefits. Schooling is expensive though..for grad school alone I graduated with 150k of student loans. Hours can be tough (several long days and nights and getting called in at 3am for a labor epidural or some emergency surgery).

PA route would probably be quicker with less overall debt and a similar income that you make now (I’m guessing but I would imagine 80-100k is standard). Probably better hours overall, but you will always be an assistant. With the nurse practitioner or nurse anesthesiologist route you have the option of working independently.

For the CRNA route for example 3 years to get your BSN (May find an accelerated program since you have a degree), work in the icu for a minimum of 1 year, but everyone in my class had 3 years average, and then anesthesia school is 3 years. Looking at anywhere from 7-9 years before you would be a CRNA or NP. Not trying to discourage you by any means only wanting you to have the time commitment understood going into it.

Feel free to ask any questions. If you are seriously considering it I would try to shadow a CRNA at your local hospital and see what it’s really like.
My wife did a direct entry family NP program (for people that have a non nursing bachelor + with the required pre-reqs like microbiology). The program took a bit less than 4 years total. Roughly the first 3 semester was to get her RN license, the second part was to get her MSN and family NP license.

Accelerated BSN programs (to get BSN+RN for non nursing bachelors) are about 15month plus the time for licensure exams in California. (E.g, I just googled http://www.calstatela.edu/page/accelera ... ce-nursing). You do need to have the right pre-reqs though.

My wife did have a lot of prior healthcare experience (in her case worked as an EMT, did volunteering, also worked for an MD in a non-medical role) which was very strongly suggested for the application.
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BolderBoy
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Re: Career change at 36- Finance to Nursing/PA?

Post by BolderBoy »

Young Boglehead wrote: Fri Sep 06, 2019 3:24 am
BolderBoy wrote: Thu Sep 05, 2019 10:04 pm The cost of schooling will stun you. It is generally harder to get into CRNA school than medical school.
This is not true.
You're right!

I was using the 36:1, application:admission stats from 1991 when there were 50ish CRNA schools remaining. The number of schools has more than doubled since and class sizes range to large numbers. The university admins have seen that running a CRNA program is a major cash cow to the U.

If the OP is willing to limit his post-graduation employment opportunities he could consider an AA program. I think there are around 10 in the country.
"Never underestimate one's capacity to overestimate one's abilities" - The Dunning-Kruger Effect
Cyanide123
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Re: Career change at 36- Finance to Nursing/PA?

Post by Cyanide123 »

BolderBoy wrote: Sat Sep 07, 2019 8:44 am
Young Boglehead wrote: Fri Sep 06, 2019 3:24 am
BolderBoy wrote: Thu Sep 05, 2019 10:04 pm The cost of schooling will stun you. It is generally harder to get into CRNA school than medical school.
This is not true.
You're right!

I was using the 36:1, application:admission stats from 1991 when there were 50ish CRNA schools remaining. The number of schools has more than doubled since and class sizes range to large numbers. The university admins have seen that running a CRNA program is a major cash cow to the U.

If the OP is willing to limit his post-graduation employment opportunities he could consider an AA program. I think there are around 10 in the country.
M.D. school is hard to get into.

D.O slightly easier if you have average-ish mcat and require grade replacement for college classes.

Caribbean schools even easier to get into if all else fails :P
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