Anyway. In the past week or so, DH has thought about getting out of his current job (he's in the parts department of an automotive dealership). He applied to somewhere different in the industry and got a rejection email a few days later. Since then, he's been thinking about things and approached me last night about "continuing" his education ("continuing" in quotes since I'm not sure where he could pick up) and becoming a nurse.
I have no idea how we could do this, or if it's even possible. Even just getting into school alone would be a challenge, since everywhere I've looked, the minimum GPA to apply for nursing school is a 3.0. DH's GPA is 2.3. His most recent semester was the spring of '04 (and that was his A&P and medical terminology classes so they're going to be too old anyway). Then people are telling me that "nobody" hires associate's RNs anymore and you have to have a BSN. I don't know if he could start over from the beginning or if his old-ish credits would still count negatively and get averaged into his GPA. (The school he was at was in Oklahoma and we're now in Texas.)
Then there's the financial/time aspect. I don't know how much of this could be done online, but if DH were to quit his job to go to school full time, we would need some way to make up his loss of income in addition to school expenses. I can do some work, but it's not going to be nearly enough to make up the shortfall, and I've heard that student loans will only be given for school-related items and not for living expenses.
We've heard rumors about being able to get an associate's RN, then start work while continuing school and getting the BSN (and possibly the hospital or whatever sponsoring the continuing school in return for an agreement to work there for another X number of years after graduation), but again, that would mean that first he would need to get into school, make an appropriate GPA in all his classes, and then pass the NCLEX.
We were so excited while talking about all this last night, with the response we got to our Facebook posts, but now that I've looked at his transcript, I feel like this door is starting to close on his foot before we've even gotten it open enough to see what's inside.
Andrea , child of God, wife of Tim , mama of L, B, J, J
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There are many ways to approach nursing school. Most non-traditional students do it in bits. If possible, see a guidance counselor at a community college that offers the Associate's Degree in nursing. See how many of his credits can be accepted. You might be surprised about the science classes- they may or may not be accepted. I was surprised that so many of my pre-req's were accepted from more than 10 years previous on my transcript. Get a list from the counselor of what classes he needs to still take, and encourage him to enroll in 1 class to start. Night school is ideal for this so he can work during the day, take the class at night, and study on weekends. He can warm up with the one class and see if this is for him or not, before getting into it full time. I would encourage him to join a study group, even a small one, with his classmates. It makes a HUGE difference.
Be aware that there is often a long waiting list to get into nursing school proper once the pre-req's are finished. In my state it's 2 years. Many students get their Certified Nursing Assistant certificate and work as CNA's while waiting to get into nursing school, or while they are in nursing school. This is a huge advantage and gives a small taste of what it's like to work with patients, assess health status, and work with/ talk with nurses about their education and job. It also counts as experience when getting a job as a nurse later.
RN vs. BSN. Yes, this is the trend right now. I have my RN degree which I got a couple of years ago. I'm nearly 40 and being strongly encouraged to get my BSN by my employer. Most good hospitals are looking to hire BSN's. However RN's are still widely used in home health, community health, and nursing homes among other things. There are many bridge programs that can provide RNs their BSN degree in a short time on-line. I am actually looking at University of Texas at Arlington's program as affordable and reputable, and I don't even live in Texas! If your husband wants to start looking at ads through different health care agencies, he can see what kind of degrees they are looking for. He may start out at a nursing home or such anyway, as hospitals often require 2 years experience. (That being said, I was hired as a new grad to a children's hospital through a special program for new grads, so it's still possible to get hired at hospital right off the bat.)
What it's like to go to nursing school: once the pre-req's are done, and he gets accepted into a program, it's hard. I won't lie. It was the hardest thing I have ever gone through and I have a previous degree in English and I had good grades in that degree. I was in a fast-track program and had to set my own needs and those of my family aside for 16 months and focus totally on the program. It was stressful for my family. But I also had a dream, I had the support of my husband and kids, found a great study group, and made it through the program. It was so worth it. I love my job. I work with a woman who graduated from nursing school at age 48 and she is one of the best nurses ever. So your dh can do it. But it's going to just take a lot of inner strength and outer support.
Good luck to your family!
The cool thing about nursing is that it can be tackled in steps. I've seen many people do a quick nursing aid program and start working as a nurses aid (usually only pays minimum wage). Then while working as an aid you can pursue your LPN (Licences Practical Nurse). The pay is still pretty lousy, but a little better than as an aid. LPN takes about a year. Next step is RN (Registered Nurse). That takes two year (1 year beyond LPN). Then he can work as an RN while getting his BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing- 4 year degree, 2 years beyond RN). This route is appealing as there is often tuition assistance along the way as you work you way through the degrees.
Though if he has a decent paying job he may want to stay there until he has to do practicals and start working towards his RN right away. He could quickly pick up his nurses aid certificate along the way and then when practicals do come up he'd have a job that he could do evenings and nights if needed.
While there are more and more places that want a BSN, I wouldn't say it's impossible to get a job with an RN.
Financial aid does cover living expenses. He should go talk to someone at a college financial aid office to get the details about his potential financial aid award. You don't have to be an enrolled student to make an appointment. They want potential students to come in and make a financial plan. He will need to bring his most recent tax return papers.
At first I went back to school part time, and only accepted the grant money (you don't have to pay it back!). It covered tuition plus a few thousand extra per semester for living expenses. I also worked part time. You don't have to take the loans if you don't want them.
Another idea for finances is to have him get a nurse's aid job at a big hospital. Mine (and several others in my area) cover tuition reimbursement for those furthering their education in health related careers.