Primary teaching or nursing?

(17 Posts)
LadyLeah Tue 06-Aug-13 17:13:02

Hi all, I am having a bit of a dilemma about The Future shock, and was looking for some advice from those in the know.
I have recently graduated with a 2:1 in English, and am registered to start an MA course this year (I admit largely because I had no idea what to do). I have always assumed I would become a primary school teacher - I enjoy working with children and young people, and see it as a way to make a valuable difference to peoples lives. Recently however, I have become very interested in nursing, and am seriously considering applying for nursing courses. I enjoy science and was fairly good at it, but all my A Levels are in artsy or social science subjects.
I was wondering whether any nurses or primary teachers out there could help me out with what's really involved, the pros and cons of their jobs, life/work balance, and so on. I don't have children yet, but know I want a family one day, so which would be considered more 'child friendly?'
Thanks in advance for any help!

Woofsaidtheladybird Tue 06-Aug-13 17:24:44

Hello
I'm a nurse. I'm now a specialist nurse and do 3 days a week 9-5. However, pre children, for 6 years I worked all the hours god sent me, with little say when - for example, you could put 2 requests for specific days off on a months off duty. I then became a specialist nurse, and did 5 days a week, 9-5. Pretty senior, and I earned then around £40k. That was in London.

It's exhausting, physically and mentall y draining, and you will see things you would never have dreamed of. You will get kicked, spat on, shoved and punched, and verbally abused. However, find your niche and you will love it.

Feel free to pm me if you like smile

Woofsaidtheladybird Tue 06-Aug-13 17:26:19

Forgot to add - my new job I am starting in Sept is v flexible re hours do actually some days I will be doing 8-4 or 10-6. Hospitals usually have great crèches. And you can't beat the NHS pension.

HongkongDreamer Tue 06-Aug-13 21:05:42

Do primary teaching, im a student nurse and want to do that when I finish my course. Hatw the shifts and being off while everyone is working and working while everyone is off. Where as you get good hols and around the same pay as a nurse doing primary teaching. Wish I could go bk and change what I chose to do.
Sorry about spelling mistakes on phone lol.

MakingAnotherList Wed 07-Aug-13 15:54:59

I agree with Woof.
If you specialise in something with "office hours" nursing is great. Day surgery, radiology, chemotherapy day unit and community nursing are great. You get to spend time with patients and feel that you helped/made a difference.
I did not enjoy ward work and was really lucky to get good placements during training.

After taking a few years off to have children I have now decided to retrain as a teacher.

beckslovestimmy Wed 07-Aug-13 16:33:13

Love love love being a nurse. I do work long hours (13hr shifts) but that means I only need to work3 days a week for full time hours. I'm currently in the middle of my year long maternity leave smile. You'll never be bored because there are so many types of nursing. You won't have to pay over the odds for holidays because you'll be able to go in term times. I could go on but i'm sure some other nurses will be along with positives

HalfSpamHalfBrisket Wed 07-Aug-13 16:41:52

My advice would be to start getting yourself work experience in both fields asap. I am a primary teacher, its fab but is 'full on', especially in term time. I did think of becoming an OT or SLT before training as a teacher, so well looking at related fields not just nursing. An advantage is also that you get bursaries for nursing but you have to pay for a pgce.

HalfSpamHalfBrisket Wed 07-Aug-13 16:43:10

*well worth

LadyLeah Thu 08-Aug-13 10:13:21

Hi everyone, thanks so much for all the advice! Just a quick question - someone told me that qualifying as a childrens nurse as opposed to an adult nurse means the qualification is less transferable between countries; does anyone have any insight into this?

LadyLeah Thu 08-Aug-13 12:30:09

And also thanks HalfSpam, funnily enough someone else suggested SLT to me, so that is something I think I will look into!

namechangeforthispost864269 Thu 08-Aug-13 12:46:28

I'm a nurse and love my job. I work in a&e so no two days are the same. I love the 'nursing' side of the job as I love doing all the treatments on patients like stitching, plaster casts and the patients are great. I'm a children's nurse but as I work in a&e I look after adults too. I can care for people with anything from a splinter in their finger to someone in cardiac arrest every day.
it can be stressful especially a&e as some patients get very frustated about waiting times. there are also times the job is very sad but in my experience the positives completely outweigh the negatives.
the negatives are that there are so many politics in nursing, silly targets and excessive paperwork. you will work weekends, holidays shifts nights etc.

my sister is a primary school teacher and I know she loves her job as she loves working with the children and watching them improve throughout the year. she gets to see the children grow and develop.
the work pattern is more sociable with no shifts or nights.
she often tells me her job isn't as adrenaline fuled as mine and she is having to take on more and more specialist roles for example child protection. also I know competition for jobs I'd fierce

whichever career you choose you'll get slated by the government, press and some members of the general public lol grin

namechangeforthispost864269 Thu 08-Aug-13 12:54:09

ps yes the childrens nurse qualification is less transferable and some countries dont even recognise it. it's also much harder to specialise as a children's nurse and harder progress your career as a children's nurse.

I did childrens nursing and in hindsight wish I'd done adult nursing. luckily I've never worked on a children's ward I've always done a&e so as I care for adults too I've progressed to a band 7 senior sister in 9 years and can easily get work at minor injury units and other a&e's because I have loads of extra (adult) qualifications.

some of the people i qualified with who went to work on children's wards are still on the same wards as band 5 staff nurses without much scope for progression.

Id recommend adult nursing if you want more scope

AmandinePoulain Thu 08-Aug-13 12:54:54

I did child branch and you're right, I can't work in the USA or Canada I believe but I've had friends emigrate to Australia and NZ with 'just' child branch so I guess it depends where you want to go smile

I trained before dcs and would recommend that - the training is full on and you don't get much flexibility over when you work as a student - must be a nightmare for childcare! However I've found shift patterns as a qualified nurse can really work with having dcs - since having dd1 I've exclusively worked nights and weekends so our childcare bill is minimal, and I get to spend most of the week with the dds. However the flip side of this is the lack of weekend family time and I'm exhausted a lot of the time, which partly why I'm starting health visiting next month.

Interestingly the friends I've got who were teachers pre dcs have both stopped working to become sahms - teaching seems pretty incompatible with having young children from what they've said, although they were both secondary teachers and I'm sure some teachers will be along in a minute to tell you how they manage.

MaryKatharine Thu 15-Aug-13 14:06:08

I did a primary pgce and have taught both primary and secondary. I loved it for many years but found it very emotionally and physically draining once the kids came along. I've done periods of sahm and working p/t but I now supply 2or 3 days a wk. it's dull but it gets me out the house as I've got 4DCs and need a rest.

Work/life balance will vary. Nurses do long hours and rubbish shifts but when they clock off that's usually it. I found all the w/e planning and prep I needed to do really interfered with family life considerably. Also, before having kids and when they were preschoolers it was frustrating that we still had to pay aug prices to go away.

I was a deputy HT btw before giving up full time. I could have kept going for another couple if years and gone for a headship but my ambition seemed to vanish with the arrival of my first baby. I have also done a year as a TA which was great as I got to do what I loved without the paperwork. Gave it up when I had last baby as my 14k full time salary would not have covered full time nursery feed.

I would suggest getting experience in both sectors . Primary teaching is not a gentle career. It is exhausting and in some areas you will face the same as the previous poster did as a nurse, ie being sworn at, spat on and verbal abuse. Though in other schools you will spend too much time explains to parents why their 6yr old does not have 3hours of homework a night. Good luck. Neither is an easy career. And to do either you need to love it. If you do, it's fab!

seaofyou Fri 16-Aug-13 01:23:40

can you get work on nursing bank at hospital over hols to get some insight. I know you wont be doing drug round etc but it will give you some insight.
if you get a buzz then nursing is for you. However wages not the reason to join and having dc virtually impossible to carry on working unless you can get specialist role etc but that takes 10+ years to achieve as lots of competition for specialst roles. As suggested above try both but also take into account wages/promotion/childcare ( I worked nights for many years as had no children and no one else could work it) never had xmas off until I started working in community 9 yrs later.

beckslovestimmy Fri 16-Aug-13 08:33:10

I don't think having children whilst nursing has to be a problem. Once I finish my years maternity leave I will be going back 23 hrs a week and on a flexible basis. This will work out at 2 days a week, I will be doing a mix of day/nights/weekends to fit around my husbands hours. If I wanted even more flexibility I could go and work on the staff bank or for an agency, this way I could work only the hours that suit me on the days that suit me. The hospital where I work also has a very good nursery and paying for it can be linked in to your wages to cut costs smile

LadyLeah Wed 02-Oct-13 15:40:28

Thanks so much for everyones advice! Apologies have been moving house and only just got the internet up and running (mutters darkly about the utter uselessness that is Sky.....) I have managed to get a volunteering position in a local hospital, and am helping primary children with reading so should get good experience in both!

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