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AIBU to retrain as a nurse

(69 Posts)
Summeriscancelled Wed 17-Jun-20 09:49:53

Name changed for this as could be outing.

Here's my situation...

I completed uni right after school with a degree in modern languages and literature. I did really well but just before I graduated, my dad was diagnosed with a terminal illness. I didn't feel able to focus on uni to do my post-grad, so I took an office job for a few years. I did well, earned a decent living. I eventually left this job to go into teaching as this had been my original plan and to then possibly move abroad. By this point my dad had sadly passed away.

Turns out teaching wasn't the career for me, in spite of having done lots of experience in various schools in the UK and abroad before applying for the course. I didn't go on to teach and instead took another office job to rethink my options.

Over the years I've found myself to be quite unemployable because my first degree doesn't lend itself to many jobs without a bolt on qualification. I've considered the police, the prison service, the civil service but I keep landing on nursing.

I realise the job is super tough and really hard work. I don't want children of my own so the shift work wouldn't be an issue for me.

Did anyone else re-train as a nurse when they were a bit older? (I'm in my early 30s).

How did you find the change into this career?

Looking forward to hearing your experiences!

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malificent7 Wed 17-Jun-20 09:53:08

I used to teach and hated it so now am training as a radiographer. I say go for it...you will not be short of work and it is rewarding. Remember you will be on the front line in future pandemics though.

malificent7 Wed 17-Jun-20 09:53:42

Ps...the job may be tough but imo teaching was tougher.

Powerplant Wed 17-Jun-20 09:59:30

Go for it I trained at 46 qualified at 49 and there were a few people older than me. Wish I had done it years ago. It’s a brilliant career you work with some great people and most patients are lovely. You will always be employable and have a good choice of specialties - so find one that suits you. Good luck 💐

VoldemortsKitten Wed 17-Jun-20 10:07:24

watching with interest. for me, i would love to train as a paramedic but have no relevant experience (languages degree and office job here too) but having read up on it it seems i'd need to do another 3 year degree and the cost of it would be really tough, it's a real barrier. Out of interest malificent, what's the path to training as a radiographer?

Poshjock Wed 17-Jun-20 10:23:23

There is a wide range of ages training for nursing. You certainly won’t be the only one in your 30’s and there will be others, like you, career changing. Your teaching experience may well stand you in good stead in the future also. Go for it.

Poshjock Wed 17-Jun-20 10:33:15

@VoldemortsKitten. Some Ambulance Trusts offer apprenticeship or trainee paramedic schemes where the training and qualification is included as part of the job. You are employed for the duration of training and paid a salary, some allow overtime to be worked during the placement sections of the job and even at weekends during term times. How mobile are you? If your local trust doesn’t offer a training scheme, are the neighbouring trusts with commutable distance? Do they offer training positions?

Summeriscancelled Wed 17-Jun-20 10:49:24

Thanks for the replies so far!

I got through the PGDE for teaching so surely the workload is similar/slightly less than that if you take out the hours for making teaching resources?

It would be 3 years of uni but, being in Scotland, I wouldn't have to pay for this. I'd get a small bursary but would need to top this up. I can save 8-10k before I start as backup but I'm realistic this wouldn't last for 3 years.

Did any of you have part time jobs during your nursing degree? If so, what was it? I'd like to work 16-20 hours during uni time and be able to cut right down or stop for placement.

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Powerplant Wed 17-Jun-20 11:01:31

So here’s the thing as a nursing student you will be able to do bank work and normally able to choose which shift days/nights that suit you. If I had a weekend off Inwould try to work a Saturday or early Sunday with enhancement pay

EverdeRose Wed 17-Jun-20 11:06:23

The course is ridiculously stressful. You'll be working full time on a ward doing a range of shifts and expected to complete a portfolio and assignments at home as well as keeping informed and educated about your placement setting.
You may manage to squeeze a few bank shifts in to top up your bursary.

I wouldn't recommend becoming a nurse to anyone now, it's so different from when i started less than 10 years ago. I love most of my job but it can be truly horrible at times.

ItMustBeBedtimeSurely Wed 17-Jun-20 11:11:24

I qualified last year and it was the best thing I've ever done, even though I've been on covid wards for the last three months!

I love my job, it is challenging, interesting and always rewarding. Stressful too but I don't mind that. There are so many options for nurses now and if you're ambitious loads of scope for progressing. Great sense of teamwork too.

The only crap thing is the pay, really.

ItMustBeBedtimeSurely Wed 17-Jun-20 11:12:47

Oh and its easy to pick up bank hca work as a student nurse, you can choose your own shifts so it fits around the course really well.

AngelicInnocent Wed 17-Jun-20 11:14:34

DD is currently doing a nursing degree. There are only a few who have come on to the course straight from school, several in their 20s and some in their 30s.

KingCatMeowInSpace Wed 17-Jun-20 11:18:14

Would you not have to pay to do a nursing degree as you've already had funding for your first degree?

VoldemortsKitten Wed 17-Jun-20 11:19:34

that's really interesting @Poshjock thank you, i will get googling. i'm N London but happy to drive a reasonable way if need be. wouldn't feasibly be able to move house due to DH job being london based / kids at school. also i remember seeing that a bursary might be coming in from Sept to cover some of the course fees too.... it's definitely not off the drawing board yet!

Summeriscancelled Wed 17-Jun-20 11:34:24

@EverdeRose I did the PGDE which is similar in structure I imagine. I managed the course fine, but it was definitely difficult and stressful at times! What specifically don't you like about it? I'm keen to hear all aspects.

@KingCatMeowInSpace all PGDEs and Nursing/Midwifery is free in Scotland, even if you've done a degree previously. This would be my only healthcare related qualification so I'd get tuition fees covered plus a bursary.

@AngelicInnocent how is your daughter finding the course so far?

To all who mentioned bank work. I did consider this as an option from what I've researched. How far into the course do you need to be to be able to apply to work on the bank? I don't have any formal work experience in healthcare but I looked after my dad with no nurse/community support.

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rooarsome Wed 17-Jun-20 11:42:08

Go for it! I qualified last year and I'm now a community staff nurse (district nursing). A friend of mine I met on the course started it at 52 and is happily employed in outpatients. It's an incredible job but I won't lie, the training is tough.

I had placements including gynaecology, district, respiratory, ITU, A&E, surgical assessment unit and a variety of spokes (GUM clinics, health visiting, public health outreach going to brothels/mum and baby safe houses etc)

Academically I didn't find it too difficult- I have a previous degree in Law and a Masters degree. The only thing I really stressed over was the maths (needed 100% in the exam to qualify) but realistically it was all things that I was doing on a daily basis anyway, eg drip rates for IVs, working out syringe driver dosages etc. and wasn't too hard- I passed first time.

I worked on the bank in a local trust as a band 3 which fitted great around uni/placement/family. It was roughly £16ph on a Sunday, £12ph on a Saturday or night shifts.

rooarsome Wed 17-Jun-20 11:44:37

To add about bank- it varies in trust to trust. Some like you to have a term or one placement under your belt first, others a year. I would strongly recommend if you can get onto it prior to the degree then do it that way. However if you would prefer to wait so you settle into the course some trusts take on their students without interviews. If they use NHSP your mentor can verify your identity and you will not need an interview to work exclusively for that trust as bank staff.

ItMustBeBedtimeSurely Wed 17-Jun-20 11:47:53

I was able to work bank after my first placement - this was a fast track application because I had a reference from the ward sister from the placement. I think you can join the bank as an outside applicant though, it might just take longer.

Popc0rn Wed 17-Jun-20 11:53:30

I trained as a nurse in my late 20s. I think it's better to have some "life experience" before going into nursing, not saying that younger ones can't do it, but the drop out rate was a lot higher for the 18 - 25 year olds on my course.

Bank work: at my hospital it's fairly easy to get a bank healthcare assistant (HCA) position. They advertise several times a year, you have to do a maths and English test, and I'm guessing an interview (though I can't remember the interview). Then you have a criminal record check and a one day training course and you're free to go off on the wards. I'd recommend that you look into getting a bank HCA job ASAP if you're serious about applying: it will give you an insight into what working on hospital wards is really like, and strengthen your application for nursing courses. You can pick and chose your shifts, so could work it around your current job. When I applied to the uni I ended up going to, it specifically said NOT to include personal experience of looking after family members on your application. So if you have no formal healthcare experience it might be an idea to look into something like a HCA job sooner rather than later.

I'm not sure I'd recommend going into nursing, I have a love hate relationship with the job, and it's definitely not what I expected when I applied for my training. What is it that draws you to nursing over the police?

Popc0rn Wed 17-Jun-20 11:57:19

Oh, and I also got paid about £16 an hour on a Sunday as a bank HCA, I'd try to do at least two long days on a Sunday (7am - 7.30pm) per month while I was doing my nursing course. Which gave me about £360 a month.

Buckingham1988 Wed 17-Jun-20 12:05:34

When I trained I was 18 but the average age was probably 30s and eldest was 50.
RE job I signed up with nhs to do bank work as a support worker. It wasn't possible to keep my part time job once I started training as when your on placement you have up to 12 weeks full time working. Agency work meant I could work lots when I had quieter times and not do much when I was on placement. I also worked unsocial hours mainly in order to maximise my earnings potential.

LemonPeonies Wed 17-Jun-20 12:15:30

There is a world of difference between a nurse and a radiographer. When I trained as a nurse there were more older students tbh, a lot with kids and other commi but they didn't find the training impossible. As long as you're dedicated and passionate about nursing I think you'll be fine. You have to be very resilient too and expect to miss breaks if one of your patients suddenly becomes unwell. It's a very dynamic and rewarding career though, I love it.

LemonPeonies Wed 17-Jun-20 12:15:59

Commitments *

Summeriscancelled Wed 17-Jun-20 12:56:09

Thanks to everyone who replied with explanations about bank work. This has been really helpful.

@Popc0rn - I know I want to work in a role that involves helping people. My cousin is in the police and my friend's dad. I've spoken to them in depth and I just know it's not the way I want to go.

@rooarsome - thanks for your encouraging advice! There isn't an entry maths test unless you don't meet the grades but I think I'd manage that side of it.

My sister is an auxiliary nurse in our local hospice. My intention was to get 6 months of volunteer experience either in the hospital, the hospice or a care home (or a combination!) this year. Covid has put a bit of a halt on that for now.

Qualified nurses - do you believe it would be possible for me to do work experience in the near future before applications open in for uni in November? I'd hate to be a hindrance or a risk at the moment!

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