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36, hoping for ESR (I'm an RN)
Old 07-13-2010, 01:31 PM   #1
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36, hoping for ESR (I'm an RN)

Hello. I have been thinking about an ESR for a long time, and spent about 3 years working part-time a few years ago. I have been full time for the last 2 years, and I look forward to going ESR in the future. My SO currently works 2 (12 hour) shifts a week. I actually enjoy my job, I just enjoy all the other things I do with my time more. I am 36 and expect to be SR for many years (maybe to 67, maybe later, maybe earlier.) As it is we are very "sustainable" on our current income. Able to save 20% in our 403b's, mortgage free, spend what we want (not what he wants :-) on our teenager (surf camp, snowboarding, etc.) My goal is freedom and travel. I want to have the money and time to travel, which I really haven't done much of (my son hates to travel and manages to make everyone miserable when we do go anywhere.) But he will turn 18 in 3 more years, and I will have a lot more freedom then.
I am focusing on ESR instead of ER b/c I don't want to wait that long. I could retire to poverty pretty soon, but that isn't my dream. And the idea of saving $2,000,000 sounds VERY longterm. In 4 years (no debt, no high schooler) my SO and I could probably both go 1/2 time and be comfortable on that (approx $70,000 in todays dollars.) If that is too optimistic we could just pick-up more shifts. And if my juvenile delinquent gets accepted into Harvard, ("Pls god if you just let my kid graduate from high school, I'll never eat chocolate cake again." ) then I will happily work more to support him until he is 22. JK, he's actually a fabulous kid, just a lot more likely to go into a trade, or the military, than sit in a room reading books.
I am enjoying reading this forum. We already have started on our plan, but we need to make some decisions now. Most importantly, should I go back to school and get a masters in nursing? Pay doesn't improve much(approx 20%), but the job might. It would also make it easier as I get older to do my job. I can run for 12 hours at a time now, but at 60 yo? Also, I would like to have at least a masters for me. Most of my family have Ph.d's or MA's. None of them care what I do, they all think I am "good enough." The issue is I am not all that interested in nursing. I like the job, but not so much nursing school. If I just wanted to go to school it would be in economics, or poli sci, or religion.
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Old 07-13-2010, 01:50 PM   #2
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Welcome Gardner.

My daughters are in their senior year of nursing school (undergrad) so I was interested and a little worried about reading your post. But if I'm reading correctly you say you like nursing. I hope that is the case. Seems like a good career and one that offers likely continued job opportunities no matter what happens in the future. The job does seem to offer great flexibility and options like the ones you mention in your post. Nurses probably should get paid more than they do for how hard they work.

Best of luck to you on your path to ESR. And FWIW, does not sound like getting a masters in nursing is something you should do based on what you wrote.
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Old 07-13-2010, 03:45 PM   #3
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A friend did her Masters in nursing (online at Phoenix) and went into administration. If you can stand admin, then by all means go with it--she has the better hours.

However, I have three friends that have regular M-F work hours and are ordinary nurses (albeit with experience). They aren't pulling down the differentials like they did in their younger years, but they do have regular lives.

I guess it depends on what you want to keep doing--have you considered travel nursing when the child gets booted from the nest? Lots of my friends did that and enjoyed it, at least for a time. That way you could travel and work.

I think that most of us struggle with the idea of working to get leisure time. If I could take a month off for every three I worked, I'd never have to quit. The only thing that seems close to that is teaching. If you got your Masters is there a possibility of teaching nursing nearby?

And welcome! My mom was an RN and as you can surmise, I'm surrounded by you needle-stickers as friends.
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Old 07-13-2010, 03:57 PM   #4
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Thanks Muirwannabe, I like my job. While the payrate is not as high as a lot of other fields, I think the financial compensation is pretty reasonable for a young nurse. And if your daughters don't like their first jobs, there are a lot of other types of nursing to try. The only issue is it is a very short ladder - the pay difference btwn a novice and an experienced nurse is pretty small. But the performance quality can be very different. I've been a (hospital) nurse for 10 yrs and I am maxed out on my pay (except for the across the board (usually 3%) yearly raises.) And there is no "pay for performance." No plan for raises this year either. But I don't mean to complain - I have a very nice lifestyle, a job that suits my personality. When I started nursing school I knew it would probably make me middle-middle class. (Is middle-middle class a class?)
There is a decent pay difference depending on where you live. I could easily make $10 an hour more if I went to California. I started as a nurse in San Francisco at $75,000 a yr. I moved, and 10 yrs later make $65,000 , but it buys a lot more where I live! We have talked a lot about living in an RV (full-time or not) and working in CA 1/2 the year. Then spending the other half in Uraguay, or here, or somewhere as yet undecided.
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Old 07-13-2010, 04:36 PM   #5
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Thanks Sarah for the welcome. We had definitely planned on doing travel nurses, and my partner did it for several years - how we met, but the market for that really fell apart in the last 3 years w/ the economy. I assume it will come back, but it's a very different field. The nursing shortage is looking very different now that a safe job is more valued, and the schools can't keep up w/ the number of students who want to get in. 2 year waitlists where I live. The limiting factor is not enough nursing professors, b/c w/ their MSN's they typically are paid less than the new grads with an Associates. I have thought a lot about getting my MSN so I can be a professor. I would probably really enjoy it.

My partner is thinking about teaching jobs too, as she has arthritis that will eventually cause her either to ER or get a new job. She has been an ICU nurse for 25 years (she is 48). There is a certain personality type that goes with wanting all your patients "unconscious, sedated and restrained" as the joke goes, and I am not sure what other jobs she would enjoy. Her doctor has been starting to ask, "So you can still do your job?" There are several years before this gets to that point, and several more surgeries, but we want to be prepared. She moved from adult ICU to peds ICU (smaller bodies to move) a few years ago. She moved to night shift this year (less walking, less physical work.) But this last year has been a hard one w/injuries and knee surgery. The good thing about this, though, is that it may help her get serious about ER and saving. She has always said, "I don't mind my job, I can work 'til I am 67." She uses that as a justification that we can spend whatever. We need a goal she can get excited about.
Honestly, I wish I could figure out how to ER, but the numbers are so daunting! We save 20% now. Those accounts are around $200,000. Our house is paid off. Our debt (cars and an ATV she wanted) will be gone in 2 years. But the idea of $1 or 2,000,000 or something impossible.
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Old 07-13-2010, 06:17 PM   #6
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Welcome Gardener!

I'm a neonatologist and understand where SO is coming from (except that I try not to sedate my patients more than necessary!) . In NICU and PICU we get many requests to accommodate RNs with health problems, e.g. back strain from lifting adults. People forget that pediatric ICU nursing has its own challenges, some of them emotional!

I know many, many BNs who have returned to do MSNs. Yes, it may be a way into administration. But the Nurse Managers I know all work long hours and have to do administrative call with a pager. Perhaps better avenues for quality of life might be the nurse practitioner or clinical nurse specialist routes. I have many highly respected colleagues who are building niches for themselves as experts in specific clinical areas, lead practice change in their units, and are even consulting for other organizations. I wonder if that might appeal to you?

The Prof. route is challenging. Many university faculties of Nursing now require a PhD to get anything but a sessional lecturer position. Are you up for a PhD,which would be a major impediment to FIRE?

Anyhow, whatever you choose, you are in a wonderful profession. I hope it continues to satisfy you both.
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Old 07-13-2010, 07:50 PM   #7
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Ditto to what Mead said about nurse practitioner and the specialist route--although very hard to get into those programs here they are very highly regarded in our hospital town. I remember that nurse midwifery programs were also all the rage a number of years ago.

My mom was in critical care including ER, recovery room, and a long stint in burn unit. Whew. She said she'd kill me if I went into nursing. You all have my admiration, that's for sure.
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Old 07-13-2010, 07:51 PM   #8
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Welcome ! I am a retired RN . I retired at 59 but I was working part time for nine years before I retired . All of my career was spent in speciality areas . Operating Room , Interventional Radiology and briefly (two years ) endo . Toward the end I wanted to be more flexible so I could travel so I became multi functional . I circulated & scrubbed in the Operating Room , worked in the pre-op area and also in recovery room and pain management . This made me very valuable to my employers so I worked perdiem for top dollar and when I wanted to travel I just gave them notice that I was not available. I worked between two centers for awhile and had to carry my calendar with me so I could juggle my schedule. I did hospital work for thirty years and I just got burned out so I went to Surgery Centers . Your SO would be great in one of these . She could work between several areas and not have the lifting she has now .
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Old 07-13-2010, 08:37 PM   #9
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Welcome. I am also a retired RN. Bailed out at fifty. I did most of my service in Geriatrics and was doing 12/12 every weekend. My plan was to grit my teeth do that until my regular retirement age of 66 and 10 months. Luckily marriage and an inheritance changed that.

You are doing the right thing thinking about what you want to do as a "old nurse". Those halls get longer and longer with each passing year. It is good to see a care giver putting their own needs first. Too few of us do that.

I have to say it was a great career while I did it but I do not miss a day of it. I am out and have never looked back. No ill will. It was just time to live another way.

That said I encourage men and women to go in to this profession. It is some of the most rewarding work that you will ever do. I feel that I made a difference in peoples lives.
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Old 07-14-2010, 12:18 AM   #10
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OK... my bad... I have seen this ESR going around... and thought some people were putting in the "S" for who knows what...

But... it seems that it IS different than ER... but I do not see it defined in the shortcut thread...

Soooooo, what does it mean

Thanks.
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Old 07-14-2010, 05:31 AM   #11
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Early Semi-retired?
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Old 07-14-2010, 08:31 AM   #12
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Early Semi-retired?
Exactly. Semi ER or ESR just mean that you do contract work part-time--really depends on your own situation.

I like John D. MacDonald's description of his Travis McGee character taking his retirement in big chunks until the money runs out, then he finds another bit of work to refill the coffers. Such a wonderful novelist!
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Old 07-14-2010, 08:49 AM   #13
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Things change with time as Meadbh wrote. One SIL (the smarter one) is going to retire from nursing later this month. She is completely burned out but she has been working two 12-hour midnight shifts in a cardiac unit on weekends for years.

She just wants to "do nothing" for a year and then maybe work part time in a garden center or something low stress like that. Maybe she's never worked in retail...

She is emphatic that she wants nothing more to do with nursing, but I think it is the toxic environment that she's escaping from. This is the hospital that fired about nine nurses when they couldn't get to work through three feet of snow last February, which I think is ludicrous.

But at least around here any qualified nurse can find a job in about twenty minutes.
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Old 07-14-2010, 10:56 AM   #14
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Welcome. I am also a retired RN. Bailed out at fifty. I did most of my service in Geriatrics and was doing 12/12 every weekend. My plan was to grit my teeth do that until my regular retirement age of 66 and 10 months. Luckily marriage and an inheritance changed that.

You are doing the right thing thinking about what you want to do as a "old nurse". Those halls get longer and longer with each passing year. It is good to see a care giver putting their own needs first. Too few of us do that.

I have to say it was a great career while I did it but I do not miss a day of it. I am out and have never looked back. No ill will. It was just time to live another way.

That said I encourage men and women to go in to this profession. It is some of the most rewarding work that you will ever do. I feel that I made a difference in peoples lives.
Thanks for your perspective. As the dad of two almost nurses, I sure like to see all the positive info on this career choice. They chose this path on their own as I knew nothing about this world beforehand. From what I've now learned it seems a good path, especially for a young lady. Plenty of options and flexibillity, good employment opportunities, etc. And they would not have liked the office world of a megacorp like I'm used to coping with.

They do want to make a difference in peoples lives. They are interning during the summer at a major childrens hospital here in Dallas. Yesterday one of them experienced their first patient death. An infant with a heart failure. They are gaining experiences I could not deal with. It makes me very proud of them already.

I only hope the long term holds value for them and they will never be one of those folks posting here in 15-20 years wishing they were not stuck in a dead end with no chance of FIRE. I don't think that will happen.
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Old 07-14-2010, 11:15 AM   #15
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Thanks everyone for your replies. Mead - you're right, we would never do admin - yucko. Seriously destroys quality of life. Here, at least, extremely few nurses have PhD's, so you can definitely get a teaching job w/ an MSN. For a community college you need a BSN. I also know several friends w/ BSN's working for PIMA and Apollo College. But I know there are many changes happening at universities. My dad is a professor and chair of the tenure committee at a university, and I am sure glad I am not an English professor going up for tenure. That's an ugly scene.
This morning my partner came home from work and said, "Maybe I will go back to school." I am encouraging her to look at Nurse Practitioner programs, she would probably enjoy working in a clinic setting.
As for me, I found another course I want to take in nutrition. I love to learn, and every year I take a course - herbalism, wildcrafting, permaculture. Problem is none of them related to nursing!
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Old 07-14-2010, 11:33 AM   #16
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Exactly. Semi ER or ESR just mean that you do contract work part-time--really depends on your own situation.

I like John D. MacDonald's description of his Travis McGee character taking his retirement in big chunks until the money runs out, then he finds another bit of work to refill the coffers. Such a wonderful novelist!

OK... I will just say that all you did was change one work enviornment for another... now, if it is as simple as my sister who is doing substitute teaching... that might be something different... she can wake up and say... "I want to work today" or "I do not want to work today"... but, if you have a part time job... you still are on the hook... just less time spent there..
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Old 07-14-2010, 12:00 PM   #17
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Texas - absolutely. But a huge improvement if you can't ER (or don't want to for some reason.) I was very burned out several years ago and started working 1 day a month (for 6 months.) At 30 yo, and unable financially to ER, it was great. I started enjoying work again. Then I started w/ one day a week - not a bad way to live, too. Changes you mentally from being a worker to someone who occasionally does a certain task and gets money from it. Huge mental shift. Oh yeah, now I remember why I don't have more savings :-)
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Old 07-14-2010, 01:35 PM   #18
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Texas - absolutely. But a huge improvement if you can't ER (or don't want to for some reason.) I was very burned out several years ago and started working 1 day a month (for 6 months.) At 30 yo, and unable financially to ER, it was great. I started enjoying work again. Then I started w/ one day a week - not a bad way to live, too. Changes you mentally from being a worker to someone who occasionally does a certain task and gets money from it. Huge mental shift. Oh yeah, now I remember why I don't have more savings :-)
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Well... one time a month is pretty 'slow'... I don't see how anybody can get burned out with that...

I have thought about cutting back to 2 days a week in 5 to 7 years... I could keep maybe half the salary and have long weekends... might be nice...
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Old 07-14-2010, 02:11 PM   #19
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OK... I will just say that all you did was change one work enviornment for another... now, if it is as simple as my sister who is doing substitute teaching... that might be something different... she can wake up and say... "I want to work today" or "I do not want to work today"... but, if you have a part time job... you still are on the hook... just less time spent there..
I guess I was just defining the term as whatever you want it to be. I think for me, ESR would be if I could work for 3 months, take a month off, then return for another 3. That would be just about perfect. But eh, it is all idle speculation for me, as I'm grinding out my 40 hrs for the foreseeable future.
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Old 07-14-2010, 02:36 PM   #20
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But eh, it is all idle speculation for me, as I'm grinding out my 40 hrs for the foreseeable future.
Well, somebody needs to pay for all this fuel for the trawler
And some new equipment.
And few fixes.
Has the work on Stella Rose started yet?
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