With people generally having increasingly longer working lives, to take into account longer lifespans, it is now less common to follow a single career path for the entire duration of your working years. A change in career might be due to many different reasons. For example, you may be unhappy and unfulfilled in your current role and want to find a job that is more meaningful for you. Or, you might simply feel that you have achieved all you can in your current career and simply fancy a change. The nursing profession makes an excellent choice of second career. If you feel that this would be right for you, read on for a guide to pursuing nursing as your second career.
There are many reasons why nursing makes a great career choice. During the coronavirus pandemic, you might have been inspired by the hard work and dedication of the nurses and other healthcare professionals working long hours to care for COVID-19 patients and administer vaccinations, and now want to join their ranks. Nursing makes an ideal career for a compassionate and empathetic person, as you will be instrumental in caring for patients and enabling them to lead as full a life as possible. You can help to make a real difference to the lives of patients, their families, and the wider community.
On a more practical note, you will never be out of a job as a nurse – you’ll enjoy great career prospects. The US is experiencing a huge increase in need for registered nurse, which looks set to continue well into to 2030s. This is due to several factors, to name but a few: the aging baby boomer generation is starting to require an increasing amount of medical assistance as they enter old age; at the same time, the current generation of registered nurses are approaching retirement age; and the increasing prevalence of chronic conditions such as obesity throughout society is leading to an increase in related conditions like diabetes and heart disease.
Taking these things into consideration, there has perhaps never been a better time for you to change careers and join the ranks of the nursing profession.
Retraining as a nurse
You must have a degree in nursing in order to become a nurse. However, this requirement does not necessarily mean that you will have to go back to school and spend another three years in full-time education not working. Masters entry programs in nursing have been specifically designed for students with bachelor’s degrees in other fields to enable them to transition to their meaningful new career helping people in as short an amount of time as possible. With a fast-paced program, you will earn your Master of Science in Nursing in just 20 months, so that upon graduation you will be fully prepared to take and pass the NCLEX-RN exam to become qualified as a registered nurse. Furthermore, a fast-tracked transition program in nursing will still provide you with the rigorous academic study and clinical experience of a more traditional three year college degree. Among other things, you will take credits in the nursing foundations for professional practice, and learning about the health care system. You will also have extensive clinical practice taught by nursing professionals in hospital simulations, as well as developing your specialization in a field of nursing you want to go into.
Retraining as a nurse is undeniably a huge commitment. Therefore, it is essential that you question your motives and ensure that you are fully prepared to undertake the training for your new career.
Are you prepared for study?
Completing a nursing degree program in a short amount of time is very intensive. It is recommended that you do not hold down even a part-time job, instead devoting yourself to full-time study, to ensure that you get the most out of your learning experience. Therefore, you should ensure that you are in the financial position to study full-time. Fortunately, financial assistance is available to help every individual achieve their career dreams.
It can be difficult to get into a studying mindset, particularly if you are a mature student and have not been in full-time education for some years. It is therefore important that you look into effective study skills, such as creating flash cards when revising for tests and finding a tranquil study space, and create your own routine for studying that will provide you with the greatest opportunity for success. If you find returning to school difficult, don’t be afraid to have a word with your tutor; they will be used to teaching mature students and will provide you with all the help and support you need to be successful in your study and attain your masters of science in nursing degree.
Preparing for your clinical placement
A huge part of your nursing degree program is your clinical placement. This will give you the opportunity to work alongside nursing professionals in a fast-paced clinical environment, whether that is on a hospital ward or in another healthcare facility. You will work under the supervision of a licensed RN to provide real care for real patients. This will give you an opportunity to put everything you have learned in the classroom into practice in the real world, providing you with a steep learning curve of what is necessary and expected in the nursing workplace. During your rotation, you will be working long hours, with some shifts being as long as 12 hours, to ensure that you are fully prepared for what to expect as a professional nurse. You may also be required to assist in unprecedented situations – student nurses on their clinical placements provided indispensable care for patients during the worst days of the pandemic.
To conclude, nursing makes an excellent choice for a fulfilling second career. Though it undeniably involves a lot of commitment to become qualified, you will have the sense of achievement in that what you are doing really makes a difference to patients’ lives.