Nursing as a Second Career

Making a career change is a daunting thought for a lot of people. This is because many people invest a lot of money and years into building successful careers and abandoning all that is the last thing any of us want to do. However, there comes a time when some people realize that the career they have is no longer what they want to be doing, and they, therefore, need to look into other options. Nursing is a great second career for many reasons with the biggest one being that you get to have a bigger impact on the world. Transitioning into a career in nursing is a major commitment and this is why we are going to look at how you can go about it.

Multiple Education Paths

One of the things that make transitioning into a career in nursing a good choice is that there are lots of different paths you could take. If you want to start from scratch, you can take the registered nurse path. This is where you get to become a registered nurse using a Diploma in Nursing or an Associate degree.

Obtaining a Diploma in Nursing is a lot less common because most universities and colleges have done away with these programs. However, it is still possible to apply for one although your options for schools to attend will be severely limited. These days, many of the Diploma in Nursing programs are run by hospitals in collaboration with local institutions. This path places a lot of emphasis on clinical experience and very little on theory.

Associate degrees in nursing are a popular option, although their popularity is also falling as more healthcare institutions opt for applicants who have a degree in nursing. It takes three to four years to complete these programs.

Getting a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing (BSN) remains the preferred way to get into a career in Nursing. These degrees are usually a lot more intense and in-depth and that is why they are the preferred option for most healthcare institutions. Since this is your second career option and you likely have another degree, you should look into accelerated programs.

Accelerated BSN nursing programs are best suited for those who have degrees in other fields. This is the path that gets you into a career in nursing as quickly as possible because these programs usually take 12-18 months to complete. To apply for an accelerated BSN nursing program, you also need to have a very high GPA on both the prerequisite and science prerequisite courses. Science prerequisite courses depend on the institution and can include anatomy, microbiology, psychology, chemistry, and many others.

There are also options for those who have a degree but want to complete their nursing degrees at a normal pace. These programs will usually cover the same ground as the accelerated programs and will take two to three years depending on whether you have completed the prerequisite courses or not.

Multiple Career Options and Increasing Demand

Once you earn your degree and have taken your licensing exams, you will have to choose a career path. In many cases, you need additional certifications to enter these paths, but it is not absolutely necessary to choose a career path as soon as you graduate. You can take a few years as a registered and licensed nurse to work in as many areas as possible before choosing a path that suits you best.

A compelling reason to choose nursing as a second career is that the demand for nurses is increasing. Although the demand for nurses has increased rapidly due to the pandemic, the demand for nurses was growing long before that. The main reason for this is advancements in medicine which have led to an increase in life expectancy. Because of this, we have a larger population of older people than we did a few decades ago. Considering older people need more care than younger people, more nurses are required to take care of them.

Entry-level nursing positions are also in great demand with licensed practical nurses, registered nurses, and advanced practice registered nurses seeing the most demand. In the future, there will be a high demand for nurses with administrative skills to manage this wave of new nurses, and if you follow the right path, you could be in place to take up advanced career positions that open up.

Challenging Work Environment

If you are switching careers because you feel like your current job is not challenging enough, nursing is certainly the career option for you. You may have been doing the same thing multiple days a week for years but in nursing, there is none of that.

A typical nurse’s day can vary considerably, with each day presenting its own set of challenges. The best nurses are those who can stay flexible and adapt to the amount of work and circumstances surrounding them. Additionally, the hospital is a fast-paced environment, especially for nurses, so there will always be something new to take care of or a challenge to overcome.

With more than 100 specializations, it is also a lot easier to seek new challenges as your career progresses.

Making an Impact

Few career options let you make as much of an impact in the world and the lives of others as nursing. Nursing is mainly a career for helpers, meaning you’ll be providing both healthcare and education to your patients or clients. At the lowest levels, you get to work directly with patients, helping them overcome their ailments, conditions, and challenges.

At a higher level, you get to work on treating the whole person. This means taking care of the psychological, physical, emotional, and sometimes spiritual needs of your patients. This gives nurses the ability to go a lot further than treating physical illnesses and diseases that can have an impact on patients, families, and whole communities.

While switching to nursing as a second career option might not seem like a great idea for some, there are good reasons as to why it is. The ability to choose from multiple career options as well as make impactful changes to the world are perhaps two of the most compelling arguments for switching to nursing.


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