If you are getting fed up with your current career and wish to do something more fulfilling, nursing could be a great choice.
Nursing is a well-respected career, and it allows you to make a genuine difference in the lives of the people in your community. It’s also a career with great pay and benefits, a surprising amount of flexibility, and good progression opportunities.
However, nursing isn’t for everyone. It’s tough and emotionally draining to care for people all day, every day, and it might be that another career path is a better option for you.
If you’re considering retraining as a nurse, there are a few factors that you need to consider.
Is it the right time to change career?
The first thing to consider is whether a complete career change is the right option for you or whether you could still forge a fulfilling career within your existing profession if you could change your working conditions.
For example, if you were able to negotiate a better salary, flexible working, or even change to a new company but within the same profession would this enable you to feel fulfilled?
- Does your career suit your lifestyle? Many people start on a particular career path when they are in their twenties and don’t have any family commitments to worry about, and then find that their chosen career becomes less suitable as life circumstances change. If it’s not possible to fit your current career in with your desired lifestyle, it could be time to consider a change.
- How is the job outlook in your career? If you’re working in a slowly becoming obsolete field, then reskilling is a good option if you want to ensure future employment.
- Are you bored? If you no longer have passion for your current field and you would like to challenge yourself with something new, then changing careers can be a good way to do this. However, it’s often also possible to change directions in your existing career and similarly challenge yourself. Therefore, it’s worth exploring this option before committing to a career change.
- What are salary prospects in your current field? If you are working in a field where you will never be able to reach your target salary, then it is worth thinking about training in a more lucrative field.
Is nursing the right choice for you?
Once you’ve decided that it’s time to leave your existing career, how do you know if nursing is the right career for you?
Some things to consider about nursing as a career path are:
- It’s an opportunity to help people. Nurses work closely with their patients, helping them to improve their quality of life. There aren’t many fields where you can impact people’s lives in this way.
- There is a lot of social interaction. Therefore, nurses need to be able to communicate clearly and calmly with their patients, even when (especially when) the patient is in distress. If you struggle with being authoritative or communicating clearly, then you may find nursing difficult.
- It’s stressful. Nursing is literally life and death, so if you have a low-stress tolerance, it will soon take its toll on you.
- The hours are long. Typically, nurses work 12-hour shifts. This is great in some ways because it means that you get all of your work for the week done in three days, leaving you more time for your life outside of work. However, a 12-hour shift is taxing on the mind and body, so you must be confident that it won’t adversely affect you.
- You need to be empathetic. Sometimes patients might have made choices in their lives that you don’t personally agree with, and you need to be able to put that aside to provide them with the best possible care. That’s not an easy thing, and not everyone can do it.
Getting a nursing degree
If you decide that nursing is right for you, you will need to get a nursing degree. There are two types of nursing degrees, the BSN and the ADN.
The BSN is quickly becoming the industry standard, it’s a requirement for many healthcare organizations and to access post-graduate training, so this is usually the best choice.
Online accelerated BSN programs are available that will allow you to attain your BSN within 16 months, including clinical experience, provided you already have a bachelor’s degree in another field.
Applying for licensure
To practice as an RN (registered nurse), you will need to apply for licensure from the state where you will be working.
To qualify for licensure, you will need to have attained a recognized nursing qualification, and you will need to sit an exam. You will also need a certain number of supervised clinical work. In some states, you will also need to pass a background check.
The requirements for licensure in each state differ slightly, so it’s important to check this before you embark on your studies.
The average salary for graduate nurses in the United States is $64,681.
Salary ranges vary depending on factors like location, additional skills, experience, and the type of organization you decide to work for.
Nurses are generally rewarded for gaining expertise and experience. The average salary for registered nurses, in general, was $75,330 per year in 2020, with some nurses being paid as much as $116,230.
The number of nurses required is expected to grow substantially over the next ten years because nurses are instrumental in combatting the growing epidemic of chronic conditions such as obesity and diabetes. In addition, they provide vital education, which helps people to take better care of themselves.
Due to improved access to healthcare, the population is aging, which means that more nurses are required to meet the demand, so there will always be a job for you in any nursing field you choose.