A Guide to Changing Your Career to Nursing

Many individuals decide mid-career that the pathway they have chosen is not for them, whether this is due to life experiences or challenges in the workplace. However, it is largely believed that it is impossible to change careers when you are in your 30s, 40s, or 50s. This is not true, though, and there are many ways that you can change your career at any age. For instance, many people believe that a career in nursing would be right for them due to the meaningful nature of the job and their ability to use their skills to help others. If you are looking to start a new career in nursing, you can do so, no matter your age.

  1. Choose the Right Educational Path
    More than half of employees in the US are dissatisfied with their job role. This leaves many people looking to change their careers later in life. Luckily, for those looking to become a nurse, there are many educational pathways that you can choose from in order to achieve your career goals in healthcare. This makes it easy to choose the right one for you, based on your previous experience or educational qualifications. For instance, if you only have a high school diploma, becoming an LPN may be the best pathway for you, as you will only need one year of training at a vocational school or hospital to achieve this. However, if you want to take on more responsibility, you should head for the pathways leading to becoming a registered nurse.
    Registered nurses can become qualified through:
     A nursing diploma
     An associate degree in nursing
     A Bachelor of Science in nursing
    The range of educational pathways available means that it is always possible for anyone to become a nurse if they are right for the role, regardless of their educational history.
  2. Take an Online Course
    One of the easiest ways to get qualified if you are considering a career switch is to take a qualification or course online, with growth in online enrollment at 5%. This will enable you to conduct your training from any location. This means that you can continue your current job role while training and remain financially stable while you do so. Not only this, but taking an online course will also give you the freedom to get experience in your vocation while you learn, enabling you to take on positions or volunteer alongside these online courses. Online courses then allow you to train effectively at any age without any disruptions to your lifestyle, allowing you to maintain other commitments, such as family. Baylor University online DNP nurse executive programs that let you train for leadership positions in nursing while also maintaining your current job role.
  3. Return to a Previous Role
    If you have already had a career in nursing, it is possible to return to your position as a nurse through several methods. Those looking at returning to nursing can take on flexible working hours and roles that will allow them to ease back into the profession gradually, while training courses and nursing research journals will help them drop back into the nursing team and understand the latest developments in nursing that they may have missed. Not only this, but nurses returning to the role may be looking at leadership positions, which they are able to access through qualifications which they can take at any time, such as Master’s degrees.
  4. Volunteer Around Your Current Role
    Although you might not be able to take on a placement mid-career, volunteering is a great option for individuals to gain experience and base around the commitment of your current job. This is because volunteering is usually catered around your individual schedule, allowing you to commit yourself to shifts only when you are able to. There are many volunteering options available in hospitals, care homes and nursing facilities across the country, and you can find out about these on volunteering position boards to help you to gain the relevant experience you need to take on more responsibility as a nurse.
  5. Seek Financial Aid
    Many people considering a career change choose not to pursue it for financial reasons, believing that they will be unable to support their family if they give up their first career or spend a year or more in training at a college or hospital facility. However, there are many ways that individuals can seek financial funding in order to retrain as a nurse.
    Nurses can find funding through:
     Free Application for Federal Student Aid
     College Scholarships
     Fellowship and Residency Programs
    Nurses can not only get funding for their college fees, however, as the NURSE Corps Loan Repayment Program also allows nurses to help pay back their student loans through the government by working in disadvantaged areas.
    Some of the top scholarships for students in the USA include:
     The Foundation of the National Student Nurse Association
     American Medical Resource Institute
     Tylenol Future Care Scholarship
  6. Find a Position that Suits Your Lifestyle
    However, when thinking about becoming a nurse, it is important that you are able to find a position that suits your lifestyle, with there being many different types of nursing roles. This is more important for individuals who are in their mid-career as they are more likely to have other commitments that they need to adjust their role to. Many of these allow you to work part-time or on a temporary basis, ensuring that you can have a good work-life balance at any age and reduces the strain of the nursing career.
    The best roles for those changing careers include:
     Care Support Nurses
     Home Healthcare Nurses
     Community Support Nurses
  7. Adjust to Your New Role

Becoming a nurse can be a big lifestyle change, and you may struggle to adjust to your new role. To ensure that you are able to cope with these changes effectively, you should make sure that you are prepared to accept minor positions, before working your way up to leadership roles. Take one step and challenge at a time before you have gained enough experience, and ask for help from your superiors and colleagues, who will be able to assist you if you meet an issue. You should also be sure that you are ready for the cons of nursing as well as the pros, such as long working hours and exhaustion.

Featured image by sasint

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