If you are currently unsatisfied with your professional role and feel called upon to change your career into an environment where you can use your time to help others, be there for people, and make a difference with the work that you do every day, a career change to nursing might be the ideal option for you. Changing your career to nursing doesn’t just give you the opportunity to switch to a career where you feel valued and useful every day that you go to work, but it can also bring with it a high level of career opportunities, excellent demand, and many further benefits that those working in this role can enjoy. Whatever career you are currently working in, there are several options to consider when it comes to changing your career to nursing. Here are some steps to consider if you are thinking about changing to a nursing career and some of the best reasons to switch to this role.
If you want to change your career to nursing, there are several options to consider when it comes to getting qualified and starting work in the field. The easiest way to do this is with a Licenced Practical Nurse certificate, which will usually take around a year to complete at a vocational-technical college and will allow you to start working as an LPN. However, this nursing role is often the lowest-paid and you will need to improve your qualifications over time if you want to advance your career into other nursing roles such as a registered nurse or a nurse practitioner.
If you want to become a registered nurse from the start, the easiest and fastest way to do this is with an associate’s degree in nursing, which will usually take around two years to complete. However, ADN-qualified registered nurses are experiencing a decline in demand as employers take steps to improve their workforces with BSN-qualified nurses who are often better prepared for the position. And while an ADN can help you get a foot in the door in nursing, it will often limit you when it comes to career opportunities and any opportunities for future career progression with advanced degree programs. However, if getting into the workforce quickly is something that is important to you, you may want to consider an ADN-BSN bridge program later on, which will allow you to build on your knowledge and skills to get your BSN in a shorter period of time.
Why Get a BSN?
While there are faster options available to get into nursing, it makes sense for those who want to switch their career to nursing to get a BSN. Not only will this degree qualify you to become a registered nurse, but it’s also required by over 40% of healthcare employers and preferred by more than 80%. In addition, studies have found that BSN-qualified registered nurses tend to have a better impact on the healthcare system compared to ADN-qualified nurses since they undergo a much more comprehensive curriculum to prepare them for their role. As a result, patients in healthcare settings with a higher percentage of BSN-qualified nurses tend to experience fewer complications, a lower patient mortality rate, lower rates of readmission, and better preventative care.
In addition to improving the standards of patient care, a BSN can be the best investment to make in your own future as a nurse. Along with many more career opportunities, many advanced degree programs such as the master of science in nursing will require a BSN as the minimum entry requirement for nurses who want to progress in their roles, so not holding this qualification could significantly hold you back in your professional life. For example, the Texas Womans University’s Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) degree will require applicants to hold at least a bachelor’s degree in nursing to be considered.
Accelerated BSN Programs for Career Changers:
If you already hold a bachelor’s degree in a different subject, an accelerated BSN could be the best option for you. These degree programs are designed mainly for those who want to change their career to nursing from a different professional area and graduate as quickly as possible so that they can enter the workforce as a registered nurse. Although you will be able to build on the professional skills and knowledge that you already have, it’s important to make sure that you are prepared for the intensity of the ABSN program since it does involve learning four years’ worth of nursing theory and skills in around half the time. While it’s certainly a program that involves a lot of hard work and dedication, it is often a great option for career changers who want to not only benefit from entering the nursing workforce faster but also want to save money on the cost of getting an additional degree qualification when they already hold a bachelor’s degree in a different area.
Online nursing degree programs are often the ideal option for career changers to consider when it comes to getting qualified as a registered nurse. You can now find online degree program options in all areas of nursing, whether you want to get an associate degree in nursing or get an ABSN. For those who want to change their career but do not have the option of leaving their current job in order to dedicate themselves to studying full-time, an online degree could be the perfect option. Online nursing degrees will still require you to get some clinical experience in a healthcare setting, however, for the most part, they are very flexible and allow you to study from home, putting together a schedule that works well for you based on your current commitments rather than forcing you to rearrange your life to fit in the degree program. This can often lead to significant cost savings for career changers who can continue earning money while they study and get the qualifications that are necessary for them to make the switch.
Why Change Your Career to Nursing?
There are several reasons to consider a career change to nursing if you are not happy with the current work that you do and want to pursue a role that allows for more personal satisfaction and gives you the chance to make a difference in the lives of others on a daily basis. Nurses are absolutely essential to the healthcare system today and without them, patients would certainly not be able to access the high standards of care that are currently available in many areas around the world. Nurses can have a positive impact on every person that they work with and are often there for patients during some of the darkest times of their lives; in many cases, they might even be the difference between life and death for a patient. So, what are the main reasons given by people who decide to switch their professional careers to nursing?
Online Degree Options:
The rise in online nursing degree programs has made it easier for people who once simply considered changing careers to nursing to actually make it happen. Flexible, self-led online degree programs that can be mainly studied from home have made it easier for career changers to make their goals happen with the need to cause serious disruption in their lives. In the past, office workers may have had no choice but to quit their job while studying to become a nurse to ensure that they were able to attend the set lectures and classes on campus. And while this still may be a favored option for some people, many career changers find that being able to study alongside working in the job that they are used to has made the process much easier for them.
High Demand for Nurses:
The demand for BSN-qualified nurses is growing by the day, meaning that once qualified, it’s easy to find work wherever you go. With a BSN, nurses are qualified to work in a wide range of different areas in healthcare including hospitals, clinics, doctor’s offices, schools, correctional facilities, outpatient clinics, mental health facilities, within the community, in research facilities, and more. While there are more nurses entering the workforce, the US is still experiencing a shortage of these professionals, with demand as high as ever. And the current shortage of primary care physicians is also demanding the drive for nurses, who are becoming even more essential than before to primary patient care.
If one of the main reasons that you have for changing your career is a lack of opportunity when it comes to career advancement and progression, switching to nursing could be for you. This career path is certainly one with a lot of options for ambitious people, and there are so many different directions where you could potentially take your nursing career. Those who enjoy leading teams and is responsible for driving change in their workplace could consider progressing into a career as a nurse manager or leader, while a nurse practitioner role could be ideal for you if you want to spend your career providing the best standard of care to your patients with additional responsibilities that involve providing diagnoses, treatments, prescriptions, and health advice with the option to run your own clinic in many states. If you are passionate about changing healthcare for the better from the inside, the best career advancement option for you could be the role of nurse educator. And, there are a lot more roles available with various specialty nursing pathways on offer for nurses who are interested in a certain area of healthcare.
Support From Healthcare Employers:
Many career changers into nursing will already come from healthcare backgrounds since they are dedicated to a career helping others and making a difference. Due to the high demand for nursing, you might be glad to hear that there is often a lot of support on offer from employers for employees who want to improve their career and become a nurse. If you are currently working in a different healthcare role, your current employer might have support strategies in place that you can take advantage of in order to move your career into nursing including tuition assistance and forgiveness programs and the option to change your working hours while studying to make the process easier for you to manage.
If you’re feeling stuck in your career and often feel that there are not many options on offer when it comes to learning more and improving your knowledge, you’ll be glad to hear that nursing is often the exact opposite. In a nursing career, you will be expected to keep your skills and knowledge up to date on a regular basis in order to ensure that you are able to keep up with the ever-evolving and changing healthcare system of today. In addition to this, there are several further study options to take advantage of when you are a nurse. The options for learning more are never-ending, making this a perfect career change choice for anybody who loves advancing their knowledge.
Finally, nursing is an ideal choice of career for anybody who wants more options to travel and see more of the country or even the world. Travel nurses are in high demand; a career that allows you to travel to various different places where they are currently experiencing a need for nurses. If you have a lot of wanderlust and don’t enjoy the idea of staying tied to the same place for long periods of time due to your career, nursing could be the ideal option for you. Along with the option to specifically work as a travel nurse, it’s a career that is in high demand in every area of the country, alongside many areas of the world where nurses are welcomed as skilled and highly sought-after professionals.
No matter where you go, nurses will always be needed. If you are not satisfied with your current career, there are many reasons to consider changing your professional pathway to nursing.