Nursing as a Second Career
Laura Wisniewski RN, BS, CIC
In the current economic environment, financial stability is of great concern. Nursing jobs are plentiful and career opportunities are endless. We are in the midst of the worst nursing shortage in history, which is predicted to worsen over the next decade. However, shortages are regional and health care delivery is under going continuous change; requiring nurses to be both proactive and flexible. Nursing skills are highly portable, creating an advantage over many other professions.
“Because I can always get a job”, should never be the primary reason for becoming a nurse; however, monetary considerations are extremely important in the real-world. Nursing offers the ability to enjoy a comfortable life-style, provide for the needs of a family; while engaging in meaningful work.
Develop a plan
Simultaneously juggling, personal and financial needs, while returning to school may seem overwhelming. As with reaching any goal, developing a flexible plan is essential. What do you want to achieve? How can you get there? How long will it take? Who can help you? You will reach your goal of becoming a nurse, much sooner with support than you ever could alone.
Do your homework and investigate the options and resources that are available to you. Research the nursing job market in your area. Compare nursing programs and find the one that is best for you. Many employers offer tuition reimbursement. Investigate grants and financial assistance. Ask other nurses for advice. Consult guidance and financial counselors to assist with your plan.
It can be especially challenging to enter a field as a novice, after being an expert in another. Be patient with yourself, as you make the transition. Assimilating nursing knowledge requires additional “on the job training”, in the form of a preceptorship. Resist comparing yourself skill for skill to experienced nurses; instead ask for help and find great role models to emulate. Connecting with mentors and joining professional organizations will greatly accelerate your career development.