Nursing as a Second Career
Laura Wisniewski RN, BS, CIC
From many backgrounds
There is no typical second career nurse. Matt was a paramedic, who attended a paramedic to RN transition program in the evening at the local community college. After being downsized for the second time in the banking industry, Donna turned to nursing for a more stable and rewarding career. Angela, a nursing assistant and single mother became a nurse to increase her earning potential. After the birth of her premature son, former teacher Susan spent three months interacting with the neonatal nurses and couldn’t imagine doing anything else with her life. Deeply affected by the events of September 11th, Robert wanted more meaningful work; he quit his job as an insurance agent and is currently working as a critical care nurse.
Second career nurses bring a wide variety of skills and experience with them. With the opportunities that the nursing profession has to offer; there is more than enough room for qualified candidates of all ages. Employment skills such as critical thinking, emotional intelligence, customer service, manual dexterity, and computer skills easily transfer to the nursing profession.
How individuals utilize their experience is completely up to them. A former teacher or business manager could choose to directly apply their skills to an equivalent nursing position such as nurse educator or nurse manager. Those opting for a complete change in career direction will also find their previous life experiences a boost to their success.
Age is not a barrier
Competition for entry level positions in the general market place is fierce, making it even more difficult for the over thirty-five job seeker. In nursing, experience is considered an asset and often second career nurses advance more quickly than their younger counterparts. This is due in part to clarity of purpose that many mature adults have developed and the application of previously acquired skills.
Mid-life career change has become increasingly more common. Adults may choose to change careers for a variety of personal and financial reasons. Many are interested in exploring new fields and plan to delay retirement. The characteristic of life-long learning has become essential for survival in our ever changing knowledge-based society.