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Nursing as a Second Career

Nursing as a Second Career

Laura Wisniewski RN, BS, CIC

Job outlook

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.

After graduation

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.

Next page: How Nurses Can Help

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    over 5 years ago


    After 20+ years in the same career I made a change to nursing at age 51 by starting as an LPN. I'm now 58 and working on my MSN, gainfully employed as an RN in two elementary schools. No weekends, summers off w/pay, two weeks Dec.-Jan and a spring break. It's okay! :)

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    over 5 years ago

    I started at 49! I am working full time and taking two classes a semester. I am now 52 and will be in the core RN program next year!

  • 100_0318_max50


    over 5 years ago


    I will be 42 next month and I'm just starting my nursing prereqs. My chemistry lab partner is 54. It's never to late to be what we might have been. I think with age comes a lot of worldly wisdom (especially with Mothers which we both are). We are both soooooo excited to start this new path into Nursing and it's very nice to hear stories like this. Good luck to all the nursing students and may God Bless you all!

  • Faceshot_max50


    over 5 years ago


    I am a career changer -- a real estate paralegal in my most recent former life. Now I am a first semester nursing student. WooooooHooooooooo!

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    over 5 years ago

    Excellent story, gives us old people hope.

  • 1122071358_c3_af_1__max50


    over 5 years ago


    Great article. I'm definately going to share this with some of the band parents I know (I've only been ou tof high shcool for 2 years, and my little brother is in the marching band, so I talk to a lot of the band moms). Because a lot of them tell me that I made a great choice going into nursing, and they tell me that they wish they would have done it. Then I tell them that they could always go back to school and become a nurse, and they always say that they are too old. This will show them!

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