It is becoming more and more common for people to re-evaluate their career goals and decide to change it up. Even if you haven’t reached your initial aim for the career, you previously chose, noticing the urge to switch and become a nurse is worth examining. Nursing is a hugely respected and noble profession but not just anyone can suddenly take it up on a whim. It requires endless patience, compassion, and resourcefulness, as well as the ability to manage a complex workload with high stakes. Before you start writing your resignation letter and researching nursing colleges, here’s what you need to consider about your potential career change.
First of all, take a closer look at the reasons behind your interest in nursing as a career option. What is it that appeals to you? There are plenty of positive aspects about the job that are undoubtedly attractive but it’s important that you can come up with your own clear reasons for making such a drastic life change. For example, nursing is such an essential profession that it is highly in demand, meaning that finding jobs should be easier than trying to look for employment in other industries. Nursing also commands respect since putting aside your own comfort for the good of others is very selfless and generous. However, there are some potential downsides to becoming a nurse that it’s important you are aware of before you make your decision. If these don’t discourage you, then you should feel more confident about switching to a career in nursing. It can be a thankless job with a lot of constant pressure and stress to perform at your best consistently. Depending on the specialism you choose, you may have to see unpleasant sights, such as patients in distress or painful wounds. To put it simply, nursing is not a career for the faint of heart.
Why Do You Want to Change Careers?
Apart from your interest in nursing, it is also helpful to investigate your desire to leave your current job. There doesn’t need to be a strong, compelling reason that proves how unhappy you are at work but taking note of what isn’t satisfying you in your current role can help you to identify how your next job can be better. For example, if you find that you are easily bored by mundane administrative work or that you aren’t stimulated by the employer’s goals, then make sure to look for positions that more closely match what would suit you. Are you being pushed away from your current job or pulled towards nursing? This is a consideration that can help to clarify your thoughts.
How Will You Leave Your Current Job?
If you have decided that, yes, you are in need of a change and your current job is not working out for you, then it is time to plan for your exit. Notice periods differ depending on how long you have worked at a company for and how many responsibilities your position holds. You may be able to negotiate a shorter notice period; however, this will be up to your manager to decide. There are ways of going about resigning from your job without burning bridges or making enemies. This is important since professional networks overlap in the strangest ways and your current manager may somehow be connected to a potential future employer, so don’t quit in a dramatic or irresponsible way. Before letting any of your coworkers know about your plans to leave, write a resignation letter to your manager and discuss your decision with them privately. They can negotiate your leaving terms with you. The smoother your exit, the less likely anything from your previous employment can come back to bite you.
What Qualifications Will You Need?
Nursing is a complex field with many subdivisions and a variety of specialisms. However, almost every qualified nurse must first achieve the same basic qualifications before obtaining a license and moving forward in their career. Some schools offer programs that make it easier for people with existing qualifications in other areas to become a nurse. For example, you can find hybrid accelerated BSN programs designed for people who want to change career paths and become a nurse. Take the time to carefully research which qualifications you will need for the roles you are interested in. This can greatly help to narrow down your search for schools and nursing programs.
Are You Prepared to Study Again?
If you have already had a career and are now hoping to change it, chances are you have already been a student and gained some qualifications. Whatever level of education you achieved in the past, leaving student life to pursue a career can very quickly transform your mindset. This can make it a challenge to return to your studies at a later date. Fortunately, any difficulties you may have should be easily overcome in time. Aside from being mentally ready to study again, you will also need to make sure that your current lifestyle and responsibilities will adapt to your changed situation. Can you afford to switch career right now? Do you have the time to study alongside work? Do you have a family to take care of? While these may sound like insurmountable obstacles, many schools offer support to students so that no one has to miss out on an education. Scholarships and additional funding can sometimes be applied for if you match the criteria requested by those offering the financial support. For example, some scholarships are created specifically for single-parent students or students from a particular geographic area.
How Will You Get Ready for the New Circumstances?
Once you have figured out whether or not you feel ready to tackle the life of a student again, it is up to you to adjust your current circumstances so that you can make the most of your studies. Nursing requires a lot of knowledge retention and studying cannot be successful if you aren’t fully concentrating. You will need to come up with a new routine that fits in with your studies so that you can get the grades you need to become a nurse. It can be a challenge to leave a stable career in order to follow your passion but taking risks is essential to finding success.
What Will Your Study Plan Look Like?
Again, nursing demands great focus and the ability to remember vast quantities of important information. This means that you will need a structured study plan that compliments your studying style and the way your mind absorbs information. On the job, nurses are often called upon to supply key pieces of information at a moment’s notice or quickly research a topic to provide patient care. Learning how to study effectively now will serve you well as a future qualified nurse. Your study plan may look very different from that of another student of the same subject, but if it works for you, then that’s all that matters. It can be useful to figure out if you take in information better visually, aurally or practically. Take notes that you can easily refer to later and use the forgetting curve to your advantage when planning your revision.
Where Will You Study?
Choosing the institution, you want to study at should almost entirely revolve around the quality and relevance of their offered programs in relation to your career goals. There is no point spending money on attending a school that can’t give you what you need in order to land a nursing job. First of all, find out the qualifications you need for the types of roles you are interested in, then look for the schools that have these programs. Some students are willing to move in order to study while others prefer commuting. However, more and more students are opting for online learning as the most convenient and direct choice. There are plenty of online programs run by approved schools that offer a range of nursing subjects and certifications. If you have a busy lifestyle and a lot of other responsibilities on top of your studies, then studying online can make your journey to becoming a nurse much simpler.
What Are the Benefits of Studying for Your Nursing Qualification Remotely?
If you do choose to apply to an online program of study, there are many benefits you will enjoy. Students who work remotely are better able to focus and avoid distractions since they can have better control over their studying environment than if they were in a traditional classroom. They also save money not only on tuition in many cases but also on transport to campus. As someone changing career, it can be financially risky to overspend between jobs, so any opportunity to save money as a student should be seized. The work-life balance that online learning offers also makes it easier for you to absorb the information from your lessons since you won’t feel the stress of a commute.
Which Nursing Path Will You Choose?
If you have been too busy working in an entirely separate industry up until now, you may not be aware of the vast variety of roles and levels within nursing. Knowing which areas interest you the most can make it easier to choose the right program for you and which specific path you want to take. Do you want to be a home care nurse who visits people and provides medication along a route of patients? Do you like the idea of assisting expectant parents to understand the stages of their baby’s growth and help at the birth? The type of nursing that best suits your skillset might only become apparent once you have begun your nursing journey, so don’t be concerned if you haven’t already decided which path to take.
Where Will You Get Work Experience?
Nursing is a highly practical and hands-on type of job that demands confidence with a variety of precise manual procedures, such as administering intravenous fluids and monitoring vitals. It can be difficult to do this with a program that is taught remotely, which is why many schools make a point of providing opportunities for students to gain valuable work experience within real medical environments. You may also want to look for your own opportunities to gain experience, such as by volunteering. Most educational programs arrange for placements so that students have a structured environment where they can learn professional techniques on the job at the same time as completing their studies. Even if you study remotely, this will most likely be offered as part of your program.
How Will You Prepare for Your New Job?
Nursing is unlike most other careers, which is why you will need to be prepared for the change once you have successfully completed the necessary qualifications. First, you will need to make sure that your resumé is up to date and accurate so that you can apply to job postings. Rehearse your interview skills so that you can impress potential employers. As with any career, networking can be a big help, especially for someone just at the beginning of their journey. Get to know the senior nurses at your work experience placement and build up a support group with other students from your program.
Changing your career at any stage can be incredibly daunting. Leaving behind what is familiar and safe in order to pursue your real ambitions takes a lot of courage and careful planning. If you want to follow your dreams of retraining to become a nurse, this is a worthwhile and compassionate decision, but it shouldn’t be made lightly. The hard work and pressure that nurses must endure make it a tough profession and only those who are cut out for it will see success. If you believe that this includes you, with the right training and qualifications, you can find a nursing role to prove yourself and make the world a better, healthier place.