Feeling tired of your career path is perfectly natural. We’re often pressured into choosing what we want to do with our lives from a young age, with school pushing us to go into university or take up a vocational subject. However, as we age, our personalities change and we gain more perspective on the world that can influence our desires. If you feel the need to give something back and help people through a meaningful career, then nursing might be the perfect option for you. Luckily, although it means hitting the reset button, there are several ways to switch tracks and become a nurse.

Why Switch to Nursing?

Making the switch to nursing will be a tough challenge with plenty of stressful times ahead. However, there are numerous reasons to take it on. You will be changing over to a career that is sustainable because there will always be sick people. Further, there are plenty of funded access routes into second degree nursing programs. Once you’ve started from the bottom and worked your way to the top, you will earn an average of $73,300. Depending on your degree, you can enter the workforce quickly. For example, if you have an initial degree in the sciences, you can speed through the course in around 12-months.

Aside from the financial benefits of becoming a nurse, this is an exciting time to enter the profession. During the global pandemic, nurse staffing was stretched and clinics had to adapt the way they work to reduce contact with patients. This sped up the integration of telehealth, which uses technology to link healthcare professionals and patients. If you’ve got an interest in technology, now is the time to open the door to nursing.

What Are Registered Nurses?

A registered nurse (RN) provides medical care to people in need. Usually, an RN will hold a degree in nursing or a master of science in nursing (MSN). Requirements will be slightly different depending on the location and the level of education held by an individual.

Once you’ve become a registered nurse, you can specialize in an area of your interest. For example, if you’re interested in diving, you can become a hyperbaric nurse. Becoming a registered nurse is a rewarding career and the education opportunities are endless.

The Job Overview

Although there are different specialties for registered nurses that will bring responsibilities, there is a core set of tasks that all nurses will have to carry out including:

  • Monitoring patient conditions
  • Upholding accurate record-keeping procedures
  • Discussing treatment plans and conditions with patients
  • Inputting on the best courses of treatment
  • Administering treatments

Registered nurses are required to wear many masks as they communicate with patients from all walks of life. No two days will be the same and there will always be something that needs completing. The days are long and they need to keep a strict routine, especially during the study phase. Typically, nurses will work a roster totaling around 40 hours a week – and the rest.

Required Training

The most common means of becoming a registered nurse is through the completion of an Associate Nursing Degree (ADN) or other relevant nursing degrees. Alternatively, the completion of a master of science in nursing degree will grant you access.

For people who haven’t already obtained a degree, the best route would be to complete the ADN. However, if you’re a switcher with a degree, the BSN or MSN would be the most beneficial route to take. The end job for both options is the same, but those with a BSN or MSN will usually be paid higher.

A Second Degree

If you’ve already got a degree, don’t worry, you can still complete an additional degree and enter at the BSN level. You can complete an accelerated BSN online alongside gaining experience in the hospital setting. The average time of completion for this route into the profession is around three years. However, if your degree is scientific-based, you can speed the process up by around two years. With this level of learning, you will be more desirable to employers because you’ll be more equipped to deal with complex medical emergencies.

A Nursing Masters with a Non-Nursing BA

If you don’t want to hit the reset right back to the bachelor’s degree level, you can apply to complete an entry-level nursing master’s program. Completing an entry-level master’s will allow you to carry on your learning in the traditional way while allowing you to earn your MSN without being a registered nurse.

Once you’ve got your MSN, you can study to become an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN). With this title, you will be able to open the door to specialist roles that those with an ADN won’t be able to. For career switchers with a degree, the best course of action is to complete an MSN because you’re setting yourself up for the top pay. As an MSN-trained nurse, you can expect to take home over $100,000 a year depending on the location.

Tips for Career Changers

Changing your career over to nursing won’t be an easy task. You will be starting your higher educational life from the beginning, which can get overwhelming. Whether you were at the management level in your previous career or not, you will have to accept that you are starting from the bottom and submitting control to those above you.

You will need to take on new concepts and embrace new ways of living. For example, you will need to follow the concepts outlined in medical school including the “5 Cs of caring”. This is a concept that will help you build a stronger rapport with your patients. There are many ways that you will have to adapt your life to stay healthy. However, it will all be worth it when you’ve achieved your goals.

Changing your career to nursing will set you on a challenging course. There are numerous access points into the profession including the completion of a secondary degree. No matter which route you take, you will enjoy a sustainable career where every day is different.

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