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Why Choose Nursing as a Second Career? 

The decision to change careers is a milestone where new possibilities begin. Second careers can lead to greater satisfaction for many individuals who take the opportunity to align their professional aspirations with their personal goals and values. 

Nursing as a second career has unique challenges and chances for fulfillment in a role where making a meaningful difference in the lives of others is paramount. This blog explores the reasons to choose nursing as a second career and provides an overview of how to successfully transition into the field. 

Is Nursing a Good Career for Me? 

The profession of nursing combines critical thinking and compassion in a focused manner to promote positive health and wellness outcomes for patients and families. The concepts of health and wellness go beyond the physical to encompass all aspects of a person. A career change to nursing may be an excellent decision if you:  

  • See health and wellness holistically
  • Enjoy interacting with people
  • Desire to advocate for those in need
  • Work well with others for a common goal
  • Feel called to a profession of lifelong learning and growth 

The skills you learn as you gain life experience can translate well to nursing, making this career an attractive option for individuals looking to switch careers at any stage. An ability to relate to others and understand emotional and spiritual needs is fostered through your emotional intelligence. Empathy is expressed by those who are willing to listen and understand what another person may be going through. 

Rewards of Nursing as a Second Career 

Nursing can offer personal and professional rewards that may not be available with every career option including job security and financial benefits. The demand for registered nurses (RNs) is high with an excellent employment outlook that is growing faster than average.  

In May 2022, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the median annual salaries for RNs as follows:  

  • $92,310 in governmental jobs
  • $82,250 in hospitals
  • $78,670 in ambulatory care
  • $75,410 in nursing and residential facilities
  • $65,450 in educational services 

Nurses also have opportunities to grow professionally through participation in state and local nursing organizations where they can meet like-minded colleagues and collaborate on shared initiatives. Certification in any nursing specialty area is also an opportunity for professional rewards, as nurses can pursue expertise in a niche area of patient care and take a leadership role in advocating for the welfare of others.  

Personally, nursing as a second career can be fulfilling for those who view the profession as a calling and respond to that call. The human connection that nursing fosters through engagement in difficult health-related experiences with others brings purpose and perspective that may not be found in other careers. 

Transferable Skills for Excellent Nurses 

Your prior career does not have to be in a health-related field to have useful skills that are transferable to nursing. For example, those with a background in customer service of any kind may have an excellent ability to listen and understand the needs of others that is essential for nursing. Other skills and character traits that transfer well into nursing include:  

  • Time management
  • Logistics and attention to detail
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Education and teaching aptitude
  • Problem solving
  • Familiarity with technology
  • Proactivity and resilience 

The skills you have may relate to nursing and augment your approach to patient and family care in helpful and effective ways. Aspiring nurses may have different types of backgrounds, and this is one of the reasons why several distinct pathways exist for becoming a nurse. 

Educational Pathways for Becoming a Nurse

Educational Pathways for Becoming a Nurse 

There are a few programmatic options for those interested in becoming a nurse. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree is the preferred educational level for RNs and can be attained in a couple different ways.  

Traditional BSN programs are approximately four years in length, while accelerated BSN (ABSN) programs lead to a BSN degree but are tailored for nursing students with a prerequisite of an earned bachelor’s degree in another field. For this reason, ABSN programs can be completed in less than two years. Additional benefits of ABSN programs include:  

  • Online coursework allows for more flexibility
  • Immersive curriculum for momentum toward graduation
  • Combination of learning methods for a well-rounded education
  • Networking opportunities with other students and professional nursing colleagues from different geographical areas 

Associate’s degree in nursing (ADN) programs can also be completed in a shorter timeframe of around two years but do not lead to the BSN. With an ADN, nursing graduates can become licensed as RNs and then have the option of completing an RN-BSN program if desired to attain the BSN degree. 

Career Options for BSN-Prepared Nurses 

With a BSN degree, RNs have many employment and specialization opportunities. Some nurses choose to focus on a particular specialty area like psychiatric mental health nursing while others choose to pursue non-clinical options like academic teaching or nursing informatics. A diverse range of professional practice opportunities are available for nurses today.  

Careers for BSN-prepared nurses include: 

  • Population-focused nursing care (e.g., pediatrics, critical care, obstetrics, hospice)
  • Public health roles
  • Travel nursing
  • Nurse consulting
  • Nursing education 

The BSN degree with RN licensure is also foundational for advanced practice nursing roles requiring graduate-level education such as the nurse practitioner and clinical nurse specialist. To successfully transition from a non-nursing field into a second career as a nurse, online ABSN programs are one of the most streamlined pathways forward. 

How to Successfully Transition into an ABSN Program 

One of the most important factors for success in an accelerated BSN program is to ensure you have set aside the time and focus to complete your nursing education degree. Many ABSN programs require students to devote full-time attention to studies, residency experiences and in-person clinical hours during this rigorous academic commitment.  

Another factor is to recognize the variety of non-nursing bachelor’s degree options that can effectively transition into the nursing profession. Examples of fields where an earned bachelor’s degrees may meet prerequisites for admission to an ABSN program include: 

  • Science
  • Education
  • Business
  • Social Science
  • Health-related
  • Arts and humanities 

If you are looking for greater job satisfaction in a field that serves a responsibility to humanity, a career change to nursing through an ABSN program may be your next step. 

Earn Your Nursing Degree Online at Cleveland State University 

Cleveland State University offers an online ABSN program that can be completed in just four semesters (16 months) for individuals with a bachelor’s degree. The online coursework coupled with hands-on clinical experience creates a convenient format for transitioning into the nursing workforce in less time than a traditional education.  

Program features include:  

  • Clinical placement services at no additional cost
  • Affordable and competitive tuition rates
  • Innovative learning with comprehensive support
  • Residency experiences with high-fidelity simulations
  • Dedicated nursing faculty advisor and access to University resources
  • Preparation to take the NCLEX exam (national nursing licensure exam) at no additional charge 

As a student in Cleveland State University’s online ABSN program, you will engage in learning activities with tenure-track professors so you can build your nursing competencies for entry into the field. The BSN program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) as a marker of quality in nursing education.  

By joining the academic community at Cleveland State University, you will work closely with faculty who actively participate in research and practice initiatives to improve health care. You will be inspired to make a meaningful difference in real-world situations with a shared passion for excellence in professional nursing.  

For more information on this fast-paced, accessible degree pathway for becoming a second career nurse, visit the online ABSN program page today.