Are you interested in changing careers? Did you choose a degree and career you thought you loved, only to realize you have new interests and career goals?
If you resonated with either of those questions, you are not alone. Changing careers is more common than most people think. Individuals regularly dream of new careers that better align with their goals and offer higher job security and financial stability. One career that is always in demand and gives individuals the opportunity to help and make an impact on the lives of others is a nurse.
One career that is always in demand and offers individuals to help and make an impact on the lives of others is nursing. Plus, many adult learners find switching to this fulfilling role relatively easy.
Let’s explore why people change careers to become nurses, what they should know before making this change, and review a step-by-step guide to a nursing career change.
What is a Nurse?
First and foremost, adult learners looking to switch careers to nursing must understand the role of a nurse and the nursing field.
Nursing is a profession within the healthcare industry centered around providing personalized care to individuals, families, and communities. As such, nurses serve as the intermediary between patients and doctors to ensure patients understand and are prepared for treatment.
Additionally, nurses fulfill the following roles and duties:
- Conduct physical examinations
- Check patients’ vital signs
- Take detailed health care histories
- Draw blood and perform other health-related tests
- Analyze results and explain what to do at home after treatment
Why Change Careers to Nursing as an Adult?
While every individual has a unique reason, there are many commonalities and affirming reasons adult learners make a career change to nursing.
1. Nurses are In-Demand
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), overall employment in healthcare occupations is projected to grow thirteen percent by 2031, and employment of registered nurses (RNs) will grow six percent by 2031. This results in about two million jobs by 2031 overall and about 203,200 openings for registered nurses each year.
While these numbers alone are enough to prove that a career as a nurse is in high demand, we are still amid a nursing shortage due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Plus, with the aging baby boomer population needing more elevated levels of medical care and more and more people focusing on their health and taking care of their bodies, our world needs nurses more than ever before.
This demand also provides adult learners with additional job security.
2. Nurses Enjoy High Salaries and Opportunities of Advancement
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for registered nurses is $77,600, with the highest ten percent earning more than $120,250.
Nurses find work in many settings, including government agencies, hospitals, nursing and residential care facilities, ambulatory healthcare services, and educational institutions.
Furthermore, the field of nursing offers candidates the opportunity to specialize in specific areas like pediatric or oncology and even expand their experiences in the following positions:
- Clinical nurse specialist
- Nurse manager
- Nursing director
- Nurse educator
- Clinical research nurse
- Public health nurse
- Quality assurance coordinator
3. Nurses Have High Levels of Flexibility
Every country, state, city, and town needs nurses, meaning a career in nursing offers individuals the flexibility and freedom to live and work where they want.
As long as they meet the educational and licensing requirements, candidates can move from city to city or state to state and find work as travel nurses internationally, where they help care for patients in places without enough healthcare workers.
Ready to take the next step and transform your career? Check out UB’s wide range of Nursing programs that are designed help you get there!
What Should I Know Before Changing Careers to Nursing?
In addition to the benefits above, changing careers to nursing provides the opportunity to make a meaningful difference in other people’s lives as nurses care for patients with various healthcare needs.
However, candidates should also assess their skills and interests to ensure this rewarding but challenging career path is right for them, as both nursing school and a career as a nurse can be stressful and demanding of their attention, energy, and time.
Nurses with the most success are compassionate and empathetic communicators who use their critical thinking skills to identify unseen issues or overlooked conditions.
In addition to one’s skills and characteristics, nurses must also meet specific, though straightforward, educational steps, including:
- An undergraduate degree from an accredited nursing school
- Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN)
- Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
- Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN)
- Passing the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX)
Nowadays, many employers prefer to hire candidates with Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing degrees, and candidates with these degrees also open themselves up for more advanced positions and roles. Candidates should research as educational and licensing requirements will vary depending on their desired position, state, and specific place of employment.
How to Change Careers to Nursing
If you are interested and passionate about pursuing a new career as a nurse, you should first find an accredited nursing school and talk with an admissions officer or program head to learn more about the nursing programs and degrees available.
They will discuss your reasons for changing careers, be able to answer your questions about their program and a career as a nurse and help you find the right degree for you, whether that be an online, in-person, or hybrid model.
Generally speaking, the fastest and easiest way to change and pursue a career as a nurse, especially if you already have a Bachelor’s degree, is through an Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program.
Once you’ve selected your nursing school and program, it’s time to apply and fulfill any of the school’s requirements. For example, at University of Bridgeport, nursing school applicants for our accelerated program must have the following:
- A conferred Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts degree from a fully accredited academic institution
- A “C+” or better in all math and science courses
- Minimum cumulative Quality Point Ratio (QPR) of 3.0
- Completed math and science courses within seven years of applying
- Prerequisite courses include:
- Anatomy and Physiology I and II
- English Composition
- Introductory Chemistry
- Introduction to College Algebra and Statistics
- Introduction to Psychology
- Lifespan Development
- Principles of Sociology
Once accepted, it’s time to earn your degree, where you will learn and take courses that prepare you to provide patient-centered, evidence-based, clinically competent, and contemporary professional nursing care in various settings. University of Bridgeport students can complete this accelerated program and earn their Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree in as few as fifteen months.
Upon completing your nursing degree, you must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) and then apply for licensure in the state where you wish to practice.
With your degree and licensure in hand, you are now ready to enter the healthcare industry and start your new, exciting, and fulfilling career as a nurse, impacting the lives of your patients and their families.
Whether you want to pursue an Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) or a traditional four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), we have a flexible, affordable, and supportive program right for you at University of Bridgeport.
Contact us for more information and take the next step toward changing your career to nursing today!