A second career in nursing can be exciting, and it can be full of opportunities. It can also be a time where you get to realize your full potential and where you get the opportunity to realize your ambitions too. So, to get started on this exciting time within your professional life – where do you start, and what should you be taking into consideration?
1. Knowing You Are Ready for a Change
Within your existing role or career, you may have become stagnant, and you may have lost the passion or interest you once had. When you have lost this, you can feel like you are stuck in a rut. Being aware of this rut and breaking out of this will signal to you that you are ready for a change. If you are unsure, or you are in the process of deliberation, then you need to look at what you are getting out of your current role. If you are feeling frustrated, or you are feeling that you are not realizing your potential – then it is most likely time to commit to change and progression.
2. Why Nursing and Why Now?
To begin with, you have to think about why nursing is right for you and why right now. You will need drive and determination to succeed in nursing, and you have to establish just what your driving force is. So, is nursing right for you right now because of an experience within your personal life. Or, are you pursuing a long-held ambition or dream? When you know why you want to be involved in nursing, and when you know where your motivation lies, you can then start pushing forwards. To maintain your drive, you may find it easier to write down what you want and why.
3. Pursuing a Challenging Career in a Changing Industry
The nursing sector and the healthcare industry are challenging, and there is no other way to put it. There will be days when you feel on top of the world, and there will be other days when you feel like a failure. A nursing career is challenging, but it is how you manage and handle these changes that is key. When you can embrace challenges and you can welcome change, you will find starting a new nursing career is not nearly as daunting as you once thought it would be. Handling challenges and handling change will be part of your daily working life. Knowing that you are entering a challenging profession and industry is important. If you start your career with your eyes wide open, you will get the opportunity to fulfill your ambitions and succeed in nursing.
4. New Opportunities Await
When you start your new nursing career, it is important to also focus on the potential that lies ahead. These could be career progression opportunities, or they could be opportunities to make a difference within your local community. When you can focus on futures opportunities, as well as opportunities that are here and now, you can then begin to build a sustainable and long-lasting career. The potential for career growth and career development within the nursing sector is endless, and as the industry is growing and evolving, you should find that new opportunities will present themselves more readily. Ensuring that you are qualified, knowledgeable, and aware will ensure that you can seize new opportunities as they present themselves.
5. Returning to Education
Your education will play a huge role in your career as a nurse. Without the right education and qualifications behind you, then you will struggle to land the nursing role you want. Returning to education, even after a short break, can be tiring, and it can leave you feeling stressed. Managing your time and ensuring that you give yourself time to focus on your education is crucial. When you are starting a second career as a nurse, you need to prioritize your education. If you do not prioritize your education, you may find that you do not realize your ambitions. Even if you currently hold a degree, you need to be aware that you will need a specialist degree to train, qualify and even practice as a nurse.
6. Choosing the Right Place to Study
Where you study can have an impact on your studies and on your future as a nurse. When it comes to finding and choosing a place to study, you have to weigh up your options. Choosing the closest place to your home or place of work is not always going to be the wisest choice to make. To ensure that you get the right place for you and for your future, you have to look at what the provider is pr4oviding, both when you study and after your program comes to an end. For example, is the provider invested in you as a student and as a nurse? Do they have established industry links, and do they help graduates find opportunities and obs. What you study is essential, but where you study is just as essential. If you rush the decision (without first weighing up the advantages and disadvantages on offer), you may regret your choice, and it could be a costly mistake.
7. Finding an Accelerated Program
When you are narrowing down who to study with, you also need to look at the programs on offer. If you already hold a degree, you will want to focus your search on finding those that offer accelerated programs. Studying an accelerated program will allow you to become a nurse within just a couple of years, which is, of course, more preferable than studying a 4-year program. When you are looking at ABSN programs, you need to look at what is included because programs and topics can differ – so too can tutor support. When you are finding an accelerated program, you will want to focus your efforts on an online program – simply because this will give you greater control over your time. To make sure that you are selecting the right accelerated program, you have to focus on what is being offered and provided, relate this to what you want to achieve, and it will help make your decision a whole lot easier.
8. Getting Licensed
While you are studying, and even towards the end of your program, you then have to focus on getting licensed. If you are not licensed as a nurse, you will not be able to practice. Different states may offer different licensing requirements, and it is important to seek advice and guidance where you can (if it is not readily offered by your program provider). If you are still seeking further information or guidance on licensing, then you need to reach out to local licensing boards within the states you wish to work.
9. Landing Your First Role
After completing your studies and obtaining your license, you have to then shift your efforts and focus on getting your first role. Going for interviews and finding positions that are suitable for your new nursing career can be difficult, especially if you are trying to find the perfect opportunity close to home. Being prepared to travel and even looking for opportunities that are different from what you initially wanted is important. To get your foot in the door and start building your nursing career, you have to get a role that gives you experience, knowledge, and awareness. Being in a role is more beneficial than being sat around waiting for the perfect one to appear. When you are going for your first role, it is valuable to have a resume that speaks for itself. Getting noticed, even getting picked out of potentially hundreds of candidates, is easier to do when you have an all-singing and all-dancing resume by your side.
10. Being Realistic Yet Ambitious
Once you have landed your first role, you are on the right track. Now all you have to do is remain ambitious – yet realistic. To get the nursing career you want, you have to set out your ambitions because if you do not, you will end up stagnant. However, you must give yourself space to be a nurse. In your first role, you need to have space to grow and develop. If you are too ambitious from the get-go, you will then find this adds too much pressure and stress. Being stressed and under pressure is not conducive to your development or your role. So, when you start in nursing, set out your ambitions, and make sure they are clear. However, be realistic about what you want to achieve and by when – this will also ensure you thoroughly enjoy every aspect of the role.
11. Your Expectations
When you start a new career as a nurse, you can have rose-tinted glasses on, and you can expect that everything is going to be good. However, you must manage your expectations as much as you can. Yes, you are going to have brilliant days where everything goes perfectly. However, you are always going to have those bad days (where nothing goes the way you planned) or where no patient seems happy or content. If you do not manage your expectations, you will take everything to heart, and this will eventually affect your performance. When you learn how to manage and handle your expectations, you can then focus on how you want to achieve success.
12. Getting the Right Mindset within Nursing
A nursing career requires you to adopt a different mindset. Your mindset must be focused on patients and the care of others. However, it must also be focused on you and what you want to achieve. Getting the right balance can be tricky, and this is why your mindset is crucial to your role, your growth, and your future. If your mindset is not focused or positive, it can affect your performance, and it can affect those around you. When you are thinking about the mindset you need to adapt, you need to think about what makes a good nurse. When you factor in these qualities and attributes, you can then focus on building a mindset that works for you and those within your team.
13. What Does a Good Nurse Look Like?
To get your nursing career off to the best start and to focus on building a great future, you have to be the best that you can be. It sounds cliché, but it is very true. To do this, you have to think about what a good nurse looks like. When you have values to look at and work towards, you can be sure that you are molding yourself into the best professional that you can be. So, what exactly does a good nurse look like, and what qualities do they hold?
- Empathy – Nurses have empathy towards their patients, colleagues, and situations. If you are not empathetic, you may come across as cold and disinterested in your position and your patients.
- Excellent Communicator – Being able to share what you are feeling, being able to listen, and also being able to talk to others at all levels is important. If you are not great at communicating, you may find that you struggle to get your point across. You may also find that what you want to say gets lost in translation.
- Patience – Not everything will go your way, and not all patients will be easy to deal with. You need to maintain a patient approach as much as you can. Patience will help you see through the eyes of a patient, and it will help you see how you need to handle and approach each situation.
As you change careers and as you embark on a new journey within nursing, it is important to focus on the support network that exists around you. Being able to turn to others and having a listening ear there to rely on is important. Nursing is stressful, and there will be days when you feel you have reached your limit. If you have someone there to communicate with and share your concerns and worries, you will find that success within your second career in nursing is so much easier to achieve.