Making My Career Change to Nursing

By: Allison S., California , Future Second Career Nursing Student

In these times of economic uncertainty, many of us have considered changing careers. I am one of those individuals. As a professional, I have been in health care sales for thirteen years. Many of those years have been good to me and there was a long period of time in which I felt very secure about my career and therefore, my future. Unfortunately, in accordance with the economic downturn, all of this has now changed. The past two years I have managed to make it through two rounds of layoffs with another cut to come in the near future. Throughout this process I have seen many colleagues and friends lose not only their jobs, but their careers. Any job security that I once felt has all but disappeared.

"I feel confident about making a career change to nursing." ~ Allison

I have decided that it is time to make a change. I need a career that is challenging, yet more importantly, one that provides stability, pays well, and provides room for growth and opportunity. As a sales representative, I have always enjoyed working in the field of health care. I thrive on interacting with people on a daily basis. I love learning about disease prevention, new medicines, and cutting edge technology. I knew that I could continue doing all of this and so much more as a registered nurse. After looking into it more thoroughly, I was surprised to find that not only does nursing pay quite well, there is a nursing shortage across the country and job opportunities are abundant in certain areas.

Next Step?

The next step for me was to get into a nursing program. I already had a bachelor's degree, but it was in history, so I didn't expect it to help me much with getting into nursing school. I decided to contact the head of the nursing department at the local university to see what exactly my options were going to be. Since I already had a BA from an accredited university, we agreed that my best course of action was to apply for the University's 2nd Degree BSN program. She mentioned that nurses with a bachelor's in nursing will have many more opportunities down the road in their careers, many of which are not available to RN's with an associate's degree. Not knowing whether or not I might want to pursue a position in management, nursing education, or even continue my education to the masters level, getting my BSN now seemed like the best option.

"Many more opportunities down the road with a BSN."

Due to the fact that I already have a college degree, all core education requirements would be waived. However, since I was a liberal arts major, I would still need to take a number of science based courses to satisfy the pre-requisites to the nursing major. She suggested that I complete these at the local community college while taking care to get the best grades that I could because getting into the BSN program at the University is quite competitive. Upon completion of these classes I would then be eligible to apply to the nursing major at the university. After I am admitted, I will be able to complete my Bachelor's in Nursing in just 16 months at which point I will be eligible to sit for the NCLEX exam and become a licensed RN in my state.

So this is where I am today. I have already completed my pre-requisites and am ready to apply to the BSN program with hopes of being admitted in Spring of 2013. Sixteen months later I plan to start my career as a nurse most likely in a hospital setting. With time and hands on experience I have a goal of going into emergency room nursing and pursuing certification for this specialization. Who knows...that path could change. For now, I feel confident about making a career change to nursing. Even in an unstable economy, the health care industry is growing. Despite any extrinsic factors affecting the rest of our economy, people will continue to get injured or become sick and these people will rely on health care providers, nurses included, to take care of them.

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