It used to be that you chose a career and stuck with it for life, even if you didn’t particularly love what you did. Fortunately, times have changed, and today more and more people are finding a renewed sense of purpose in new careers — some much later in life. So whether you’re fresh out of school and second-guessing your major, have been in the workforce awhile and want something new, or are a veteran looking to transfer your skills to a civilian career, it’s never too late to go back to school to learn new skills.
If it’s meaningful work you’re seeking — the kind that lets you make a difference in people’s lives — one great option is nursing as a second career. Not only is it exciting, high-demand work; if you’re willing to put in the effort, it’s possible to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) in less than 18 months.
Today, we’ll be discussing why nursing is so in-demand right now, the traits of a great nurse, and considerations for enrolling in an accelerated nursing program.
Why Nursing as a Second Career?
We already mentioned that there’s a need for more nurses, but let’s take a closer look at why and what this means for the profession.
Over the years, the United States has experienced nursing shortages for various reasons. In the past, low pay, long hours, increased access to healthcare, and wartime demands for nurses overseas all contributed to shortages. Today, nursing pays quite well, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting a national median income of $70,000 per year — of course, some states pay much more. For example, nurses make an average of $84,890 a year in Nevada and $102,700 in neighboring California. Moreover, thanks to increasing regulations over the years, nurses are generally very well compensated for putting in extra hours — if they choose to work overtime.
As with past nursing shortages, increased demand for services factors heavily into the current shortage — the result of both an aging Baby Boomer generation that is moving into retirement and more Americans having medical insurance than ever before. However, there’s another reason demand for healthcare services keeps growing — an increasing prevalence of chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.
Because of all this, many nursing schools are at capacity, leading them to look for new ways to address a nursing shortage expected to persist through at least 2030. Enter Accelerated BSN (ABSN) programs like what we offer at Roseman University. Such programs work by giving you credit for past college experience so that you can begin your nursing coursework as soon as you meet the prerequisite requirements.
Blending online coursework with in-person labs and clinicals, our ABSN program allows you to earn a nursing degree from an accredited school known for producing top-quality nurses in less than 18 months. Not only can you graduate in less time, with three program starts a year and two campus locations — near Las Vegas, Nevada, and Salt Lake City, Utah — you can also begin your nursing journey sooner. And since we mentioned veterans, it’s worth noting that we also offer a Veteran to BSN (VBSN) pathway for those men and women who have served our country.
Career Change Considerations
Nursing makes for a rewarding career with abundant opportunities, but before enrolling in nursing school, you want to know that nursing is a good fit for you. You should also consider whether an accelerated nursing program is the best path for you.
Do You Have These 8 Traits of a Great Nurse?
Consider whether these eight traits resonate with you.
- Compassion — Nursing itself is a labor of compassion. It’s this compassion that leaves patients feeling that they’re truly cared for, and on tough days, it will serve as a reminder of why you joined the profession in the first place.
- Patience — Inarguably one of the essential traits of a great nurse; you’re going to need patience educating patients on their condition and treatment, dealing with difficult family members, and so on.
- Great communication skills — While it’s not necessary that you identify yourself as an extrovert, you do need to be able to communicate well, especially when relaying critical details of a patient’s care to other nurses and medical staff, educating patients on treatment plans, and keeping family members updated.
- Empathy — It’s not surprising patient satisfaction surveys frequently rank empathy as one of the most critical factors affecting inpatient care. Just knowing that someone feels for you can make a big difference. Of course, there is such a thing as too much empathy. As a nurse, it’s all about striking a balance between understanding what your patients are going through and not taking your emotions home with you at the end of your shift.
- Strong observational skills — The truth is, compared to nurses, doctors spend very little time with patients. As a result, nurses are often the first to notice when a patient’s condition changes. It’s also common for patients to be less intimidated by nurses than they are by doctors, and as a result more open with them. In order to do your job well, it’s critical that you pay attention to even the smallest details.
- Lack of judgment —Working in healthcare, you’ll see all sorts of patients — some may have committed crimes, taken unnecessary risks, or have done things that might seem downright stupid (especially if you work in the ER). Regardless of who a person is or what a patient has done in his or her life, everyone deserves the same level of care.
- Calm under pressure — Nursing can be quite stressful at times, especially when a patient’s condition changes unexpectedly. In these moments, you simply cannot lose your composure, making the ability to remain calm in stressful situations a critical trait.
- The ability to multitask — Attending to multiple patients at one time is part of the job, requiring you to be efficient with your time, organized in your thoughts, and able to prioritize based on a number of factors (length of treatment, the severity of the condition, ).
Is An Accelerated Nursing Program for You?
An accelerated nursing program is a significant commitment. Here are three questions you should ask yourself before applying to an accelerated program.
- Do I have the time for an accelerated program? You want to begin your new career as soon as possible; however, nursing school — and in particular, accelerated nursing programs — are time-intensive. For this reason, we recommend that students in our ABSN program do not work while studying to become a nurse. It’s also worth it to consider whether family demands will allow you enough time.
- Is online learning for me? Though our accelerated program consists of both online and in-person components, the nursing theory coursework is online. We often hear students — many without prior online learning experience — say they love the convenience and flexibility online coursework provides. So long as you complete all of your work by the assigned due dates, it doesn’t matter whether you do your work first thing in the morning or late at night. Other students find it helpful that they can go back and re-watch lectures, interactive exercises, and other materials. They also love the online discussion boards that allow them to connect with students and faculty in real-time. However, there are those traditional learners who just prefer to be in a classroom. Ultimately, it’s about what you feel most comfortable with.
- Is your family on board? This is mostly for those career changers with significant others and/or Any current or former nursing student will tell you that it takes a lot of hard work to become a nurse, so it’s important that your family members are on board to support you in your journey. Make it clear to your spouse or significant other that there will be times when you can’t be bothered or will need extra help around the house, especially with little ones. You might also want to reach out to nearby relatives to discuss the possibility of them helping you with things like picking up kids from school or babysitting while you’re in labs or at your clinicals.
Hopefully, this blog has helped reassure you that you have what it takes to become a great nurse.
Earn Your BSN Degree in Less than 18 Months
Ready to pursue nursing as a second career? Contact us today, or fill out the form to have an admissions advisor reach out to you, to find out if our ABSN program is a good fit for you.