Why Make a Career Change to Nursing?

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Are you considering a career change to nursing? If so, good for you! There are many reasons that people, especially those previously in other health care careers, choose to pursue nursing as a second career. From personal satisfaction to schedule flexibility to competitive pay, you really cannot go wrong.

nurse standing and smiling in room

If you are making a career change, you likely want to save time and start your new career soon, which is why a program like the Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program at Pacific Lutheran University comes into play. You can earn your Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree in as few as 16 months through the accelerated program.

Before you decide to pursue nursing, we will discuss some of the advantages of nursing as a second career. Then we will cover transitioning from other health care jobs to nursing.

Why Choose Nursing as a Second Career?

Many people choose to go back to school for nursing later in life, so what is driving their decision? Here are a few reasons why the career switch to nursing is such a great choice.

1. An Impactful Career

One of the first reasons to pursue nursing as a second career is the positive effect you can have as a nurse. While many careers are disconnected from a real purpose, nurses witness the fruits of their labor daily. As a nurse, you will see your impact on patients, which will sustain you and make all your work worthwhile.

Pacific Lutheran University nursing students with instructor

2. Diverse Specialty Options

Whatever your passions and interests as a nurse, you are sure to find a career that suits you. Nurses can choose from countless options, both in clinical and non-clinical settings. Here are a few of the many options you’ll have as a nurse:

  • Inpatient nursing
  • Primary care nursing
  • Labor and delivery nursing
  • Pediatric nursing
  • Critical care nursing
  • School nursing
  • Flight nursing
  • Telehealth nursing

Additionally, nursing offers many opportunities for advancement in a range of specialties, which you can achieve by earning certifications or getting an advanced degree.

nurse with stethoscope helping child patient

Still deciding whether nursing is right for you? Consider these pros and cons of a nursing career to guide you.

3. Meaningful Relationships

Another reason to pursue nursing as a second career is that nursing is a collaborative, people-oriented profession. You will forge meaningful relationships with your patients and with the nurses and health care providers working alongside you. Nurses are known for being team players, helping each other often. If you are looking for a second career where you can form connections daily, look no further than nursing.

4. Schedule Flexibility

Many people pursue a career change to nursing partly because of the ability to tailor their schedule to their unique needs. As a second-career nurse, you may have kids and a family, so finding a job that works well with your schedule is essential. Thankfully, depending on what type of nursing you go into, you have a wide range of options.

For example, if you want to work three 12-hour shifts per week, you can choose to work in the hospital setting. Or, if you prefer a regular daytime schedule, there are many outpatient clinic or non-clinical options to consider. Additionally, nurses often work part-time, or as needed, so you can adjust the number of hours you work based on what fits into your life.

5. Competitive Salary

While salary is not the most important factor to consider when changing careers, know that nurses make a good living. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, registered nurses earn an average of $77,600 per year as of May 2021. Plus, depending on your experience, location and the specialty you choose, there is potential to earn more.

6. Ability to Make a Fast Career Change

While some careers require many years of education to enter the field, you can start nursing quickly, which is one of the reasons it is such an ideal second career. If you have either a non-nursing bachelor’s degree or at least 60 non-nursing college credits, you can earn a BSN degree at PLU in as few as 16 months. After graduating and passing the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX), you will then receive your license and can start working as a nurse.

Nurse smiling talking with patient

What kind of nursing degree should you earn? See why a BSN is the ideal degree for your nursing career.

Transitioning to Nursing from Other Health Care Jobs

Many people who transition to nursing come from another health care background. However, even without health care experience, you can still apply to nursing school. Prior experience is not required, but it does serve as an excellent stepping-stone to nursing. A few of the most common transitions from other health care careers include:

  • CNA to nurse
  • EMT to nurse
  • Physical therapist to nurse
  • Medical assistant to nurse
  • Phlebotomist to nurse

If you are considering taking your health care career to the next level by earning your BSN and becoming a nurse, you are in luck. Your prior patient care experience makes you well-suited for a transition to nursing. Working with patients in your past career prepares you for nursing because you likely already possess many qualities you will use daily as a nurse, such as:

  • Interpersonal communication
  • Integrity
  • Trust
  • Empathy
  • Attention to detail
  • Teamwork

How to Transition to Nursing

To make the change from another health care job to nursing, here are the steps you can take to start an exciting new nursing career. Attending an accelerated nursing program like ours at PLU can save time and help you earn your nursing degree in as few as 16 months.

nurse in scrubs working with IV

Here are the steps for the career change to nursing:

  1. Choose a nursing program, taking into consideration the following:
    • Accelerated vs. traditional format
    • Program requirements
    • Program length
    • Availability of online courses
    • Accessibility for second-career students
    • First-time NCLEX pass rates
    • Admission support
    • Quality of clinical education
  2. Speak with an admission counselor to discuss your path to the ABSN program. Your counselor will assist you with all aspects of the admission process, helping you identify the following:
    • Your ABSN eligibility
    • Your goal start date
    • Any unmet ABSN requirements
    • Your timeline for completing prerequisites
    • The nursing school application process and timeline
  3. Complete any unmet requirements or prerequisites.
  4. Submit a completed application for nursing school.
  5. Earn your BSN degree.
  6. Pass the NCLEX and earn your state registered nurse license.
  7. Begin your nursing career!
Nursing students working together in sim lab

Wondering what to expect in the ABSN program? Here's a glimpse of what nursing school is like.

Learn More About Earning Your Degree from PLU

Making the career switch to nursing is achievable in as few as 16 months with the ABSN program at PLU. Offering three start dates each year, our ABSN program near Seattle is the ideal place to earn your degree. You can apply the experience and skills from your prior career and become a skilled and compassionate nurse.

The ABSN program is for students with at least 60 non-nursing college credits or a non-nursing bachelor’s degree. You will learn through a mix of online courses, skills and simulation labs and clinical rotations. These three modalities will ensure that you are prepared for all facets of nursing.

Take the next step toward the career change to nursing by contacting our admission counselors to learn more about the ABSN program at PLU.