When it comes to deciding what to study at College or University, some are still too young to know for certain. But as we get older, a lot of our interests and values change, and as a result, many of us will consider a career change at some point in life.
Nursing is something a lot of people turn to as a second career choice. According to Business Insider in 2018, 83% of nurses were satisfied with their career choice. Can you say the same for your current job role?
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If you’re considering a career – or career change – in nursing, read on to find out how to make it possible.
Choosing nursing as a career: The basics
Is nursing a good career for me?
There is always a high demand for new nurses, but deciding whether it’s the career for you is the tricky part. Generally, if you enjoy helping others, love interacting with people of all ages, and don’t mind getting stuck in, nursing is definitely an option.
Nursing can provide you with a hugely fulfilling career that provides a valuable service to your local community – and beyond. Becoming a nurse is a chance to give back to people who need it, with options to climb a career ladder down a specific interest – from executive nursing leadership, family nurse practitioner, midwifery, or pediatric nursing.
Do I need experience in health care?
No. Student nurses come from all walks of life. What’s important to nursing are the ‘soft skills’ you learn along the way, E.g., Empathy, professionalism, and positivity. Some student nurses will come from health care backgrounds; however, those that have studied humanities, arts, engineering, and other topics have all gone on to be very successful nurses in their field.
How do I become a nurse?
As E-Learning has become more popular than ever, colleges are now offering online nursing courses and accelerated BSN programs that allow for flexible learning to fit around other priorities and work while providing clinical placements and preparation for the licensure exam.
If you’re interested in changing your career or are choosing nursing as your first choice, contact online colleges or universities in your area to check the requirements. Some schools allow those with bachelor degrees to transfer their existing knowledge and skills into a nursing qualification with additional skills being learned and practiced through the course.
Are nursing courses expensive?
Online nursing courses are a particularly affordable way to make a career change. Baylor University, for example, offers competitive rates and financial aid programs to help you get started.
There are several routes a nurse can take, with different qualifications required for each one. When you have completed your BSN qualification, you can choose to specialize in a specific area of nursing. These include:
- Family Nurse Practitioner
- Neonatal services
Executive Nurse Leadership
A course in executive nurse leadership can lead to huge career progression. Executive Nurse Leadership is a little less hands-on and more about the business side of the industry. You’ll learn how to obtain and allocate financial and human resources across the practice and how to optimize departments to provide the best service and experience for patients, nurses, and organizations alike. You will also be able to advocate for nursing with key decision-makers in the healthcare industry. Essentially, as a Nurse Executive, you can bring around the changes you want to see.
Family Nurse Practitioner
Family Nurse Practitioners typically work under a physician but with a high level of autonomy and responsibility. Sometimes, FNPs even have their own private practices. Their role is to provide primary and specialty care to patients across all age groups. Family Nurse Practitioner is an increasingly popular career choice for nurses. In fact, between 2007 and 2017, the number of FNPs in the US doubled and is expected to grow another 31% by 2026.
Neonatal nursing practitioner programs are for nurses interested in working with new families, who want to work with premature or sick newborn babies across the ICU, delivery, and emergency departments. A neonatal nursing practitioner is an integral part of the team who provides an empathetic link between doctors and the family during a period of high stress. Neonatal nurses look after the care of healthy newborns, while practitioners have advanced knowledge to look after those most vulnerable.
Midwifery courses are for nurses with a passion for women-centric care for both mothers and newborns. A midwife course will teach you how to care for both high-risk families with complications during the pregnancy, as well as other childbearing families. Midwifery covers everything from gynecologic examinations to disease prevention and cares for the baby within the first 28 days. It is an incredibly fulfilling career that brings endless joy to both nurses and the families they care for.
Pediatrics is the study of children’s health – both acute and primary care. You’ll help children get the care that they need, while providing families with the tools and tips to prevent health issues throughout their child’s life. Pediatric nurses and practitioners are in high demand, too. According to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, only 4% of nurse practitioners specialize in pediatrics. And, of that 4% only 8% are qualified to provide acute care.
It’s worth mentioning that most specialist nursing services will require you to already have your BSN qualification in place. That means while you consider your choices, you can continue practicing in a role as a general nurse while gaining more experience in the departments that interest you. Alternatively, you can research each niche in depth or take a quiz to help you decide!
No matter what type of nurse you look to be, you are guaranteed great career prospects, a good career ladder, and a fulfilling day-to-day job. However, the role of a nurse is incredibly taxing and will require a high level of patience, determination, and when things go wrong, tough skin.
To find out more, visit your local University to understand their requirements and how their courses can help you achieve your career goals.
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