How to Successfully Navigate a Career Change into Nursing

in Tips on 5th July 2020

Nursing is a very rewarding career, especially if you have the drive to really push yourself to the next level, time and time again. With that drive, you can earn over $100,000 a year, work your own hours, and really focus on an area in medicine that you love. 

The healthcare industry is powered by registered nurses, and though this is where you will start your career, it is by no means where you will end it. There are so many different subsets of nursing, as well as workplaces that you can customize your career to best suit your temperament and needs throughout your life. 

Nursing will always be in demand, as well. With over 800,000 unfilled RN positions and a further 1 million RNs set to retire by 2030, the industry is hot. The chances of you not finding and securing a position in a hospital or clinic near you is infinitesimal, and that was before the lockdown. Not only is there a shortage, but the necessity for RNs also tallies up into lives. On average, every extra RN on staff will save 9 more people out of 1000 patients discharged. Overall, this means a 4% reduced risk of death

With greater respect for nurses around the world, plenty of job availability, and the ability to really customize your career further on, nursing is the ideal change for anyone looking to find meaning in their lives. 

Understand Your Nursing Career 

The best way to navigate into a career change towards nursing is to understand nursing. 

The Traditional Nursing Route 

The traditional nursing role is often taken by those without any formal qualifications. It is an easy and effective way to start your career, earn money, and then work your way up while studying from there. 

Certified Nursing Assistant 

For many, the first step on the ladder to become a nurse is to become a certified nursing assistant. You will take care of patients at this level, change their bedpans, bathe them, check and record vitals, and so on. Before becoming a CNA, you will need to complete the Certificate of Nursing Assistance. 

Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) 

An LPN is a lower level than an RN and requires a nursing degree. LNs can even work to become an RN without a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, but it is not recommended if you want to advance your career further. 

Registered Nurse 

Registered nurses are often the first thought that comes to peoples’ minds when they think about nurses. You can become an RN with a degree in nursing, but it is far better to work your way through a full Bachelor of Science in Nursing. This is because to advance your career further and become an Advanced Registered Practitioner Nurse (APRN), you need to achieve a master’s degree, which is only available with a BSN as a prerequisite. 

Advanced Registered Practitioner Nurse (APRN) 

Your BSN and any Post-Masters Nursing Certificates (for example, in anaesthesiology or midwifery) are essential to allow you to direct your career to the highest-paying jobs. APRNs can become administrative staff, can work very closely with doctors even during surgery, can become midwives, and so much more. The sky is the limit. 

Ways to Accelerate Your Nursing Career 

The above is the traditional route. It can take years before you ever become a registered nurse, and if you are looking to change your career, that isn’t ideal. Thankfully you can skip a lot of those steps with the Baylor fastbacc nursing degree, which allows you to transfer credits from your Bachelor’s so you can accelerate your BSN and become an RN faster. 

The credits you will need to have achieved during your Bachelor’s includes: 

General 

  • English Composition I
  • English Composition II
  • English Literature
  • Federal Government
  • Bible-based Religion
  • World Religion
  • History 

Science 

  • Microbiology
  • Anatomy & Physiology I
  • Anatomy & Physiology II
  • Chemistry
  • Nutrition
  • Statistics 
  • Intro to Psychology
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Intro to Sociology

If you don’t have any of these credits, don’t worry. Simply get in touch with your advisor so that accommodations can be made or arrangements made so you can achieve your missing credits. 

Choosing the Right Pathway 

If you are looking to change careers into nursing, then there is no reason not to use the accelerated option. It does not hurt your opportunities to not have nursing experience beyond your clinic hours when job hunting. With such a large RN shortage, you can easily go through the accelerated route and secure yourself a job at an institution of your choice. 

The only time you won’t go through the accelerated route is if you don’t have a Bachelor’s degree. Then you will need to go through the traditional route through a regular BSN. These degrees typically require nursing experience. 


Online Learning 


Regardless of which type of pathway you choose for yourself, always opt for the online learning option when it comes to completing your formal education. The only exception is the CNA certificate, which can be completed in just a few weeks. 


By opting to learn online, you can continue to work at your day job while learning on your own time. For those looking to change career paths, this can help keep you financially secure during the interim. Considering that a traditional BSN can take up to four years to complete, being able to work is going to be so important to maintain your financial stability, even with a student loan. 

Be a Self-Starter 

If you want to truly succeed as a nurse, you need to be a go-getter. The higher-level nursing positions pay well and are in-demand, so you need to be willing to consistently push yourself to work and learn for years, well beyond your BSN. Healthcare changes on a regular basis and though working in the industry will keep you updated on many of it, it is a very formalized job role. 


This means you need to be ready to get certified in how to use a new machine. You need to complete post-doctor’s masters, you need to keep learning to succeed. If you have this drive, your options in nursing are almost limitless. 

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