Nursing as a First or Second Career: What to Consider


Whether you’re just out of high school or it’s been decades since you sat in a classroom, you might be considering a career in nursing. It’s common to turn to nursing after years as a stay-at-home parent or in another job that they did not find fulfilling. It has several advantages for both young and older adults alike, including a healthy job market and good compensation. Many also find it a meaningful career because it gives them the opportunity to help people. Below are a few things you may want to consider if you are thinking about starting a first or second career in nursing.


The cost of nursing school is going to vary a great deal based on what path you decide to take. You may qualify as an LPN in as little as a year in some programs, but if you decide to get a bachelor’s degree to become an RN or pursue a career as a physician assistant, you are going to be in school for longer. If this is your second career, you may have more resources than many younger students. If you’re looking for funding for your education, scholarships and grants are one option, and some medical facilities may offer help with tuition.

Taking out loans is another option, and this is another place where older students may have advantages over younger ones because they have had an opportunity to build a credit history. Younger students may need a cosigner, which is someone who can guarantee the loan for you even if you don’t have much in the way to reassure lenders yourself. The drawback is that it can be tough to ask someone to cosign for you because it’s tough to commit to a big responsibility. You can review a guide to get a better idea of what you should consider and how you should ask.

Your Energy Levels

This isn’t the job for someone who wants to be able to put in their hours and forget about it for the rest of the day. For one thing, many nursing positions can be physically exhausting. There can also be an emotional toll from working with people who are sick or dying. Think about whether you genuinely have the energy needed to succeed and to give your patients your best each day.

A Helping Profession

The good news is that despite the expense of school and the demanding nature of the profession, this is also a career in which you can feel good about being able to help people during some of the most stressful and vulnerable times of their lives. Nursing isn’t always about hard times either, as you may help patients heal, deliver babies, and give people good news about their condition or prognosis. Not every job is created equal, and you may have to practice career development strategies often and then look around to find the position and environment that suits you, but working in the medical field can give you a real sense of meaning in your life.


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