When you think of your grandparents, perhaps even your parents, and what they did for a living, what comes to mind? It’s likely to be just one thing – something that they were defined by, in many cases. Whatever it was they did, they did for life. In more recent times, this idea has all but disappeared, with the internet making it easier than ever not only to apply for jobs but to study for new qualifications too.
This means that a job for life is a much rarer thing, and it’s far more usual for someone to change jobs – even careers – every three to five years. For the most part, this is a good thing as it means that workers can try out a few different things before settling on whatever it is that suits them. They can work for a variety of different people before finding a place where they fit in. Yet, there is also an issue with working like this; it means there is no real job stability. Both employee and employer know that a new job might come up at any time, and staff will change.
Something of an anomaly in all this is nursing. It fits into both camps, being a career that people go into from an early age (often straight from high school, after taking the right college qualifications), and it’s something that people can switch to. Once they have made the switch, sometimes quite late in life, they do tend to stay in nursing until retirement. Why is this? Why does nursing draw in so many people who then stay for potentially decades? It’s one of the most rewarding careers you could go into, but this is not the only reason. Read on to find out why you should retrain as a nurse if you’re looking for a career that will last you for many years to come.
Nursing is Open to All
The profession of nursing is open to everyone, and this is a very tempting factor. Nurses are required, and no matter what background or experience you have, as long as you go to college – online or physically – to achieve your nursing qualifications, you can become a nurse and start working. There are even fast track systems that allow you to finish your training in a matter of weeks.
Despite this, despite the fact that this is one of the many reasons you might consider retraining to become a nurse later on in your career, nursing is not a profession that will suit everyone. This is something you need to consider very carefully before you apply for any training courses and make the commitment to start studying, especially if you have a full-time job already and a family to take care of – it’s going to be hard work, and you’ll need to know that nursing is something you can do.
Some of the things to think about when you’re deciding whether nursing is the right choice in terms of your career are:
- Shift work
- It’s hard physically, mentally, and emotionally
- You need to be a compassionate person who cares for others
- You need to be able to communicate with a variety of people
- You need to be able to work alone and in a team
- You must be patient
- You should have a willingness to learn
Not everyone has these skills and personality traits, and if that’s the case for you, it’s nothing to be ashamed of, but it might mean that nursing isn’t quite right for you. Having said that, there are dozens of different branches of nursing, so with some research, you might realize that becoming a specific type of nurse will work, even if a general RN would not.
So Much Choice
As briefly mentioned above, there are many different types of nurses. The term ‘nurse’ itself is extremely wide, describing a very general kind of career, and it doesn’t take into account all the different options that are available; if you study to become a nurse, you have a huge amount of choice when it comes to deciding exactly what kind of job you’re going to do and where you’re going to do it.
If, for example, you think you could do most good working in a cancer department helping terminally ill patients, you can. If you’re great with children, you can be a children’s nurse. You might want the speed and excitement of an ER or the precise nature of an OR. Whatever you are interested in, and wherever your skills lie, you can take your nursing career in that direction.
Access to Training
Whatever direction you decide to take your nursing career in, you’ll need the right training first, as there are specific nursing qualifications needed before you can start helping patients. The first qualification you receive will allow you to call yourself an RN (registered nurse), and if you’re happy to stay at that level, RNs are needed everywhere. However, you might also choose to look for promotions or work in other areas, at which point you might need to study for an FNP, DNP, or other nursing qualification. Usually, these will also require plenty of experience, so don’t rush into decisions when you’ve only just started working as a nurse; get used to the kind of work you’re doing first, and take your time when making your next move.
The training itself is very accessible. You can choose to attend a physical college, but there are problems with this – unless you have no other responsibilities, and you can spare the time to attend classes each day at a certain time, as well as factoring in the commuting time to get to the school itself, trying to juggle everything with your studies can feel impossible. In the past, this would have meant that many people who would have made excellent nurses just couldn’t train and therefore couldn’t take on the role.
Today, thanks to modern technology, you can learn online. There are several advantages to this, including the fact that you can learn at a time and in a place that suits you. If that means taking some time during your lunch break or when you’re waiting for the kids to finish football practice, that’s no problem. Or you could choose to work every evening for an hour, or early in the morning. The choice is entirely yours, and this level of comfort and flexibility, as well as the fact that there is no commute to consider and you don’t have to give up your job to study, is why so many people enjoy online learning and why so many more people are now able to become nurses who wouldn’t have had the chance before.
It’s a Calling
Some people won’t even need to question the idea that nursing is the right choice for them as they would consider it a calling. Even if it’s not the career, they first went into, even if it’s taken many decades to realize that nursing was what they would be happiest doing, they will make that choice, and they will have access to all the training and plenty of jobs to help them see their dream come true. Not everyone who becomes a nurse has a calling to do so, and it’s certainly not necessary, but some people just want to help others, and in nursing, that’s exactly what you are able to do, and it’s what you do multiple times every day.
When you have a calling to be a nurse, there is no other career you can see yourself working in. If you have this feeling, then you should act on it. There is, of course, research that you should carry out to ensure that you know exactly what would be expected of you in your role, and if you’re still keen to go ahead, then you should go for it. Life is too short to be doing anything you don’t enjoy, and even if it means short term hardship or logistical difficulties, once you reach your goal, it will all have been worth it, especially when you think of all the lives you can make a difference in.
You’ll Have Plenty of Support
If you decide to go into nursing at a late stage in your life, and you want to retrain as a nurse after doing something entirely different, or perhaps after staying at home to raise your children, you might be concerned that you won’t have any support, and that you’ll be left to ‘fend for yourself’ when it comes to both training and work. This would not be the case, even if your previous career was as far removed from nursing as it can be.
There will always be people there to support you. Not only your friends and family who ideally will be there to assist you and guide you when you’re feeling concerned, but there will also be many people who are either training to become nurses themselves, or who already have their nursing qualification and are now working. We should also mention the course leaders, who will be on hand to answer any questions you might have and to ensure you’re on the right track with your studies. Support can come from all kinds of directions, from online groups to friends and family, and it’s important to find that support so that you can be encouraged and feel more positive about everything you’re doing.
The truth is, if you’ve made the decision to become a nurse and change your life, you made that choice for a reason, meaning you’re already halfway there. Sometimes a little extra encouragement and support is all you need to help you actually get to the end result; this is why it’s crucial to look out for it.
Every Day is Different
Work can become dull, even depressing (and depression-inducing) when it is the same every single day. You arrive at the same time, you do the same tasks, you have your regular breaks, you speak to the same people, and then you go home to start the process all over again the next day, on and on, until you retire or change your profession to something more interesting.
Of course, for some, it’s this routine of work that they like; they enjoy knowing exactly where they are going to be and when they will be there. They like being able to plan for things before, during, and after work because their routine doesn’t change. It’s comforting, and they can be productive in this way.
Others, however, despise it, and for those, a career as a nurse might suit much better. To begin with, nurses work shifts, so although there is some routine during those shifts (as in the start and end time and, ideally, breaks too), they will work days, nights, and weekends in rotation, so they are able to enjoy different days off too. Not only that, but a nurse will never really know what is going to happen on their shift, and every day is entirely different from the next. This isn’t just the case for nurses in an ER where emergencies arrive at a fast pace, and they need to be assessed then and there; it’s also true for other departments. Each day is different from the last, meaning that being a nurse is something those who are craving a little more interest in their day to day working life will enjoy.
You Will Make a Difference
Maybe the biggest reason for retraining as a nurse, whatever you had been doing for work before, is that you will make a difference. You will make a difference to the patients you treat, their families, and of course, you’ll make a difference to the colleagues you’re working with; the more nurses available, the less stress and pressure there is on the others.
Plus, and this is something that can often be forgotten, you’ll make a difference to yourself. By retraining as a nurse and finally doing something you know you’ll enjoy, you’ll be good at, that will give you a sense of achievement and recognition, your life will be improved. Nursing is hard work, and it’s not something everyone will be able to handle, but if you’re one of the people who can do it, you shouldn’t let anything stop you; the doors to your new nursing career are open.