Being a full-time parent is a job onto itself. Many people don’t appreciate it until they are in the thick of parenthood. You are a carer, a teacher, a babysitter, a tour guide, a chauffeur, etc. Raising great children is hard work, and the work never ends. That’s why when they’re finally grown up, you need to put that energy somewhere. There is no better-suited role than nursing.
Nursing can mean anything that you want it to. While many start their careers in hospitals, moving up the career ladder can mean working anywhere you want. You can work as an educator, in clinics, in hospitals, in care homes, or even in research centers. Nurses are in huge demand, and the roles are exceptionally varied. You can specialize in any area of medicine you want, work in a variety of environments, and get paid well.
How to Start a New Career in Nursing After Being a Full-Time Parent
The only thing you need to be ready to do is work and study. If you try to continue your career without formal qualifications, you will hit a dead end. Nurses are being encouraged now more than ever before to obtain their BSN. If you want to reach the highest level of nursing, you will need an MSN or even a doctorate.
Working while studying can be very fulfilling if done right. Starting a new career after your children have grown can feel daunting. However, the clear structure and tremendous job growth of nursing can make easing back into work simple. You’re already well prepared to deal with ongoing chaos and daily tasks from being a full-time parent. Now you will direct that energy into working and studying.
If you want to become a nurse, use this guide to help you get your foot in the door. It will take a few years to work your way up to where you want to be. However, the effort will be more than worth it.
Ensure Nursing is Right for You
As a full-time parent, you already have many of the skills and traits of a great nurse. You are compassionate, patient, ready to handle messes, and able to handle stress. If you are looking to use these skills in a practical and rewarding way, nursing is certainly for you.
The future of nursing is also very bright for prospective nurses. An estimated 1 million RNs are retiring in the next decade. This leaves massive holes in the healthcare industry that need to be filled. Even before then, there are an estimated 200,000 new nursing openings every year.
What this means for those who push towards the higher tier of nursing is simple: a lot of opportunity and very high salaries. You won’t have to be concerned with finding a job. Once you are qualified, you will have your pick of places.
Volunteer as a Hospital or Care Home
You know there’s almost a guarantee you will not just find a job, but you’ll have your pick of jobs. The only thing that you need to determine for yourself now is whether or not the type of work is for you. Even if your goal is to go into teaching student nurses, eventually, you need a lot of clinical hours behind you, thousands of hours.
You need to love your job as a nurse, even if you don’t intend to work as an RN until you retire. To determine if this is the sort of work that is interested in, it’s a good idea to volunteer. Hospitals have volunteer openings all the time, as do care homes. Volunteer here for a short while to get a handle on the working environment you would be in and whether the work is right for you.
Get Your CNA License
If you are still interested in nursing, getting your Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) license is your first step. The training for your CNA takes only a few short weeks. Once you pass the exam and earn your license, you can finally start working and getting paid for your efforts.
Becoming a Registered Nurse: What You Need to Know
Once you are an RN, you have a lot of options open to you. You can work and travel; work in hospitals, clinics, and care homes. You can start to specialize through certifications, and even move out of the clinical side of healthcare entirely and work in research or nurse recruitment.
There are two paths to become an RN. One is through certification; the other is through a BSN. Nurses with a BSN earn, on average, $30,000 more than RNs without a BSN, making your degree more than worthwhile.
The Non-BSN Route
The next level up above a CNA is a Licensed Practical Nurse. Now, you can become a Registered Nurse (the most commonly thought of position when you think of “nurse”) with an LPN certification. However, for the sake of your future and job security purposes, you will want to work to complete a BSN.
If you need more time for any reason, you can go the non-BSN route to become an RN. Then, you can work to complete your BSN at a later date.
The BSN Route
In the future, hospitals and other healthcare workplaces will request that at least 80% of their RNS should hold a BSN. Whether they can make up these numbers or not is still up for debate. What it means for you, though, is that having a BSN will mean you will have more options and greater job security than most can boast about.
Going up further makes you even more attractive in the job market. There is such a shortage of APRNs that you could even convince your employer to sponsor your education for you. Nurse educators are in such demand that 75,000 students are turned away every year because there isn’t enough staff to teach them.
All of these options are open to you only when you have a BSN to back you up. There are higher education degrees that allow you to complete your MSN and DNP simultaneously. This means you can reach that top tier of nursing in just a few short years. You cannot do this without that BSN, making it a great launching point to invest your time in.
How to Direct Your Career in Nursing Towards Your Goal
Having a clear-cut goal when you first start your career in nursing can help you try out new things and direct your efforts from the start. Specialize in your BSN and MSN, and you can be qualified for the role you want faster and cheaper. When you first start your degree is the perfect time to explore your options. You will develop a clear-minded goal you can then work towards it .
1. Shadow Different Departments
There are dozens of departments in any given hospital. There are a variety of roles in any clinic or care home. As a CNA, you will be working to assist those in a multitude of departments. This is why it’s an excellent time to work your way horizontally and observe what is going on around you. See what areas of medicine or nursing interests you the most, because that is the career path you will want to pursue.
2. Know What Type of Work/Life Balance You Want
It’s okay if you don’t like the hospital work/life balance. There are so many other places that nurses can and need to work in. You can work as a nurse in a clinic and enjoy a 9 to 5. You can operate as a school nurse in high schools or universities. Work your way up to a doctorate, and you can even enjoy a professor’s work/life balance.
Some need the challenge of chaos. Others want a laid back, consistent schedule. There is no right or wrong balance, just the one that helps you be your best self. Be honest, and you can work your way towards a future career that makes you happy.
3. Specialize at Every Opportunity
There are many ways to specialize as a nurse. Specialized degrees are the most obvious. However, there will be additional training opportunities in everything from leadership to using a new machine. Always see if your employer would be happy to sponsor your training. It is in their best interest that more of their staff are highly trained, especially in the use of the latest healthcare tools.
4. Stay on Top of Nursing Trends
Nursing is expected to take on more roles in telehealth and holistic care. Knowing what to expect of you as a nurse in the future can help you prepare your career so that you are at the forefront of whatever you want to do.
Get Started with Your New Career Today
Nursing is a clear-cut career that has plenty of options for you to transform into your dream job. Just remember to stay committed to further training and keep an eye on the horizon as you work your way to your goal.