Are you thinking of going to nursing school but think it’s too late? Think again! Many mid-career workers are giving nursing a chance as a second career. Some are attracted by the good salaries and the high demand for nurses. Other are looking for more meaningful work. Whatever your reason, to become a nurse at 40 and beyond is not impossible. Here is some of what you need to know about making the career transition to become a nurse.
Qualifications and Education
The first step in your career change is to know what you need to become a nurse. The first step is to obtain the proper education. To become licensed, all states require students to graduate from an approved nursing program. Nursing programs include classroom instruction as well as clinical experience. The program is designed to give you hands-on knowledge, ask questions in real-life scenarios and connect with nurses. The experience will also give you the chance to observe how a medical facility runs.
Licensed practical nurses are entry-level nurses. LPNs provide basic patient care. They monitor patient vitals, check and apply bandages, and administer medications.
Practical nurses must complete an accredited program and pass the National Council Licensure Exam for Practical Nurses, or NCLEX-PN.
Registered nurses serve as a backbone of patient care. They work with physicians and communicate with patients and their families. They engage in more sophisticated care than LPNs. Board certification allows RNs to become highly specialized in areas like critical care, oncology, and other key health disciplines. RNs must also be licensed to practice, a process that requires that they complete an accredited nursing program and pass the National Council Licensure Exam for Registered Nurses, or NCLEX-RN.
The Mid-Life Advantage
The field of nursing offers unique benefits to people seeking a mid-life career change. Most people throughout their lives acquire many skills needed for nursing by working, raising families and simply living life. In nursing, experience is considered an asset and often second career nurses can advance more quickly than their younger counterparts. Previous careers often enrich and deepen fundamental nursing skills. It’s hard to beat life experience.
People who already have a two-year or four-year college degree may have a big advantage. Even if you have just some completed college coursework, some courses you have already passed may be able to count toward an accelerated nursing degree. Depending on existing and education and degrees, some students are able to complete their BSN degree in one of these accelerated programs in as little as a year. After completing a nursing program, the next step is to become certified as a registered nurse by passing the NCLEX-RN exam.
Get Paid to Train
It is possible to train to be a nurse and get paid at the same time. Some hospitals have programs that pay for your nursing education if you promise to work for the hospital for a set amount of time. You may work in a non-nursing position at the hospital while going to school at the same time. Other possibilities include the hospital reimbursing your educational expenses once you are working there. Or you may be paid the costs upfront and give you a small monthly stipend to cover living expenses. If you are currently working at a medical facility as a lab technician or receptionist you may have an advantage. Many hospitals offer tuition reimbursement or promote nurses from within.
No matter your new career path, be it as an LPN or RN, you can find a nursing program that's suited to your current educational level and time frame. Athena Career Academy has several options to choose from no matter where you are if life. Contact us today at 419-329-4075 to learn more about how you can transition to a career in nursing.