Are you considering nursing as a second career, but worry about going back to school or fear you're "too old?" Think again. According to a 2008 National Survey Sample of Registered Nurses published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the average age of all licensed nurses is 47 years old, with 45 percent of registered nurses aged 50 or older. You may be entering the game a little later than those already in the field, but you'll find yourself surrounded by many coworkers within your age range and older. You'll possess a few advantages over your younger colleagues who followed the traditional route of study right out of high school.
If the prospect of going back to college for another four years seems a bit daunting, you can opt to pursue a two-year associate degree of nursing (ADN) as well as the traditional bachelor of science in nursing (BSN). Second career nurses who already have a bachelor's degree within another field might consider entering an accelerated program for their BSN, which can be completed in four semesters. In addition to this program, The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) reports that there are currently 230 accelerated BSN programs with 33 new ones in the works.
The AACN reports that nursing programs not only welcome second career nursing students but that the programs' instructors feel that they offer a valuable asset to their school's program as well as the profession itself. Most notably, individuals who choose nursing as a second career tend to be more motivated, eager to engage in clinical experiences, and exceed their younger counterparts academically.
Entering the Workforce
Even if your previous career was unrelated to nursing or health care, your "real world" work experience becomes an attractive selling point to potential employers. Jacksonville State University's Susan M. Di Biase CRNP, MSN, was a second career nurse herself, and now teaches them. She has witnessed firsthand the advantages that second degree nurses have in certain hiring situations. "My first employer made a custom of hiring second degree students because she thought they were good thinkers and strong patient advocates," says Di Biase, according to the AACN site.
Bringing Home the Bacon
If you're still undecided about going back to school for nursing as a second career, take note of this: The average national wage for registered nurses in 2010 was $31.10 an hour, with an expected job growth rate of 26 percent through 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. You have the potential to earn a great wage and have more job opportunities than most professions along with a variety of specialties to choose from to find the best fit for you. So if you're ready for a change, consider pursuing nursing as a second career. Make your dream a reality by learning about Fortis nursing programs.
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