If you are a mom, one thought you probably didn’t have this week in between school pick-ups, soccer practices, meals, cleanings, work, and not enough sleep is “Yeah. I totally have enough time for nursing school.”
And yet busy parents all over the country are pivoting into healthcare careers. One obvious reason, of course, is that it is rewarding work. As a parent, you enjoy caring for people— or at least you’ve acquired the taste for it by now. And when you set aside all of the medical aspects, that’s what nursing is. It’s a profession all about taking care of others.
It’s also a career that is probably more accessible than you suspect. In this article, we take a look at why right now might be the perfect time to pivot into a career in nursing.
Changing Lanes is Easier than You Think
Granted, individual experience may vary, but yes— getting a job in medicine as an established adult is easier than doing it when you are eighteen. This is particularly true for people who already have a college degree.
With gen-eds out of the way, you are eligible for accelerated programs which can be completed in as little as eighteen months. Obviously, if you are working a full-time job, or just raising a full-time family, that might not be an enticing option.
But, of course, there’s no countdown. You can take as long as you need to. And that’s not all. As a parent you:
- Know what you want: More so than when you were a child, anyway. It’s crazy that we as a society ask kids to chart out the rest of their lives at approximately the same time they are shopping for prom dresses. As a parent, you’ve been around the block a few times. Hopefully, you have a clearer idea of how you would like to spend your professional life.
- You have improved access to funds: Again, this is not going to apply to everyone. As an adult, you may have a better savings account, assets (like your house), or even an employer who is willing to pay for some or all of your education. At the very least, you may be able to access financial advice that will help you make sensible borrowing decisions.
- You’re responsible: Finally, you’re also almost certainly more responsible than you were as a teenager. That alone can go a long way toward making college more manageable. While undergraduate work is challenging, it’s made infinitely more so by kids who don’t know how to use their time effectively. Fortunately, time management is one skill that most parents who’ve mastered getting their kids to school on time have down.
Now that you know why you are a good candidate for becoming a nurse, let’s take a look at how you can make it happen.
Step 1: Find the Right Program for You
Once you decide that you want to become a nurse, the first step is to figure out how long that journey will take. Look into schools that are either in your community or accessible online. Most people will find that there are many different options.
Keep in mind that online classes can be a very good opportunity for parents who feel they don’t have time for a lengthy commute. Most brick-and-mortar universities now offer robust e-learning opportunities— allowing you to truly customize your educational experience.
Best of all, online classes may allow you to attend schools that would have otherwise been geographically inaccessible. Just make sure that the program you are interested in will cooperate with your local hospitals when it comes time for clinical experience.
Step 2: Make a Plan
Once you know what program you will be taking, it’s time to map your future out. You certainly don’t have to remain locked into a plan that you came up with before ever even taking a class, but a roadmap can help you evaluate your progress and manage expectations.
Most people will benefit from starting slow and seeing where things go. You can always load up on classes next semester if things go well. Right now, you may benefit from easing in and giving yourself time to adjust to life as a student again.
Step 3: Hit the Books!
You’ll quickly find that nursing school is no walk in the park. It’s time to study hard. If you have a solid support system, now is the time to start hitting them up. Even if you mostly take care of yourself, there are still ways to manage school with parenthood.
Focus on making sure your basic needs are being met. Eat right. Exercise. Sleep as much as you can. Remember that while your life may feel like it is broken into distinct categories your experiences bleed into one another.
If you’re overly exhausted, it will negatively impact your ability to complete school.
Step 4: See it Through Til the End
Ultimately, your educational journey toward becoming a nurse will take however long it takes. While the road won’t be easy, you will get through it eventually.
Once you graduate nursing school, you will need to pass a series of tests and certifications (actual requirements vary from state to state) before you can become fully registered. After that, all that is left is to start your career as a nurse!
Now is a Good Time
It’s also worth noting that now is a good time to become a nurse. The culture around how nurses are treated has been shifting subtly over the last few years— a combination of lingering appreciation for what nurses did during the pandemic, and a simple acknowledgment of the fact that they’ve been treated unfairly for too long. Being a nurse is by no means easy, but it has gotten a little more comfortable.
Hospitals all over the country are increasing their incentives in the form of improved hours, mental health resources, and even compensation. Furthermore, because there are shortages all over the country, you should have an easy time finding work when you get out of school.
Nurses of the past have sometimes had to move to find work— after all, small towns may only have one hospital within driving distance. If that hospital isn’t hiring, locals are pretty much out of luck.
All of these combine to create a uniquely welcoming climate for people interested in pursuing nursing as a second career. What are you waiting for? Enroll now to begin your journey toward a rewarding job in healthcare.