It can be tough trying to get back into work after those first crucial years of parenting. Time off on a resume can make it even harder to get back into the workforce in the same job you had when you left, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Nursing is a very rewarding career and the need for new nurses is growing.
With a massive nursing shortage that is only expected to get worse, and a greater emphasis on BSN-level RNs, now is the perfect time to kick-start a nursing career. All you need is to follow these steps:
If You Can, Opt for the Accelerated Route
If you already have a bachelor’s in any subject, but that degree has turned out to be non-essential in your career so far, now is the time to put it to work. There are accelerated nursing programs available online that allow you to transfer credits you would have already earned in your bachelor’s towards your nursing degree. This will significantly cut down on the cost of a BSN, and allow you to complete it much faster.
It’s the perfect way to kickstart a nursing career, and don’t feel bad about not working your way up, first as a CNA and then as an LPN. There is a massive nursing shortage around the country and BSN-level nurses are in huge demand. You will get the experience through clinic hours and placements, and you will be a fully-fledged nurse by the time you are finished with your BSN degree.
If you can’t take the accelerated route, use stepping stones
If you don’t have a Bachelor’s already, then don’t worry. You can start a career in nursing in just a few weeks by taking a Nursing Assistant Certification and then completing the state exam. CNAs might not have the most glamorous of jobs, but it will allow you to collect a paycheck while you work on your Licensed Practical Nurse certification and then, finally, your BSN.
Once you are an RN with a BSN you have so many possibilities ahead of you. APRNs are at the top of their field and can specialize in a variety of medical fields. They are also paid extremely well, with some roles earning over $100,000 per year.
Try to decide your specialization ASAP
You won’t be able to specialize until you start looking into an MSN, but that is no reason not to start looking at your options and trying to figure out where your interests lie beforehand. You can do this by exploring the different departments, reading medical journals to see what areas of medicine most interest you, and generally just exploring the nursing roles available that would be of interest to you.
By knowing the pathway that you want to take, you can direct your career and forget about wasting time getting new certifications to make you eligible for what you want to do. By thinking ahead and exploring your options through reading, interviewing, and even shadowing you can work your way backwards from your dream so you know for a fact that your efforts will qualify you down the line.
Learn how to successfully juggle work and study
The best way to accelerate your career is to continue nursing while you work on completing your BSN, MSN, and even eventually a DNP. By staying on course while you work and study you can reach your dream position or at the very least, qualify for higher paid positions before you know it.
Unlike completing medical school and then working as a doctor, nurses can work and learn, which makes it a much more accessible role for everyone.
The below tips can help if you are hoping to become an APRN or DNP RN faster:
Improve Your Health Through Routine
When the body is healthy it can handle a big workload. Trying to get through even just a standard desk job when you have had a bad nights sleep, or if you feel under the weather, then you’ll struggle to get to the end of the day.
Eating healthy, exercising, and getting a good night’s sleep are your secret weapons for success. You can even cut down on the effort these take by prepping meals in advance, combining exercise with another activity (like your commute or socializing) and of course for sleep the best tip is to go to bed at the same time every day, and to wake up at the same time every morning. Yes, even on weekends!
Study Tips to Help You Succeed
Nursing requires a lot of revision and memory-based studying, which is why you will need to improve how you study and revise on a daily basis.
~Create Notes on Each Subject
Rewriting what you learn in a way that you can best understand is invaluable. It will help you immensely with your revision if you use your own notes, and not just copy-pasted snippets from your texts.
Alternatively you can also work with a study group, who will aim to create study notes for one subject so you can all specialize in one chapter, and then use the revision notes from the others.
~Revise on Your Commute
You cannot cram. Instead you need to revise over and over again, and what better time to do this than on your commute? If you are driving, then you could use text-to-speak features to listen to your notes instead.
Pace Yourself Appropriately
The best piece of advice, however, is to pace yourself appropriately. If you keep burning out and then are forced to stop your degree while you physically and emotionally recover you aren’t making progress. By instead pacing yourself you make an even amount of effort towards APRN or DNP levels. It may take longer, but consistency is the key to success and is how you will work this hard without burning out.
Care for your health and care for your wellbeing, because without these your career and education efforts will falter and even fail. By striking that right balance you will make consistent steps towards your goal, and will reach it before you know it.