When you have raised a family and your children are seeking their own independence, it is time to start doing something for yourself. If you want to pursue a career change or establish a career in an industry that rewards and appreciates your efforts, now is the time to do so – and a life-enriching option that is full of rewards, excitement, self-growth, and plenty of challenges along the way is nursing.
A rewarding nursing career could be waiting just around the corner, but what do you need to do to make it happen and ensure that everything falls into place for your and your future?
Assessing Why Nursing is Right For You
To start off, you really need to establish why nursing is right for you. Even if you know there is no other career you want to do, you must still take time out to demonstrate to yourself why it is a good choice. When you can focus on these core areas, you then have the dedication, the direction, and the persistence to achieve your career goals and aspirations.
So, do you want to get into nursing because you value the healthcare industry? Would you like to become a nurse to make a difference in the lives of others? Or, would you like to enhance the treatment and care that patients receive?? What is driving this nursing career? Answer these questions, and you will figure out if heading into this fantastic field of work is something that’s right for you and your personal circumstances.
Choosing the Route You Want to Follow
After ascertaining why you want to become a nursing professional, you then need to decide what route to take. For example, if you already hold a degree in a relevant field, would you consider enhancing your education and pursuing a higher degree level, such as a master’s?
Alternatively, would you want to look at studying a specialized degree-level program from the outset? You also need to consider timeframes; for instance, do you want to become a nurse within the next couple of years or take it slower? The more questions and answers you can come up with at this early stage, the better off you will be.
Deciding on a Role and Specialism
Have you thought much about roles and specialisms, or are you just hoping that direction will find you as you study? As nursing is so varied, it would be naive to think that every role or position would be suitable for you. Therefore, looking at your skillset and leaning in the direction that feels comfortable to you will help you decide where you want to go and why.
For example, if you love seeing high standards of care in your kids’ lives, then why not translate this into a career in pediatrics? When you know what you love and where your passion lies, you will then be able to establish what steps should be taken moving forwards.
Setting Out a Timeline
It is important to pace yourself when you embark on a nursing career. You do not want to take on too much too soon, as this could leave you feeling overwhelmed. To ensure this does not happen and that you thoroughly enjoy the journey and the process, you need to set a timeline in place.
Decide how long you want to take to land your dream job and work the journey around your existing family commitments, and then start working backward from there. For instance, if you wish to be an acute care practitioner, see how long certification and licensing take, what programs you need to study, and when. When you have a good grasp on what needs to be achieved, you can start formulating a realistic and workable timeline – even if you are busy with family.
Advancing Your Education – Looking at Online Programs
Even if you already hold a degree or program that you think is suitable for your career in nursing, it is always wise to seek professional guidance and help. Licensing requirements and entrance requirements are high, and if you are not suitably educated or do not hold an advanced and focused education, you will find that you will struggle to land the position that you want.
So, for example, if you wish to work in acute care and adult-gerontology nursing, you may need to look at online acute care nurse practitioner programs to ensure that you gain the qualification that you need. Plus, online programs are great because they give you flexibility and greater control over your schedule, which can be extremely beneficial when you are already juggling a hectic life taking care of a family.
Establishing an Action Plan
Once you have got to grips with what you want to achieve and why, you have to start bringing it all together in the shape of an action plan. You are already very busy with family life, and you have a lot of commitments to keep, so to ensure that you can fit in training, preparation, and learning, you need to have a nurse-tailored action plan to work towards.
Without an action plan, you might find yourself procrastinating, and you may discover that you take longer to realize your goals and ambitions.
Getting Support from Family and Friends
Embarking on a new career can be chaotic, stressful, and overwhelming, especially if you already have a family to look after at the same time. Therefore, it is important to know that you do not need to struggle alone. Family members and friends are there to support you and offer guidance, and if this avenue is not available or not working for you, then reach out to the college where you are studying and ask for help.
Most colleges and universities – even online ones – offer specialized student support for almost any and every issue imaginable, so use them. Support at any level can help you build your confidence and squash any concerns or doubts you may hold, so do not suffer in silence when there is so much support available.
Building Your Skillset
No matter whether you are just starting out on your nursing career or you are already a seasoned pro, it is crucial to realize how important your skillset is. Being able to handle a variety of settings and scenarios, working effectively as part of a team, and being an excellent communicator are all skills you will need to work on and develop.
Hard skills, such as your education and learning, and soft skills, such as the ability to work in a team, will help you get the most out of your career in the nursing field. If you have a family, it can be difficult to work on these skills since time is surely lacking; however, if you want to put time into developing these areas, consider taking weekend or night classes or enroll in online courses that you can do at your leisure.