6 Tips For Transitioning To A Nursing Career

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A nurse with a stethoscope.

Are you planning to switch to a nursing career? Do you want to work for a noble cause instead of following your mundane and monotonous nine-to-five routine? Do you want a lucrative career with brighter career prospects? Or are you struggling to find work with your current academic background? Nursing is a fantastic choice, no matter what reasons prompted a career switch for you.

A career in nursing entails both challenges and rewards. Nurses work round the clock to ensure that their patients receive quality care and leave the hospital healthily. Transitioning into such a daunting job may require more than dedication and academic qualifications. You must develop new skills and work habits to adapt to the new job. Nurses must possess a wide array of skills like exceptional skills in communication and problem-solving, empathy, patience, and teamwork. This career change can be overwhelming for people from non-healthcare fields. But, if you have decided to take this challenge head-on, steer clear of any disturbing thoughts.

Here’s a guide to help you out if you are transitioning to nursing.  

1. Choose an educational path

While switching careers, it is crucial to consider the educational paths, career goals, and personal circumstances beforehand. Research all the options available for becoming a nurse. The fastest and shortest route to becoming a qualified registered nurse is an ABSN program, which provides you with all the essentials of a traditional BSN program. So what is an ABSN, and how can you enroll in one? Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing or ABSN programs offer greater affordability, flexibility, comprehensive curriculum, and placement support for nursing aspirants. This program is designed to help you obtain your BSN and become a registered nurse in as little as one year by using the credits you already have from your previous undergraduate studies. You can easily choose an online institute that offers an ABSN and be well on your way to a nursing career.

2. Seek guidance from a nurse

If you are eager to learn about the professional life of a nurse, contact one already in that line of work. An informational interview with a working nurse will help you learn about real-life experiences, challenges, and drawbacks. During an interview, you can ask questions like:

  • What does a day in your life look like?
  • What do you like most about your job?
  • What do you find challenging about your job?
  • How do you define a good nurse?

If you don’t know someone from the nursing field, try networking. The simplest way to do this is to contact a nursing school. Email them about your query or ask about any upcoming informational sessions in your area. If this doesn’t work out, set up a LinkedIn profile to find registered nurses near you. Once you find someone willing to talk, ask away all your concerns and gather related information.

3. Talk to your family

Nursing school is demanding and rigorous. By the time you decide to opt for a second career, you will probably have family responsibilities on your shoulders. Nursing school students already have enough on their plates with long clinical hours, nerve-racking coursework, and more. So juggling additional family responsibilities on top of nursing studies may affect your mental and physical health. Thus, it is crucial to have family support to get through challenging times.

Think through ways to balance your study and personal life. You must set a working plan to ensure you spend enough time with your family. Your children must be on the top of your priority list if you have any. Going to nursing school will also put your family through financial strain, so be sure to sort out a financial plan.

4. Get help from college advisors

You must have heard of a college advisor or career counselor at your school, right? Have you ever paid a visit to their office? Probably not! This is the time for you to seek guidance from a college advisor on your decision about career transition. Consult your educational advisor at your earliest to ensure that your career trajectory lines with your career goals. These seasoned professionals are equipped with tools to help you identify which courses you must take or the prerequisites for entering the nursing field. Also, you can visit the nursing department at your school if there is any. Attend their informational sessions to learn more about the admission procedures and criteria. You can find out if they offer scholarships to help students mitigate financial burdens.

5. Shadow a nurse

Nurse shadowing is one of the most helpful ways for a career switch. When you enter nursing school, try to seek opportunities for nurse shadowing. Following a nurse around as they perform their daily tasks will help get an insight into their primary roles and responsibilities. You can also get hands-on experience in how to deal with unprecedented situations. If you find the shadowing process interesting and realize that you have all the essential skills to be a nurse, it will validate your career-switching decision.

Shadowing will also help you determine what you are good at. On the job, you can figure out what patient population suits you more, which setting works for you, and more. Thus, it will help narrow down your specialty options for post-graduate studies. Furthermore, working with a senior nurse may also open doors for future networking opportunities.

6. Try getting a job in the healthcare sector

Another option to get a sneak peek into a nurse’s life is looking for ways to join healthcare settings. For this purpose, you don’t necessarily need to shadow a nurse. But you can pursue any job which doesn’t require a healthcare degree. For example, you may either work as an administrative assistant, etc. The nature of the job doesn’t matter as long as you can approach nurses and observe their daily work life. Or you may also look up jobs for a nurses’ aid that typically last for 1.5-3 months.

Working alongside nurses will give you an outlook on your life as a nurse, what challenges you can expect, and the accompanying rewards you may get. It will also help you decide if a career in nursing is right for you.


Transitioning into a nursing career from a non-healthcare field can be extremely challenging and overwhelming. You need dedication, motivation, and a few helpful tips for a successful transition apart from educational qualifications. Read this article for a few helpful tips to start your career transitioning journey on the right foot.

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