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Launching Your Next Career

If you’re looking for new opportunities, consider reinventing yourself in a nursing career 

By Dr. Laura Fillmore, Dean of the Second Degree Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) Option at Chamberlain College of Nursing 

If there’s one thing we can expect in life, its change. From friendships and families to schools and careers, we’re constantly adapting to change in an effort to grow, both personally and professionally. Given the current state of the economy, it’s important to provide practical guidance for the unemployed and underemployed job-seekers around the U.S. who are currently considering a career change

The Conference Board recently reported that U.S. job satisfaction was at its lowest level in more than two decades, while another study conducted by indicates that 60 percent of respondents were likely to be searching for a new job within the next six months as a result of job dissatisfaction. 

There are many reasons why people seek a career change. They may feel that they’re:

  • Underpaid based on their experience and skills
  • Not given any opportunities to advance their career
  • Burned out or unchallenged
  • Seeking the opportunity to contribute to the community 

While the process of changing careers can be stressful, embarking on this journey can also be an exciting time. With the proper amount of research, networking and self-awareness, a career change can be seen as a renewal. 

What Should Be My Next Career?

The most important step in considering your next career is to identify the industry you want to pursue. According to a 2008-2018 projection by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), each of these industries is predicted to continue experiencing growth:

  • Healthcare
  • Information Technology
  • Retail
  • Manufacturing
  • Transportation 

While all of these industries are growing and offering new employment opportunities for career changers, there is one, in particular, that offers a profession that is continuing to propel its industry—nursing. 

Nursing is a career as special as the people drawn to it, and now, more than ever, there is a growing need for compassionate, clinically proficient nurses. Moreover, few careers offer the job security, advancement opportunity and flexibility found in nursing. 

From emergency rooms and clinics to schools and health and wellness centers, a nurse has the unique opportunity to work in various environments. The practice areas found in the nursing field – geriatrics, informatics and oncology to name a few – are just as diverse. Nurses also have the privilege of being by their patients’ sides during some of their most vulnerable and joyous moments, which many list as the most gratifying aspect of their profession. Nurses have the chance to make a difference in the lives they touch. 

Is the Nursing Profession Experiencing Growth?

In April 2011, the BLS reported that the healthcare sector of the economy is continuing to grow, despite significant job losses in recent months in nearly all major industries. Hospitals, long-term care facilities and other ambulatory care settings added 37,000 new jobs in March 2011, the biggest monthly increase recorded by any employment sector. 

The BLS also believes the largest segment of the healthcare workforce, registered nurses (RNs), will likely be recruited to fill many of these new positions, and it confirmed that 283,000 jobs have been added in the healthcare sector within the last year. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services predicts more than 2.8 million new and replacement nurses will be needed by 2020 to address the country’s severe nursing shortage.   

Some of the following points demonstrate why a career in nursing is worth pursuing:

  • Registered nursing is ranked as one of the top occupations through the year 2012, according to the BLS.
  • Approximately 587,000 additional jobs will open for RNs each year through 2016 – a 23.5 percent increase, according to the BLS.
  • Employment of RNs is expected to grow faster than any other occupation through 2016, according to the BLS.


Compare the Annual Earnings of a Registered Nurse to Other Professions 

Nursing Education

What Does It Take to Be a Nurse?

Many schools, such as Chamberlain College of Nursing, are helping to address this high demand for nurses by enabling college graduates to be retrained for nursing careers through accelerated Second Degree Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) options. 

While many traditional universities require nurses to enroll in a three-year BSN degree program, accelerated programs help students earn a degree in as few as 13 months, so they can enter the workforce faster. 

According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing’s (AACN) annual survey of nursing colleges, graduates of accelerated BSN degree programs in nursing are highly regarded by nurse employers who value the skills and education these graduates bring to the workplace. Moreover, a 2008 survey by the AACN showed that 11,018 students were enrolled in accelerated BSN degree programs, up from 6,090 students four years earlier.

How Can I Launch My Second Career as a Nurse?

There isn’t a singular path to becoming a nurse. However, the following steps might be helpful as you consider transitioning to your new career: 

  • Learn about the nursing profession by attending education events and information sessions, tapping professional networks and associations, attending open houses and schools and researching core job responsibilities, work environments and advancement opportunities. 
  • Make sure the school you choose is a good fit for you. Are you looking into four-year programs, or would you prefer an accelerated program? Do you want to stay local or commute? Does an online university work better for your schedule? Will you need to work full-time? 
  • Decide on a specialty. From ambulatory care nursing to forensic nursing, there are dozens of specialty areas to choose from. Pursue one that you feel would be the most rewarding for you. 
  • Pass the National Licensing Examination to become a RN by joining study groups and signing up for information sessions and test preparation courses. 
  • Consider your ideal first job as a nurse by researching companies and facilities, looking into turnover rates and targeting potential mentors.

If you’ve ever considered transitioning to a career in nursing, follow some of the steps outlined in this article and find a nursing program that will help you grow both personally and professionally and, more importantly, quickly!

About Laura Fillmore, DNP, MSN, RN

Dr. Fillmore serves as dean of the Second Degree Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) option at Chamberlain College of Nursing. With more than 20 years of experience, her background ranges from nursing instruction and management to clinical education and medical-surgical nursing. An accomplished speaker and author, Dr. Fillmore is a member of Sigma Theta Tau International, the international nursing honor society, and was selected as a leadership fellow by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. She is active within numerous organizations, including the Nevada Organization of Nursing Leaders and Nevada Nurse Education and Practice Alliance. 

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