Choosing a career is a momentous decision -- one which holds the potential to lead to a lifetime of satisfaction ... .or misery. Not everyone gets it right the first time. Most recently, a trend is arising in which an increasing number of people in their 30s, 40s and 50s are pursuing second careers in nursing. Let's take a closer look at this phenomenon.
Supply and Demand
The nationwide demand for RNs is set to undergo a 21 percent increase by 2025, according to a December 2014 report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' National Center for Health Workforce Analysis. These numbers fail to factor in emerging care delivery models which will see nurses in new preventative care and care coordination roles thereby further increasing demand. The demand for LPNs is also projected to increase at a rate of 36 percent.
While the country is recovering from the recession and in the process of bouncing back, many people remain scarred by layoffs, cutbacks, and other threats to job security. The anticipated demand for nursing removes this fear from the equation, and instead promises a secure future.
And while registered nurses may not bring home the same high paychecks as doctors, they do make a comfortable income: a median pay of $65,470 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The Fast Track to a New Career
While switching to a new career can take years in some professions, many nursing programs off a "fast track" which can be completed in as little as 12 months for college graduates. While most people don't have the time or financial resources to invest in a long, drawn-out period of training, nursing offers a great career with minimal investment.
The Chance to Make a Difference
Many people enter first careers motivated by money and prestige. However, as people age, their priorities change. This is particularly true for those who may have experienced their own personal health issues, or witnessed a loved one going through a health catastrophe.
In many cases, nurses are the primary point of contact for patients and families, and can make or break the quality of care. Because of their tremendous impact, many new, aspiring nurses are inspired to become nurses themselves.
And while nurses may not have the prestige of their fellow doctors, they have something perhaps even more important: the trust of their patients. According to a recent Gallup poll, nurses received the highest ratings for honesty and ethical standards, surpassing medical doctors, police officers, and even members of the clergy.
While changing careers can be an immobilizing decision -- how do you know if you're making the right choice? -- it can also be an invaluable "second act," for many American workers. At any age or stage of your career, following your calling into nursing can have innumerable benefits...both for you and the patients you serve.
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