The Perks of Nursing as a Second Career

The Perks of Nursing as a Second Career

Mar 21, 2015 | 8:00 am

Besides the fact that nursing is a booming career in healthcare field right now—the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts faster-than-average-job-growth-for-RNs between 2012 and 2022—there are plenty more perks of nursing as a second career. Let’s take a look at five of the most popular that have today’s career-change nurses glad they took the plunge.

A Position with Purpose

Nursing is often described as a rewarding career—both emotionally and financially—but when a first career didn’t feel particularly fulfilling, nursing as a second career can feel more like a life lived with purpose rather than just a job.

In a 2011 article from The New York Times titled “Do Happier People Work Harder?” writers Teresa Ambile and Steven Kramer conclude, “As long as workers experience their labor as meaningful, progress if often followed by joy and excitement about the work.”

Opportunities to Grow and Change

“Feeling limited” doesn’t seem to describe those who choose nursing as a second career. When it comes to where you work, types of nursing and the actual hours of work, this field is full of opportunity. Here are a few examples:

• Nurses can choose to work in hospitals, doctor’s offices, nursing care facilities, home health services, outpatient facilities, businesses and schools, just to name a few.

• According to, there are 104 nursing specialties to choose from, covering everything from ambulatory care and dermatology to geriatrics and pediatrics.

• Flexible hours are a hallmark of nursing, providing many career changers (particularly parents with child-care needs) the schedule they only dreamed of previously.

Encouraged Continuing Education

With the latest research from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation showing the benefits of nurses with advanced education (particularly linking better patient outcomes from nurses with a BSN or higher), employers encourage learning with flexible schedules and incentives.

For those who once struggled to keep up with the learning curve in past careers, nursing offers plenty of opportunity. Accelerated nursing programs are especially popular for completing nursing courses quickly—helping those who choose nursing as a second career to keep up with the pack.

Employee Appreciation

According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), those who choose nursing as a second career are prized by nurse employers who “value the many layers of skill and education these graduates bring to the workplace.” Sure, nursing has its ups and downs just like any other profession, but what other role allows you to help save lives, keep learning and take pride in your daily accomplishments?

And if feeling valued isn’t enough, notes that nursing school grads enjoy some of the highest starting salaries among their peers in other industries—not to mention desirable benefits!

Career Security

With constant technological advances, an aging baby boomer population and the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in 2010, it’s clear that nursing remains a promising sector. The BLS predicts a 19% increase in nursing jobs between 2012 and 2022, which is considered “faster than average for all occupations.” Job opportunities exist in every state of the U.S. as well as overseas, in the military and in home healthcare settings.

Nursing as a second career can start at any time in life, and the options for growth, change and personal reward are endless. Whenever you choose to start, be prepared for an adventure of a lifetime.