Make a Difference - Why Change Careers to Nursing in 2024

Submitted by admin on Tue, 02/27/2024 - 14:33
A smiling nursing student who is close to graduating from an ABSN

In our current healthcare climate, many people find nursing a rewarding second career. The satisfaction found in the nursing profession is not solely because of a favorable job market, but because nurses have the chance to make a profound impact for good in the lives of others. Skills gained in non-nursing occupations can often transfer seamlessly into quality patient care, and prior education can be leveraged toward the completion of an accelerated nursing degree. 

If you are considering changing from your current occupation to the nursing field, this blog will help you examine how nurses make a difference in the world to decide if nursing school is worth it. High demand for nursing professionals, along with diverse opportunities for specialization, allows a mix of job security and personal satisfaction, two positive reasons for becoming a second career nurse. 


Education Pathways to Nursing as a Second Career

A traditional Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program can take up to four years to complete, but more efficient pathways are available if you want to make nursing your second career and already hold a bachelor’s degree. Online Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) programs can be completed in a little over a year, which is one perk to consider when comparing the Traditional vs. Accelerated BSN.

Accelerated BSN programs are known for their immersive curriculum tailored for second career nurses. Benefits of the ABSN pathway frequently include:

  • Fast degree completion to help you become a nurse quickly
  • Hands-on simulation experience to foster confidence as you grow clinical skills
  • Diversity of student colleagues for an enriched learning community 

When considering whether an ABSN program is right for you, engaging in self-reflection can be helpful. Investing in nursing education will allow a relatively short transition period until you are eligible for licensure to practice. From a long-term perspective, nursing jobs are inherently challenging with dynamic development opportunities. 

A career where you can always reach new heights and unlock your full potential is among many reasons to go back to school for nursing. Next, let’s look at some recent statistics on nurses' job and salary outlook today.


Nursing Job and Salary Outlook

The job outlook for nurses continues to be favorable in 2024. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for registered nurses (RNs) is growing faster than average at a rate of 6% between 2022 and 2032. This means that over the decade, an additional 177,400 nursing jobs are expected, with an average of 193,100 openings each year. 

Salary statistics are also advantageous for this career choice. In May 2022, the BLS reported a median annual salary for RNs of $81,220, with the upper 10% earning more than $129,400 annually. Nursing is a good job because of the financial compensation, and it can also be deeply fulfilling to make a difference in the lives of others.


Ways Nurses Make a Difference

Nurses make incredible contributions to the well-being of their patients and communities. Routine job duties regularly land nurses at the forefront of the patient experience with compassionate interactions and proficient clinical skills that can save lives. Remarkable ways nurses make a difference every day include:

  • Empowering patients and families to make informed healthcare decisions
  • Managing pain and providing comfort through end-of-life care
  • Applying technological innovation to monitor chronic conditions effectively
  • Visiting older adults in home settings to assess for safety and promote independence

Next, look at additional ways these trusted professionals improve the healthcare system by answering the call to be nurses.


Delivering Quality Care for Patients and Families

Nurses work to excel in meaningful patient interactions that make a substantial difference in the daily lives of others. Through professional communication and care coordination, nurses are central to an interdisciplinary team that allows for a holistic approach to health and wellness. Job responsibilities of a nurse that contribute to quality care outcomes include:

  • Safe medication administration
  • Assessment and monitoring for changes in patient health status
  • Education and training to help families manage the care of their loved ones
  • Maintaining awareness of research findings for evidence-based practice

Quality care is more than providing skilled nursing for physical conditions. When emotionally challenging situations arise, nurses are trained to provide psychological support and respect for their patients' and families' spiritual and cultural needs.


Providing Emotional Support

According to Mental Health America, mental illness affects over 50 million Americans. Nurses may choose to specialize in psychiatric care and collaborate with community mental health professionals when ensuring patients have access to the emotional support and resources they need. Other ways nurses provide emotional support include:

  • Actively listening to patients and families
  • Helping develop coping strategies for difficult experiences
  • Facilitating conversation by creating safe spaces for emotional expression
  • Approaching serious topics with patience and sensitivity 

Nurses who provide information clearly and honestly can help alleviate anxiety surrounding a new diagnosis or care plan. Referrals to support groups can also make a difference when a nurse identifies an opportunity for advocacy.


Advocating for Patients

Ethics and integrity are essential for nurses to provide care while continually upholding the best interests of their patients and families. Nurses advocate for patients by helping them understand the benefits, risks, and alternatives to a medical intervention so that patients can make informed decisions on the care received. Additionally, nurses assess for decision-making capacity and provide support to vulnerable populations such as:

  • Children and the elderly
  • Pregnant women
  • Individuals with cognitive impairment and/or mental illness
  • Individuals with low health literacy or language barriers 

When referrals are needed to outside sources, nurses advocate for patients and families by facilitating these connections. Sometimes this means making a phone call to coordinate a transfer of care or to help a person initiate their involvement within a supportive community group. Nurses might also help arrange transportation for individuals to adequately access the assistance they need.


Leading in the Medical System

Not only are nurses direct advocates for patients, but their advocacy extends into the healthcare system when they advocate for quality improvement through policy changes and legislation for promoting patient welfare. They also have more direct involvement in quality improvement initiatives within healthcare delivery systems.

Nurses lead teams to establish and monitor quality metrics that are used in assessing healthcare facilities for accreditation. In this role, they routinely analyze clinical processes and collect data on key performance indicators such as:

  • Infection rates
  • Patient satisfaction scores
  • Medication errors
  • Nurse-to-patient ratios
  • Length of stay and readmission rates

Nurses make a difference that extends far beyond direct patient interactions into the fundamental ways healthcare is delivered. Their efforts to learn about the needs of the specific populations they serve and to innovate evidence-based care options can be seen in clinical and academic settings.


Advancing Health Education

Data-driven health decisions are essential as our world continues to evolve. Nurse researchers design and conduct studies that promote the design of evidence-based interventions for effective health education. They assess current strategies and look for ways to refine and optimize care delivery.

Utilizing technology, nurses enhance health education by providing outreach to patients through online platforms that help reach a wider audience. Nurses are trained in motivational interviewing and health coaching techniques that allow unique approaches to facilitating behavioral modification. This can help people develop healthy habits and reach goals such as:

  • Regular exercise
  • Dietary modifications for specific illnesses
  • Improvements in physical mobility 
  • Smoking cessation

For individuals experiencing trauma or cognitive impairment, nurses might educate patients and families on how to support optimal functioning and recovery. Creating a safe environment that reduces the potential for symptoms to worsen requires the entire care team to be in alignment. Nurses advance health education by training other nurses and facility staff to be trauma-informed in their approach to patient and family interactions.

Nursing is an exciting profession because it affords many diverse ways to make a meaningful difference. You can combine a passion for patient advocacy and an interest in science-based discovery with your current educational background and become a world-changing nurse.


Take the First Step Toward Becoming a Nurse Today

Earning your BSN degree through enrollment in one of the available online ABSN programs is an exciting step toward your future nursing career. Our accelerated BSN programs offer:

  • Clinical placement assistance and student support
  • Fast completion timelines of approximately 12 to 16 months
  • Accreditation and competitive tuition

Input your zip code below to see what accelerated BSN programs are available in your area.