Being a stay-at-home parent is a full-time job, but it won’t last forever. Your kids will always need you and hopefully will want you in their lives, but they won’t need you to care for them in the same way. If you are feeling the itch of an empty nest, however, don’t worry. There are many exceptional jobs and careers out there that can help you get back out on the horse and make a new life for yourself that you can be proud of, and one that pays well.
One of the best options for those that love children and want to help other families is nursing. There are many departments and roles that you can take on as a nurse, but one of the best by far is to become a pediatric nurse. This role is in high demand and will allow you to thrive in a care-based career that can be perfect for parents looking for a second career.
Nursing is incredibly flexible, and there are so many ways that you can either get started in nursing or fast-track your way through the credentials. Though not for everyone, those that love to care for others and are looking for a thriving new career should go no further than to consider nursing.
Understanding the Nursing Career Track
There are several different nursing roles, but the first true role that is what you will colloquially refer to as a “nurse”, and is aregistered nurse or RN. RNs are the backbone of the entire healthcare sector and the ones that provide a lot of the ongoing care that patients need and look to as a source of strength. Though RNs are the most popular type of nurse, they are not the highest level you can reach.
The highest ranking of nurse you can reach currently is that of an advanced practice registered nurse or APRN. These nurses have, at minimum, a MSN degree. Many today are even going one step further and earning their doctorate. A doctorate in nursing practice is a great way to further your skillset even more and to help you stand out as a nurse.
How to Get Started in Nursing
While you can become a certified nursing assistant or a licensed nurse practitioner, these roles will not make it easier to earn your associate’s degree in nursing or a bachelor of science in nursing.
The good news for those considering nursing as a second career is that there are unique opportunities that will help you fast-track the BSN, allowing you to work as a RN sooner, and for less.
To qualify for this fast-tracked BSN, you will need to have a bachelor’s degree already. This is because accelerated BSN programs work by transferring existing credits. This means that those with a BSc will typically be able to transfer more credits than those with a BA. If you don’t have all of the credits necessary, it is easy to take a foundation degree or the courses on a one-by-one basis until you qualify.
If you are a stay-at-home parent and your children still live with you, then earning those additional credits at home by finding an online program can be a great way to combine your passions. You can continue to be a full-time parent that is there for your kids, and you can also make serious headway towards your degree.
Of course, if you don’t have an undergraduate degree, you can still opt to study online and at home. Finding a full online BSN that you can start when your kids go to high school is a great way to be finished by the time they graduate, and therefore ready to jump into your new career as a RN.
Shadowing and Learning About What You Want Out of Your Career
While many can and do work as RN nurses their entire careers, do know that it is not the only option. If you want to make six-figure salaries you will want to push your career further and become an APRN.
You cannot simply earn a MSN. You will need to know the answer to two questions. 1. What type of medicine/care interests me the most? 2. What patient demographic do I want to focus on?
You can work with adults, with children, with women, with mental health conditions, in oncology, in neonatal care, and so much more. If you are ever in doubt, shadow. You could even become a travel nurse and take up positions on an ad hoc basis so that you can explore different working environments and teams. This way you will learn so much about nursing, andmost importantly what you want out of your nursing career.
If you ever want to change tracks later in your career, you can. You will need to earn a post-graduate certificate to change tracks in your career later, yes, but don’t ever feel like you have boxed yourself in your career. You have options.
Fast-Tracking Through Further Nursing Qualifications
While you cannot fast-track the same way as you did with your BSN, there are ways to smash through your higher education requirements. To become an APRN you will need, at minimum, a MSN. If you want to go above and prepare yourself for a truly thriving career in nursing, however, you will want to consider also earning a DNP.
This doesn’t have to be a difficult decision, either. There are BSN to DNP programs that allow those with a BSN (3.0 GPA average or higher) and one year of working experience to apply. In just over 3 years you can become an APRN and have a DNP under your belt all at once.
Like the MSN, DNP programs are also specific to the role that you want to specialize in. If you want to work in pediatrics, for example, then you will want to explore the BSN to DNP pediatric nurse practitioner programs.
This excellent option can help you speed through the qualification requirements and put you in a position to start making better decisions for your career, sooner.