5 Questions to Ask Yourself When Considering Nursing as a Second Career

Nursing as a second career is a great move if job growth, a high-paying job, ongoing opportunities and fulfillment at work are important to you. Making a career change to nursing is a big deal, and the Xavier University ABSN program is here to help.

Five nurses standing together outside

Meaningful profession. Job growth. Diverse employment. High earning potential. These are just some of the reasons why more Americans are choosing nursing as a second career. If you’re thinking of making a career change to nursing, there’s a few questions you should ask yourself before you jump in. Take a look at the following questions to see if nursing is the right switch for you.

1. Are you looking for job growth?

Nursing is one of the fastest-growing occupations in the United States. While the nation as a whole anticipates the profession to grow by 7% between 2019 and 2029, the state of Ohio projects a 10% growth within the same timeframe. Because our ABSN program has locations in Cincinnati, Columbus, and Cleveland, we thought we’d list the most recent employment data for these three metro areas.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

2. Do you value diverse employment?

When you have a BSN degree, the sky’s the limit. While hospitals are the largest employers of registered nurses, there are plenty of other work settings to consider, such as:

  • Corporate clinics
  • Outpatient centers
  • Military bases
  • Nursing homes
  • Private practices
  • School systems

Career mobility within the nursing profession is also pretty amazing, with more than 90 specialty areas of practice. Plus, registered nurses with a BSN degree can go on to earn an MSN that would allow them to work at the advanced practice level.

3. Is high earning potential important to you?

United States$53,410$75,330$116,230
Cleveland Metro$55,770$72,100$94,700
Cincinnati Metro$53,620$69,260$96,180
Columbus Metro$52,820$65,700$95,700
Source: CareerOneStop.org, 2020

When it comes to your earning potential as a registered nurse, a lot depends on your employer and the state you practice in. But across the board, there’s good money in nursing. Here’s a 2018 comparison of annual registered nurse wages in Ohio and the United States as a whole.

4. Do you want a fulfilling career?

Going to work every day is certainly easier when you’re getting fulfillment from your career. Nursing is a field that empowers you to help people and even change their lives. As a nurse with a BSN, you’ll give people the care, support, and guidance they need. That’s why nursing is consistently voted the most trusted occupation 20 years in a row, according to Gallup’s annual poll. Nursing is challenging, but it is a respected and trusted profession that will no doubt leave you feeling fulfilled.

Lauren Xavier ABSN student using stethoscope

5. Are you interested in ongoing opportunities?

If you’re interested in a job that sets you up for opportunities for advancement down the line, a BSN might be perfect for you. As a registered nurse, you’ll be eligible for a wide assortment of alternative nursing roles where you can hone your interests and specialization.

Are you considering making a career change to nursing? Check out this list of alternative nursing careers.

Taking it a step further, once you are an RN, you can go on to pursue a Master of Science in Nursing and work up to becoming a nurse practitioner or other advanced practice nurse. A BSN is an investment in your future and paves the way for you to grow and flourish as you help change lives.

How our ABSN program works

Our ABSN program builds on your bachelor’s degree in another field of study so you can earn a quality BSN in as few as 16 months. As a student in our full-time, four-semester ABSN program, you’ll complete a rigorous blend of online and onsite instruction.

  • Online courses teach the fundamentals and theories of the profession, anytime, anywhere.
  • Nursing labs at our ABSN Learning Center provide a realistic, risk-free platform for developing hands-on skills and clinical judgment.
  • Clinical rotations in top health-care facilities provide real-world experience in diverse practice areas.

If you’re considering the program, ask questions about what it takes to be successful and visit the site location where you plan to enroll. And, once you’re in the program, make sure you stay organized.

Cincinnati615 Elsinore Place, 7th Floor
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
Bon Secours Mercy Health,
Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, The Christ Hospital Network, TriHealth
Columbus8425 Pulsar Place, Suite 100
Columbus, Ohio 43240
Nationwide Children’s Hospital
ClevelandIndependence, OhioTop health-care facilities in the Cleveland area, including Cleveland Clinic
*We cannot guarantee placement in a specific health-care network or facility.

Why One Xavier ABSN Graduate Chose Nursing as a Second Career

Now that you’ve considered the questions above, let’s take a look at one student’s experience changing careers to nursing. Just like you, Diane was on the fence about switching to nursing at first, but take a look at why she decided to enter the profession and how she entered a career where she makes a difference every day.

Before nursing school, Diane was a realtor living in Raleigh, North Carolina. It was her volunteer experience helping victims of domestic violence and sexual assault that got her interested in the nursing profession.

“I worked in an emergency department and was impressed by the work the forensic examiners did and the care they provided to individuals who were living through one of their worst days.”

And, while Diane’s path to nursing started more than 10 years ago, life — like it does for so many of us — kept getting in the way. After losing her mother to cancer, Diane decided it was time for her to get back on track and applied to our ABSN program in Cincinnati.

I wasn’t apprehensive about going back to school because it was something I had wanted to do for a very long time.

However, she needed a program that was concise and would allow her to get started as soon as possible. “I already had a bachelor’s degree in another field of study,” she explained. “I didn’t want to spend another four years on a second bachelor’s degree in nursing.”

Our 16-month ABSN program, which is perfect for career changers, had just what she was looking for. She liked that we only had four ABSN prerequisite course requirements and valued our holistic approach to patient care.

Xavier ABSN graduate Diane using stethoscope

Providing holistic care is important to me because you’re not treating a diagnosis, you’re treating an entire person and need to understand the context in which that person lives. Xavier is one of the very few schools that offers that.

After graduating from our ABSN program in August 2020, Diane says she may want to specialize in emergency medicine and trauma. She even alludes to one day going back to school to pursue a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree.

Thinking About Nursing as a Second Career?

If you have a non-nursing bachelor’s degree and want to pursue nursing as a second career, contact our admission team and inquire about our 16-month ABSN program. You’ll find that we have the most accessible accelerated nursing program in Ohio, with three start dates a year at all three of our locations.

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