What to Expect When Retraining as a Nurse

As the baby boomer generation retires the demand for nurses and other health care professionals is becoming bigger and bigger, and with so many people realizing all the great reasons to choose nursing as a career, colleges across the globe are offering people the chance to study both online and on-campus.

What to Expect When Retraining as a Nurse
[image: pexels by anthony shkraba]

Nursing is such a fulfilling profession, with many finding their calling later in life. This means they have to juggle studying for their second career while working. But with more and more online options available, people at any age can find themselves rediscovering a love of their working life by choosing to pursue a new career in nursing.

In this guide, we are going to give you tips for before, during, and after your nursing course.


There are several ways to study to become a nurse. Those choosing to switch career further down the road can actually study an accelerated nursing program online if they already have a degree, meaning you will be in your new career in no time at all.

While it might easier to study, it is still important to mentally prepare for a career in nursing and ask yourself whether or not you are up for the challenge. While it is well known that the profession can be incredibly rewarding, it is also hugely demanding both physically and mentally. As such, choosing to pursue this line of work is not a decision to take lightly.

The best nurses have a real passion for helping those who are more vulnerable, rather than focusing so much on the salary or job security. Therefore, if a high earning job is your main priority, it might be best to look at other professions.

If after careful consideration, you are still incredibly passionate about nursing, the next thing you will need to do is find a course and apply for funding. Unfortunately, ABSN students are unable to apply for university grants in a similar way to undergraduates. However, third-party scholarships or private loans can help you to fund your training. While all of this can be a little overwhelming, a loan is a great way to take off the financial pressure while you study, so you do not have to work at the same time.

Although loans may come with a high interest rate, try to see it as an investment into a brighter, more fulfilling future.


Once you have been accepted onto your course, it is time to get back into the academic mindset. Those who retrain may not have studied since their first time at university, making the shift from work mode to student quite difficult.

To help, you should ensure you have a good support system – both in the classroom and out. Family and partners will need to accept that a lot of your free time will be used up for the duration of the course and help in any way they can. In the classroom, you and your fellow students will work to support each other through the difficult workload and help one another when someone is struggling.

As well as the academic work, there are a number of soft skills you will need to learn to be a successful nurse. Time management, empathy and general organization can all be practiced throughout your course, so you are all set for when you step into the work environment.

An accelerated course can often be more intense than students first think, meaning you will need a lot of motivation and self-discipline. To keep you going, find something that motivates you and run with it. It might be your initial reasons for becoming a nurse, creating a better life for your kids or just something you can look forward to. Whatever motivates you to power through the tough parts.

While managing your workload is important, it is also vital you make time for self-care. Self-care is an incredibly important thing to practice when becoming a nurse, and during your career. The profession is emotionally draining with many nurses regularly suffering from compassion fatigue. If you start putting in place self-care practices now, you will be better off later.


After you have graduated, you will have a huge array of doors open to you. Registered nurses can either choose to specialize or head straight into work – and there will be plenty of jobs available to you, no matter where you would like to end up.

If you are interested in specializing, there may be options to study while working at a hospital or clinic. Nurses with an interest in the managerial side of healthcare, can go on to become nurse practitioners and executives. Alternatively, you may find your calling in a less conventional environment such as being a prison nurse or emergency flight nurse.

Your course placements will give you a little insight into the day-to-day work of a nurse, but it is always good to step into a new role with an enthusiasm to learn new things. Nurses should always have a level of professionalism and openness, even when walking from one task to another – you never know who might need a helping hand.

At the beginning of your career, it might be tempting to take on as much over time as possible, so to create a good impression. That said, it is vital you make time for yourself, your friends and family. As you did during your course, self-care should be a large priority. You should also encourage the other nurses you work with to do the same, so that together, you can offer patients the best care possible.

This little guide should have given you an insight into studying to be a nurse. Whether you study an undergraduate course or an accelerated nursing program, the journey is intense and can be incredibly draining.

However, the end result is a rewarding career with a great support system and a world of progression routes. You will meet people from all walks of life and be able to make a huge difference in their lives. It is no wonder that nurses have such a high job satisfaction.

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