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I am 57-year old nurse who would like to use my experience to expand into something else. Where do I start?

Thursday June 20, 2013
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Dear Donna,

I am 57-year old nurse with a BSN, who worked in rehabilitation nursing for 30 years. I do not want to pursue another degree, but maybe a new certification. I have been working as an employee health nurse and a nurse with the infection control department. I would like to use this experience to expand into something else — possibly a health coach. Where do I start?

Wants to Expand

Dear Donna replies:

Dear Wants to Expand,

You certainly have a great background and plenty of options. Because you are in a transition phase, you need to start further exploring your options. Health coaching, care management, health and wellness education and consultant are just a few of the possibilities.

Find the related professional associations and attend local chapter meetings as a guest. When there's something you want to do it makes sense to rub elbows with those already doing it. Do some informational interviewing (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Interviewing) with nurses already working in the specialties that interest you. Check out the American Holistic Nurses Association (www.ahna.org) and the National Association of Professional Geriatric Career Managers (www.caremanager.org), just to name a few.

Also attend nursing career fairs, conferences and conventions and related seminars. This is a great way to meet others nurses and learn about options and opportunities. You never know from where the spark, idea, information, introduction or connection will come. Everything happens through networking and you have to get yourself out there.

Read “How to change specialties” (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Change-Specialties) and “How to find your forte” (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Forte) for additional tips and advice on making a transition.

You will find it helpful to attend my “Career Alternatives for Nurses” seminar. See where I'll be at www.Nurse.com/Events/CE-seminars/. The program also is available in a home-study version at http://ce.nurse.com/Professional-Development.

Best wishes,

Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, well-known career guru, is Nurse.com’s “Dear Donna” and author of “Your First Year as a Nurse: Making the Transition from Total Novice to Successful Professional” and “The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses: Practical Advice for Thriving at Every Stage of Your Career.” Information about the books is available at www.Nurse.com/CE/7010 and www.Nurse.com/CE/7250, respectively. To ask Donna your question, go to www.Nurse.com/Asktheexperts/Deardonna. Find a “Dear Donna” seminar near you: Call 800-866-0919 or visit http://Events.nursingspectrum.com/Seminar.