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I want to use my experience in business and education in the nursing and healthcare field, but I am not sure I am going about it the right way.

Thursday June 27, 2013
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Dear Donna,

I am a training specialist in the financial industry. After waiting for three years, I was accepted to a local community college's ADN program. My goal is to use my 13 years of experience in business and education in the nursing and healthcare field. I am not sure if I am going about it the right way — quitting my job and pursuing an ADN full time. What are your thoughts on this?

Considering Nursing

Dear Donna replies:

Dear Considering Nursing,

Many individuals are entering nursing as a second or subsequent career, as you are planning. You certainly would have opportunities to combine your background with nursing in a variety of settings and roles.

I also want you to know that even though you may already have a bachelor's or master's degree in another major, having a BSN in nursing is becoming the industry standard. Many people still are attending ADN programs, but they are having a much harder time finding traditional or hospital employment than those with a BSN. Know this before getting started. You can start with the ADN and go on for the BSN immediately afterward. If you do have a degree in another major, there also are accelerated or second-degree BSN programs that would take you about the same amount of time to complete as an ADN program.

Whether or not you should leave your current job and pursue nursing full time is a decision only you can make. I don't know what your financial resources and responsibilities are. I do know there is a lot of scholarship money available (some even provide living expenses) for those who go after it. Read “Master the scholarship game” (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Scholarship-Game). You also might consider transitioning into a job in healthcare while attending school, such as a patient care technician.

This article has some tips for being a successful student nurse: “Success strategies for students” (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Strategies-for-Students).

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.