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What should a school RN, with a bachelor’s degree in health planning and administration, and an interest in overall health, do as a next step?

Friday May 23, 2014
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Question:

Hi Donna,

I hope you can help me in figuring out a path for myself. I am an RN, working as a staff nurse in a school since 1996. I have a bachelor’s degree in health planning and administration but never did anything with it. I was going to go back to school to get a BSN, but I am so reluctant to do so because I already have a BS degree and it is expensive. My employer does not have tuition reimbursement so I would have to pay for another degree. My other interests are exercise and health and natural, organic and chemical-free alternatives. I just turned 54. Do you have any suggestions or ideas for me? I really want to make a difference with people's lives by teaching them to live healthier. I think the other alternative, since I already have been working as a school nurse, is becoming certified as a school nurse.

Torn Between Career Paths

Dear Donna replies:

Dear Torn Between Career Paths,

Getting more education is a great thing to do and a wonderful way to stimulate your career and your life. Since you already have a BS and don't plan to work in a hospital, a BSN may not be the right path for you. I would suggest you look into a master's program in any major you find interesting and exciting. Read the articles, “Go back to school and change your life” (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Back-to-School) and “Master the scholarship game” (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Scholarship-Game). Higher education really opens up your mind, your world and your opportunities. From the information you shared about yourself, it sounds like you are ready. Higher education is a wave that propels you into the future.

Regarding your career path, health and wellness is a hot and growing specialty for nurses. Many nurses have their own wellness businesses and do one-on-one coaching and education with clients. Other nurses promote wellness while working as wellness coaches for insurance companies or leading corporate wellness programs for other companies. Connect with the American Holistic Nurses Association (www.ahna.org) to learn more about these opportunities.

It often seems like the next logical step is to go further in your current career path, but it only makes sense if you see yourself staying there for the long haul or doing consulting in the specialty. You also need to still feel passionate and challenged by it. I'm not sure getting certified in school nursing is what you really want to do right now based on what you’ve said, but only you can decide. To help you make that decision, read the article, “ To act or not — it's your decision”
(www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/To-Act-or-Not).

Best wishes,
Donna


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://www. Nurse.com/Events.