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Career change fears


I have a B.A. degree and am considering going back to school for nursing. Nursing has been something i've wanted to do for a long time but i feel guilty about going back to school and "wasting" my old degree. I know it sounds crazy but I was wondering how many of you career changers out there went through the same thing? Just looking for some other perspectives...thanks!


Specializes in OB, OR.

Since I never "used" either of my BA degrees directly (I was a top director at a large non-profit for almost 10 years...so I needed a degree, but it was not in NP management) I don't have that stumbling block.

I look at it this way....I am getting my AD in nursing. I feel like all I am really studying are the skills necessary to do the nursing job. My six years getting my 2 bachelor's degrees are what prepared me for life...well rounded study of many disciplines at a liberal arts college. They made me who I am, and nursing school will give me the knowledge and skills to do a good job as a nurse.

No education is ever wasted. Consider it adding to your knowledge base, not as a replacement for what you have already acquired!

RochesterRN-BSN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Psych, ER, Resp/Med, LTC, Education. Has 6 years experience.

My first bachelors was in health science, finished in 1998...I was a state licensed/certified health teacher. I went for 4 years unable to get a Full time teaching job......did other things like worked doing wellness for an HMO...but mostly administrative work not having a masters. I did a long term maternity leave sub job and knew after finishing that I was not happy being a teacher in the classroom. In 2002 the local large university School of nursing announced in the local paper that they would be taking applications for their brand new accelerated nursing program. Well I got in my car and drove straight to the school that day!! lol They laughed and told me they would mail my application in a couple of days as they were not even back from the printer yet! lol I was the first person to turn in the application the same day I got it in the mail and the first student accepted to the new program. I have found that the things I learned in that first degree I use all the time......first off the teaching, nurses do a lot of teaching. Even in nursing school I found that I was able to do better as I had learned study skills in my first BS. Yes I spent a lot of time, money and energy for that first bachelors but the fact is I was not happy with what the degree allowed me to do. Like many I found the job out in the real world is very different then what I thougt it would be, even very different from my student teaching. In the long run now I am glad I went back and love being a nurse. No regrets.....I would highly suggest though that if you have a bachelors already you look for an accelerated program for second degree students.

Good luck to you!

Another career switcher here. I'm a person with a variety of interests and I've studied and worked in several different areas. What I learn in each area builds on to the next thing so I am not wasting anything.

Most bachelor's degrees are foundational meaning that they are designed so that you can take that knowledge and add to it in order to specialize in the field(s) of your choice so whatever your BA is in you will use the knowledge you acquired there as the basis for your nursing degree - so repeat there is no waste. The guilt factor you mention sounds to me like you aren't 100% convinced that you should be going into nursing and that you might be happier doing something else. If this is the case then you will have to think things through and make a decision. If nursing is not for you at this time then you should pursue your other interest(s).


Specializes in Med-Surg; ER; ICU/CCU/SHU; PAR. Has 25 years experience.

I didn't exactly change careers, but I spent 6.5 yrs in college changing my major 3 times until I finally ended up in nursing, and got the BSN. I think so many of us entered college right out of high school without adequate help in determining just what it was we wanted to do with the education. Those general career aptitude tests are not enough. I'm working with some high school students now to help them learn more about nursing and whether or not it will be a good "fit" for them. Hopefully they won't ever feel like they "wasted" their degree!

For you, I would say what another post said...the degree isn't really "wasted." It's the money and time that didn't directly translate into a rewarding career for you that makes it feel that way.

What I enjoyed about nursing is the phenominal variety and career options you have once you get R.N. behind your name...you can go so many places with it! I think nursing offers that more than most careers. It's pretty easy to move around within the profession once you are in it. So it's not as though you would be spending the time and money to become a nurse and then you're "locked into" a particular job that you might not like. You take your first job, the best one you can find (times are always changing, and the ease of getting that first job changes annually, as well!), and learn everything you can at it. Give it all you've got, and do the best you are capable of. If you find, after a year or two at it, that the particular unit/specialty is not your "cup of tea," you are now experienced, you have a good peer review record since you gave it your all, and you can transfer to a unit that does interest you. And the process begins again.

I wish you the best of luck in your pursuits!


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