Considering a Career Change (Graphic Designer to RN), but lots of Questions! Help!


I am a graphic designer, but I am very frustrated in this career. My current job (a govt contractor in the defense industry) doesn't really use my skills/talent. With the current job market and the fact that graphic designers and graduates are a dime a dozen, I have been experiencing EXTREME difficulty getting a job that would challenge me and use my skills. I also want to do something to make a real difference which I don't feel that I do in my current position.

When I spoke with one of my close friends (we'll call her SM) as well as with an acquaintance (KS) of mine (both RNs), they suggested that I go into nursing. SM said that I have the drive that it takes to be an RN. She said that I wouldn't be on the floor for my whole career because I constantly push myself (which is true!). KS said that I have the personality and people skills to fit the job, plus I can do more creative things in the healthcare industry to include marketing, design, etc. after I put in some time on the floor. I was really good at math and science courses in high school too. I did all the AP science courses and went through math up to Calculus II with a GPA of 4.18 when I graduated. So what do you recommend? Do they have a point? Should I go for it? I think that being an RN would definitely be the challenge that I look for, but it would fulfill that desire to make a difference. It would also provide great job security and I could use it anywhere!

My other BIG/HUGE concern is the financial end of this. I know that to complete a program, it is strongly recommended that students don't work. I have a house (and bills along with it), so I am REALLY concerned about taking out loans not only to cover tuition, but also my mortgage, utilities, and car payment. I am so worried that I will be totally overwhelmed with debt (basically doubling my mortgage). KS recommended I get a CNA position after the 1st semester of the nursing program, but I know that I also have to complete all the prerequisites yet which could take a couple semesters. I know that there is financial aid/scholarships/etc. out there, but another friend of mine who is going for her BSN right now just said the Govt cut a lot of funding for students. I just wonder if it's too unrealistic financially to complete the program with all the current responsibilities I have? So much debt will build up over 1-3 years (depending on prereqs. and the program length --> I would like to go for a BSN)! Has anyone else done this? If so -- HELP! :confused:

Finally (sorry this is so long!), I wonder how current RNs feel about the new healthcare bill and if it will negatively impact the nursing field as far as job opportunity and pay. Do you also have concern for being able to care for patients as well as you would like if there are funding/budget cuts?

THANKS so much for any advice!

Specializes in Critical Care, Education. Has 35 years experience.

In this economy, lots of people are trying to transition into nursing - for lots of reasons. So, you're definitely not alone.

However, trying to fund your transition completely with loans for school + living - seems like it would be a huge mistake. Rather than trying to do anything immediately, I would recommend that you first clear up all the debt you can & simplify your life to pare down your standard of living as much as possible. For instance, could you take in a roommate to help with housing expenses?

I worked while going to nursing school - it's no fun, but very do-able. You probably could also. Take your pre-reqs at a community college to keep costs down. The least expensive route would be to get an ADN at a CC & move on to your BSN using tuition reimbursement after you start to work as a nurse.

Realistically, it is very hard to get into nursing school these days & the attrition rate is pretty high. You don't want to be left with nothing but huge loan repayment obligations if it doesn't work out for you.

Best of luck to you.


7 Posts

There are a lot of options now to make NS more flexible with your schedule so you can work while go to school. Don't rely on school loans to get your through school, I agree you need to work too.

I just wanted to chime in though that I am also a Graphic Designer transitioning into the nursing world :) I am doing well financially in my design business but I'm sick of being at the computer all day and not making a difference in the world. I'm going to keep doing design to pay myself through NS. It will be very tough but we can do it!


8 Posts

Specializes in Mother-Baby, Neuro. Has 1 years experience.

Wow, I feel like I could've written this post. I am also a graphic designer. I have a degree in Journalism, but have been doing design since I graduated (1998). I currently work in a local bank's marketing department. I'm tired of sitting in a cubicle in front of a computer every day. I really want to have a job that is fulfilling and rewarding. I have just signed up to do a CNA course, which is required for entrance into several area nursing schools. I'm going to make sure this is the path I want to take before I go all in.

What makes my situation a little more challenging is that I have a 20 month old daughter. I am married, but my husband is very busy, as he is self-employed and involved in many committees.

I'm thinking that after successful completion of the CNA course I may try to get a job at one of the hospitals as a nursing assistant. Most hospitals around here seem to offer tuition reimbursement, which I'd love to take advantage of. My current employer offers it too, but only for business- or job-related courses.

More than likely I will have to take out a loan of some sort to pay for at least part of my education. I'm looking at two specific accelerated 2nd degree programs. Both are private universities, though, which would be more expensive. I have 5 pre-requisites to take, and am planning to do them at a local community college. Ideally, I'm hoping to start nursing school sometime in 2012, after all pre-reqs are finished. I'm going for the BSN degree.

In the meantime, I'm going to try to pick up some freelance design jobs to help pay off some debt and will probably continue to do that as I'm able to once I start nursing school.

Best of luck! I know it's a huge change, but I truly think it will be worth it in the end!


9 Posts

i was about to make a similar post, and i'm happy to hear that there are those in a similar position that i am. i was in a corporate marketing career and a few months ago i obtained a radio advertising sales to be able to move in with my fiancé. we were doing the long distance thing for too long.

i first thought of a nursing career about six or so years ago as i'd like to make a difference, am a caring person and like learning about health related topics. however, at that time i was half way through a master’s in marketing and had a secure marketing job, so i thought i'd just see the marketing thing through. now, i can't stand radio sales and am considering a nursing career again. calling businesses on a daily basis for them to advertise on the radio does not exactly drive me and i don't see how it benefits society. frankly, i hate it. i found out the hard way that i'm not a sales person.

i'm currently volunteering at the er in a local hospital four hours a week and plan to start my pre-reqs in the fall. i'm currently looking for a part-time job to get me through my pre-reqs. the only thing that concerns me is that i want to get an "a" on all my pre-reqs to increase my chances in getting in the accelerated bsn program in the fall of 2012, and i think a part-time job might get in the way. thus, i'm thinking of loans. i don't have a large amount of expenses and have money saved, but still it will put me in debt.

also i'll be 32 when i start my pre-reqs in the fall and 34 1/2 when i finish my bsn. this shouldn't bother me, but it does a bit. i just feel i should have found my career path by now.

it feels good to vent. has anyone gone through a similar career change and have any additional advice?


15 Posts

I just want to thank you for this post. I'm an architect. I'm 31 and single with no huge financial responsibility. Let's just say the recession totally wiped me out. I haven't worked in architectural design in over 2 years. After I was laid off when the bank crisis happened, I came hone to care for my home bound grandmother. It changed my life.

She died a few months ago, and I'm taking pre reqs now. It is hard to explain to people why I'm doing what I'm doing. People I know think architecture is a high paying, great job. They don't know the realities of the profession: ridiculous hours, weekends, inconsistent work, job can disappear as soon as the economylulls, bad benefits unless you work for a big firm. I love being creative, but I went through a health crisis several years ago and realized compassion and care for others is truly what counts in life. Being a glorified cad drafter left me unhappy.

I'm learning I have to act like a duck and let it roll off my back. I may get some strange looks from people when I tell them what I'm doing now, but in a few years when I'm a psych np and gave a house I custom designed, I'll know I followed my heart and can have it all.


1 Post

Hi gang. Just came across this posting and FINALLY decided to create an account and chime in. Hi jnm11, regarding your question about going to back to school and dealing with all the $ it takes, is there by chance a community college where you could finish your ADN? It's a lot cheaper and it's certainly quicker than pursuing a BSN. As for job security in the future?? I wouldn't worry about it. Just my 0.02. Good Luck! You're not alone!

Hi srq5417 & artsygirlms. Just turned 31 myself and did a major 720 in life! Moved, lost my job, car blew up. Yeah, it's been a blast over here:) I just started my LPN program and I thought I'd never get here. Crammed all my pre-reqs in over the last year, studied my buns off, and things are looking on the up 'n' up. Glad to hear that I'm not the only one! As for advice to everyone, there is an end in sight. It's in the bag. Ya got it handled!


17 Posts

Yay! Graphic Designer Nurses!! I have a different version of the same story. Kind of tired of getting $13.00/hr and being treated like I'm overpaid when I know I'm good at what I do.

I will always use graphic design because it's just an essential part of me, as is any artform; but considering financial stability, I think nursing is not only a more practical choice, it's also a lot more meaningful than logos.

From the dates of your posts I know you guys must all be in the middle of school or almost graduating. I wish you all the best of luck in your careers and happiness!!


1 Post

@jnm11 - I am at a crossroads considering both graphic design and nursing. Would you mind updating with your choices, now that 5 years have passed. It would be great to get your perspective, thanks.


1 Post

Specializes in Telemetry. Has 3 years experience.

Hi everyone! I am actually a registered nurse and have worked for over two years. I have worked through COVID and mainly telemetry/ICU settings. Personally, I want to transition far far away from the nursing profession and healthcare overall and am looking into graphic design. I was a very artsy kid and never pursued it because of financial stability (my ten year old self already worried haha). As I see there a few graphic designers here I wanted to ask if anyone suggests going back to school for a bachelor degree or is it possible to break into the industry with a certificate. Right now I see job requirements even for interns require proficiency in programs such as Adobe Illustrator which I know nothing of. If anyone has any suggestions please let know. I found an affordable program with Parsons in NY for a graphic design certificate.