Considering Nursing as a second career


Hi, I am considering making a career change to nursing here in FTW with an ultimate goal of becoming a NP one day.( looking into accelerated BSN program). I have been a stay at home mom for almost 3 years to three kids (6 yr old, and a set of 3 yr old twins) and ready to return to work. My last career didn't fulfill my helping others passion and it's even stronger now since I have been a sahm. I'm a little concerned with this move , are new grad nurses having a hard time finding a job or getting into a residency program? How is the new grad job market? Also, how difficult is it going to nursing school with kids?

Nurse SMS, MSN, RN

2 Articles; 6,837 Posts

Specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development. Has 12 years experience.

Lots of meat in your questions. I will try to answer as best I can.

Is nursing school difficult with kids? Heck yes. That being said, tons of people manage to do it. You will need a very supportive spouse or coparent and plan A, B and C for childcare, particularly for sick child care. The hours required for clinicals are dictated by the state. There is very little to no leeway for being out sick, both for yourself and for your children. We had people in my program have car accidents, broken legs etc and they had to repeat the semester. It isn't a matter of being understanding...the number of clinical hours required by law to sit for NCLEX are what they are. Also know that the outline they give you for how much time is required each week will not take into account required volunteer work, group projects, preparations for clinicals (making care plans, looking up and knowing medications, reviewing patient records...oh and picking all the info needed for these tasks at the hospital the day before, which takes an hour or two with no kids allowed...and that is just the data gathering portion, not the homework portion of it), other homework, etc. Nursing school is a full time endeavor and you will need full time day care, which is expensive. It sounds stressful and overwhelming, I know, and it is. You'll have to be fully committed. Lots of people do it, but you need realistic expectations, a village of helpers and a plan in place. You won't be able to do it without full time care for the kids and sick care when they inevitably get the usual childhood illnesses.

Are new grads having trouble getting jobs? Yes and no. Acute care jobs are harder to come by than they used to be, but people still do get them. It is a matter of being proactive, building relationships and knowing when to apply. Students in accelerated programs have a harder time getting hired than those in traditional. In general they are less prepared to enter the workplace. In the DFW area, most of the hospitals only hire new grads into their residency or internship programs, which in general are opened up twice a year. The application period can be up to 2.5 months prior to your graduation date, so you will want to be on top of that. All of my nursing school classmates got into acute care eventually but most not in the specialty of their choice and many had to drive long distances to towns outside of DFW.

With the age of your kids, I would strongly urge you to consider a more traditional educational route. Accelerated programs are fully immersive and you will be able to do little to no mothering during the program. Your (and their) stress will be slightly less in a more traditional nursing program and you will be better prepared for your new career.

Whatever you decide, I wish you well.

Buyer beware, BSN

1,137 Posts

Specializes in GENERAL. Has 40 years experience.

Accelerated programs are for people who are already nurses.

They know most of the ropes, have done clinicals, are employed and are going to school on the hospital's dime to obtain a BSN.

This is referred to as the tuiition reimbursement benefit.

Most people who want to change careers and have no nursing background are taking a big chance at being lost in a morass of jargon and other things that may leave you confused and being left behind; and no one cares.

So give yourself a break. Take the prerequisite courses and proceed with caution.

There really is a lot to learn. But you have to give yourself the time to learn it.

Patience and diligence will get you where you want to be.

That is if you really want to be there.


3 Posts

Thank you ladies for your insight. I will really consider looking into a traditional BSN program vs accelerated program.

Specializes in Cardiac (adult), CC, Peds, MH/Substance. Has 8 years experience.

Keep in mind you may not be accepted, regardless, to your first choice. Consider multiple options: ADN, BSN, and ABSN. Your path may choose you after you choose to option multiple paths. In DFW, if you haven't found this out yet, admissions are very competitive.

Regarding commentary that ABSN programs are geared towards nurses, that's inaccurate. RN to BSN or LVN to ADN/BSN programs are geared towards nurses. PM to BSN/ADN programs are geared towards paramedics. ABSN programs are geared towards non nurses who meet certain criteria. For some this is a bachelor's degree and nursing school prerequisites. For others, this is military medical background and nursing prerequisites.

All ABSN programs are accelerating, ranging from 11 to 18 months after prerequisites. Consider how hard you've heard nursing school is. Now consider having the same requirements in half the time. If your family is very supportive, this can be a good path. Emphasis on very.

Nurse SMS, MSN, RN

2 Articles; 6,837 Posts

Specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development. Has 12 years experience.

The previous poster is correct. An accelerated nursing program is for individuals who already have a degree in another major who now wish to become a nurse. The degree plans referenced by the poster above are RN to BSN programs, not accelerated programs.


3 Posts

I already have a bachelors degree so that's why I was looking into the accelerated program. But with me having three kids everything will be on my husband since we have no family here in Texas. So a traditional program may work best for me since it will be at a slower pace.

I looked into ADN programs since I know it would be more financial friendly but I do worry about job potential since many hospitals in the DFW area are now looking for BSN grads and BSN grads for residency programs.

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

226 Articles; 27,608 Posts

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych. Has 17 years experience.

Nursing might not fulfill your desire to help others, either. A traditional floor nursing position at a hospital or other type of facility entails very little face time with each patient. Most of the nurse's time is taken with redundant documentation, paperwork, phone calls to physicians, fetching snacks and blankets, reviewing laboratory results, hourly rounding, and other miscellaneous tasks.

Modern day nursing is a business first and foremost. Caring and helping patients is secondary to the number below that bottom line.


1 Post

I think that's a very noble route that you are taking. I have a friend who went through a similar situation. He made a career change midway, he was a banker and now he's studying to be a nurse because he has that drive to care for people. Owing to the fact that you already have a bachelors degree, it will play to your advantage in the light that you understand the commitment and the work that is essential to complete a second-degree nursing program. You may be equipped with the discipline and focus that some younger students might not. Also there is a possibility that some of the coursework from your previous degree will transfer to this.

Check out this article Nursing as a second career | UTA Online , it has literally covered everything you need to know. My friend went through this and a several other resources before making the jump. I'll see if I can find some other useful information regarding this.

I do wish you the best of luck. I know this decision is prone to bring some anxiety but stay confident. Think of it as an adventure, that's what helps me :)