social work to nursing

Nurses Career Support


I tried to post this before but I think I was unsuccessful. I am new here and I am thinking of changing careers. I already have to bachelor's but social work just doesn't pay the bills. Tired of working two jobs. I want to keep working with people and want a job that allows for flexibility. I don't mind working hard...I already do that. I figure with nursing I can at least work one job only if I have to do the overtime. Has anyone switched to nursing from a similar field? What is your perspective. Also does anybody know how to change my login/user name? My hubby was helping me sign in and made that one up.

I know someone who went from social work to nursing & LOVES it. Those skills really do double duty in health care.

If you go to "User CP" (control panel) and click on it, it will open up a new set of options, including changing your name *I think.*


34 Posts

Specializes in Med-Surge, PACU, now Hospice.

My first degree was in Human Services which was a social work degree from a program that wasn't accredited. I graduated from there in 1981 and quickly found out that I couldn't live on the salary. I ended up working as a secretary just to make a decent salary. I was laid off in 1991 and applied to an accelerated bsn program in Boston. After 2 yrs and 9 months, I graduated with a BSN. It was the best career move I ever made. I loved social work, but like you was tired of working 2 jobs. I chose nursing as it was a flexible degree. If you don't like the hospital, you can work in outpatient, schools, parish nursing, vna, occupational, legal, etc. I get so frustrated when I talk to other nurses and they complain that they don't like what they are doing, but don't see any options. At one time I felt like an employment counselor for a couple of friends and actually helped one find another avenue in nursing! Hmmm, sounds a little like social work there!!! When I was in social work, I did home care for the elderly and adored it. I have always been drawn to my elderly patients and worked in a nursing home for a short time. Personally, I haven't been disappointed in my career change. Now, I've been disappointed in my shift, my supervisor, the administration, etc. Hey, that happens everywhere.

Good luck with your decision


17 Posts

Thank you so much for that insight and encouragement. I am very excited and I am scheduled to start my prerequisites in the fall but had started getting cold feet after looking at these boards. They don't have an accelerated program for second career nurses in my area. However, I am not in any rush, the regular program will take about three years. I have noticed however, that most of the complaints are not from second career nurses. I am thinking that it can't be any worse than working for Child Welfare where you don't even get PAID for the overtime. :uhoh21:


204 Posts

Hi Fridanurse,

I came to nursing after being an elementary teacher for a brief time. Like you, I was struggling financially to pay bills and school loans and wanted something more flexible. I went back for my BSN, it took about 2 1/2 years including summers and I'm glad I did it because there are many more options for nurses than teachers. And you'll always have job security! Good luck!!! :)

The University of Texas at Austin, just up the road from you (Texas-speaking) has a bridge program for people with "other-than-nursing" degrees. I believe it takes about 15 months, and some of the course work is online. You might check it out to see if you can do it all online and do the clinicals with a preceptor in San Antonio or drive up to Austin once in a while. The neat thing is, after you finish that course, you are really close to a BSN, which opens even more doors. Good luck! I think it is a smart career move.


548 Posts

My best friend of nursing school was first a social worker. She returned to school b/c she wanted to expand her role. Now she's a nurse on a cardiothoracic unit, and absolutely loves it! The psychosocial stuff in nursing coursework is identical to that which you've already studied in your first degree, so it won't be a difficult transition. Go for it!

ps. In my nursing class, we had 2 engineers, 2 social workers, 1 hospital administrator, one gal who chose nursing after being accepted into a medical school, etc... You will find that the majority of students in a BSN program today (especially an accelerated program) already have BS/BA degrees in something else, and a few have MS degrees or PhDs from other fields.


17 Posts

It's a relief to know that my skills won't be wasted, I hope that my compassion and ability to deal with all different elements of society will be useful. My coworkers think I'm nuts, since I have finally reached the point in my career where I am behind a desk with my own office...however I hate it! I am so excited to start my studies I was so nervous about all the science classes but I've found I love chemistry!

I have my CSW and I work as a hospital social worker in NYC. I got my MSW about 6 years ago, worked with the mentally ill and the substance abusing populations during that time. I started taking my nursing prerequisites on a part-time basis 2 years ago. I was supposed to finish my last prerequisite this semester, but I am currently going through a divorce, so I needed some time off. I hope to get into an accelerated program.

So, Frida, I think your skills as a social worker would be a great addition to the nursing skills you will obtain. I see nurses everyday on the med-surg floor I work on, and they lack basic communication skills. I think that's where a lot of your social work skills will be handy.

Good luck to you!


65 Posts

Specializes in ER;med/surg.

I spent the last 7+ years in social work doing child abuse investigations. I'm currently finishing the last 8 weeks of an RN program and working as an LPN. I have a BA in social work, but am not licensed. I switched careers because I was working endless hours, 40+ a week with 3 or 4 nights a week on call. I loved it but I needed fewer hours and wanted to be more directly involved in patient care. It was a fairly easy transition because I already had assessment skills, I was just learning new types of assessment and the theory of holistic nursing is very comparable to social work! Best of Luck if you decide to make the switch!!


17 Posts


What made you decide to switch after getting an MSW and already working in the hospital. My close friend just got her MSW and is planning to go to work as a hospital social worker.


I decided to switch to nursing before I started working in a hospital. I was working as a Director of an outpatient substance abuse program and made the official decision at that time. I found that I didn't enjoy doing administrative work in social work. Prior to that job, I did direct care, but found myself wanting to be more involved in people's care even then. I spent a lot of time at the hospital when I worked in residential programs for the mentally ill, so a lot of my interests were peaked with those experiences. I took a hospital social work job to see more and get some experience in hospital setting to see if I liked that sort of environment. That sealed it for me.


This topic is now closed to further replies.

By using the site, you agree with our Policies. X