I want to leave nursing, but what else would I be qualified to do?

By | 2022-02-11T16:05:15-05:00 June 7th, 2010|0 Comments


Dear Donna,

I have a BSN and would like to transition from nursing into an entirely different field. I know my degree and experience would make me qualified for another position, but what?


Dear Donna replies:

Dear L,

When nurses tell me they want to move out of nursing, they often mean that they want to do something non-traditional in nursing away from the bedside. Other times they truly want to take a break and do something completely non-nursing for a while. I don’t know which situation best describes you, so I will address both.

If you want to do something completely non-nursing related, I suggest that you pursue something you always have wanted to do or in which you have been interested. For example, I briefly got out of nursing years ago for two years and started an antiques business. It was something I always wanted to do, and I just needed a break from nursing. After two years away, I felt the pull to get back into the field. It allowed me to step back and get some perspective on my life and career. I’m glad I did it and believe it allowed me to return to nursing with a fresh outlook and renewed energy.

If you want to stay in nursing but do something completely different, I encourage you to begin exploring your options. You should do that either way because most nurses are not aware of 90% of what is available to them in this profession. Start by attending nursing career fairs in your area. Read “How to Get the Most Out of Attending a Career Fair” (www.DCardillo.com/articles/fair.html). See what’s coming up in your area at www.Nurse.com/careerfairs.

To fully explore your non-traditional options, identify transferable skills and learn to market yourself well, you should consider attending my Career Alternatives for Nurses® seminar. See where I’ll be at www.Nurse.com/ceseminars. The program also is available in a home-study version at http://CE.Nurse.com/Professional-Development.

Because I don’t know what your specific experience is or where your interests lie, I can’t recommend anything specific, but read “How to Find Your Forte” (http://News.Nurse.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2001104020309). I also encourage you to read “The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses: Practical Advice for Thriving at Every Stage of Your Career” (www.Nurse.com/ce/7250) and pay special attention to Chapter 3, titled “Moving Forward, Where Do I Go From Here?” The entire book will guide you on your journey.

My best wishes,

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