I am a second-career nurse. I had my own marketing and PR business for 15 years. I decided to get into nursing after caring for my elderly parents, both of whom have since passed away. I understand that hospital work can lay a good foundation for nursing practice, but I do not see myself doing this long-term. What would be some other options for a fairly new nurse with lots of life and business experience? I’d ideally love to meld my two backgrounds and find a way to make a real difference in the world.
Dear Business-minded Nurse,
You represent a growing number of nurses coming to the profession with prior work and life experience, sometimes even with advanced degrees in other disciplines. You all bring a lot to the table not only to your individual practice setting but to the profession as a whole. This type of diversity serves to strengthen and expand nursing and that’s a good thing!
While hospital work historically has been the standard starting point for most nurses and where the vast majority of nurses worked for the bulk of their careers, all of that is changing. The entire healthcare delivery system is changing and evolving, and so is nursing. New nurses, and really all nurses, have more options than ever in practice settings and specialties. You even have the choice of being self-employed. Read “Nursing: a new paradigm” for an overview of the current and future state of the profession, including some hot career paths.
Regarding your business background, it can be well used in a variety of ways. I always say that today’s nurse, in any setting, must be as much a business person as a clinician. So you certainly will be able to utilize your entrepreneurial knowledge and experience in many traditional and non-traditional nursing roles. But there also are a growing number of nurse entrepreneurs who are changing the world in many ways. Some of us have education businesses, others do CPR/AED training and certification, work as wellness coaches, provide care management services and more. Check out the National Nurses in Business Association for additional resources. They have an annual conference in October. You also may want to do an Internet search for “nurse entrepreneurs” for additional ideas.