The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted just how essential healthcare professionals are to the world. While many people have been stuck at home, watching the news and feeling helpless, healthcare workers have been on the frontline fighting the infection, which has been inspirational to watch. One of the potential outcomes of the crisis could mean more people moving into nursing, and if you have thought about a career change to nursing, here is what you need to know.

Career changes may be a necessity to some

Around 9 million people have been furloughed in the UK. Across the world, businesses are dealing with the shutdown in different ways, from paying stimulus cheques to providing a minimum basic income. In an ideal world, once COVID-19 is eliminated, these people would simply go back to work. However, the sad fact is that many industries are likely to struggle, which could mean redundancies and lack of job opportunities.

If you work in an affected industry and have perhaps been thinking about a career change for a while, this may be the thing that pushes you to go for it. While being made redundant is a stressful and awful experience, it can eventually lead to better things, so planning a career change can give you something to focus on.

Do your research now

Being furloughed might also mean you have a lot of spare time, which means you can research a career change. 

There are lots of organizations that offer information about a career change to nursing. You can find out more about studying nursing or what the job involves by reading the websites of nursing organizations, news outlets for nurses, and even blogs written by current or trainee nurses who share their experiences online. There are also social media groups for those thinking of going into nursing, so you can ask plenty of questions.

Some things to consider include:

  • What kind of training you will need
  • The cost to train and how you will support yourself
  • How long it might take to retrain
  • What kind of career path you want to get on

While you do not have to make any big decisions right now, while things are difficult, it can help to read around and think about your future. 

Flexible learning is possible for nursing students

Becoming a nurse is undoubtedly not easy, and it takes a specific type of person to take on the challenge, but some options can make the process a bit more flexible. This is helpful for those who already have a career, family commitments, or other reasons why they cannot study full time.

Most nurses start their careers by doing a bachelor’s degree, and the good news is, you can often do these degrees online or opt for part-time study, which can offer greater flexibility. Already have a degree? There are accelerated courses you can take to help you get registration faster.

Nursing is the kind of job where you never stop learning, and many nurses take further qualifications so that they can take more specialist roles that are interesting and well-paid. Baylor University allows you to do a DNP in nursing online, which means it fits in with other commitments, so there is no telling how far your career could go.

A switch to nursing could boost your salary

Some people assume that nursing is a poorly paid profession, and while it is true that nurses are undervalued, there are opportunities to get jobs with decent salaries.

As a career, nursing has a big gap between the bottom and top paid jobs, and pay depends on many factors:

  • How many years of experience you have
  • The setting in which you work – hospital nurses tend to earn more than those who work in clinics, schools and similar places
  • Your education level – further education beyond a bachelor’s degree can boost your salary
  • Location – it is not just the country you live in that can determine your salary, but also whether you work somewhere suburban or in the city

Nurses may also end up working overseas, and this can lead to a high salary. For example, nurses in the USA earn $73k on average, and specialists earn six figures. There are many other countries you could potentially move to that offer excellent packages for qualified nurses.

Nursing is popular with career changers

Nursing is a career that requires maturity and several other life skills, and while some people can get into nursing straight out of school, others do not find they are ready until later in life. Nursing is a popular choice as a second career, so wherever you have worked before, you could potentially get into it. 

A lot of skills can be used if you move into nursing, from tact and diplomacy to persuasion, so it is the kind of career where you can use your life experience to your advantage.

One question many people ask is whether they are too old to become a nurse. While the retirement age in the UK for nurses is 60, many people continue working in nursing part-time beyond this age, as long as they can physically keep up with the demanding role. Even if you are in your 40s, you could potentially get 20 or so years in service, so it could be well-worth retraining and doing something you enjoy.

COVID-19 is making a lot of people re-evaluate what they do for a living. Whether it is because their industry is in trouble, or because they have a lot of time to think and have realized they are unhappy in their job, so have been researching different options. With healthcare workers all over the news, more people will likely be looking to switch to one of these careers, and now may be a good time to think about it. While nursing is not for everyone, it offers many career options to suit different personalities and experiences, so there is no reason why you could not pursue this kind of career. 

Thanks to Victor He