If in the past you were a nurse and then you decided to stop and to try something else – it might have been to raise a family, to help out in the family business, to go travelling, or anything else – you might now, at a later stage of life, be considering going back to your original choice, and what might be your calling in terms of your career and your life.
If this is the case, there is a lot to consider, but equally, there are many benefits to getting back into nursing. You will need to weigh the former up against the latter and decide what the right route for you is. If you need help in this regard and want to know just what the considerations are when it comes to returning to nursing after a break – whether long or short – then keep reading as we will outline the main ones below.
Table of Contents
Returning to Nursing: What to Consider
Fear of Change
Sometimes you might feel nervous about returning to school to continue your studies or improve your nursing qualifications. The longer you have been away, the more concerning this might be to the point where you decide it’s not worth the fear and you don’t do what, in your heart, you want to do.
The fear of change is a significant issue that causes problems for lots of different people, but it is something that, if you truly do want to be a nurse again, you will need to deal with in whichever ways suits you. This might be talking to friends and family, or even a therapist(1), and understanding what it is you are most worried about. Or you might get in touch with a good college, one where you are considering taking up your studies again, to find out more about the course. The more you know about what you are heading into and how you might need to change your usual routines, the less nervous you will be.
For many, learning online will help to reduce their fears. Although they will still be learning all the information they need, they will be able to do so in a comfortable space surrounded by their familiar things. This will make learning much easier, and your routine won’t be quite so disrupted.
Read: Home Health Care
One of the major factors to consider when it comes to deciding whether to return to nursing (and therefore to return to nursing studies) is the money. If you haven’t been working because you took time out to care for your family, then getting back to work in your nursing career is going to be extremely important. It will enhance the income of your household and hopefully make things easier for everyone. Of course, choosing to go back to nursing shouldn’t be all about money, but it is something that you will need to think about.
This is even more important if going back to nursing is going to reduce the amount of money your household can bring in. There will be the time needed to study, for example, although if you study online, then you can continue working. Then there is the salary itself; will it be more or less than you are earning now? If it is going to be less, will it have a major impact on your life, or will you be able to manage? In most cases, your happiness is going to be more important than earning a huge amount of money, so bear this in mind.
You Will Gain Friends
If one thing is true about nursing, it’s that teamwork is crucial. You have the lives of patients in your hands (sometimes literally) and only by working together with the other nurses, doctors, and additional staff will you be able to make a difference. In this respect, when you return to nursing, you will start to make many friends. You will rely on one another and get to know one another well.
If you have been working on your own, or in a place where you don’t have to work in teams or friendships aren’t encouraged (or simply where you don’t like the other people you are working with), making friends in your nursing career will be wonderful. Having friends is very important, and if you have taken time out to care for a family, it might be that you have even become rather isolated. Going back to nursing will change all of that, and you will have not only friends in the workplace, but you will even start to have a social life, finding that you are invited out regularly.
Have You You’ve Planned for It?
Another aspect to consider before you go back to nursing is whether or not you have truly planned for this event. It’s one thing to know what you want to do, though it’s quite another actually to take the steps needed to do it. Although it is important to discuss your ideas with others, especially if they are potentially going to be affected by your decisions.
Remember, there is no right or wrong answer to whether or not you should return to nursing. However, if it is something you want to do and you don’t do it, you may well regret that choice and find that you are miserable and unsatisfied because of it.
If you decide to go back, you will need to plan for it. From continuing or enhancing your nursing education to getting back to work, there are going to change that have to be made in your life, and those changes won’t be able to happen unless they are planned for necessarily. If you have children, for example, childcare will need to be organized.
You might only need it only occasion (especially if the children are older or at school), or it might be something that is required much more often (they are younger, or you are going to be working at night or during the weekend). This needs to be worked out in advance and arrangements put in place.
You can make plans for your future career development. How far do you want to go and how much responsibility do you want to take on? Knowing this, or at least having a good idea of what is available to you, will help you when you need to make decisions, and you can continue to move in the right direction when you know where you are headed.
Where Will You Work?
Adding a long daily commute to your already busy day is going to be a problem for some, so it is a good idea to consider this. Where are you hoping to work once you complete your education or add to it after being away from nursing for some time? If you have a local hospital that you are keen to work at, do they have positions open for you to apply for? Will you need to start working elsewhere and apply for jobs closer to home if and when they become available?
All of this will need to be thought of because it can make a big difference to your life, your family’s lives, and the happiness you feel in your job. If you have to drive a long way or take several buses and trains to get to your place of work, are you going to be happy?
Luckily, nurses are usually needed in most hospitals, so this might not be something you need to worry about. However, if you are hoping to specialize or work in a specific department, this is where the problems might occur. You need to be sure there is going to be a job waiting for you when you qualify.
Will It Meet Your Expectations?
With so many questions to ask and considerations to take into account when returning to nursing, something that might have slipped your mind but that is extremely important is whether or not that return to nursing is going to meet your expectations. You will most likely have an image in your head of just what the job is going to be like, but if that image doesn’t match up to reality, you could find yourself feeling disappointed.
This idea might be a hard one to answer at first. Still, because it is so crucial to your happiness and wellbeing, it is certainly something that you will need to think about – this is why you should always take the time to consider all your options before you return to work, whether you are going back into nursing or trying something else.
You are sure to have life goals that you want to achieve; everyone does. No matter what decision you make, you need to ensure you are always working towards those goals and not away from them. Bearing this idea in mind means you should be able to make decisions regarding the biggest changes in your life much more easily. If that means returning to nursing, then you need to ensure you can put everything in place to allow that to happen. You’ll feel much better for it.