5 Considerations Before Going Back to Nursing School

07/31/2018

5 Things to Consider Before Going Back to Nursing School

By Alana Luna, Contributor

Are you thinking about going back to nursing school? It takes a lot of courage to change careers and chase your dreams, but it’s also a big decision. Before you enroll, consider whether you’re ready for what lies ahead and if this new path is the right one for you.

5 Things to Consider Before Going Back to Nursing School

1. Your career goals

“The first question to tackle is ‘Is it worth it?’,” says Dr. Betty Vandenbosch, who is Chancellor of Purdue Global University and an expert on higher education and the adult student. “If you know that you need a certain degree to pursue a more rewarding and lucrative career path, the answer should be pretty clear as nursing has specific requirements and certifications for practicing professionals.”

2. Financial risk versus reward

Debt can be crippling, so Dr. Vandenbosch suggests taking a long, hard look at your finances before applying to nursing school. She also recommends looking for a school that accepts the credits you already have so you’re not doubling down on identical coursework and paying for those duplicate hours.

“Select an option that works with your needs and schedule so you can really focus on new material and professional growth,” says Dr. Vandenbosch. Going to class should spur excitement, not dread, so choose wisely.

3. How much time you have to spare

The average student spends a whopping 17 hours a week working outside the classroom on college-related homework and reading assignments. Do you have that much extra time in your schedule? If not, can you shuffle things around to make it happen if you go back to nursing school?

It may be as easy as turning off the television, or you may have to make serious adjustments such as moving from a full-time to a part-time job. Only you know what tweaks will work for your personal and professional needs, but you’ll have to study sometime if you want to be academically successful.

4. Whether your motivation is purely monetary

The median salary for a registered nurse in 2016 was $68,450, with some RNs pulling in six figures and others falling well below the $50,000 mark. Those are decent numbers, but there are other factors at work.

Frequent 12-hour shifts, exposure to pathogens and other potential risks, on-the-job stress — the reality of being a nurse means a nice paycheck isn’t always enough, but those who love the profession find satisfaction in making a difference in their patients’ lives.

5. Your level of dedication

With some nursing school programs reporting attrition rates that approach 50 percent, graduation is far from guaranteed. That said, studying for a nursing degree is a noble pursuit and the outlook is pretty impressive, too; the profession is projected to grow by 15 percent over the next decade, leaving plenty of room for new nurses to get a firm foothold in the industry.

With a healthy dose of perseverance, a lot of planning and attention to the considerations above, you can make an educated decision as to whether returning to nursing school is your key to a brighter, more beautiful future.

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