Nursing Later in Life: A Guide for Mature Age Students

Despite the stigma, it’s never too late to change your career path later in life. It’s extremely common for someone to shift careers multiple times, especially now with the flexible study options available for degrees and diplomas.

Nursing is an amazing choice if you’re looking to shift into a career path that’s hands-on and life-changing. You’ll be having a direct impact on your patients’ lives, whether you’re working in a hospital or at a private practice.

The nursing industry is also one of the fastest-growing, and job opportunities are only expected to grow over the coming years. So, if you’re a mature-aged person looking for better job security, nursing is the perfect opportunity.

If you’re looking to return to studying, an accelerated BSN online program is perfect—especially later in life when you have more commitments or have a family. Online studying is better for flexibility with hours and allows you to complete the program at your own pace.

Benefits of Returning as an Adult

If you’re looking for the positives of returning to study as an adult and shifting into healthcare, our list has you covered. We’ve listed different reasons why returning as a mature-age student would be a plus and give you the edge over your classmates.

1. Previous Professional Experience

Returning to study can be daunting, especially as an adult, but one of the major steps you’ll have ahead of other students is prior professional experience. It can help you develop good study habits and build professional relationships.

If you’ve already spent a few years in the workforce or have a previous degree, it can also help you during your placements and when looking for other jobs. Employers always prefer their potential employees to have previous experience—even if it’s in a different field.

2. Potentially Better Career Outcomes

Previous experience plays a massive part when it comes to career outcomes and salary. If you’re a mature-age student with previous academic qualifications or work history, it might help when you’re looking at job prospects and negotiating for a better wage.

3. Maturity and Experience

When it comes to studying as a mature-age student, an invaluable tool in their belt is their wisdom and experience. It’s something that only ever comes with age and previous experience working in a professional setting.

A mature-aged student would be coming back to studying and nursing later in life, better equipped than someone fresh out of high school. For instance, they would better understand workplace dynamics and the importance of professional development.

Online Learning Flexibility

Statistics have shown that online learning is on the rise, with 46% of U.S. learners studying completely online, with a growing number being older students. There are a few reasons that online learning has grown so quickly, but most of all—it allows for more flexibility as it allows for people to study externally.

Especially for older students who may have to take care of their families or have jobs that conflict with typical class timetables, online studying is perfect. It allows them to access course content and classes on a schedule that works for them and to study in an environment that suits them best, outside the usual classroom.

Research has shown that studying externally, either in the comfort of your home or at a coffee shop, can be more conducive than a traditional classroom setting. Familiar surroundings can be soothing and help alleviate stress—helping you concentrate.

We Need More Nurses

When the pandemic hit in 2020, not only the U.S.—but the world was facing a global shortage of nurses and other healthcare workers. Retirements were outpacing new entrants to the field, and the workforce couldn’t keep up with the demand.

While the nurse shortage has been a massive problem over the past few years, it actually extends beyond the pandemic. Before COVID-19 hit, nursing shortages were occurring on and off due to economic downturn and increased healthcare demand.

In 2022, the American Hospital Association estimated that at least half a million nurses would leave the field by the end of the year—bringing the total shortage to 1.1 million. While these nurses are leaving, the demand for healthcare continues to grow as the population is aging and overall health is declining.

So, if you’re looking for a field where you’ll be appreciated and there’s always an opportunity for a job—it’s a good time to consider nursing. Especially if you want to give back to your community and help those in need. Even outside major hospitals and cities, remote areas around America are in desperate need of nurses and healthcare professionals.

Job Opportunity and Security

As you grow older, a stable career path and job security become more important. When you’ve got goals like starting or expanding your family, saving up for a house deposit, and planning for a cozy retirement—you need a job that’s guaranteed for years or decades to come.

When planning your future and choosing your career, it’s also good to account for your employability outlook and if you ever need to relocate. In a field like nursing, there are job opportunities across the country, so if you ever need to move states, there won’t be any challenges.

On top of that, the employment for nurses is faster than the average for all other occupations. From 2022 to 2032 alone, it’s estimated to grow 6% in the next decade. There are about 193,000 openings for registered nurses projected every year.

The work environment for nursing is incredibly versatile, too. If you ever want a change of scenery, there are different specializations available for registered nursing. Whether you want to work in a public hospital environment, physicians’ offices, home healthcare services, or even as a travel nurse.

Improving your Health Literacy

Personal health literacy refers to how a person accesses, understands, and uses health information. Healthcare systems and medical information can be hard to navigate at the best of times, but if you get into nursing, it’ll help you better understand how to access the systems and learn the language.

In essence, embracing a career change into nursing later in life epitomizes the courage to confront challenges head-on for personal growth and the pursuit of one’s dreams. Transitioning into a new field demands resilience and determination, yet it also offers a chance to expand horizons and realize one’s untapped potential. By stepping into the nursing profession at a later stage in your life, you exemplify the transformative power of courage in shaping a fulfilling and purpose-driven life journey.

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