Monday, December 16, 2013

Considering a Career Change or Advancement in Nursing?

It is hard for me to believe that next year will mark forty years since I graduated from nursing school and became a licensed Registered Nurse!  Becoming a nurse was a dream come true for me, as I always wanted to be one since childhood when I first read the children's book, "Nancy Nurse." I wanted to help people who were hurt or ill, and as I grew I knew I had the intelligence, compassion, and fortitude to do it.  As a very young teenager, I became a Red Cross volunteer "Candy Striper," and worked in a Veterans Administration Hospital.  I basically acted as a messenger and delivered mail from floor to floor, but I was thrilled to be in a hospital and seeing first hand what nurses do. In high school, through my school's "Future Nurses" club, I was able to get a job on weekends in a Manhattan hospital as a nurse's aide. Then I was actually doing real patient care, such as assisting with bed baths and meals and transporting patients for tests in other parts of the hospital.  I learned how hard nurses worked, but I loved every minute of it, and it strengthened my resolve that nursing was the career for me!

In the early 1970s women and men who wanted to become nurses usually applied for admission to nursing schools, and I was no exception.  In three years I went from a student nurse to a fully qualified R.N. and began to work in Surgical Intensive Care in the same city hospital I trained in. Fortunately, the administration of the nursing school I attended had the foresight to realize that the vocation of nursing was soon going to evolve into more professional status, and that would soon require a college degree. They instituted a pilot program where we would take classes at a local four-year degree college in conjunction with our hospital nursing classes. The college classes lead to about one year's worth of college credits, and I continued taking classes and earning credits towards a degree on my own, part-time, after graduation. Nurses who did the same went from having a diploma in nursing, to a bachelor's degree in nursing, and that increased their career opportunities and enabled them to obtain new opportunities and enter more specialized nursing.

Today, I would strongly advise any man or woman who wants to enter the career of nursing to earn their Bachelor of Science Nursing degree (BSN), in an accredited program at a four- year college. Nursing in this generation requires a more comprehensive education that only a college degree can provide. Modern nursing is constantly advancing through new technology, treatments, and research. A Bachelor of Science in Nursing becomes a pathway towards earning higher degrees or certificates that will open the door towards many career opportunities and greater autonomy. Throughout my nursing career, I had to take continuing education and certificate classes in order to qualify for different assignments.  As my family grew, and I wanted to spend more time with my children,  I worked part-time through nursing agencies as a special education school nurse and later as a home care coordinator. I often thought that if I were at a different point of my life I would have continued my education to earn a Master of Science Nursing Nursing degree (MSN), and perhaps have become a Nurse Practitioner.  I'm sure you've had an occasion to use the services of a nurse practitioner in your life, as more and more they are employed by hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, and private doctors' offices. Very often you will be seen by a Nurse Practitioner before, or instead, of seeing a doctor for many basic illnesses.

Advanced degree nursing enables women and men to rise in their chosen career, yet often they are over 30, are working full-time and have family obligations. Going to a traditional university may be difficult to impossible.  Kaplan University is geared toward helping such nurses enhance their profession through higher education. They offer many online and campus classes and have dedicated faculty and advisers on staff that will guide you along the way. They have high ratings in satisfaction and relevancy from their graduates. Founded in 1937, they are fully accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and are a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA), and offer blended programs in fields such as arts and sciences, business, criminal justice, education, health sciences, information systems and technology, legal studies, and nursing.  Depending on the course of study, students can earn associate, bachelor and master degrees, as well as certificates and diplomas.

In some states, the Kaplan University Nursing Program offers a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DPN) which is designed to prepare advanced practice nurses to step into the role of specialization with the highest level of scientific knowledge and expertise. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) has actually called for advanced practice nurses to hold doctoral degrees by 2015, so continuing education and earning qualifying degrees is certainly something all modern nurses should consider if they wish to advance in their professions.  Education is a life long process in our rapidly changing world, and Kaplan University offers the flexibility to help you obtain the continuing education you need, while you maintain your job and family obligations

Nursing is a wonderful career that offers many more opportunities in this day and age than ever before. The impact you will have on countless lives as a nurse is very rewarding in so many ways. Nursing is in high demand in our country and it is an excellent career change path for those seeking to make a difference, earn better pay and achieve personal autonomy. With so many job uncertainties you know that there will always be a need for qualified nurses, and even more so with the expected shortage of primary care providers.  Investing in continuing education degree and certificate programs at Kaplan University is one way to meet the demand and grow your career.

Whether you're seeking further success in your current role or a new opportunity, Kaplan University can help you prepare for the exciting possibilities ahead.*

As an accredited university built on more than 75 years of experience, + Kaplan University offers a wide range of career-focused programs designed to develop the skills and knowledge leading employers seek.  Our focus: to offer you the most direct educational path to achieve your goals.

Are you ready for a change? Learn more at

* Kaplan University cannot guarantee employment or career advancement.

† Kaplan University is regionally accredited. Please visit  for additional information about institutional and programmatic accreditation.

* My Disclaimer: I was compensated to write this post by Kaplan University and BlogHer, but all statements and opinions expressed are my own, and not influenced in any way by my compensation.


Kris said...

I didn't know you were a nurse! I too, thought I wanted to be a nurse, and worked as a candy striper in local hospital. It was there, I realized, that I could not be a nurse. But I admire those who are. They work so hard!
Loved the previous post too!!!!!
xo Kris

Billy Blue Eyes said...

Well done, my prents were both nurses. Mum was a ward sister and Dad a charge nurse. They worked in a mental Hospital from somtime in the 1940's till they retired in the late 1970's.

ellen b. said...

Love these photos of you!!

podso said...

I assume you went to school in the city? To think we were probably student nurses at the same time and possibly doing some of the same off-site experiences!

Vee said... not my thing. That three years of candy striping taught me something. My cap is doffed to all nurses and especially those who do it well. They are becoming a rarity.

Sandy said...

Great post Pat! I love your nursing school's cap! Sadly nurses don't wear them now. Back then (late 1960s) our hospital had an nursing school right next door. I still remember those student nurses piling off the elevators in their cute blue and white uniforms.

I, too, worked as a Candy Striper at our town's hospital while in high school. That was fun but once I was working in Admitting and took a patient to the wrong floor and room. Luckily I realized my mistake and moved him down one floor before anyone noticed. Another time I spilt a full urine container down the front of my uniform. All I was trying to do was move it for a patient.

My first job out of high school was working at the same hospital as a Ward Secretary. It was a great experience and I still have friends from that job. I thought about nursing as a career while working at the hospital and mentioned it to my Dad but he said no. I'm not sure why.

But I did decide to return to college for my BA degree in Philosophy. Best thing I did…met my future husband in "Philosophy of Law" class!!! And we're still together (married 40 years next May).

camp and cottage living said...

Nursing is a tough profession!
My admiration to those who truly do it as more than a profession.

AdriBarr said...

What a wonderful article. The world of nursing has indeed changed, and a Bachelor's Degree is a must. For real advancement, even higher degrees are required. Nice work getting the word out - and I love your nursing school shots!

Old Kitty said...

Love these pics of you! And your daughter totally looks like you! Yay!!

My sister qualified as a nurse in Australia a couple of years ago now - she said it was tough but is thoroughly enjoying her profession!

Take care

Judy said...

Love those pic's of you...from yesteryear! How neat that Nancy Nurse inspired you to become Nurse Patricia. I have a sister that is a nurse...a DIL as well...and an aunt. I don't think I could have done it...and am all the more impressed by those who choose nursing as a career!

Buttercup said...

So admire nurses. I had the best nurses after my spinal surgery. I was so impressed with their intelligence and compassion. I was at Cornell/NY Hospital.

Lovella ♥ said...

I so admire your motivation to become a nurse. I love your graduation photo in those beautiful white uniforms. I think I loved that idea more than any other part of the passing thought of becoming a nurse. Our daughter in law is an RN and I'm so proud of her!

Unknown said...

Ah...Pat, I missed you, missed blogging but am definitely starting again :) You look really pretty there, still do. Nursing is such a noble profession. xoxoxo

Pallavi said...

Pat , you look so pretty in all your pictures :) so nice to read through your post and witness you reminiscing the past. Lovely! Hugs.

Pondside said...

My mother was an RN and I was always so proud of her and felt so lucky to have her skill right at home.
You were such a pretty young nurse!

The French Hutch said...

What fabulous pics you’ve shared from your nursing career! I enjoyed this so much. Great info for anyone interested in the field of nursing. What would we do without nurses?!!!!!

The French Hutch

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Wow! I had no idea you were a nurse, Pat! And look how cute you are! I enjoyed this. Three of my nieces are nurses. Say that real fast! ;-)



Betty said...

I didn't realize you were a nurse either. I enjoyed the pictures. I still remember the first time I saw a male nurse. It was the early 70's and my son was in preschool. A classmate's Dad was a nurse in the Navy. Now we see male nurses all the time. It no longer seems strange. Times have changed.

Sweet Woodruff said...

Love the old pictures. :) I could never be a nurse. I would throw up and faint.