Why You Should Change Careers to Nursing and 5 Steps to Achieve It

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Marquette MSN student smiling in hallway

If you feel that nursing might be your ideal career path, you can make your dream a reality regardless of previous degree path. With Marquette University’s Direct Entry Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program in Milwaukee and Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, you can leverage your previous degree to earn a master’s level nursing education from a top-tier university in 19-21 months. With drive, dedication and commitment, your future in nursing is within reach.

Why You Should Make the Switch

A career in nursing offers many benefits which can include flexibility, advancement opportunity, high demand and career diversity. No other profession allows you to care for those going through some of the most joyful times of their lives, such as the birth of their child, as well as support those experiencing some of their most challenging moments or at the end of life. The combination of these benefits can make the career change to nursing a life-changing opportunity to many individuals.


A career in nursing offers you the flexibility to live and work where you want. You are given the opportunity to move from city to city or state to state since Master’s-prepared nurses are in demand and can access opportunities nearly everywhere, as more hospitals are reaching to achieve Magnet status.

Through the Magnet program, hospitals are aiming to hire more highly educated nurses so they can lower patient mortality rates and increase the overall quality of care. With this goal in mind, healthcare employers are seeking out qualified nurses across the country.

Advancement Opportunities

In the field of nursing, there are always opportunities for advancement. This opportunity is magnified with a master’s in nursing, like the one you can get from Marquette’s Direct Entry MSN program.

With a MSN degree, you can continue in a post-Master’s certificate program (or other educational opportunity) to pursue advanced specialty nursing roles such as:

  • Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (Adult or Pediatric)
  • Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (Adult or Pediatric)
  • Nurse Midwife
  • Health Systems Leadership
  • Nurse Anesthetist
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
  • Ph.D. in Nursing – Nurse Scientist
Marquette MSN student in scrubs

Students will also be able to gain familiarity with some of these roles throughout the course of the program, where faculty panels, clinicals, shadowing opportunities and more are all offered as a means to introduce students with as great an understanding of their professional options as possible. With so many potential specializations accessible through the foundation of an MSN degree, students have the freedom to pursue whichever aspect of the profession seems to be the best choice to them. With so many choices within the nursing profession, each individual finding the right fit for them can help reduce the risk of burnout as well as heighten overall career satisfaction. After all, if you are making the commitment to change careers to nursing, you want to be sure you’ll be happy in what you do.

High Demand

Nursing is a rapidly expanding field, due to a number of factors including an aging population, an aging workforce, and the rise of chronic conditions as well as the expanding role of nurses in patient care. Because of this, nurses are needed now more than ever.

According to The American Nurses Association (ANA), more registered nurse jobs will be available through 2022 than any other profession in the United States. As the Bureau of Labor Statistics records, the need for registered nurses is expected to grow 9% by 2030, with 276,000 new employees projected to enter the field within that timeframe as of May 2021. Advanced nursing careers, on the other hand, are expected to grow by 45% or approximately 121,400 within the same time period.

As a Master’s-prepared nurse, you will be able to take full advantage of the current and projected nursing demand. Lucky for you, Marquette University’s Direct Entry MSN program makes this possible, making it more accessible than ever to change careers to nursing.

Career Diversity

Unlike many other careers, nursing makes it possible to work in a setting that is well-suited for you. You can choose to work traditional roles in a hospital or other clinical setting, or roles outside the hospital.

Should you choose to work in a non-traditional nursing role, you can pursue nursing roles in places like:

  • Schools
  • Clinics
  • Cruise Ships
  • Nursing Homes
  • Rehabilitation Centers
  • Insurance Nursing
  • Pharmaceutical Sales
  • Care Coordination

This diversity lets you create the career of your dreams with a much-reduced risk of burnout for those who would prefer something other than fast-paced clinical environments like hospitals.

Making the Switch

If you’re unsure of the right way to go about switching careers to nursing, you’re not alone. There’s a lot of confusion about the steps to begin a career in nursing. To demystify the process for transitioning to nursing, we’ve broken down the five steps to follow to enter a nursing career.

1. Talk to an admissions adviser to determine a good fit.

Before you apply for a nursing program or sign up to take any outstanding prerequisites, you need to talk to an admissions adviser. During your first call with a Marquette admissions adviser, you’ll learn about the Direct Entry MSN program in Milwaukee or Pleasant Prairie (and their different learning modalities) in greater detail, as well as discuss your reasons for wanting to be a nurse, availability to participate in the full-time program, education history and interest in Marquette University. This will help you determine whether the Direct Entry MSN program is a good fit for you. It’s also a good time to ask any questions you have about the program and to discuss any concerns before going any further with the process. During your conversation, you will learn the format of the curriculum, which is comprised of:

Flexible online coursework offered at the Pleasant Prairie location, which allows you to learn and study on your schedule through our e-Learning platform.

Hands-on skills and simulation labs at our state-of-the-art learning sites, offered regardless of your campus location, will help you apply your nursing theory coursework.

Rounding out your nursing education, you will perform clinical rotations, which give you a wealth of real-world experience in top area healthcare settings.

Of course, this won’t be the only time you talk to an adviser, so don’t fret if you forget to ask a question. Throughout the enrollment period, you’ll be in regular contact with your assigned admissions adviser, who will help guide you through every step of the nursing school admissions process.

2. Fulfill any prerequisite course requirements.

After your initial admissions call, you will send your adviser a copy of your unofficial college transcripts. They will evaluate these documents carefully to determine eligibility for the program, as well as whether you will need to complete any prerequisite coursework prior to enrollment.

They will then work with you to develop a plan for completing these courses in a timely manner. Ultimately, which courses you will need to take (if any) depends on your previous degree, course completion date and grades.

3. Apply for the Direct Entry MSN program.

Having begun your prerequisites, you can start the formal application process, which begins with you applying to either our Milwaukee (with start dates each May) or Pleasant Prairie (with start dates in August or January) via the Marquette Graduate School application portal. You cannot finalize your application prior to successfully completing your prerequisites, but in the meantime you can get your materials in order. Through the application portal, you will be required to submit the following:

  • Your official school transcripts
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • An up-to-date resume
  • A written admissions statement

Keep in mind that anything you submit reflects on you, so be sure to put some thought into who you ask to write your letters of recommendation — recommendations from professional colleagues, school faculty and supervisors will carry the most weight. When requesting a recommendation, be sure to give them plenty of advance notice so they have time to do a thorough job. We also recommend having someone with proofreading experience read over your resume and admissions statement before submitting.

4. Attend Marquette’s Direct Entry MSN program.

You’ve talked to an adviser, completed your prerequisites and been accepted into Marquette’s Direct Entry MSN program in Milwaukee or Pleasant Prairie. Over the course of 19–21 months, you’ll receive a thorough nursing education through a blended curriculum of coursework, skills and simulation labs, and clinical rotations.

Marquette’s Direct Entry MSN curriculum uses a combination of didactic coursework, skills and simulation labs, and clinical rotations to provide you with a well-rounded education that prepares you for a career in nursing.

Student completing online nursing simulation

5. Take the NCLEX-RN®.

This is probably the most confusing step toward becoming a nurse; however, it’s not as complicated as it might seem. The National Council Licensure Examination is taken after graduation, but at Marquette we begin preparing students for this exam with practice tests and study materials from the first semester onward. Individualized preparation for this legally required pre-licensure step can help to increase confidence and preparedness in our students. To receive authorization to take the NCLEX-RN®, you must do two things:

  1. Apply to your state’s nursing regulatory body (NRB) for licensure.
  2. Register with Pearson VUE to take the NCLEX®.

Once you receive authorization to test, you are eligible to take the NCLEX-RN®. By this time, you should be well-prepared to sit for the exam, thanks to our program’s built-in NCLEX-RN® review sessions and practice tests. However, it’s important to recognize that the NCLEX-RN® covers all aspects of your nursing education. For that reason, we recommend studying regularly throughout the program so that you walk into the NCLEX-RN® testing center confident. After all, you must pass in order to become licensed.

Ready to Launch Your Nursing Career?

If nursing is your ambition, there’s no better time than right now to change careers to nursing and start working toward your nursing degree. Call us today to talk to an admissions adviser and learn more about how you can become a practice-ready nurse in 19–21 months with Marquette’s second-degree MSN program in Milwaukee and Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin.