Changing Careers to Nursing: Is It Worth It?

What does an exercise physiologist, a former student athlete, and an ex-social worker have in common? They all decided on changing careers to nursing and are now students in Marquette University’s Direct Entry MSN program. By leveraging their existing bachelor’s degrees, they will soon transition into the field of nursing in just 18-21 months.

Is changing careers to nursing worth it?

Whether you’re a recent college graduate with non-nursing experience or a seasoned professional in a different field, you too, can pursue your dream of becoming a registered nurse through Marquette University.

While their paths to nursing school may be different than yours, they were once in your shoes. The first step is overcoming the fear of making the career switch. To provide you with the courage to do so, we asked the three students above to share their different paths to nursing school and what made changing careers to nursing worth it for them.

Allysa Ozzello: More Opportunity

Before nursing school, Allyssa, who has a degree in cardiac rehabilitation, was working as an exercise physiologist doing in-patient rehab and cardiac stress testing. Her ability to genuinely connect with patients left her yearning for more, ultimately prompting her to pursue a nursing career. “In nursing, there’s so much more opportunity to offer your patients and so many more specialties you can go into.”

Searching for the right nursing program led Allysa to Marquette University’s Direct Entry MSN program, in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin. “I chose Marquette University because it offered me a Master’s degree in the same amount of time a lot of other programs were offering a bachelor’s degree.”

She also realized that having an MSN over a BSN would lead to advancement and better paying job opportunities in the future, such as becoming a nurse practitioner or a nurse educator. “Having a masters is the stepping stone to other career opportunities,” she says.

Allysa’s Advice

“It’s scary to leave a full-time career behind, which is what most students in this program do. But it’s going by fast and proving to be a risk well worth the reward.”

Courtney Spencer: Direct Patient Care

Prior to nursing school, Courtney, a former college athlete and biology undergrad, had high hopes of becoming a doctor. It wasn’t until her junior year of college when she started second guessing her career route.

“After shadowing a few doctors, I realized there was no patient interaction, which was not what I was looking for at all,” says Courtney. “The nurses were the ones interacting with the patients and that was the side of the table I wanted to be on.”

As she pondered her future, she realized she had to make a big decision. “I thought to myself ‘wow is this really what I want to do? Do I want to go to school for four years, complete a four-year residency, and pay astronomical amounts of money to not love my career?’”

Half way through college, at the age of 21, Courtney decided to graduate with her biology degree and then apply to nursing school. That’s when she found our Direct Entry MSN program. “I thought, ‘what’s the point of having two bachelor’s degrees? Nobody cares about that. One is enough, let’s get a masters.”

Courtney’s Advice

“If nursing is truly what you want to do, and you have the heart and the compassion to do it, buckle up because it’s going to be a tough five semesters. But it will be worth it, because in the end, you will feel exactly where you’re supposed to be.”

Rachel Davis: Holistic Approach

Shortly after earning a degree in psychology, Rachel began a career in social work. “I worked with both adults and children with chronic mental illness and other neuro developmental disabilities, behavioral issues, traumatic brain injuries – a whole slew of things,” she says.

nursing student with manikinThree years into her profession, Rachel had a change of heart. “I felt like I was on the wrong side of what I was doing. I wanted to be more hands on and understand the pathophysiology that was involved in the disease processes.”

For Rachel, a career in nursing felt like the right path to take. “As a social worker, I felt like I wasn’t doing enough. Nursing is such a holistic approach,” she says.

With her ultimate goal of becoming a nurse practitioner, Rachel was immediately drawn to our Direct Entry MSN program. “Marquette has such a high reputation,” she says. “I knew I would be able to seamlessly transition into the DNP Nurse Practitioner Program and stay with the same school.”

Rachel’s Advice

“When I first started this program I was nervous and worried about the workload and time commitment. You’re always going to have that doubt in the back of your mind of ‘can I do this? Am I right for nursing? Am I right for such a high intensity program and field?’”

“It’s been over a year since I started the program, and I’ve gained so much confidence that I would tell myself back then that, ‘it’s going to be OK – just do it.’”

“It’s OK to be nervous. It’s ok to not know what you’re doing. And that’s the beautiful thing about the nursing profession, you’re never at a standstill, and you’ll always be learning something new.”

Embrace Change: Start Your Nursing Career Today

If you feel energized and thrilled by the thought of changing careers to nursing, now is the time to put your career goals into action. Why? Because you are in high demand. Between advancements in the healthcare system, an aging population, and the increased number of Americans suffering from chronic disease and illness, skilled and experienced nurses are vital to healthcare operations.

The good news is, you don’t have to have a background in the medical field to enroll in our Direct Entry MSN program – all it takes is a bachelor’s degree and the heart to make it happen. Contact our admissions team to learn how you can pursue your dream of becoming a registered nurse through Marquette University.

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