No matter what level of education they have already completed, lifelong nurses never seem satisfied with the status quo. They want to learn as much as they can, especially as developments in the medical world continue to change daily.
But nurses are also busy, very busy. In between work, raising young families, or caring for elder family members, all ages of nurses wonder where they will find the time and money to complete a higher degree. Maybe they don’t even try because it seems out of reach. But earning an advanced degree will most certainly give your career, and your income, a boost.
Here are some signs you are ready to go back to school and take the first step towards reaching your next goal.
1. Have You Found the Right Program?
Not all nursing programs are going to work for you. Are you looking for an intense, accelerated program or one that will allow you to fit your classes in among your other responsibilities? If you are serious, you know the answer to this question, and you might even have a school (and its application deadline) in mind.
2. Do You Know the Cost?
If you are really determined about going back but money is an issue, you should take the time to figure out how much a new degree will cost. But don’t forget to check into all the scholarships and other means of funding available to nurses returning to school. You might be surprised at all the worthwhile options available. Do you know what you might qualify for? MinorityNurse.com’s scholarship database is a great place to start looking.
3. Are You Willing to Put in the Hours?
You know it is going to take many hours of study and practice, but have you figured out how you will manage? Have you thought of backup childcare? Do you have an idea of how you and your family will adjust to this new pull on your time?
4. Do You Know How Your Degree Will Advance Your Goals?
A new degree is a fantastic accomplishment and a huge career and morale booster. But do you know what you are going to do with it? Is your master’s going to advance your goals? Is that PhD going to help you on your path to the administrative leadership position you want? Before you begin the journey, have an idea of where you are going.
If you stumbled on a couple of questions but really want that degree, reexamine your roadblocks. Maybe a few changes are all you need to make your goals clearer.
If you have answered all these questions easily, what are you waiting for?
Julia Quinn-Szcesuil is a freelance writer based in Bolton, Massachusetts.