Starting any career takes time, resources, and dedication. This is why you’re encouraged to choose your favored career early in life, because you’re at an age where you can afford to spend years in education and have the energy and resolve to bounce back from the setbacks you could face. For the same reasons, people rarely change careers once they’ve already committed to a certain profession.
This is a problem if you want to pursue a career in medicine.
The journey to becoming a doctor or nurse, for instance, traditionally takes years of academic study, training, and experience before you can fully establish yourself. Even if you were born with a burning desire to pursue a medical career, it takes a lot of time, effort, and money before you can realize your dream.
Now, imagine you’re already holding down an existing career. It would be impossible to change course and pursue a successful medical career instead, right?
Wrong. In fact, thanks to online resources and a host of other factors, starting your medical career later on in life is entirely feasible. Here’s why:
Online training opens up a world of opportunity
Okay, so this is the elephant in the room. How can you train for your medical career without quitting your job, uprooting your life (and perhaps your family member’s lives), and completely isolating yourself in a traditional university system?
On the face of it, this is the stumbling block for most people looking to change their career path, but thanks to online nursing programs, this needn’t hinder your progress. By taking a part-time online course specifically designed to work around your existing lifestyle, you can study while earning, uncompromised by your career change. If you feel you are unsuited to a medical career or have a change of heart, you haven’t sacrificed your existing income and wellbeing in the process. Using online courses is particularly powerful if you have commitments you cannot neglect – such as a young family or caring for an elderly relative.
You can use your real-world experience for good
It is easy to believe you’re just too old to fit in as a medical newbie and question if your colleagues (who are perhaps younger but rank higher) take you seriously?
The answer might surprise you.
When it comes to any profession (but especially medical care), there’s a basic psychological association between age and ability. The older and more worldly you appear, the more people trust your judgments and see you as an authority figure. It isn’t necessarily true, but there is logic to this instinct. Even if you’re no more experienced as a nurse than a twenty-year-old, you have a greater amount of real-world wisdom to draw upon. You have learned how to communicate with the people around you, and you have been through the school of hard knocks and can better empathize with your patient’s concerns.
In short, age is an advantage, not a disadvantage.
Your emotional toolkit is better equipped
Building upon this idea of age over youth, if you’re older and you’re considering a move into medical practice, you are (hopefully) emotionally mature.
This is powerful.
A healthcare career can be distressing and exhausting, both mentally and physically. You’ll be presented with tragedy, elation, and every emotion in between. It is a tough gig for anybody, but with your developed emotional toolkit, you can better deal with the stress and do the best job you can. This puts you in a position to further your career and better help those you come into contact with.
You can handle the intensity of training better
The older you get, the more you understand how you work and what brings out the best in you. If you’re spinning plates with work, training, and your personal life, you’re more likely to knuckle down and work through each if you know how to get the most out of yourself.
If you know you’re bad with deadlines, work around this and find a method to play to your strengths. If you know you’re a party animal, accept it and schedule it into your week. You don’t want to make yourself miserable; instead, you want to create a lifestyle that works for you. After all, this is likely why you changed careers in the first place.
The world is a much smaller place
Thanks to the internet, you don’t have to rely on openings at your local hospital when looking for a job. Once you’re trained, certified, and ready to jump into your medical career, there is a whole world of opportunity to grasp. Now, this doesn’t work for everyone, such as people with existing commitments as they can’t simply up-sticks and move. However, if you’re more flexible, why not scan the internet for available jobs elsewhere – it will drastically improve your chances of landing a job and gaining experience.
Just remember, there will always be demand for medical care in some form. Don’t get down if there are no vacancies in your local area. Dare to dream a little bigger.
The gig economy can play to your strengths
Again, this won’t work for those with big commitments that demand a lot of time and money, but the increasing rise of the gig economy can play to your strengths as you switch careers. If, for example, you quit your full-time job to dedicate more time to your training, why not pick up a few part-time or even one-time jobs as a freelancer? This will subsidize your training without impacting your time. It will also leave you more flexible to follow a career path out of town – or even out of the country.
Working part-time or doing one-time gigs can also help fund you if you decide to work underneath a mentor or apply for apprenticeships. It might sound odd if you’re an established professional in another field, but apprenticing yourself to a suitable mentor (or just working in a medical environment) can skyrocket your learning speed and make you a far more accomplished medical professional.