The At-Home Parent’s Guide to Becoming a Nurse

Being an at-home mother is an entire job in itself, but there will come a time when your kids are old enough to take care of themselves. Perhaps this is when they are teenagers, or perhaps after they move out. Either way, it is perfectly normal, and even reasonable, to be itching to get back out there into the world. 

Starting a career up again after a long time out of the workforce can be difficult, but there are many great options out there, like being a nurse. Caring for others, being there through the good, the bad, and the messy? There is a reason why parents make such great nurses and why you too can restart your career as a nurse. 

The world needs more nurses. They are one of the most in-demand professions, and if you work your way up the career ladder, also some of the best-paid professions. 

Becoming a nurse can be done in a few ways, but there are licensing requirements at the end of the day, meaning that your overall path will be fairly straightforward. This makes it easy to prepare and to progress, despite the effort of earning those additional degrees and licenses: 

Is Nursing a Good Route for You? 

Nursing is an excellent route if you love helping others, love a challenge, and are ready to tackle all of the challenges that nursing entails. However, it is not for everyone, though it is important to keep in mind that nurses are needed in various scenarios. 

You do not have to work at a hospital. You can work in a clinic, you can work as a midwife, you can work on research expeditions, movie sets, at events, and so on. Wherever there is money to pay for a nurse to help keep and safeguard employee or attendee health, you have a place as a nurse. 

This means you can really pursue your passion and interest while at the same time helping others and giving back. 

You will likely spend at least some time in the hospital, at least for hands-on training, so you will need to be prepared for that, but you do not necessarily be forced to work in hospital settings for your entire career. 

Research what nurses do, read their first-hand accounts and try to get a good feel for what the day-to-day responsibilities are, as well as the struggles, before making your decision. Nursing is not for everyone, but if you know what to expect and are ready to face those challenges, you will be in a far better frame of mind. 

Traits Found in Great Nurses 

There are many qualities nurses should have. As a parent, you will naturally develop many of these skills as time goes on. It takes a lot of work, compassion, and dedication to raising healthy, respectable adults. Many of those skills you have been cultivating over the years can then be used towards your next step as a nurse: 


Nurses are incredibly hardworking. There is often a nursing shortage, meaning that nurses inevitably pick up more shifts and work around the clock to help others. Unlike other jobs, where the work can stop for the night, and everyone can go home, that is not the case here. You need to be ready and capable of working shifts, gruelling shifts, and doing the hard work that is mentally and physically difficult. 

This does not mean that every day as a nurse is difficult, but there will be hard days, and you need to be ready to take up the challenge. 

Thirst for Knowledge 

Nurses must continue to learn, even after they have qualified for the highest degree they can earn. Medicine is developed, new treatments are made, and diseases are better understood all the time. Therefore, it is irresponsible, and even illegal, to not continue learning regularly. Often, you will need to prove that you have invested in further training to get your nursing license renewed, so continual professional development, and the desire to do take on new learning experiences is a must, whether that is learning a new facet of your job, or refreshing your moving and handling every year, it all counts. 

If you love learning and would love a career where you are pushed to learn more and train further, nursing can be an excellent choice for you. 

Great Communicator 

One of the most important skills a nurse needs is the ability to effectively communicate. You do not need to be outgoing or an extrovert to be an effective communicator. However, what you do need is to be able to explain complex health conditions, medications, and treatment plans to patients. You also need to be able to adapt your approach to get through to patients on an individual level. 

Patients want to be heard, and they also need to be able to understand what is happening to them. As one of the primary points of contact, it is important you can offer patients this comfort. 

Compassionate and Empathetic 

Compassion and empathy are something that everyone working in healthcare needs, especially those that see and interact with patients regularly. For your patients, being in the hospital, clinic, or aid tent is one of the most stressful events in their life. You need to have empathy to make them feel comfortable and soothe them through their pain. 

Great in a Crisis 

Nurses might not be the ones that are called to help when a patient’s life is in danger, but they are still there in a supporting role. You need to be calm under pressure and be great in a crisis. The good news is that many parents have learned this skill over the years. Panicking when your child does not feel well or is hurt only stresses your child further. The same applies to nurses. 


Nurses may have their role and have a set of duties that they are responsible for but working in a medical setting is all about being a team player. You need to be flexible to adapt to the everyday needs of your patients and provide better support to the rest of the medical staff. 


You need to be detail-oriented to be a nurse. If you commonly forget things or struggle to ensure everything is done consistently, you may not be a good fit for a primary care nurse. 

This is because details are everything in the medical setting. You need to be able to do your job right, again and again and have an eye open for any mistakes just in case. Sometimes the consequences will be so minuscule they do not matter, in other instances, a patient could be at risk. 

For most, this is a skill that you can and will learn during your education and training. 

How to Get Started as a Nurse 

The best way to get started as a nurse is with a nursing degree. In the UK, it is one of the most employable degree options. 94% of those with a nursing degree find their first job within six months of their graduation. 

Due to the demand in nursing, you can also get at least £5000 of financial support each year for your degree. This money is a grant that does not need to be repaid, so you can use it to fund your degree and help manage your finances during your career transition. 

On top of getting a nursing degree in a specialization of your choice, you can also apply for a Registered Nurse Degree Apprenticeship (RNDA), which offers you a flexible route to becoming a nurse. You can also become a nursing associate, which is a level down from a registered nurse but will allow you to get started in working and can easily be transformed into a nursing role with the right education and further training. 

Advancing Your Nursing Career 

To advance your career, you will need, at minimum, a Master’s. This opens you up to more advanced roles and even higher wage brackets. Of course, just as nursing education requirements have expanded for registered nurses, things are also changing for advanced practice nurses (APNs). 

Though master’s degrees offer you the ability to learn and specialise further, they are not the top tier of qualifications you can reach for. You can also opt for a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) or even a PhD. There is a bit of debate about DNP vs PhD, but it boils down to that DNP is similar to an MBA, whereas a PhD is theoretical and academic, making you better suited for academic or research positions. 

Regardless of which higher qualification you reach for, it is important to note that you will need an MSN to get there. The good news is that your MSN degree can be built into your DNP. So, if you see there are BSN-to-DNP degree options, you will need to earn your MSN along the way; you are getting two degrees in one and truly solidifying your expertise and your career prospects all at once. 

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