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'Should I change career and become a nurse?'


Can you advise this potential student nurse?

“I currently work as a medical secretary. I earn a decent wage and I work regular, predictable hours.

“But recently I’ve been thinking that maybe I should give all that up and retrain as a nurse. I love the idea of being able to help people when they need it most.

“But I keep asking myself: is it worth throwing away a good career on what could be just a whim?

“Some of the things I’ve read about the profession - pay freezes etc. - and some of the comments left by NT readers have scared me off a bit, but I think it’s still something I want to do.

“Maybe I’m asking a biased audience but if you were in my position, would you do it?”

Please use the comments section below to share your advice

If you would like to post a question here, please email We will publish first names only, but please let us know if you’d rather remain anonymous.



Readers' comments (6)

  • Hi
    I would go to a university and look into doing your nurse training.
    I have been in nursing for 11 years and I can honestly say it's the best thing i have ever done. Yes it's hard and challenging but the amazing feeing you get from caring for someone and seeing them get better makes it worthwhile.
    Go for it!
    Good luck

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  • As a medical secretary, if you have a good career structure where you can progress you are very lucky and probably enjoy good working conditions and your skills will never be lost no matter what direction you take and in fact they are a big bonus both during training and career long.

    Nursing opens up so many other doors and as the reader above says, when well managed, nursing is an amazing career as is university and developing a theoretical knowledge base, expanding your skills in thinking and relating it all to practice so that you can reap all the rewards of job satisfaction of providing the best possible care to each of your patients where the variety of your work is enormous.

    I also started out life as a medical secretary after a very difficult and searching dilemma of leaving a job I really enjoyed with a great boss and considerable independence. After a fantastic year at WHO for a complete change and to sort out my thoughts I took up nurse training and qualified when I was 30 and was welcomed back to WHO before going on to enjoy a long career mainly in the same job in Europe for 20 years after my first post-qualification job in the London teaching hospital where I trained. things were different then and I only read for a higher degree many years later followed by another short spell leading an A&E related nursing project.

    I have never looked back and am so glad I didn't spend the rest of my career stuck behind a desk.

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  • Johnathan Crane

    Hi - I'm really happy that you're considering a career in nursing. I would start by warning you that nursing training provides anything but predicatable hours and a steady wage. I'm on placement at the moment and get up at 4AM to get to my shift. I work bank shifts in a care home to help pay for my course and it's often very tight in our house.
    Having said all that, nursing is the best job in the world and I wouldn't do anything else. It's been disruptive and difficult to manage at times, but it's never dull and always rewarding in a way I can't compare to anything else. I have always come away from a shift knowing I have done a good day's work.
    I'm a mental health student nurse, and I'd definately recommend it to you as an avenue of serious consideration. I'd definately recommend getting experience in hands-on care if you don't already have it, and getting your CV in good shape specifically for applying for nursing.
    Whether you decide to study nursing or not, good luck and best wishes for the future.

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  • Johnathan Crane | 23-Mar-2015 1:30 am

    Good for you. you must be really dedicated if you find it worth getting up at 4 am for! Keep on going but look out for your own health as well. Good luck and carry on enjoying what must be one of the most fascinating and rewarding careers.

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  • I came into nursing with the minimal requirements to train. I qualified RN at the first attempt and went onto diploma and degree studies, eventually gaining a PhD in nursing and into teaching. The Health Service offers so many roles to a well qualified nurse. Yes, it is hard work but the rewards make you richer than the best paid MBA! Universities have transition courses for mature students and help with study skills if you haven't done any study for a while and your knowledge of medical terminology will be a huge boost as will report writing skills. Go for it!! Good Luck

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  • I think it's a great choice, I'm also making this choice and was advised to read the nursing times by a customer I serve where I currently work (at a store).

    I'm trying to find the best suitable option to get myself into training, I've even rang the local University that I applied to, to ask what textbook they advise, what ideas/options they could give me, so I would say (as I've been told) apply to things like volunteering - I've been told recently in an email that I'll be interviewed to be a ward assistant.

    Of course there's a plus and negative to careers, I wanted to be a translator, then changed into teaching English as a foreign language and now following my best-friend's death last year, I want to be a nurse, to help others where I can do so. I get a weird sudden feeling of just wanting to run and help when I hear the sirens of an ambulance passing me these days. But I'm pretty sure you'll make a great choice for yourself in the end.

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