Today’s interview is with Dawn Lewis. Dawn worked as a Registered Nurse for eight years before she changed careers to become a Resume Writer and Career Coach. Dawn describes her career change success story from nursing to career coaching below and she shares advice for other nurses who might be interested in exploring a career change.
Can you please tell us a bit about your own career change from nursing?
My current career as a resume writer and career coach began a few years after I left nursing. Although nursing had been a great profession for me, there came a time when I felt the need to try something new. I explored a variety of opportunities, including radio, television, and freelance writing, to name a few. Eventually, I took a coaching course and felt as though I had started to find my place. From there I realized that I could help people live out their passions and purposes by helping them find their next meaningful career. Making this discovery focused my coaching, and also led me to resume writing. Resume writing draws on my creativity and allows me to help people discover and communicate their unique brand as they search for challenging and fulfilling careers.
What factors should nurses evaluate before deciding whether to leave the nursing profession?
There are a number of questions nurses should ask themselves when considering leaving the nursing profession. For example: What do I like about nursing? What is causing me to consider leaving the profession? What am I passionate about? What do I want my legacy to be? What would I do if I knew I couldn’t fail? These questions can help nurses uncover whether leaving nursing is the best solution for them, or if moving to another department or using another skill set within nursing would better meet their needs.
For example, a medical/surgical nurse in a busy hospital is looking for a change. After asking herself some questions, she realizes she doesn’t want to leave nursing; instead, she discovers that she would be energized by obtaining a new role and new setting within the profession. She notices that there are a number of aspects of teaching that she enjoys. With help from others she discovers that becoming a diabetic educator in a clinic would bring her the challenge and fulfillment she is seeking.
There are also practical questions nurses may want to ask themselves, such as: How much savings do I need to have? Do I need to return to school to retool? Who can help me uncover my next meaningful career?
Are there ways to stay in the nursing profession but leave direct patient care?
There are numerous options within the nursing profession, both in terms of roles and settings – this is one of the wonderful things about nursing. It’s good to remember that sometimes a change in setting can feel like a change in profession, due to the different pace and skill sets. In addition to hospitals, nurses can also practice their skills in hospice care, home health care, nursing home facilities, family practices, specialty clinics, schools, businesses, and urgent care clinics.
Some other roles that allow nurses to remain in their field, but without the heavy patient care required in hospital floor nursing, include: Nurse Educator, Community Health Nurse, Helpline Nurse, Nurse Administrator, Nursing Instructor, Research Nurse, Nurse Epidemiologist, Nurse Midwife, Occupational Health Nurse, Nurse Anesthetist, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric Nurse, Informatics Nurse Specialist, and Certified Diabetic Educator.
What are some transferable skills that nurses have that they can take to other career fields?
Nurses regularly use teaching, educating, advocacy, counseling, and caregiving skills. Therefore, some professions for nurses to consider include: Teacher, Trainer, Mediator, Counselor, and Coach.
Nurses also tend to be natural helpers and there are numerous medical positions that depend on caregiving and helping skills. Some of these include: Occupational Therapist, Dietitian & Nutritionist, Veterinary Technologist, Medical Technician, Paramedic, Physician Assistant, Personal Fitness Trainer, Speech Pathologist & Audiologist, and Dental or Dental Hygienist.
Thank you, Dawn!
Dawn is on LinkedIn, here: Dawn Lewis, ACRW, CCMC
Other career resources for nurses: