Career Change Success Story: Nursing To Career Coaching

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.

Nursing 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.

Any other comments?

If you’re a nurse looking for a change, I’d love to read your comments below about what ideas this article sparked for you.

Thank you, Dawn!

Dawn is on LinkedIn, here: Dawn Lewis, ACRW, CCMC


  1. Hello Dawn! Thank you for this article.

    I too am a nurse and I have been killing myself for quite some time on how to get out of nursing. I have been thinking of all kinds of things that I can tie to nursing because I have been one for so very long but my heart is not in nursing. I just need help on trying to figure out different career paths. How did you get your start as a resume writer and then eventual career coach?

  2. Hi Angela,

    Thank you for the question.

    I want to start out by affirming that it can be difficult trying to find a meaningful career path after having been in nursing for so long.

    To answer your question, I got started in career coaching and resume writing by taking courses from The Academies ( and the Resume Writing Academy ( The courses gave me the training and confidence I needed to provide career coaching and resume writing services. After that, I began the work of marketing and finding the people who would be helped by these services.

    If you’re interested in exploring more about whether career coaching and resume writing may be a good fit for you, as well as what other careers would be meaningful for your personality type, interests and strengths, feel free to email me at:

  3. I have searched the internet like crazy trying to find some kind of guidance to my dilemma. I have been an LPN for 3 years and worked in a family practice office. I liked what I did but thought I needed something more challenging so after graduating with my Associated degree in nursing I got hired in a medical surgical floor. The people are great and so is the manager. But I am not sure if this is what I want to do. Ive only been there for two months and start on my own next week. I get very anxious and scared before a shift and not sure if I should quit this early on or just give it more time, while I find my niche or find a different career.

  4. Daisy, I don’t think you will find the answers you seek on the Internet because whether this new job is a good fit for you depends on your interests, personality, skills, values, etc. Two months isn’t much time…lots and lots of people are really out of their comfort zone in the first 3-6 months in a new job, sometimes longer. Perhaps you need more training or support to master the new challenges?

  5. I have left nursing after 19 years. I feel best suited for the position as a car salesman. I know that sounds weird, but my superiors have been cramming customer service up my ass for so long, it just feel right. I once loved my career. I think most nurses stay in the field for either the money or out of guilt.

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