A continuing education opportunity
45, Male and Now a Nurse
Actually, it took six years: last May, Mr. Van Rensselaer, 45, graduated from the University of Maryland with a master’s in clinical nurse leadership. His professional leap may seem far-reaching, but in some ways his choice is not so surprising.
Like many who come to nursing as a second profession, Mr. Van Rensselaer was motivated after caring for a loved one through an illness — in his case, his mother, who battled thyroid cancer and whom he nursed at her home in the final three months of her life. “It was rewarding,” he says. “It was important for my mother to die at home. Working with hospice nurses allowed me to do that for her. And I realized, ‘I can do this.’ ”
Nursing is one of the most popular and accepting professions for career changers, due in part to a shortage that’s gone on for decades. Nearly 40 percent of students studying to become registered nurses are over age 30, and candidates who already have four-year degrees, like Mr. Van Rensselaer, are highly prized.
To attract students from other disciplines, nursing schools are putting new emphasis on second bachelor’s degrees that can be completed in about a year and are introducing master’s degrees meant to bring non-nurses into the profession. Half of R.N.’s hold just an associate’s degree or a hospital diploma.