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AJN, American Journal of Nursing:
doi: 10.1097/01.NAJ.0000398033.32785.b2

Second-Career Nurses

O'Keefe, Ellen

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Ellen O'Keefe

Barbara Mahoney

Westwood, MA

We are second-career baby boomers who will reenter the workforce when we graduate from an accelerated nursing program this month. We have much to be proud of. Yet making a career change later in life poses unique challenges. Structuring a work environment adapted for older nurses is one positive way to address these challenges, as noted in "An Aging Nursing Workforce Necessitates Change" (Professional Development, December 2010). The authors are very persuasive in validating the importance of retaining seasoned nurses by developing best practices. One fundamental strategy mentioned in the article was the possibility of developing an age-diverse work culture. This type of inclusiveness will help to improve the workplace for all nurses, not only older nurses.

Second-career nurses, like older nurses, can make a unique contribution to the profession. Erin Wyatt, writing in the Oncology Nursing Society's news-magazine, noted that many second-career nurses bring useful skills to their new profession.1 She describes one woman who became an oncology nurse later in life and utilized skills from her previous career as a music therapist to help cancer patients cope with nausea.

The old adage says: 'out with the old, in with the new.' In this case, however, the old may be here to stay.

Ellen O'Keefe

Barbara Mahoney

Westwood, MA

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1. Wyatt E. Nursing as a second career. ONS Connect 2010;25(12):6-9.

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.


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