After a 25-year career in finance and human resources at JP Morgan Chase, Caryn Stapler was laid off following a corporate merger. She realized that with her industry consolidating, she was better off "redefining" herself rather than just searching for a new job in her old field. She chose health care because it is a growing sector.
According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, there are 2.6 million registered nurses, the largest field in the health care industry. The profession is expected to grow 22% by 2018, driven by advances in technology, a greater emphasis on preventative care, and an increased demand for health care by aging Baby Boomers.
Stapler researched her retraining options and enrolled in a four-year nursing program. She was able to leverage her B.A. to complete her degree in half that time. She now works in the telemetry unit at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park, NY.
Stapler received overwhelming support from her friends and family when she made the career change and she has never looked back. "I enjoy advocating for patients, comforting them and being part of a process that helps save lives. Every day I use my head, my heart and my hands in my work and that is very rewarding," she says.
For other people thinking about a career change that requires a large amount of retraining, Stapler has this advice: "It's never too late. Even after a 25-year career in one field, you can make a transition." And nursing in particular, "is very welcoming of people of all ages." Stapler believes that the people who do well in nursing have strong communication and time management skills, as well as the ability to prioritize and stay organized.