Baylor University ABSN Students Share Their Reasons for Becoming a Second Career Nurse

Baylor University nurse
Baylor University nurse

The decision to become a nurse is a personal choice. In Baylor’s Distance Accelerated BSN program (ABSN), students are prepared through a robust academic curriculum delivered online and with real-world clinical experiences, emerging as nursing professionals who are ready for the NCLEX exam and earn their RN licensure in just one year. 

Read on to learn more about what the journey is like for our current online ABSN students—and what drew them to their calling to become a nurse. 


Responses may have been edited for clarity and length. 

Jenna Parker

Jenna Parker

Before I came to Baylor, I was going to school for occupational therapy (OT). I shadowed under a lot of really talented, passionate OTs. It was rewarding, but I just didn't feel like I had the same passion for it that my OTs did. 

I'd always wanted to go towards nursing after I watched my sister give birth to my first niece when I was 15. I just thought it was really beautiful.

I've always been outspoken and protective of people. I'm always first to advocate for someone, especially when I think or believe they're being treated wrong. I would have become a doctor, but it just wasn't personable enough for me. What drew me to nursing was wanting to help people. 

Towards the end of my academic career in pre-occupational therapy, I was really teetering. I wanted to go towards nursing, so I went and talked to the advisor. They told me that if I were to switch, I would basically be restarting my academic career, and I was almost done with my degree at that point. I was like, "What are my options? Am I going to have to start another degree?" 

They said, "No, you can actually just graduate with your degree and look for programs that are second degree-seeking, or accept students who already have a bachelor's degree." I started looking and I saw Baylor had a distance ABSN program, and I was like, "That sounds like me." So I looked into it right away. 

“I want to become a nurse because I've always been outspoken and protective of people.”

Ansel Graham

Ansel Graham

I've always been fascinated with becoming a nurse. Before I started looking for employment as a social worker, I saw this as an opportunity to enter the nursing world and expand my educational experience. I worked with underserved populations in my previous role as a social worker. And so, entering the field of nursing, I expect to continue that work. I want to meld my social work experience with my nursing experience and bring the best possible service to those communities.

Go here to learn more about Ansel’s experience

“I want to meld my social work experience with my nursing experience and bring the best possible service to those communities.”

Dana Salas

Dana Salas

Before starting in Baylor's ABSN program, I was in the dental field for 20 years. I have a Bachelor's in Dental Hygiene and worked as a dental hygienist for the past 11 years. I felt this was a good time to pursue a career change because I was at a point in my career where I didn't feel that I had any room forward or upward progression. 

I'm attracted to the field of nursing because I have some experience in healthcare, but I want to expand my scope of practice and offer care to a variety of people with different circumstances. I felt that a lot of my background could be applied to nursing and being a nurse would allow me the opportunity to continue working with patients - just in a different capacity.

Go here to learn more about Dana’s experience

“I was at a point in my career where I didn't feel that I had any forward or upward progression.”

Mariah Sauceda

Mariah Sauceda

I got my bachelor's in microbiology and chemistry. 

Then, I got my alternative certification to be a high school science teacher. For the past four years, I taught high school science at a large high school. 

I taught everything from biology to forensics, to physics, to chemistry. I taught chemistry for the past two years, and that's what I enjoyed the most. While I was a teacher, I also got my master's in education and educational leadership with principal certification. So that's a little insight into my professional educational background.

I've wanted to become a nurse because I've always had a desire to care for people. I consider myself a caring and sensitive person. And my sister is a nurse - she also inspired me to go that route. 

What kind of re-awakened my career change to pursue nursing was my students. My high school students inspired me to reflect and put myself in that mindset of what I wanted to do in life- was I happy with where I was? And so, that's kind of why I'm here now.

They were just high school teenagers asking me "Why are you a teacher? You have your degree in microbiology? Wow. Why aren't you a doctor? Why aren't you a nurse?" 

And I'm like, "That's a great question. I wanted to be a nurse." 

And so that right there, those questions I kept getting from my students, and then just remembering that's what I wanted to do. You get lost every day in doing your job and not really thinking about your dreams and goals initially.

Go here to learn more about Mariah’s experience

“You get lost every day in doing your job and not really thinking about your dreams and goals initially.”

Sara Becker

Sara Becker

Before starting this program, I got my bachelor's in biomedical sciences. Then, I got my master's in Public Health, and from there, I went into oil and gas. I worked for seven years as an Environmental Health and Safety Specialist.

I always felt that I belonged in healthcare, but I didn't quite know where I fit for the longest time. I explored medicine but I think that nursing is just a better fit for me because I feel like it's more of a holistic approach to healthcare. 

I like the idea of not only taking care of the patient's physical needs but also the spiritual and emotional needs as well.

Since I went into oil and gas, there's always been something tugging inside of me saying, "I'm not in the right place." And that has eaten at me for the past seven years. 

I recently had a daughter, and I think having a child puts a lot of things into perspective. I don't want her to see me going to a job that I don't feel fulfilled. I don't want her to settle. That was enough impetus for me to pursue my dream. I wanted to be a good role model for her. 

So I changed careers, and now I'm going to be in a profession where I'm happy when I come home - I'm happy to wake up in the morning and do this job where I'm making a difference. I can see the value that I'm adding on a day-to-day basis, and I think it's a good example to set for my child.

I started Googling the fastest BSN program in Texas, and Baylor popped up. When I saw that it was Distance, I was like, "This is a God wink." I can be home with my baby, and I can change my career in less than a year. And so, that was enough right there. I was like, "Sign me up. I'm ready to do this."

“I'm happy to wake up in the morning and do this job where I'm making a difference. I think it's a good example to set for my child.”

Sariah Turner

Sariah Turner

Before starting this ABSN program, my professional and educational background was pretty much educational. I recently graduated with a public health degree. 

I wanted to become a nurse after volunteering at Baylor Scott & White in College Station. I just saw how hard the nurses were working to serve others, and I knew that I wanted to help others live happier healthier lives. 

And also, being a Christian, I feel called to serve others. I feel like it's a good way to serve God, so I decided to pursue nursing halfway through my public health degree.

I decided to pursue an ABSN, right after graduating with my first degree, because I figured I should just get it all out of the way. I knew that if I took too long away from school, I wasn't going to come back. So, I started this program, and I want to get through it and start working as soon as I can.

Go here to learn more about Sariah’s experience

“I saw how hard the nurses were working to serve others, and I knew that I wanted to help others live happier healthier lives.” 

Ebony Crawford

Ebony Crawford

Before starting at Baylor I did community work with an emphasis in the HIV field. My educational background is in public health, also minoring in sociology and HIV.

The reason I want to become a nurse is that I feel there are a lot of people within my community, especially in the African-American community, that do not have access to proper healthcare. 

That is my number one driving goal to become a nurse - to be within my community and be that person they know they can come and get that healthcare they need.

I've always wanted to become a nurse. I'm a mother of three, so life has just gotten in the way, but my kids are now at the age where I felt like this would be the right time to do it. I'm not getting any younger, so I decided to go for it.

I decided to enroll in Baylor's ABSN program because I'm a mother of three, and the one year program was the most appealing thing to me. I have it in my mind, one and done. That short one year period of time is what drew me to it.

Go here to learn more about Ebony’s experience

“The reason I want to become a nurse is that I feel there are a lot of people within my community, especially in the African-American community, that do not have access to proper healthcare.” 

Mackenzie Coleman

Mackenzie Coleman

Before starting Baylor's ABSN Program, I wanted to pursue a degree in the health field, so I studied allied health, kind of like a healthcare management degree.

I knew I wanted to be in healthcare, but I didn't want to stay in the healthcare management side of things. I wanted to really have patient interaction, to really care for my patients. I wanted to go straight into a nursing program after graduating with my undergrad.

I wanted to be a nurse to help people and serve people. My family's been doing mission work in the Amazon jungles of Peru with tribes there for about 10 years. That really sparked my desire to bring health care to people with health disparities.

Go here to learn more about Mackenzie's experience

“I wanted to be a nurse to help people and serve people.”

Ready for a More Fulfilling Career?

It’s never too late to start working towards your dream career. Earn your distance ABSN and stand out as a Baylor nurse:

  • Program completion in 1 year
  • Gain clinical experience working with underserved communities
  • Benefit from strong academics and a well-earned reputation
  • Learn nursing through a Christian worldview
  • Change your life and the lives of others
  • Online coursework with one campus visit, plus clinicals in the field

Download your free program brochure or speak with one of our admissions advisors today. 

Learn more about Baylor’s online ABSN program.