Done with nursing, how do I keep skills?

  1. Well, I have come to the reality that I probably will not be going back to nursing for many years, if ever, and I want to keep my skills/knowledge up.

    I was only a RN for around 9 months and worked med/surg night shift. Since my fathers death in April I have taken over ownership/running the construction company with my mother, who ran the business with my father over the last 20 years. Even though I am not happy with my location, everything else is pretty great. I feel guilty about leaving something I spent a good amount of time educating myself in. I don't really have a lot of time invested in nursing, but it is not something I want to forget about. I want to keep it as a back up plan, and would actually like to teach one day if possible.

    I considered taking prn work at the local hospital, but they wanted me to come in atleast 4 days/nights a month. I could do this, but to be blunt about it, I feel it takes away too much time for the amount of financial compensation. What is a good way for someone to keep up a general knowledge about nursing as a whole? I don't want to be clueless, but I know that I can't keep up with everything as much of nursing changes with time.

    Has anyone here taken a extended vacation from nursing only to come back years down the road? Any advice is appreciated.
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  2. 14 Comments

  3. by   VickyRN
    IMHO, you need 1-2 shifts a month to keep up your skills in your area of expertise. Is there another hospital in the area which would require you to work less hours PRN per month?
  4. by   Katnip
    How about volunteering at a clinic? I know the skills required is very different from a hospital, but it can help some.

    Once you do go back you'll probably have to take a refresher course.
  5. by   augigi
    Why not check with your state BON if there is a practice requirement? I know where I am, there is a listed requirement in terms of # of hours you must have practised in the past 5 years.
  6. by   DBlack1
    Quote from cyberkat
    How about volunteering at a clinic? I know the skills required is very different from a hospital, but it can help some.

    Once you do go back you'll probably have to take a refresher course.
    I really needed to better explain my skills definition. I can pick up things like IV's and such rather quickly if needed. It didn't take me long the first time. I am mainly worried about a loss of knowledge, ie: what to do during certain dysrhythmias, etc. If I don't think about this stuff for 20 years there is no way I will remember it. I guess I will just have to teach myself all over.
  7. by   clemmm78
    I had a full time position and worked minumum 4 shifts a month to keep my skills up in nursing. I think if you are looking at it as a financial trade off, you won't win. But sometimes it costs us a bit in order to be sure we don't lose something. I'll be blunt as well - there's no easy way out to keep your skills up to date. I can completely understand why an institution would want staff for a minimum of four a month.
  8. by   DBlack1
    Quote from clemmm78
    I had a full time position and worked minumum 4 shifts a month to keep my skills up in nursing. I think if you are looking at it as a financial trade off, you won't win. But sometimes it costs us a bit in order to be sure we don't lose something. I'll be blunt as well - there's no easy way out to keep your skills up to date. I can completely understand why an institution would want staff for a minimum of four a month.
    So you worked 24-26 days a month? Thats not possible for me to do. I feel twenty days a months is plenty, and the list of things I miss about nursing includes working 12 days a month. I was working almost 100 days less a year than I am now.
  9. by   Dixielee
    My hospital requires one shift per pay period to remain PRN. If you think you might ever come back to nursing, you probably owe it to yourself to work at least that much. Technology changes alone would be difficult to relearn. Most hospitals would require a full fleded refresher course if you are out for an extended period. You owe it to yourself, your co-workers and your patients to keep updated if you plan to return someday.

    Relearning by yourself would not be a good option.

    Do you think you are strong enough as a nurse to work for an agency? You may work at a variety of hospitals but that may give you more money and more flexibility. An 8 hour shift once or twice per month might make a huge difference later on.

    Good luck.
  10. by   Liddle Noodnik
    Quote from DBlack1
    Well, I have come to the reality that I probably will not be going back to nursing for many years, if ever, and I want to keep my skills/knowledge up.

    I was only a RN for around 9 months and worked med/surg night shift. Since my fathers death in April I have taken over ownership/running the construction company with my mother, who ran the business with my father over the last 20 years. Even though I am not happy with my location, everything else is pretty great. I feel guilty about leaving something I spent a good amount of time educating myself in. I don't really have a lot of time invested in nursing, but it is not something I want to forget about. I want to keep it as a back up plan, and would actually like to teach one day if possible.

    I considered taking prn work at the local hospital, but they wanted me to come in atleast 4 days/nights a month. I could do this, but to be blunt about it, I feel it takes away too much time for the amount of financial compensation. What is a good way for someone to keep up a general knowledge about nursing as a whole? I don't want to be clueless, but I know that I can't keep up with everything as much of nursing changes with time.

    Has anyone here taken a extended vacation from nursing only to come back years down the road? Any advice is appreciated.

    Watch "It's a Wonderful Life" again (with Jimmy Stewart) - I feel sad that you are going to do it but maybe it IS your preference? I dunno.

    In any case, just take it a year at a time, a lot could happen that makes it possible for you to go back. Meanwhile, stick around this board and get a nursing journal subscription. This board makes me feel like I am still working in the field which is GREAT!
  11. by   Liddle Noodnik
    Quote from Dixielee

    Do you think you are strong enough as a nurse to work for an agency? You may work at a variety of hospitals but that may give you more money and more flexibility. An 8 hour shift once or twice per month might make a huge difference later on...
    That's a good idea.
  12. by   DBlack1
    Thanks for the ideas. No agency nursing is done in this area. Too many new graduates to fill the spots, which is also one of the main reasons the pay is so bad. I would still work a day or two a month for a decent wage. I'm going to talk to a few people I know and see what I can come up with, but I have a feeling I am not going to be able to work as a RN.
  13. by   Mulan
    Quote from VickyRN
    IMHO, you need 1-2 shifts a month to keep up your skills in your area of expertise. Is there another hospital in the area which would require you to work less hours PRN per month?

    I agree. That would be the easiest way to do it. If you stay out for so many years, the amount of time probably varies from state to state, no one will hire you anyway without taking a time intensive, expensive, sometimes hard to find refresher course. Also, what do you have to do to keep your license active? Some states require hours worked, some only require CEUs.
  14. by   DBlack1
    Just CEU's. I'm not in a position to work 4 extra days a month. I'm glad my state doesn't require hours worked, because I might just have to give up my license.

    Life is so funny. I started college as a finance major before switching to nursing, now I wish I had the finance degree. I don't regret going into nursing, but I could use the finance knowledge in my business. I have as much time invested in the finance degree as the RN degree (2 years).
    Last edit by DBlack1 on Nov 29, '06

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