Getting back into nursing

  1. I'm a registered dental hygienist since 1987 who finally got to go back for my RN license at age 40. Because I had so many other things going on as well as our own family business, I got distracted and forgot to renew my RN license. I was devastated. I still work as an RDH prn but my heart wants to be in nursing. I know that I will have to start at the bottom not to mention an 8-12 non paying week refresher course while getting my license back in order with my state board. My friends and family mostly say I'm crazy for going back at 52, starting back at the bottom and giving up my free time. When I follow my heart, going back to work as an RN with all the bedside work that goes with it is what I truly want to do. Maybe I'm missing a more logical side to my decision. I know nursing is hard work and tiring dedication. I always give 100% in everything I do. I also want to go back and finally finish a bsn or any health science degree. Any thoughts and advice appreciated. Thank you.
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  2. 9 Comments

  3. by   Pangea Reunited
    I'm confused ...have you ever actually worked as a nurse?
  4. by   roboblazer
    I worked my first year in cardiology then the next 3 as a school nurse.
  5. by   NurseGirl525
    I personally think you are going to have a hard time simply finding a job by the time you get your license back. That's the logical side of it. I think it would be different if you were a new grad at your age. What is not going to make sense to employers is you quit nursing, let your license lapse, and now want back in to acute care.

    Do you live in an area that needs nurses? That could save you.
  6. by   JaxJax5423
    I think you sound a little like me. Dabbling into lots of different things. Bedside nursing, in my opinion, is very difficult to stop and start. It is very skilled. For this reason, I always try to atleast stay PRN staff nurse to keep my skill. You may be able to land a job and explain your decisions, but getting the skill back will present a whole other challenge. you wont be treated and trained as a new grad. No offense, but a nursing license is so hard to get, I have a really hard time understanding letting it go to waste.
  7. by   JaxJax5423
    good luck. didn't mean to be a downer.
  8. by   nursel56
    Having returned in my 40s, I can just offer my experience. I did not need to retake the NCLEX though, because I had paid the fees to keep my license on "inactive" status. I wanted to take a refresher course, but didn't find one that suited my needs at that time.

    Beyond that, I think it's essential to research the current job market in your local area. I had assumed the nursing shortage was still going strong, when the reality is I think I came back just as the job availability in my vicinity was starting to tighten up. I took a job in private duty nursing, thinking it would do until I found something else, and discovered I liked that area.

    I set about learning everything I could about that specialty and taking care of vent dependent patients, diagnoses I would be working with, etc.

    I will say that ageism is alive and well, and that people hiring for acute care positions will barely consider someone without that experience in the last 6 months to 1 year. In a shortage situation, the "buyer" will be more flexible on that, so again we're back to the supply and demand factor.

    Family and friends never hesitate to tell you what they think you ought to do with your life, no matter what-- so following your heart can still lead to disappointment, but far less so than trying to please people who merely observe you from the outside and offering their opinions.

    Wishing you all the best finding the answers that will make you happiest.
  9. by   roboblazer
    Thank you all for your great information and advice. I have contacted my board and I will not have to take the NCLEX again. I hung up the phone with tears of joy and can't wait to turn in my paperwork needed for a temporary license while beginning an rn re-entry program. I feel like I still have a lot to offer and am always open to learning. Looking forward to rolling my sleeves up and getting started.
  10. by   roboblazer
    Update: I am currently almost finished with the last requirement, 160 clinical hours) of getting my license renewed by the state board. I have had the privilege of doing my clinicals with an exceptional Preceptor RN in the Emergency Observation unit of a level III trauma hospital and love it! I am making up for lack of experience and time by power studying drugs, protocols, patient safety and documenting after every shift and off days. Thank you all for your help,comments and honest opinions!
  11. by   roboblazer
    I am now a licensed RN with the state of Georgia, Yay! My hard work has paid off and I am so thankful for all the helpful comments. Now it's time to get to work, continue studying and see where I can find a place as an RN. Currently studying for ACLS cert

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