returning rn needs advice

  1. Hello,
    I'm brand new to this board and am looking for some advice/encouragement. I am an "old" diploma RN who has been out for 20 years. For a variety of reasons, I find myself turning back to nursing for support of many kinds. Frighteningly enough, I have to retake boards - NCLEX, now - and I'm just beginning to study. Well, I opened the book! I'm wondering if there are any others out there who have been successful - or not! - at this endeavor, or if any of you have thoughts or wisdom about this. My feelings are quite conflicted right now. I took a refresher about 5 years ago which was hospital oriented, but was not successful in obtaining a position. An old, inexperienced grad is more dangerous than a new one! My background those many years ago was ICU/CCU, burns and NICU. I also did agency med/surg for a while. I don't think the hospital is the place for me, but I'm open to suggestions.
    Thanks,
    Kathy
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  2. 12 Comments

  3. by   oramar
    I came back in after 2 years away so my situation is a little different than yours. My one little bit of advice is that you have a better chance with managment that is closer to your age. I am not saying that every nurse manager under the age of 35 will automatically reject you. However, I got this "you're over the hill" vibe from some of the younger persons who interviewed me. I know I was not imagining it. The person who eventually hired me is the same age as I am. WHAT A COINCIDENCE!
  4. by   P_RN
    Oh my goodness, retake the boards! Wow. I envy your courage in doing this. Is this a Michigan law or is it like this all over now?

    Are you taking refresher courses or studying on your own?

    P
  5. by   Chuckie
    Con
    Last edit by Chuckie on Jan 17, '03
  6. by   kwozb
    I let my license lapse after the refresher course didn't work out. I'm over the time limit of just being able to pay the money to re-instate it. Timing is everything!
    Right now I'm just starting to study on my own. I'm looking for courses that I can do while working full-time at my current job.
    It's a scary proposition.
  7. by   thisnurse
    i cant even imagine trying to do that on your own.
    i was gone nearly 5 years and i took a refresher course thru out local community college.
    i strongly suggest you take a refresher course again.
    the best way to study for the nclex again is to get one of the nclex pratice books that come with a practice disc.
    there is so much to relearn. you can do it tho. good luck to ya
  8. by   Aerolizing
    Kwozb,
    You did it once, you can do it again. Do whatever you did to take the boards the first time. I got one of those NCLEX books with all the tests and just went over each and every page. The best help I got though was reading the latest nursing drug book. Yeah, just like reading the phone book. For me it helped to just write down the class of drugs, a few names and major side effects. I can remember many times during the test that reading the drug book helped me. You have life experience too. That helps. Although things do change, just take a deep breath and get started. I took a year off and I started back in a nursing home. Now that I have a job, job offers are coming at me left and right. Seems that on one wants to hire an unemployed worker but just get a job and you will see. Good luck.
  9. by   kwozb
    Thanks for all the encouraging posts - keep them coming. I've already begun working with one of the NCLEX review books and surprisingly enough, most of the basic principles are still there. I think once you have nursing "sense", have raised two kids to adulthood and managed various life events, you tend to keep it. My achille's heel will be the drugs and new tests. I can hardly wait to dive into one of those riveting tomes! I'm considering a subscription to a nursing periodical or two as well. Is RN still a good source? Is Nursing (Lord, I remember when it was Nursing 72!) still around? I think the hospital scene is probably not my first choice this time around, but I'm interested in some of the new fields that are out there - wound care, telephone triage, parish nursing (I just learned of its existence - what exactly does it entail?) I have very mixed feelings about this, but I guess I have nothing really to lose - exept what little sanity I have left!
  10. by   P_RN
    Yep NURSING 2001 is around and still kicking high. It's my main magazine! I remember '72 as well!

    They also have a web site www.springnet.com you can subscribe from.

    I used to take "RN" but I don't know is it still around?

    Believe me, remembering the drug names is a bear! They change from unit to unit, day to day and year to year. The classes pretty much stay the same. Get a drug handbook and keep it in the "library" (bathroom) for a little light reading! No kidding!
  11. by   boggle
    Hi Kwozb,

    GO FOR IT!

    I came back after 11 years. Took a 3 month nurse refresher through a community college in 1995. It was the best thing I could have done!

    My classmates (who had all been out longer than I had) and I were treated as adult returning learners, and respected for our knowledge and previous experience. We reviewed the "basics", and were brought up to date on cardiology, chemo, how to review new meds, IV techniques, physical assessment, and the current roles of nurses and how to market ourselves in the "new world". Clinicals really boosted my confidence, too.

    Got a hospital job soon after finishing the program, med surg floor, and love it still.

    My med knowledge is still not so great in some areas, and I OFTEN have my nose in the drug handbook at med pass time. You get pretty knowledgeable about the meds you use all the time, but it feel like there are new meds out every week!

    I am going to check out Lansing C. C.'s on-line Pharmacology course this spring.

    Best of luck to you! Us seasoned (old?) nurses still have a lot to offer!
  12. by   kwozb
    Boggle,
    Thanks for the encouragement. I still have very mixed feelings about this. Was your refresher a full time committment or were you able to do it in the evening? I don't have the option of a three month full time course because I have to work full time as well. My last refresher was 6 weeks long and even the hospital that we trained at wasn't interested in us!
    I currently am in retail and I swear it's not much different than taking care of patients. Just different needs and they rarely (but not never) throw up!
  13. by   boggle
    Hi Kw,

    The refresher I took involved one day of classroom, (8 am-12 noon I think), and two full days of clinicals. This specific refresher is not held in mid mich anymore, But I was hoping you could find a similar program through phone calls to colleges near you that have nursing programs. I found my program by calling several hospitals' directors of Nursing, and explaining my interest in returning to nursing and asking their advice on bringing my skills up to date.

    How to juggle time away from the real world to go back to school is a challange. Wish I had a solution for you there. I'm wondering if there is some way you could work in the health care field part time while working on re-entering nursing? Maybe a hospital would be more likely to hire you in as a nurse once they got to know you in another capacity and saw you working on re-educating? I'm just thinking here, don't know if that would really work.

    I know McLaren hosp in Flint is offering a sign on bonus of SEVERAL thousand dollars for nurses. If a job offer like that was in your future, it could be worth working part time retail while going to school.

    Best of luck to you whatever path you end up taking!
  14. by   Mijourney
    Hi kwozb. This is wonderful. I think that you're on the right track with the tools you want to use to update your nursing. A combination of refresher courses, reading nursing journals, books, and study guides and manuals should hopefully help get you back in the mainstream. You may also want to consider getting a good mentor. I'll bet that once you start back into practice you'll find that your gut instincts based on all your years in nursing and dealing with people in general will come in most handy.

    As you may be aware, since you've been out of nursing practice, the opportunities for nurses in traditional and particularly nontraditional nursing has exploded. I don't know the websites to refer you to for all the different nursing careers. Maybe other posters can help you with that. Keep us informed about what's going on with your efforts. Best wishes.

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returning rn needs advice