Returning to Nursing After 2 Year Absence

  1. I have an interview in San Francisco in 2 weeks. I am from the midwest and left nursing 2 years ago. First of all, does anyone out there in cyberland work at UCSF Med Center? What's it like? I know all about how expensive SF is and about the housing issues too.

    Secondly, I need help with the interview questions: What are good questions to ask the person who interviews me? I know that I must be positive, make no negative remarks about nursing, etc.

    Last of all, what should I wear? I have never worn a suit and tie to an interview. Isn't this overkill?

    All input would be appreciated. Thank you very much for your help.
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  2. 11 Comments

  3. by   Sonja
    Sorry I can't actually help you but I also saw your post about no one responding. And I thought I was the only one who didn't get replies!!

    As for what to wear, I have been wanting to post the same question but as I have not gotten replies to my last post, I may just stop posting altogether.

    Good luck on your new opportunity. I hope you get the job!
  4. by   GPatty
    WOW! San Francisco! I've never been there. I would imagine it would be expensive though. Heck~ I'm just from little ol' Indiana. I don't think I would be happy in a big place like that...
    I hope you do all right, though. Good Luck!
    Julie
  5. by   prmenrs
    No, a suit and tie would not be out of place. Be sure to wear the pants, too. Kidding, just kidding.

    San Francisco is very, very expensive . Try going to a city guide on the web, or accessing the newspaper on line to check out apartment costs.

    The wages @ UCSF are the best in the UC system hospitals, but in view in the cost of living, it's probably a wash.

    I don't know what you are interviewing for, so I can't help you there.
  6. by   e-nurse
    Be prepared to answer what you consider to be your strengths and weaknesses. They may ask you to describe a situation you've been in that shows that you have leadership qualities. I think the interveiw is more for you to be asking questions of the employer, especially nowadays w/ the shortage. You asking tons of pertinent questions shows them just as much competence as they'd find out by asking you questions. Ask about everything about the job /x pay (find this out from nurse recruiter or HR). Ask about pt to nurse ratios, what exactly is expected of you, ask if the manager/ assistent manager is going to be there to back you up in a pinch. If they don't do it automatically ask them to give you a tour of the unit and watch real closely how people are behaving towards each other and toward the manager. You want to see things being run smoothly. If things appear chaotic and people seem to kind of be @ each others throats then those are red flags to stay away. Ask about auxillary staff (nurses aids) and what tasks they are responsible for, how many of them are on each shift, ect. Just be calm, lots of eye contact. I think w/ the shortage, as long as you are a fundamentally competent nurse who can hone skills over an orientation period, the interview is really just a little formality.
  7. by   frustratedRN
    great advice enurse.

    the suit and tie is great. it shows you are serious about being employed there and that you portray a professional demeanor.
    In addition they will be sure to ask you why you left nursing for that two years and what you did with that time.
  8. by   BusyGirl
    I realize this is an old thread but it fits my situation. I quit by hospital OB position the same week I conceived my baby. I have not worked for four years. That babe was born with congenital CMV and took much of my time nursing him back to health.

    I feel ready to go back to nursing and would love to go back to OB hospital nursing but am scared that it has been four years since i have worked a "real" job and going back to shift working, not to mention having to float to med-surg when OB is slow. I have only worked OB my entire OB career.

    Should I just jump into nursing again? Should I take a college RN refresher course? Should I start as a medical assistant first? I am scared I have lost my skills.....

    What to do??? Has anyone been in my shoes???
  9. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    My neighbor back home took time off after her baby was born. She figured 6 years later she would definately have to take some refresher courses so she went to the health career counselor at the college she wanted to attend and talked to her about what she should do. I don't know the end result, but i thought that might be a starter idea to try?
  10. by   Tiki_Torch
    hi busygirl,

    first of all, congratulations on the birth of your son! i'll bet your nursing education really came in handy when he was a babe and needed you so very much right from the start. i hope he is doing well now!

    i was glad you posted to this thread because i'm pretty much in your shoes right now too, with a little variation. i've been out of nursing since i got married just over 3 years ago and i'm wanting to get back into working too.

    like you, i've questioned people about the refresher courses for rns. most folks are telling me that they are mostly geared for nurses who have been out 5-10 years and plan to work with adults.

    i worked on a mother-baby unit for 6 years and then a nicu for 3 years where i was on the transport team, did charge duties, attended high risk deliveries, and was a preceptor. my desire is to return to a level iii nicu, finish my bsn and eventually enroll in a neonatal nurse practitioner program. of course, i have to get hired in the first place to get the ball rolling!:roll

    during the first year i didn't work, i didn't do anything nursing related other than continue receiving my nursing journals. during the second year i began doing the ceus required for keeping my certification up to date. i got 40 hours in that year and even attended some "classroom" ceu events. i also got a nursing license in my new state. during this past third year i've really been focusing on doing all the ceus i can find related to nicu patients. i'm signed up to attend another ob/nicu seminar at our local hospital next wednesday and hope to make contact with some of the nicu folks attending. i'm debating about finding out who the nicu nurse manager is and asking her if she has/expects any positions to be available. i'm a stickler for "rules" and feel a bit wierd about not going through the "proper channels" via the nurse recruiter first. i'm scheduled to go to our national neonatal nurses convention the first week of september and am planning to contact the nurse recruiter when i return. i figure all my ceus from the self-study, classroom study, and national convention will be of some benefit on my resume. (by the way, when i got married, i moved to another state so i don't know a soul here... which complicates everything... a lot can be said for networking, huh?)

    i've been soaking up everything i can find about writing a resume and cover letter as well as how to ask people to be references for me and also about interviewing skills. in my previous hospital (the only one i ever worked in) i never needed to do a resume because i worked there as a nursing student and was hired on immediately after graduation. all of this is so new to me!

    i found a book which i'm finding incredibly helpful for resume building, interviewing skills, cover letters, etc., along with lots of other information about managing my little career. your career in nursing: manage your future in the changing world of healthcare by annette t. vallano, ms, rn, cs isbn# 0-7432-3521-5 retail price is $18.00

    as far as your situation goes, if you will be required to care for adults and you don't feel comfortable anymore, you might benefit from a rn refresher course. the one in our town is taught by our local university twice a year, it last 3 weeks (4 if a nurse feels she needs the extra clinical experience) and costs $1,000.00. this is just one example i know of. i believe you should try to speak with your previous nurse manager (would that be the person you'd be working for again on your ob unit?) or the nurse recruiter to see what their insights are. i certainly don't think you need to be an assistant though. shucks, everything would come back to you pretty quickly... like riding a bike. if you took a refersher course on your own before applying for a job, it would show your employer you took the incentive to prepare yourself and would only look good i'd think. i was considering doing that until i heard on the grapevine that for nicu nurses the rn refersher course offered here is not of real help since the babies are so completely different. there are however many aspects of the course that would apply in a sort-of-kind-of way.

    i want to ask the nurse recruiter if i need a refresher course before being allowed to apply for a position because if i do, i want to get in on the one that starts in the middle of october rather than to wait for the next one offered in april next year. i'm hoping that all my ceus and seminars/convention and keeping my certification active will help me not have to fork out 1000 bucks i really don't want to spend. oh well, we'll see.

    i'm sorry my post got soooo long! i type too fast for my own good. i wish you the best of luck with your future nursing job as well as the health of your dear son! if i can be of any help to you feel free to pm or email me.

  11. by   oramar
    Just want to tell you I just went back after three years. I am doing better than I expected. My old skills reactivated very quickly. The only problems I experience is with new skills. I struggle with that. However, I don't think that has anything to do with returning, I was always slow picking up new things.
  12. by   BusyGirl
    Thanks for your reply Tiki! You have quite an extensive background compared to me! Working in many more complex avenues than I have......I strictly worked OB doing Labor & Delivery, antepartum, postpartum and Level 3 (i thinK!) Newborn Nursery care. This is the only job I ever held. When OB was slow, us OB nurses were floated to the med-surg floor to "help." I would never take on RN duties there as it wasn't my hired calling, we were flloated to basically be "glorified" CNAs.

    I am unable to talk to my previous nurse manager/OB super as the unit has changed drastically since I left....for the worse unfortunately. I still have a good friend whom I talk to and last report was not good. All the great nurses who staffed the OB unit have quit and either are not working at all or went to nursing homes. It was that big of a disaster with administration or ??? Sally is still there tho as she is a single parents, needs her job, loves her job, and was willing to go through the turmoil, I guess. The RN who trained me originally became my OB manager, had problems and stepped down into hands-on OB nursing again, and then quit....which is very unlike her as this particular position she held at the same facility in the same unit for 30+ years....it was her only job.

    Thus, the unit I worked for, I don't know if I should even attempt going back as so many awesome nurses (who had the OB-calling) have quit. Administration must be awful and I don't want to get myself into that situation again.

    AND I live in a small town with only two hospitals to choose to work OB for and I seriously doubt the other hospital staffing also.

    So I am just stuck!

    We do have a college nearby, the college I finished my AASN at. They are offering new refresher courses as of Jan, 2003, for new grads wanting more speciality clinical, new grads education for board cert testing, OB refresher and surgical refresher. I know it is my favorite teacher from college teaching these so I would be happy to see her again But I am not sure how long the courses are or the cost. They just sent me a flyer in the mail about them when they started.

    I don't fear working with adults at all, or even babies! But the small town factor and memories of what the doctor's expected from us RNs tho is holding me back a bit.....In L&D, us nurses were basically expected to be midwives, especially during "off office" hours, and I did generally work 2nd or 3rd shift. We were told to actually have mom's pushing and not to call the doctor's until the head was crowning, seriously! I once delivered a baby on my own because one doctor was in the nurse's break room having coffee. I can't begin to count how many babes were born and caught by us L&D nurses......We were asked to do procedures that I certainly didn't feel comfortable doing (such as IUP insertion, scalp electrode placement, etc). The docs just didn't "want to be bothered" at nite. Oh, I could tell stories.....

    But I truly miss my moms and babes as OB nursing was and is my calling. I just wish I lived in a larger city where the RNs weren't looked at live they had MD after their names also.

    So do my fears make a little more sense??

    I did apply this week for an ambulatory surgery medical assistant position to get my feet wet again. I thought that this would be the perfect thing bring all my clinical RN skills back. I know that IV placements would come back in a heartbeat, but all the little details....I am not confident about.

    Oh, and I live in a state that does not require CEUs, believe it or not! So I only pay my fee and my nursing license is kept current. I use my skills daily in a sense just being a mom, and when my son was born so ill, it was great being an RN and understanding everything well. He had a Hickman in place for about four months and had gancyclovir therapy for two of them. I still had a home health nurse come the first few days of doing that because I was the mom and the patient was my dear son....I didn't want to assume anything! But we got through it.....

    I do work at home doing medical transcription and have been a medical transcriptionist since 1990. That's what led me to become a nurse in the first place. I was learning so much, I was just fascinated and wanted to learn more. However, the P&Ps and administration of nursing really took me by shock and what was my ideal (ob nursing) no longer became so priceless to me.

    I never gave up my transcription job after all these years and still work at home typing. Fear of going back to nursing again after my absence did have me looking into BSN and MSN programs this past summer also, of which I can do at the local small college I graduated from with my AASN, only it would be ITV courses and internet with some travel to the actual college rarely (whichever program I chose).

    Do I sound like I have no idea what to do?? Of course I do!!!! I want to work as an OB RN again but at the same time want to work on my BSN in particular. But college is expensive and an employer would help pay for costs....having my BSN wouldn't change my nursing position here were I live or give me more pay, it would be more initials after my name and a personal goal. Does anyone else have thoughts about AASN vs BSN vs MSN?

    So many things to think about......Is anyone else so indecisive?

    Originally posted by Tiki_Torch


    As far as your situation goes, if you will be required to care for adults and you don't feel comfortable anymore, you might benefit from a RN Refresher Course. I believe you should try to speak with your previous nurse manager (would that be the person you'd be working for again on your OB unit?) or the nurse recruiter to see what their insights are. Shucks, everything would come back to you pretty quickly... like riding a bike. If you took a Refersher Course on your own before applying for a job, it would show your employer you took the incentive to prepare yourself and would only look good I'd think.
  13. by   purplemania
    Dress for the interview, not the job. Smile. Don't put down your previous employer or co-workers. Ask recruiter about turn over in the unit to which you are applying, what type certifications the staff members have, how were they rated by JCAHO, etc. This makes you look more professional and that you want to associate with professional nurses. If you have heard anything good about the facility, mention that ( good orientation, good reputation for cath lab, etc.) And I wish you luck!

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