Taking 6 months off nursing...right after graduation?

  1. Hi everyone,

    So traveling for 6 months after graduation has been the plan since before I started nursing school, but I'm terrified I'm going to be 100% out of luck finding a job when I get back. Initially, it was going to be a full year but that seems way too long to take off from the real world. My FI is a professor and has 2 spans of sabbatical over the course of his first 9 years teaching. During that time, he doesn't teach and focuses on research. It's common for people to travel during this time and that's been our plan for quite some time-- spend some time traveling before locking down and popping out babies. He's already arranged to research for a university in Italy, so that's going to be where we're living.

    Before starting school, I spoke with two instructors asking advice on the situation. They both told me that I should just "keep my license up," (I had no idea what that even meant when I started school) and I should be okay.

    Now I'm 2 months from graduation and the move is being planned. Yesterday, my clinical instructor asked me, "aren't you moving when you graduate?" and I told her the situation. I'm hoping to be able to do SOMETHING related to nursing while I'm there and I've been talking to someone at the US army base about working in the clinic there, but I'm under the impression it would be volunteer and I'd probably be taking a lot of blood pressures and not much else. Working in nursing through the Italian government is not an option due to there laws and qualifications.

    Anyway, my instructor told me that she thinks there's no way in hell I'll find a job when I get back, if I don't really keep up my skills. I live in CT where, just like everywhere else jobs aren't super easy to find, but there out there for new grads.

    Any thoughts? I'm considering a few things: enrolling in a master's level course online, while I'm away so at least I'm still advancing my knowledge base and/or taking a refresher course when I return. I'd appreciate any advice!
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    About BA_anthropology

    Joined: Sep '09; Posts: 85; Likes: 33
    from US


  3. by   roser13
    Do you plan to take the NCLEX prior to moving?
  4. by   BA_anthropology
    Yes, that's the plan. Does it make any difference for finding a job when I get back?
  5. by   roser13
    I think you're wise to take it before you leave for a couple of reasons. First off, might as well take it ASAP while memory is fresh. Secondly, when you return, you can hit the ground running with your job search.

    In terms of your job search, I think a 6-month absence will likely hurt you in some ways. For instance, by the time you return, there will be a new crop of "new" grads to apply for new grad positions. You will then be an "old" new grad and possibly not qualified for some of the new grad positions. I really doubt, however, that you'd need a refresher course after only 6 months.

    However, this is your life and you and your FI have made plans that meet both your needs. Most life choices do have consequences.

    Enjoy your sabbatical!
    Last edit by roser13 on Oct 19, '11
  6. by   honeykrown
    Maybe you can get soem experience working over there in some hospital or the base as you said. Any kind of experience (either volunteer or working) is better than no experience at all.

  7. by   iteachob
    I think you'll be fine. Just don't wait to take NCLEX. I'd go for it. You do have a life outside of nursing, after all.
  8. by   Purple93
    Well, I am about to start taking my pre-req's in january. It has always been my passion to travel. I was also thinking about traveling right afterwards then i realized it might be better to just work for a year as a new grad before i travel. or maybe even two years. It does kind of seem like it would be harder because as you know, it aint all that easy to get a job especially since most want some type of experience already. And it's a coincidence because Italy is the number one place i want to go! So yea getting in a master level program might be best if you must leave now. Hope everything works out well : )
  9. by   Quickbeam
    Please take the NCLEX as soon as you can after graduation. I cannot emphasize that enough. I saw 2 people in my class defer to a later date and they never ended up taking it at all. Best to get it out of the way; you'll now you have a license when you return from your travels.
  10. by   ExpatHopeful
    I agree about taking the NCLEX right away while your knowledge is fresh. You do realize that it takes some time for the paperwork to be sorted out before you sit the test though, right? I graduated in mid May and the earliest anyone in my cohort took the NCLEX was the first week of July.

    I think Italy sounds fabulous and I don't think 6 months away should do you much harm. I would say 30% of my cohort are still looking for work anyway. Imagine if you stayed and then it took you 6+ months to find a job - you'd be kicking yourself for not going! Try to get the ball rolling with online applications a month or so before you come back so you have an interview lined up and consider studying for ACLS and getting your certification when you return. I don't really see how a master's course will help. In fact it might even look bad because a manager may think you will leave or drop to part time in order to go back to school. I agree you won't need a refresher course so soon either.

    Enjoy Italy - life is too short to play it safe!
  11. by   RNperdiem
    If your financial situation allows you to not earn income for six months in addition to having the money to travel, then surely you have the money to handle a stretch of unemployment upon your return.
    If your financial situation is not that fortunate, then maybe a shorter trip before you begin your new job is in order.
    Who says it needs to be all or nothing?
  12. by   cav5
    I am a nurse and work overseas-look on USA JOBS after you pass your NCLEX. Click the Italy area and your degree and it will come up with openings for you. Also, look at your states practice act but I believe your experience has to come from a US facility (base, DODDS, etc). Or, at least mine does. Yes, I do have my cake and eat it too
  13. by   1southernstudent
    You only get to live your life once. If you don't make this move will you always look back and go "I wish"? What's the worse that can happen? It may take a while to get a job or it may not. Go for it. Work online towards your next degree and enjoy the adventure.
  14. by   CrunchRN
    Go for it - you only live once!