I know the post I am responding to is from 2008, but hopefully I will get a response from 99miles2mtee.
Were you able to find a job?
I was in a similar situation. I went back to nursing school while working full time at a steel plant (not as a nurse). I graduated in 1996. My goal was to work part time in home care while still working at the plant. Then, when I retired in 2009, I would find a per diem job. I wouldn't need benefits, because my pension from the plant would include insurance benefits. There weren't many nursing jobs when I graduated, and all of the home care agencies wanted experience. I finally got a job working for the son of one of my co-workers at the plant. He was in a car accident and had a TBI. The agency she hired to provide care for him hired me. I worked for him part time for 4 years. It was good experience, and it was great working for a friend. The agency would have given me more cases, but I was still working full time and didn't want to be over worked. My friend changed agencies, and the new agency would not hire me because I had no Med/Surg experience! I was ok with that, because I was promoted to a supervisory position at the plant and was working more hours.
Well, in 2009 the plant shut down. I took a nursing refresher course in 2008, which was good in that it reviewed all of the changes in the hospitals - pyxis, computer charting, etc. We also reviewed most of the common diseases/illnesses for which people were being admitted to the hospital - CHF, diabetes, etc. We had to put in 72 hours at a local hospital, which was good for building up confidence.
In December of 2009, I was hired at a small hospital for the Emergency Department. The nurse manager told me they normally don't hire nurses for the ED unless they have at least 1 year of med surg experience, but they wanted to hire me and train me on a med/surg unit and ICU prior to putting me in the ED. Well, I spent 2 months on Med/surg and 5 weeks in ICU. I also took an ACLS course. I have spent one week in the ER so far. It has been CRAZY!
I am still extremely nervous. I was told that everything I learned in nursing school will come back to me, but I'm still waiting for that to happen! I am getting more confident with my skills (starting iv's inserting foley's, assessments, etc) but I feel inept when it comes to lab values, and pathophysiology, etc. I am trying to do as much reading from reference books (Nursing Made Incredibly Easy books), but I'm older now (54), and I don't seem to retain things like I used to.
I received my first evaluation, and it was good, but I still lack confidence. My nurse manager has confidence in me, but I have my doubts.
Well, that's my background. Hope someone responds with some words of wisdom!