is it hard to get a job after two years off of nursing?

  1. I've got a shade less than 2 years of this nightmare of a contract to go, and you know I'm counting days. In the duration of the contract, I've had 2 jobs. The first was 18 different kinds of horrible while the second was decent, just not in my comfort zone (career Peri-op nurse to med/surg). I've come to the conclusion that this stupid contract is a large part of why I have such a hard time getting and doing well at a job. I go into interviews and after selling myself quite well, I then have to field dress myself on the carpet in front of perfect strangers and I wind up feeling like damaged goods begging for a job. I just about have to ask permission to sneeze. I am old enough to have grandchildren (young grandchildren) and this stupid crap is so infantilizing.
    I am in the position where I may be able to draw disability for the remaining duration of the contract (or longer if need be.) I am thinking of waiting until I don't have to even deal with contract junk at all to even go back to nursing. No more IPN elephant in the room waiting to stomp on any opportunity that I might have to actually not look stupid. I can look stupid on my own. I don't need their help.
    i think my worry is, when I finally do go back to nursing, how do I address a 2 year lapse on a resume? What has anyone done when working outside nursing either by choice or while waiting. What do you say when potential employers for that retail job want to know why you want to work for $11 an hour. Is nursing even worth this? Some days, I think not.
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  2. 42 Comments

  3. by   SpankedInPittsburgh
    Honestly, I'd draw the comp for a couple of years if I had the opportunity, In my weekly, hellish nurse meeting we have one woman out of nursing seven years and she got a job in dialysis and it seems nursing homes / doctors offices will hire you if you have an unrestricted nursing license and a pulse. Is it great? Heck no but this program is demoralizing. I think it will get better for me when I can quit going to this ridiculous weekly "support group" that I loathe but that's over a year away. The daily checking for screenings and the constant worry of a false positives not to mention the 3 weekly 12 step meetings. Yep I'd cash the disability check and get a job at home depot
  4. by   Recovering_RN
    Can you work PRN while on disability? I thought I read somewhere that you can work and still receive disability, but there's a limit to how much you can work, and your disability may be decreased. I may be totally wrong about that.

    Anyway, if it's an option, the ideal situation would be for you to work very very sparingly, PRN, just enough to keep your PRN status, at the place you currently work. That way you avoid the humiliation of applying and interviewing for another job, but you can put it on your resume so that it doesn't look like you've been totally out of nursing over the next two years. I don't know if they would be able to ask how often you work, when they are checking employment two years from now and you're interviewing fur a job, but at least it shows that you've kept up to date.
  5. by   catsmeow1972
    I don't work right now. I think with working keeping me so off kilter, it might be healthier to just not. Besides, the more I am forced to be in contact with these clowns, the more frazzeled i get and the worse things get.
    I can work a little on disability. Grocery store cashier sounds good? The limitations on income would mean that I could only work in nursing about 3 days a month. I would actually prefer to make less and work more just to keep busy.
    Besides, once i get into the SSDI system, I can access their programs to try and go back to work if I feel able (WITHOUT IPNs interference) and still have it to fall back on if I cannot. It's sounding very appealing.
    I'm tired of running the IPN gauntlet every-time I try to get a job, from just getting the interview to maybe actually getting an offer to suffering the embarrassment of my "minder" having to speak with my *hopefully* new manager (god only knows what goes on in those conversations) to having to slink in to the office to ask about the quarterly "note home to mom" (I've always felt like the token troublemaker from day one)
    If I did not have the monetary resources to fall back on to wait on Social Security, i would probably do what a lot of other good people in the profession have been forced to do in my place. That is to tell these programs to ********* (insert rude phrase or your choice here.) In spite of the way I have been treated by this program and the money hungry, devoid of ethics, liars associated with it, I still love what i do and what I am. I am a nurse and I will work as one again someday.
  6. by   SpankedInPittsburgh
    Good Luck Cats!!!
  7. by   PixieRN1
    When I wasn’t working I couldn’t even get a job as a cashier...Target said no...heck, Walmart even passed. I ended up with a job making $8/hr as a preschool teacher...and I hated that more than I ever hated even my worst nursing job.

    Substitute teaching was a little better; the pay was $70 a day and I didn’t have to deal with 10 toddlers at once under the pretense of “educating” them. But the kids try to get away with murder most days subbing, and the work wasn’t reliable. If I needed to work Monday, sometimes I had to wait until 6 am Monday to be called. But again, it was better than preschool/daycare.

    I would have given my left arm to cashier somewhere. I even tried to get a minimum wage job at a fabric store, working any shift, and they chose a 16 year old over me. And I work part time as a seamstress out of my home!!!

    I too never wanted to don a pair of scrubs again at that point. I didn’t care where! I was done, burnt to a crisp.

    Financially though, we could not swing it on my substitute teacher salary. Our savings were obliterated and we had to start visiting food banks, getting utility assistance, free meals at school for my kids. I didn’t want to go back...but I had to.

    I ended up PRN in a geropsych unit and on the whole, I like it. There are absolutely personalities there that I can’t stand and drive me to pick shifts just because they aren’t working. (I still have my narc restriction and monthly employer reports, no nights, yada yada yada).

    I can’t tell you to stay in Nursing. But I personally had an easier time finding a job as a restricted nurse than I did finding a job in the non-Healthcare sector. Yes, the mind reels. My shining moment was when McDonalds and Chik Fila rejected me the same day.

    Best of luck on your difficult choice.
    Last edit by PixieRN1 on Oct 3
  8. by   caliotter3
    I could not find a job outside of nursing and I've never been restricted, except for my age and being blacklisted being a factor at different times. During the most recent protracted period of unemployment, I just stopped looking when the unemployment ran out after several months. After more than two years, I got work again, in nursing. It was difficult to explain why I had not worked for more than two years. I told them I took time off to tend to personal business. True. The personal business related to being fed up with being passed over for work. Now I spend each paycheck as if it were my last. I can't imagine what it would be like to be blacklisted because of license restrictions. That would probably be the kiss of death to ever working at all.
  9. by   stickybun
    Curious...do the programs you guys are/were in not require you to work in the field of nursing for a predetermined number of consecutive months before they will let you out of your monitoring contract?
  10. by   PixieRN1
    Quote from stickybun
    Curious...do the programs you guys are/were in not require you to work in the field of nursing for a predetermined number of consecutive months before they will let you out of your monitoring contract?
    Mine does not. They said that they “highly encouraged” me to return to work as a nurse (after I told them I would do the program but was quitting nursing), at least in my VA contract, it was not mandated. I ended up changing my mind, did not quit nursing, and found a job in the hospital as an RN. I have 4 years left.
  11. by   catsmeow1972
    I've done my time working in nursing and everything else. I have no more work restrictions other than that said employer has to be told about the contract and have the chat with the "minder.". I guess they still have to "approve" it although i don't know what for if there's no restrictions. That there creates the above mentioned difficulty in getting/keeping a job. I've just got no fight left in me. Not working in nursing keeps my contact with them to a minimum. Less of a chance for anyone to come up with reasons to drag this out any longer than it already has been.
    i just want my next nursing job to have nothing to do with IPN at all. I don't even want it mentioned or thought of.
  12. by   PixieRN1
    Quote from catsmeow1972
    I've done my time working in nursing and everything else. I have no more work restrictions other than that said employer has to be told about the contract and have the chat with the "minder.". I guess they still have to "approve" it although i don't know what for if there's no restrictions. That there creates the above mentioned difficulty in getting/keeping a job. I've just got no fight left in me. Not working in nursing keeps my contact with them to a minimum. Less of a chance for anyone to come up with reasons to drag this out any longer than it already has been.
    i just want my next nursing job to have nothing to do with IPN at all. I don't even want it mentioned or thought of.
    I certainly understand where you are coming from, and if you can financially swing it, I would see exactly where the draw could be. I’d probably do it as well if I could pay the bills.

    I’m pinned. I couldn’t financially swing it when I wasn’t working as a nurse...so under the microscope I clock in. Four more years and counting.

    I do have a long term plan though. I am getting my Master’s...outside of nursing. I’m six months into a three year program. I’m getting an MS in Addiction and Substance Abuse Counseling; I will end up with my LSATP in the end (Licensed Substance Abuse Treatment Practitioner).

    To be a licensed counselor, I still have to complete monitoring however, since the DHP governs both the BON and the BOC. But being a private counselor to others going through recovery sounds much more appealing for my long term.

    Good luck on your new journey.
  13. by   catsmeow1972
    Quote from PixieRN1

    I can’t tell you to stay in Nursing. But I personally had an easier time finding a job as a restricted nurse than I did finding a job in the non-Healthcare sector. Yes, the mind reels. My shining moment was when McDonalds and Chik Fila rejected me the same day.
    Well, Not surprisingly, I have been either ignored or outright rejected by several retail establishments. (Including Target, hah,) That leaves me with a couple of options. I can A: sit on my tail, do nothing and wait on disability which has a reasonable chance of going through, but is not a definite yes, yet. B: table the disability and search for full time again. Option A will get me no where. Option B will also get me no where, just at a later date. No nursing job will hire me to only work the 3 days a month that I am limited to for the disability to be approved. Besides, there is still that Aforementioned gauntlet to traverse. Keeping in mind that I don’t have any employment restrictions regarding home health or any stupid supervision garbage anymore, I’m just still forced to have to discuss my mental health with my potential employer. Nice, huh?
    Around where I live there are a number of caregiver/ companion type companies that hire people for non-clinical positions. You don’t even have to be a CNA. Several of them also do have Home health attached to them. If I were to work for them in a position that were limited to the companion type accounts, would IPN even have to be involved? I’m not working as a nurse. Certainly would not be getting paid as such. With this type of a company, it would be easier to explain why I have a nursing background and don’t want a nursing job. It would also be easier to transition to a nursing role later on if the opportunity arises and is appropriate. Additionally the existence of the contract can be between me and my manager and no one else. Conferences between nurse manager and case manager about me that I am not privy to have always struck me as fundamentally wrong.
    Thoughts or opinions?
    Last edit by catsmeow1972 on Oct 8
  14. by   SpankedInPittsburgh
    I don't think any monitoring program that derives its power from a BON would have any say over what employment you take outside of Nursing. Therefore, if you don't utilize your license or work as a Nurse I don't see any reason they even have to know about it. I don't blame you for not wanting some intrusive case manager talking to your supervisor about you without having the ability to provide input. Honestly that strikes me as simple gossip and sniping about perceptions that may not even have any basis or relevance r/t substance abuse or nursing. One of the nurses at my weekly support group that I'm sentenced to recently had her supervisor report her to her case manager because she called in sick. Are nurses in monitoring programs not allowed to call in sick like any other employee? Of course this reporting caused more testing, statements and expense for the nurse in question. I would not work as a nurse at all until this monitoring garbage was completed if I had the option but I simply cannot afford it. If I were you (and could afford it) I would pursue the disability claim fully and not work as a nurse until these idiots from the monitoring program were out of my life. Good Luck!!!

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