Want to start working again after being away for 3 years due to depression.

  1. 0
    Hi everyone,

    Well, I have struggled with depression since I was very young. My diagnosis is Bipolar type 2. I graduated nursing school in 2009, and I did fairly well during those two years. I was even able to work as a student nurse assistant at a hospital in town during my time at school. The trouble came after I graduated and decided to move 5 hours away from home with a friend. I got a job at a big hospital and all of it was very VERY overwhelming for me. After 3 months, and increasing depression, I had a major breakdown. I had to quit my job and move back home.

    It's been three years and I've had a pretty difficult time, but now I'm ready to work again. I'm just confused about how to do it. I thought about taking a refresher course and even spoke with the Dean of Nursing at my college about taking one there but it's not something I can really afford right now. I've been doing my own "refresher" with my books from school and a couple of new books I've picked up.

    I've started on a resume but it looks pretty bare and theres obviously a huge gap that I will have to explain somehow.

    I guess I don't really have a specific question, I just wanted to know if anyone had any advice for me? Anything that would help my return be a little smoother? Any resume tips? I am thinking of home-health, by the way.

    Thanks for any advice or encouragement you guys can offer

    Get the hottest topics every week!

    Subscribe to our free Nursing Insights newsletter.

  2. 2
    I'm not sure, from your post, how long you worked as a nurse.

    A self guided refresher is good, and there are on line entities that will provide unlimited CEU for a flat rate. Rack up at least 20 CEU so you can put it on your resume, and demonstrate you've been keeping up.

    And in the interview you can say you had a health concern, now resolved. No need to elaborate further.

    Maybe consider a half time time position so you can ease back in. Depending on the type of home health, it can be stressful juggling the paperwork, and being out on your own.

    There are others who have struggled with MI, so they will be weighing in soon.

    Good luck
    poppycat and VivaLasViejas like this.
  3. 1
    Hi Tiffany, and welcome to Allnurses!

    It sounds like you've stabilized and resolved your depression issues, and are ready to roll. Good for you! I know it's tough being a nurse with MI (I'm Bipolar 1 with rapid cycling) and trying to rebuild a career. It can be done, though, as long as you're stable and adhering to your treatment plan.

    However, I'm pretty sure that your state BON will require a formal refresher course before allowing you to work. Things change so fast in our world that self-study using books that are more than a year or two old won't suffice, and of course there is no substitute for the hands-on clinicals where you'll be working with real patients.

    You may have to borrow money or get a short-term loan to finance the course, but you really should do whatever it takes because it'll be worth it in the long run. It will also provide a safe environment which will help you confirm that you are truly ready to resume your career.

    As for your other questions, I echo what MrChicagoRN said above: take as many CEUs as you can, and consider dipping your toe in the water first before committing to a full-time job. I'll be honest with you, full-time is very hard on a nurse with MI and you'd probably be well off with 32 hours/week, or even less if you can afford it. (You probably want health insurance benefits, but many companies offer them at 30 hours/week and up.) Home health sounds like a good choice, although getting a HH job may depend on how much experience you have.

    You could also try working PRN at first as an admissions nurse for a long-term care facility (my current job). You get the 1:1 with the patient during the process (that's my favorite part ), plus you serve as a resource for both him/her and the family as they get settled in. You also are no longer responsible for them once the process is completed and you hand them off to the charge nurse, which is a HUGE advantage if working with lots of patients at once makes you nervous and overstimulated.

    As for your resume, I think 'caring for an ill family member' would be a better way to explain the gap in employment. It's not really any of their business anyway, but they often ask this question and you don't want to make it look like YOU were the one you were taking care of. Discrimination is still alive and well, unfortunately, and if you give them even a hint that you needed a 'sabbatical', they probably won't hire you.

    Wishing you the best of luck. I hope you'll keep us posted on your progress.
    poppycat likes this.
  4. 0
    Thank you both so much for reading and replying! As far as the board requiring that I take some sort of refresher course since I've been away for a couple of years, I read this on my board of nursing website- "The Mississippi Nursing Practice Law does not mandate CEUs as a prerequisite to renewing or maintaining a RN or LPN license. The law does require the nurse to maintain competency in his/her nursing practice, but that responsibility rests with each nurse as pertinent to his/her field of practice."

    Am I right in assuming that this means a refresher course is not required by them in order for me to return to work?
  5. 0
    To add on to that... I just saw that it says that you're only required to take a refresher course after being away 5 years or longer.

    I'm going to look into doing some CEU's, like you've suggested. It will help me a lot I think, as well as look good on my resume.
    Last edit by Tiffany. on Sep 28, '13
  6. 1
    Quote from Tiffany.
    Thank you both so much for reading and replying! As far as the board requiring that I take some sort of refresher course since I've been away for a couple of years, I read this on my board of nursing website- "The Mississippi Nursing Practice Law does not mandate CEUs as a prerequisite to renewing or maintaining a RN or LPN license. The law does require the nurse to maintain competency in his/her nursing practice, but that responsibility rests with each nurse as pertinent to his/her field of practice."

    Am I right in assuming that this means a refresher course is not required by them in order for me to return to work?
    Yes, that's pretty vaguely worded so I think you're good to go. I still think the refresher would be a good idea, because you would not believe how much stuff can be forgotten in 2-3 years away from the bedside. I was an assisted living DON who didn't do ANY bedside work in all that time, and when I came back to my old LTC facility I had to look up wound care basics and re-learn how to flush a Foley!!

    A word of caution: If at all possible, do not disclose your diagnosis to any prospective employer. Or any employer. I learned that the hard way, although I couldn't hide it anymore after having a severe manic episode in the summer of 2012. Things were never the same after that, and when the stress got to be too much and I had a breakdown in April of this year, they jumped at the chance to get rid of me.

    It's different with my current employer, where I worked before and where everyone knows about my BP. They've been willing to let me work within my MD-ordered restrictions; but if I ever have to find another jo,b I will do whatever it takes to remain stable enough that I don't have to disclose my illness.

    You should do likewise. There are simply too many candidates out there with current resumes and NO mental illness fighting for the same handful of jobs; don't handicap yourself before you get out of the starting gate! And once again, good luck
    liebling5 likes this.


Nursing Jobs in every specialty and state. Visit today and Create Job Alerts, Manage Your Resume, and Apply for Jobs.

A Big Thank You To Our Sponsors
Top