If I leave acute care, can I come back?

  1. Dear Nurse Beth,

    I am an acute care nurse currently with 3 years of experience. Although I fully intend to continue acute care and possibly transition to Critical Care at some point, would it be a bad career move to do ambulatory care for a little while?

    The only reason I'm considering the switch in the first place is because I just had a baby, and I feel maybe this could be a better fit for my family right now.

    My main concern is loss of skill or the pace that we have in the hospital and if it would be a difficult or impossible transition back to acute care. Additionally I wonder if this switch would reflect poorly on a resume when I do wish to switch back to acute care.


    Dear Better Fit with Baby,

    Congrats on your baby! The most important thing in your life just changed

    A year of ambulatory care may not hurt, but don't stay out too long. You can pick your skills back up again, but things change very fast in the acute care setting.

    When you re-enter, you'll be competing with others who have more recent experience.

    Could you remain per diem or go part time to keep your foot in the door?

    If you do leave the acute care setting, stay in contact with your network. They can put in a good word and give a referral when you look for a position.

    Best wishes,


    Nurse Beth

    Author, "Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job"...and your next!
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    About Nurse Beth, MSN, RN

    Joined: Mar '07; Posts: 1,318; Likes: 3,947

    3 Comments

  3. by   brownbook
    It confuses me when people think working Monday to Friday and (kind of ) 8 am to 5 pm is better for families.

    Working in a 24 hour, 7 days a week type of job gives you so much flexibility.

    Many nurses work 3 twelves, every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, so they are home all week with their kids.

    There are only about a hundred variations of what hours you can work. Even go to per diem for a year for more flexibility.

    Being stuck in Mon to Fri 8 - 5 gives you zero flexibility.
  4. by   usfgirl
    Hi Nurse Beth,

    I thank you for reply to my question. An update for you: I stayed in acute care and, although it's not free of challenges, I love it! I also changed specialties.
  5. by   cleback
    See reason for edit
    Last edit by cleback on Apr 20 : Reason: Saw the update and decided my comment was moot

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