Treated Like Black Plague

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  1. Dear Nurse Beth,

    I surrendered my RN license 7 years ago and recently reinstated it. It shows the active license and the surrender license. I have 20 years of nursing experience and wrote rx's for myself 10 times. This is in the past and I would like to work as a nurse again. Every time I apply for a job, I disclose and then am treated like I have the black plaque by potential employers. I have a wealth of OR experience in high level trauma hospitals, but not even nursing homes will give me a chance of employment. What should I do - not even bother applying for nursing jobs?

    What can I do to make myself marketable?



    Dear Treated Like Black Plague,

    Congratulations on obtaining an active license again.

    I would disclose only what is asked on application and in interviews.

    You can't avoid completing applications that ask if you have ever had discipline against your license, and you also can't control employer's responses to your history.

    If there are any restrictions on your license, employers will typically shy away from the extra supervision and paper work that requires.

    If you are called for an interview, that means they have viewed your application and are considering taking a chance on you. Be matter of fact and don't dwell on the negative. Instead say your problem is in the past, and you are looking forward to putting your skills to work.

    In your situation, it would be most helpful to have a friend "inside". Call on your network and tell everyone you are looking for a job. The most important thing is to get your foot in the door to start re-building your work history.


    Best wishes,

    Nurse Beth



    Author, "Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job"...and your next!
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  2. 15 Comments

  3. by   adventure_rn
    I agree with all of Nurse Beth's points, and would add that you have an even steeper hill to climb given that you've been away from the bedside for 7 years.

    Unfortunately, each of those issues (the long gap in employment as an RN in addition to the licensure surrender) are sufficient reason for potential employers to be wary of hiring you. Like Nurse Beth said, the most important step will be getting your foot in the door. However, I'd definitely have a 'non-RN' back up plan as you continue to apply. Perhaps you could look for non-clinical healthcare positions that don't require (or even ask about) having a current license. I'm guessing there are some companies that would appreciate your healthcare experience without even questioning your licensure history.

    Best of luck!
  4. by   3ringnursing
    Have you considered non patient care type nursing positions? Such as telephone triage nursing? Or if you really like patient care perhaps a clinic?

    Not only did I have a censure on my license at one point early on my nursing career as a new grad, but long after completing that program satisfactorily I later became sick with SLE - sick enough to believe I was heading for death, and took a 10 hiatus from the work force. I have been back to work full time and as an RN for the past 3 1/2 years.

    The person we are today is not the person we were even 5 years ago. I believe you WILL find a place that will give you your chance to prove yourself. You will find a nursing job. I just know you will.

    Best of luck to you - and virtual hugs from a far.
  5. by   Calalilynurse
    I've read on the recovery forum that some nurses with prior issues have had luck getting jobs with home health and hospice. I would try outpatient dialysis clinics as well.
  6. by   Kooky Korky
    You don't have to start as an RN where you'd have access to meds and prescription pads. Start as a ward clerk or in Central Supply or somewhere like that if it's easier.
  7. by   Mavrick
    Would your OR experience be useful in auditing? There is a huge need to capture any and all legitimate OR charges.

    I would think avoiding access to Rx's would be helpful since that was your previous trouble. Once you get any kind of job and they get to know you, that opens up more chances for transfers and positions of greater responsibility.

    Best of luck with your second chance.
  8. by   caffeinatednurse
    I think finding an RN job away from the bedside would be possible in your situation. If you have your heart set on bedside nursing, then maybe you could try completing an RN refresher course? That might make potential employers feel better about the fact that you've been away from the bedside for 7 years. Also, don't disclose anymore than you have to.
  9. by   wowen
    come to Humboldt county, Northern CA! Where the redwoods meet the ocean!
  10. by   Macropsia
    What about adding a paragraph to resume stating you would appreciate any opportunity, even an LPN duty position to start,to prove yourself before advancing to the RN position you are aiming for?
    Just brainstorming ideas... Or is there a local Impaired Nurses support group that could give you advice as to how they got through and re-entered the workforce?
  11. by   Nscrnrs
    What state are you in? I run a large OR and am happy to have my manager set up an interview. Everyone deserves second chances.
    Last edit by Nscrnrs on Aug 16 : Reason: Misspelling
  12. by   Godzillah
    Some states help nurses find jobs in areas where there is low risk of reoffense. A field like dialysis for example.
    Hope this helps you.
  13. by   avon123
    Why exactly did you write prescription for your self? For what medications? Let me guess; controlled substances? What did u expect. U probably would have continued had you not been caught.
  14. by   CrunchRN
    Being out of nursing for 7 years is probably more of a barrier than the stipulations. Have to keep trying for any job. Especially non-nursing and network.


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