Return to nursing after more than a decade? - page 2

by notsurewhattodo 11,292 Views | 30 Comments

Hi all, I'm new here and looking for advice. I got my BSN back in 1992. Worked for about 4 years in a hospital pediatric unit then went to prn status for awhile. Then worked for about a year for an adult daycare center. Got... Read More


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    OH, yes, i so so understand and hope that any parent raising kids, who wants to, or can find a way, to stay at home, or only work very part time, i can so understand that urge, very much. I did not have that option, and did work full time, and raise my kids part time, which was not ideal for my family, but, i did the best i could at the time, but, an exhausted mom is not always able to do her best. On bright side, for the bulk of that time, their father was home with them, if i was at work, so i was lucky that way.


    In later years, my best pal/next door neighbor,
    took my kids in the early morning hours before school started,
    and i was home to get her kids and mine off the bus each day, after school. No cash, we just traded hours, i did after school, and neighbor did before school. Also cool, we had keys to each other homes, in case either kid said "oh no! i forgot my violin!" or whatever.

    Again, another super lucky set up to have best pal next door. Lol, our kids would have been back and forth between the 2 houses, whether us moms were working or not, ha ha.

    on the other hand, i know a young nurse who is a parent, who works parttime, cuz she wants to, and has that option to only work part time. She really could stay at home if she wanted to,
    but, she chooses to work, to stay sane.
    For her personally, being home 24/7 with a bunch of rowdy kids is more stressful to HER personally, if she does NOT get breaks from it. Lol, she often says, she goes to work to relax, hee hee.
    (but, she HAS been in work force steadily, so she IS now comfortable being at work, which is not the same as what we are talking about----nurses who have been out long enough, that we've lost our confidence about working).
    She says if she stays home 24/7, she goes nutzzzzz, and feels she is less patient with her children, when she is with them 24/7.


    guess it shows we are all unique individuals, and what works best for one person,
    might not be best answer for another.


    Imo, whether a person is a mom or not,
    if someone has been out of the workforce long enough that they have lost confidence (maybe that feeling is appropriate, OR, maybe for some who havent been gone that long, maybe for some it is overly large in their minds than it should be)
    going back will be challenging, especially at first. Maybe is the optimist in me, or maybe it's just the lovely coffee i am sipping on, or the lovely mood i am in right now with the sun streaming in the window,
    but, i feel like, if/when we go back,
    that we will find our way again. That our confidence will come back, slowly and appropriately, as we see our own selves doing it well again.
    nope, not at first, is how i picture it. Nope, my guess is, at first, we'll all be terrified, unsure, nervous, clumsy, and worse, somewhat inept. That fear is probably a good thing. I kinda think, i'd be a bit worried about any nurse who has not been working for a long time, and says, "oh no big deal, no worry, i'll do fine"
    cuz, i think our fears and concerns ARE appropriate. NO doubt, there are things we will have to learn, and catch up on.


    but, i also think this fear, however appropriate, IS logical, and appropriate, BUT that it will pass as we either take refresher courses or get a job with a great mentoring set up, or however we get back on the horse,
    i do think, with time, and education we'll probably slowly re-gain our confidence and skills back. that's my guess, anyway.
    Last edit by somenurse on Dec 4, '12
    Elizabeth1 likes this.
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    You guys really rock. Thank you for giving me so many things to think about. You are right, my confidence is pretty much nil.
    At this point I don't think I am going to do the Refresher course. Maybe sometime in the future. My husband and kids want me at home and I guess that's where I need to be for now. Some days I do feel as though I am wasting my training though. ugh. But I do remember the stress of hospital work and that part I definitely do not miss. Raising an autistic child is stress enough.
    Sounds like you ladies have worked out what works well for your own situation and your own families. I'm sure I'll figure this out too in time. I just do not want to be 50 years old and going back to get that Refresher course (if I am ever going to). So I feel like time is ticking.
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    Quote from notsurewhattodo
    You guys really rock. Thank you for giving me so many things to think about. You are right, my confidence is pretty much nil.
    At this point I don't think I am going to do the Refresher course. Maybe sometime in the future. My husband and kids want me at home and I guess that's where I need to be for now. Some days I do feel as though I am wasting my training though. ugh. But I do remember the stress of hospital work and that part I definitely do not miss. Raising an autistic child is stress enough.
    Sounds like you ladies have worked out what works well for your own situation and your own families. I'm sure I'll figure this out too in time. I just do not want to be 50 years old and going back to get that Refresher course (if I am ever going to). So I feel like time is ticking.

    Yes, i have an autistic nephew, a very severe case of autism, too, and no denying that IS a huge challenge. His mother, my sisinlaw, is pretty much a saint, nicest most devoted mom you can find,
    but, even she says, she has to have time away,
    whether it is part time job, or some group/activity she is involved with, whatever, as doting and dedicated as she is, she can't do it 24/7. I don't think i could either.

    but, my nephew, despite being very severely autistic, goes to some type of school, mon-fri, and so she is free during those hours to do whatever. And she does DO whatever! YAY for her, and whew!

    If your community offers a similar program for children in need, perhaps your son could also join in, too, and thus, freeing you up for many hours per week,
    to focus on other things you are interested in??

    just a thought. I do think moms of special needs kids need a lot of support/outlets/etc. For some, working (even part time) or going to school (even part time) might provide a much needed respite from the sometimes overwhelming frustrations faced by parents of special needs kids (or even parents of 'normal" kids---i think parenthood is challenging, period!! imo. Evne "normal" teenagers can make a mom wanna pull her hair out, mmHmm.),
    and even going part time, might alleviate some of your concerns about not using your training. There are many less stressful forms of nursing,
    than hospital nursing, btw. Lots of other ways to nurse.


    but yeah, we are all unique individuals, and what helps one parent cope,
    might not work for another parent. BEST OF LUCK!!!
    Last edit by somenurse on Dec 4, '12
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    Quote from notsurewhattodo
    I just do not want to be 50 years old and going back to get that Refresher course (if I am ever going to). So I feel like time is ticking.
    LOL, almost all my fellow classmates were 45+. We even had one 70 yr old!!!

    I totally get the staying home and losing your mind thing with kids. I frequently tell my husband that if I could get a calm office job that working full time would be soooooo much easier. Working full time in nursing probably too, after the first few crazy stress years. Oh well, you can't have your cake and eat it too, LOL

    There is always time. Do what you think is right and don't look back (or atleast try not to, LOL)..
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    Thanks again for the replies. My son is at school all day, which is why I am able to do the part-time PCA job. Yes, we have to keep our sanity, lol.
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    Quote from mayoh
    Contact me for private advice
    How do I do that? I looked around and do not see a "private message" option anywhere?
    Would you be willing to post your advice here on the forums so we can all benefit?
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    I am doing the same thing: Have been out of nursing since 1997: worked psych and public health so not much actual medical experience. Am looking to get into school, clinic, or possibly public health nursing again. Would love to do patient navigation but with no recent experience...not sure. Lots of questions to get answered.
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    And, I am going to be 53 in April, so not too late for anyone if they are motivated.
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    And, I am going to be 53 in April, so not too late for anyone if they are motivated. I start an RN refresher course next week! Have owned a coffeehouse and gift shop for the past 6 years and am ready to move on. Will post an update on how the refresher course is going.
    somenurse likes this.
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    I realize my situation is abnormal. For starters, while I was out of paycheck nursing for 14 years, I was still using my nursing skills as a medical foster and adoptive mother. When I decided to revive my licensure, I had to submit a TON of CEs for my original licensure state plus fingerprints and a $150 fee. I got lucky. My state did not require a refresher course and counted college courses to the tune of 14 CEs per credit hour. I was able to count my Biology and my Sociology of Medicine courses to fulfill my entire CE requirement to reinstate my licensure.

    I had moved long ago from my state of original licensure. However, to transfer to my current state, I needed only to have an active license elsewhere. My previous state had a work hour requirement or required a refresher course. I was prepared to take a refresher course but we moved and I didn't need to do so. Took me several months, 2 more specific CE courses and another licensure fee to get licensure in my current state of residence.

    At that point, I worked my contacts. I knew that a recruiter looking at my resume was going to throw it out and never give it a second look. I used references all in the medical field, all who had personally observed me using my nursing skills with the foster and adoptive children. One of them was a physician of my child, a second was one of my children's primary nurse in the hospital setting.

    Then, I looked for job listings that fit my experience and background to match what areas I worked without a paycheck all those years.

    I got *very* lucky. The Nursing Manager for one of my children's speciality clinics listed a position specifically looking for a nurse with in-depth knowledge of the very medical condition my child has. Before I even applied for the job, I called her personally. It was a part-time job and the hours were not clear on the listing. I needed her to see *me* and not the weak resume. I also needed to be assured I could work part-time, not just for the permenant position but in the orientation process as well.

    Because the manager knew me, had observed me utilizing my nursing skills, spoke with me directly before I submitted my resume, I had a HUGE advantage. She strictly informed me on the phone that the personal connection would ONLY guarantee me the interview and a quick pass from the screening process. However, as luck would have it the morning after I interviewed, my child had a medical crisis and she observed me in full nursing mode. I strongly suspect that it was that coincidental encounter where she could see me in my element that landed me the job.

    All that said, I am now a part-time Infusion Nurse for an outpatient infusion center. I did not have to return to Med/Surg. I didn't not have to sink into LTC facilities (where I would rather never return to nursing than enter). There was a LOT I was out of practice on. There was a lot that fit like a glove too. You don't lose your nursing as much as you THINK you do. For years, I tried to hide was a nurse. Everytime I encountered the medical professions, I attempted to be percieved as a knowledgable advocate and mother and NOT a nurse. It never worked. It never took more than one encounter for both doctors and nurses to immediately recognize I was a nurse. It is true that nursing has changed and progressed in the years I was home, but it's also true that it is easy to adapt and catch onto the changes.

    In my general nursing orientation (prior to my unit orientation), I was one of THREE nurses returning after significant absences from the profession. All three of us utilized the same basic concept to secure jobs. We used existing contacts with people who knew us to network for a job position.

    With a special needs son and having worked as a home health aide now, you HAVE those contacts. Have you asked your Nursing Manager if your current company would hire you as a nurse instead of an aide if you pursued renewing your licensure? I interviewed for a home health aide job two years ago, before I found a way to salvage my nursing license, and the hiring manager made it VERY clear that he would hire me as an aide but he would personally push and encourage me to restore my licensure and would hire me as a nurse if I was able to accomplish that feat. He stated all of that before I even worked for him. I suspect your current employer would support allowing you to advance back to nursing if you sought reinstatement. With a special needs child, I suspect you have other personal connections you could network as well.

    I had to come back to the concept of restoring my licensure four times before I saw how to accomplish it and had the confidence to believe I could not only do it but secure a job that fit the needs of my family when I did it. Now, I have a job that fits my needs perfectly--both professionally and for my family. I am starting my BSN this week and am contemplating if I want to remain in nursing and seek advanced practice, or enter academia. The first two times I came to this puzzle, the ONLY answer I could see was an emphatic NO, that the task was impossible. The third time, I realized it might be possible but believed I could NEVER find employment even if I accomplished it.

    I now realize why people kept telling me "once a nurse, always a nurse" in the years I tried to conceal my background. There are a LOT of medications I don't know at this point. There are new practice techniques I never saw when I worked as a nurse or went to school years ago. However, I found my footing quickly. My department AND my hospital embraced me as a seasoned nurse. It felt ackward to hear myself refered to in that manner given how non-traditional my trajectory was all those years. However, we had a new graduate intern in our clinic this last week and I realized immediately WHY everyone considered me seasoned. She may have just graduated and her skills are up to date, her pharmacology is grilled into her brain from taking the NCLEX. However, her skills in seeing a whole picture, and responding appropriately and calmly didn't exist....not yet. I came back with those skills neve gone, even if it took me nearly a month to convert the butterfly push skills I have done for a decade into consistently successful saline locs to run longer IVs.
    traumaRUs likes this.


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