Returning to nursing after one year away

  1. 1
    Hi all! I need some advice about returning to the profession after a year of soul-searching. (Wall of text ahead, sorry!)

    Some background: I graduated in May 2010 from a BSN program; I did quite well academically, but lacked confidence at the bedside. By my final semester of college, I felt more drawn towards public/community health, but at that point had accepted that the reality that I would need a year or two of inpatient experience before specializing. After a few months of job hunting, I took an RN position at a sub-acute/LTC facility. Here's where the crap hit the fan: I ended up quitting that job two weeks before orientation ended due to a major panic attack set off by an incident with an aggravated patient. I spent two months in a deep depression, then decided to attend to massage school (something I had personally wanted to do since I graduated high school, but my mom had adamantly opposed). For the last six months, I've worked as a massage therapist, but I feel like I'm on autopilot most days, and now I want to give nursing another shot.

    The situation now: Over the last year and three months since I quit that position at the sub-acute/LTC facility, I've had plenty of time to recover and understand why I had such a huge breakdown about that job and nursing in general. Part of it was that I went into nursing for the wrong reasons (job security, good income), but another part was that I had stopped listening to my gut and took that first RN position even though I knew deep-down that I had never wanted to work in a nursing home. The time I've spent as a massage therapist has helped me realize a few things: one, that I have a real desire to help people, and two, that I am most comfortable working autonomously and creatively in a one-on-one setting. For that reason, I think I would probably do best working in an outpatient office or school setting, with the eventual goal of moving towards public health nursing.

    Currently I am in the process of applying for a school nurse certification program that starts in the fall, and I will be taking an RN refresher course over the summer.

    My questions are:
    1) What should I do after I take the refresher course?
    Should I focus on school nursing, or should I try to get a position in acute care?
    2) I fell apart so soon after graduating, in part because I wasn't prepared for the realities of nursing. What can I do this time around to keep my spirits up?
    3) Is there anything I'm overlooking? What are some questions I really need to ask myself before pursuing nursing again?

    If you've managed to read all this, I really appreciate your time, and thanks in advance for any insight you can provide.
    Curious1alwys likes this.
  2. Get our hottest nursing topics delivered to your inbox.

  3. 7 Comments so far...

  4. 0
    Hi,I am currently in the same situation as you and thinking what kind of nursing jobs to start with. I am not sure if Public health nursing will hire any new grads with no experience. I will follow your thread to gain more insight. I am in the seattle area. Where are you located?
  5. 1
    Wow...I can relate to alot of what you have said. What a journey this has been and its sad, as we have worked so hard for a degree. Best wishes to you, I hope we all find our way.
    elprup likes this.
  6. 0
    Hi and Help!

    I'm an ADN, 18 yrs experience mainly in hospice, both home and facility setting, lots of care coordination, CNA supervision, care plan responsibility, bi-weekly team report my responsibility. Past 18 months have been recovering from medical issues. Will want parttime RN work, have thought of immunization work, intake work, chart review, open to ideas. Also am 61 so not interested in returning to school, as time is factor, as is $$.

    Live near Puyallup, Washington (Bonney Lake). Licence will be good through 2014, then will require the 45 hrs CEU, per new state regs. Anybody have any ideas, as I've so specialized for so long in hospice nursing! Thank you!! cuhome@comcast.net
  7. 0
    Quote from cuhome
    Hi and Help!

    I'm an ADN, 18 yrs experience mainly in hospice, both home and facility setting, lots of care coordination, CNA supervision, care plan responsibility, bi-weekly team report my responsibility. Past 18 months have been recovering from medical issues. Will want parttime RN work, have thought of immunization work, intake work, chart review, open to ideas. Also am 61 so not interested in returning to school, as time is factor, as is $$.

    Live near Puyallup, Washington (Bonney Lake). Licence will be good through 2014, then will require the 45 hrs CEU, per new state regs. Anybody have any ideas, as I've so specialized for so long in hospice nursing! Thank you!! cuhome@comcast.net


    Why are you leaving hospice, or rather, not returning to hospice?
    Just want a break/change?

    best of luck at whatever choice you make!
    Last edit by somenurse on Nov 29, '12
  8. 0
    To the OP,
    The refresher course seems like it would be a plus to an employer. You'll want to put some thought into explaining the gap between graduation and your next job interview, too. I don't think i'd even mention that quickie job thing you once had, at all, since it ws so so so short that you didn't even finish orientation. The abrupt departure there, might cast a negative light on you to an employer.

    I agree with the person above who thinks that you might need more experience to go into public health, but, worth a try, if there is a setting where you would have a mentor, or some support system of other coworkers around you, to show you the ropes.

    I think, if it is autonomy you prefer, you might be happier doing home care, or hospice, or private duty. In most of those situations, you have few if any coworkers around. but, this requires enough experience or confidence to feel comfortable on your own, too. Some home care is done house to house to house,
    sometimes, you work an entire shift in someone's home. There is both pediatric and adult home care, too. Typically, each and every home you go to for shift work, would provide it's very own orientation to that particular home, to that particular patient.
    EAch home case is different, but, generally, this is often very 'easy going' type of nursing, laid back, low stress work.
    On the downside, it can be boring, not a lot of chance for advancement or learning new things, etc,
    but, pretty laid back job if that would suit you.

    Re: the mood, if you do struggle with a tendency for depression, perhaps talking to a private counselor might help you get to the root of it?
    Last edit by somenurse on Nov 29, '12
  9. 1
    Well, you sound like you have your head screwed on straight this time around. Good for you that you have learned from the past and can be so introspective. I think for that reason you will succeed in whatever you do.

    That said, our stories are similar, except I've been out longer. I won't lie, you will have an uphill battle finding a job (but that depends also on the market where you live). In the end, you need to decide if the pros of nursing are worth the cons for YOU. And find a way to stay calm in an environment that is nothing but. Nursing is hard for someone with an anxiety disorder or depression! You will need to take steps that the same thing (panic!) does not happen again but it sounds as though you've realized that. At this point, you just need to poise yourself clinically (refresher course) and give your best explanation. The rest is out of your hands. Crossing my fingers you will find something. I've been trying but have two little ones to take care of as well and an abysmal nursing new grad market ( too many new grads and no jobs) to compete with. It's been hard. Without the 100% assurance that nursing is for me I have to admit I am contemplating other things I can do with a BSN, LOL!!
    Let us know how it goes and what you decide on..
    elprup likes this.
  10. 1
    Hello Everybody,

    I want to give some insight on returning to work. I was out of nursing from 2004 to 2012. I took an RN refresher course through Capscare. I am located in FL. This was a board approved program. I took it online. 80 hrs of theory, the 96 hr of clinical, all at your own pace. Well I got my FL RN license re-instated. I WILL NEVER LET THIS PRECIOUS 4X4 PIECE OF PAPER EXPIRE EVER AGAIN!!! Cost me sooooo much money to get it back. Anyhoo! All that was Oct 3, is the date issued my license. I thought it would be easy to get a job....so many ads for RN's. Med/surg, peds, all the fields. Even travel nursing. I have adult children, nothing holding me back. HANG IT UP. I have 29 years experience. Graduated in 1983 and worked full time until 2004, never a break. The market is huge for travel, and seems for OR. Well i have put my resume on Monster, Career Builder, and LinkedIN, oh yeah, SimplyHired, and Indeed. and have applied for I know over 80-90 jobs. Zero, nada, zilch, none, NOTHING. No bites. 1 LIL OLE NIBBLE. My feelingS were hurt. Well a recruiter called me. I was overjoyed. He questioned the "gap". I explained, stayed home to take care of family. He was like. ooooooooo, to be honest with you, it will probably be very tough for you to get an interview/get hired, because, hospitals will only talk to you if you have been working for 2 yrs. Thats what they call "experience", not the experience that we have as old school nurses. All of our experience is really null and void in these hospital eyes. The DON's are younger, and they are seeking younger (IMO). I am 49, I am still sharp. I have a very decorated resume which I am proud of. I am only seeking a regular Medical floor, wound care, piggy backs, cleaning poop, charting, and chaos, LOL. No looking to work in the ICU or some other high tech unit. They state online in the job description, "RN 6mo experience desired and BCLS" Thats it. Now why wouldn't they give me a chance? Its sad. But we have no nurse's union to go to bat for us. This is how it will be. I just thought I would share my experience. Just yesterday 2 Jan 13 I got hired at a sub-acute unit, I am so grateful. Its a start. I am happy with this.
    biggirl11 likes this.


Top