I am an RN/BSN and former EMT exploring returning to nursing after being out of the field for 5 years, in part to complete some education in an unrelated field, and for some other reasons as well. My license is valid in my home state. I had planned to return to healthcare in 2007, and at that time completed a refresher course - but a couple of relatives had health emergencies that precluded returning then. Everything is shipshape now, and I want to get back into the field. My last job was in med-surg at a major regional medical center. Strong science background with masters in biology.
I am looking to e-mail or talk in person with an experienced nurse, concerning my career options. Since I've been away from bedside care for some time now, I have considered working as a PCT for a while before going directly back to full-fledged nursing. Have also considered taking a new refresher, or perhaps recertification as an EMT. if that would help my prospects, or simply doing alot of self-study to prepare myself. Ultimately, want to get some advanced certifications so I have more career options. Not entirely sure of what specialization I want to pursue yet, but that will become more clear once I know my options. I know I want out of med-surg as soon as possible, but realize that I may have to pay some dues in it before being able to do something different.
I am somewhat unsure of how to proceed. Should I approach nurse managers at institutions where I want to work, educational institutions, or what? I am somewhat hesitant to approach my alma mater, because they will probably try to get me into their graduate program, and I am not looking to do that just yet.
Thanks for whatever advice you can offer...
Jan 9, '11
Figure out where you'd like to work and then make personal contact with that department. I volunteered at the organization where I'd like to work (Hospice) before contacting the nurse manager. I really believe it is all about who you know. I've been out 7.5 years and this nurse manager told me "oh, that's not so long." Because the volunteers at this organization do a lot of hands on work and help the CNAs, they need background checks, TB tests, an extensive orientation, etc. If you're more interested in an acute care area, how about contacting some of the people you used to work with? One of the women I was a new grad with is now the nurse manager on the floor where we started. She was also very encouraging about my returning to practice. You may need to do a refresher program or do some shadowing, but I wouldn't just do it without talking with a nurse manager about what that particular floor/clinic would require. That way you're both making contacts and not wasting money!
Jan 18, '11
MissIt, thank you for your reply, and sorry for the delay in responding. Your suggestions seem to be good ones. Volunteering is a possibility, I would also work as a CNA/PCT for a time before transitioning into full-fledged nursing. As far as contacting those with whom I attended school, I have not maintained my network well at all. Dumb move, but there it is. Maybe I can come up with a couple of names. I like your suggestion regarding making direct contact with nurse-managers before making a decision about a refresher. After all, the schools themselves have every incentive to get you to take a refresher.