As an LVN with a long absence, how do I return to nursing?

Dear Nurse Beth Advice Column - The following letter submitted anonymously in search for answers. Feel free to join the conversation. Nurses Nurse Beth Nursing Q/A


Dear Nurse Beth,

What should I do as an LVN, to return to nursing after a long absence? My license is current & active in California.

Share this post

Career Columnist / Author

Nurse Beth, MSN

157 Articles; 3,211 Posts

Specializes in Tele, ICU, Staff Development.

Dear LVN,

It's a big decision and exciting to return to work after a long absence. Congrats to you!

If you've been away for a while, you will notice some significant changes. Nursing practice has evolved during your absence, as medical and nursing practices are constantly changing.

For example, wound care management and insulin coverage practices have changed significantly, and some of the things we were taught have completely reversed! Prepare to be open minded.

Technology has improved in many ways. Smart infusion pumps and wound vacs are widely used. Air flow mattresses are constantly improving. Many nurses do not like the repetition of computer documentation but it's a given.

At the same time, the core of nursing never changes. It will be like getting back on a bike. Mobilizing patients, ensuring hygiene, providing dignity, preventing skin breakdown, recognizing infection..these things don't change. These things you know. The rest can be picked up quickly.

 Consider a refresher course. Some healthcare facilities offer re-entry or refresher programs that are designed to help nurses who have been out of practice get back up to speed.

LVNs are the backbone of sub acute and skilled nursing. Some CA hospitals have come full circle and are using LVNs in the ED and other areas in acute care, recognizing their value.

Here's some other tips to transition back to the work force:

  • Join nursing associations and organizations in your specialty area. These organizations often provide resources, networking opportunities, and educational events that can help you stay current.
  • Update your resume to include your previous nursing experience, education, and any new skills or certifications you've obtained during your absence.
  • Reconnect with former colleagues and nursing peers. They might provide valuable insights into changes in the nursing field and potential job opportunities.
  • Begin your Job Search by looking for positions that match your skills and interests. Start applying to positions that align with your experience and career goals.
  •  Practice your interviewing skills. Be prepared to discuss your nursing background, your reasons for taking time off, and your commitment to returning to the field.
  • Licensure and Renewal: Ensure your LVN license is current and active. Stay informed about the renewal process and any requirements for maintaining your license.

Build your confidence by staying focused on your strengths and your commitment to providing quality patient care.

Best wishes!

Nurse Beth





Home Health Columnist / Guide


11 Articles; 18,054 Posts

Specializes in Vents, Telemetry, Home Care, Home infusion.

See CA BON list of Nurse Refresher courses as way to freshen your skills.

Best wishes in rejoining active nursing practice.

By using the site, you agree with our Policies. X