Bouncing back after being unemployed


  • Specializes in adult psych, LTC/SNF, child psych. Has 8 years experience.

Hi! I'm not sure if this would be better posted on the Nursing Career Advice forum, but I'm trying to reach a wide audience so I'm putting this here for now. I've been unemployed since July 2012 due to a medical problem and some stressors that I've now put behind me. I worked for 2.5 years in my specialty, and last worked clinically as a full-time staff nurse in January of 2012. I've just accepted a travel nursing job in my state, a few hours away from where I live right now, to start in 2 weeks. They're going to provide housing, the pay is great, and I'm excited to get back to work. Unfortunately, I haven't exactly kept up with my skills while being unemployed. I know that's not something I can go back in time or change and I'm catching up on current research, EBP and refreshing my memory on drugs, treatments, etc. in my specialty. I'm very excited to go back, but I'm questioning my skills and ability to be resilient in what feels like starting back from scratch and taking a big leap of faith in my skills and competency as a nurse.

I'm not looking to be discouraged from returning to my nursing career, but am interesting in hearing success stories from other RNs who have had a similar experience as me. Support is greatly appreciated!

Ruby Vee, BSN

67 Articles; 14,023 Posts

Specializes in CCU, SICU, CVSICU, Precepting & Teaching. Has 40 years experience.

Believe me, I don't want to discourage you. I just think a travel assignment is a difficult way to get back into nursing. Travelers get minimal orientation and are expected to hit the ground running, and I don't think you're in a position to hit the ground running. You're going to need a bit more re-orientation. Had you asked before you accepted the assignment, i would have advised you to take a staff position somewhere and go through orientation.

I went back to work after a hiatus of close to a year for health reasons, and it was difficult enough even going back to my old job. Technology moves onward, and there were new things to learn as well as some things I'd half-remembered or totally forgotten. I had to struggle more -- things that used to come naturally were things I now had to think about. My first couple of months back were stressful and exhausting. I'm still catching up, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel now.

Give yourself credit for what you do remember and be easy on yourself when you don't remember. You've got the right idea with studying for the job. Make an effort to take care of yourself -- take your breaks, drink water, eat. And get enough rest when you're off the clock as well. Now is not the time to remodel your bathroom or start a garden. Concentrate on your health and your job.

Good luck with everything. I hope it's a smooth transition.

hope3456, ASN, RN

1,263 Posts

Specializes in LTC, Psych, M/S.

YouTube is a great resource for reviewing nursing skills. At least you can see demonstrations.


56 Posts

I think it's a great idea you took the traveling position. Jobs are very hard to come by these days, and showing that you are working will get your foot close through the door of local opportunities. Since you already have experience, I see no issues with getting back on the floor running immediately. Have confidence in yourself, and view some of the youtube videos to refresh where you feel you may be rusty. You may be waiting a long time for a permanent job, so why not get out there now, to show you are ready and willing.