Getting back into Nursing after 10 years out

Nurses Career Support


I am wondering the best way to get back into the nursing field --if there is any.

I graduated in 2000 with a BSN. Unfortunately my resume is a bit choppy as I am a military spouse. I initally worked full time in two different hospitals for almost 2 years only prior to leaving/moving cross country/having kids. Also--it's been 12 years now since graduating and 10 years since my most recent skilled nursing job and I feel like even with a refresher course of some kind that a hospital would not even look twice at my resume.

In 2009 I did work for one year as an in home respite care nurse, part time on various weekends. It was really fairly unskilled work, nothing like the hospital setting.

I hold active licenses in 2 states and do continuing education. I wonder if it is a waste of money to continue to pay these fees.

We continue to move every 2 years so finding a job, getting the experience again consistently is tough. I still have kids to care for (special needs) and a spouse who has a very inconsistent schedule and is gone as often as he's in town and live no where near family support for childcare etc.

Ideally I would like to use what I went to school for. I am upset with myself in some ways that I couldn't stay working even part-time and let my skills lapse. I was naive to think I could "just get a per diem job" in a new location or that I'd go back eventually and here I am 10 years later. My husband will retire in 7 years and I have no career and my children will not need me like they do now. Do I even consider looking into nursing again? If so how?

I have looked into refresher courses and also the possibility of doing school over with a RN-> MSN track but again I shy away thinking they expect you to be on top of skills and not be below a novice even. I have considered looking into support staff like MA, LPN, CNA type stuff instead as well. My husband thinks I could get back in easily as a nurse somewhere, but he has the view that there is a such a nursing shortage and that anyone can find a nursing job. I like to remind him that a lot of new grads can't find jobs these days for months.

I keep thinking in the back of my head my time spent in new grad training for my first job. There was a mom who had been out of the field for 20 years and she was in our new grad class--supported and mentored--but that was back in 2001. I wish I could find something like that these days!!

Any suggestions?

Specializes in Critical Care, Education.

In my experience, cities and communities with a large military presence are used to the turnover of military spouses, so that is usually not a problem with job offers once you regain some experience. I think you're very wise to begin your strategy for career re-entry now so you'll be solidly in place by the time hubs retires.

A comprehensive refresher course is the logical starting place. Nursing has changed so much over the last 10 years - in some instances ~ 50% of the tasks are completely different or new. Such as EMR documentation, managing core measures, dealing with HIPAA, coping with the demands of "patient satisfaction" indices, not to mention all the new technology . . . YIKES. It is a daunting task to get comfortable once again in such a changed environment.

Can you arrange to meet with your local nurse recruiters to discuss your situation and determine what you would have to do to be perceived as a desirable job candidate? That would be a great starting place.

Most BONs do not allow RNs to work in lower-skilled positions & employers will not knowingly hire you to do so. There are huge liability issues in these situations because no matter what type of position you are hired into, you must uphold the professional rules and regs of your license. It's a no-win situation.

Best of luck to you. Please extend our THANKS to your hubs for his service to our country.

I believe that a refresher course would be a very good place to start. It would also serve as a means of networking. Med Surg would be a good place to develop the skills that you feel that you are lacking based on lack of consistent experience. Everyone has to start somewhere, right?

I was in the military myself for seven years although not as a nurse. I became a nurse only after the end of my military contract. I understand how difficult it is to pack up everything every couple of years to have to start over elsewhere. I would imagine that moving so frequently as a civilian is even harder. Always having to have job gaps, orienting, starting over at multiple jobs, etc. Being a part of the military, it is a much smoother transition job wise. I sympathize.

In orientations, I have encountered women such as yourself who have been away from nursing who are there for refreshers. I believe that these recruiters would have to understand that life simply happens. As long as you show effort and motivation, I do not see why you could not attain a position as a RN. After having went through all of that schooling to attain your license, you need to be a practicing RN. That is my humble opinion anyway. Good luck to you!! :coollook:

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