Going back into acute care.



I'm a RN/BSN who has about 2 years experience working on a med/surg floor in a hospital. I stopped working in December 2010. I took some time off. When I started working again I put applications in all over and I ended up getting a job at a LTC facility as the charge nurse on the night shift of a sub-acute rehab unit. I've been doing this for the past 10 months. While working here I've got all my certifications (BLS, ACLS, PALS) that I would need to work in a hospital. I also have a 2nd bachelor's in biology.

The problem I'm facing is I really like working in a hospital better but I've been putting applications out and I'm getting very little results. I just got a call back from a hospital and the human resource lady I spoke to said she would pass my application along to the nurse manager but she didn't think I would be approved having been out of acute care for over 2 years. Why even call me to tell me that?

I'm sorry, but it's not like I "forgot" what it was like to work in a hospital. Plus, I've been working as an RN for the past 10 months it's not like I've been flippin' burgers at Micky D's. We get the same patients that are constantly coming and going to the hospitals. It's not like anybody is ever magically cured. Their insurance runs out at the hospital and then they come to us. I've been in more code/rapid response situations in 10 months at the nursing home then I've been in in 2 years at the hospital. How's that for experience? Plus I'm responsible for 37 patients now vs the 8 I had at the hospital.

It's just gets me very aggravated. It seems like there's some red tape between the human resource department and the nurse managers that I'm getting caught up in. I could see if I was a new grad, but I'm a nurse who has been licensed since 2009! I know most of the nurses on med/surg floors are practicing with an associates degree and a BLS certificate. I've got 2 bachelors and the whole plethora of certificates. Plus I'm well liked at my job and I know my stuff. When I went to take ACLS & PALS the instructors at the hospital were questioning "why aren't you working here?" I knew all the drugs, dosages, rhythms, etc. There were CCU nurses in the class that didn't seem half as prepared as I was.

Did hospitals stop hiring nurses? Is there any recourse I have? I mean, if a hospital lists itself as a Equal opportunity employer, could I take legal action against them for refusing me a job? Is there anything else I could do? Do I have to go back to school to get a master's just to work in a hospital? I live in Poughkeepsie, NY and I've been applying to every hospital in the hudson valley area. Maybe I should expand my range to NYC and Albany, but honestly, I feel if I'm not getting jobs here what good will that do?

Specializes in Med/Surg & Hospice & Dialysis. Has 6 years experience.

How does EOE apply?

Specializes in Pediatrics. Has 28 years experience.
How does EOE apply?

It sounds as if she believes she has every right to the job she's interested in. And she does, just as everyone else who is desperately seeking an acute care position. Imagine if every applicant felt this way. There just aren't enough jobs.

To the OP, putting the pieces together (based on your post) you worked from 2008-2010. 2 years of old experience. Did not work for 2 year, and are now working in sub-acute care.

It sounds as if they are looking for someone with more experience. It probably has nothing to do with you personally.

Specializes in Critical Care.

The hospitals are in the driver's seat now and have alot of applicants to choose from. I've heard some places are getting 100 to even 200 applicants for a job! They can pick and choose as they please. So many people are going into nursing thinking there is a shortage and it is a secure, good paying field and others are returning to nursing due to layoffs in their family.

I don't see what grounds you would have to sue them for not hiring you. All you can do is keep trying. What don't you like about what you're doing now? Use a cover letter to apply to hospitals and showcase how relevant your current position is and training ACLS etc and emergency situations to improve your odds.

Has 13 years experience.

Lawsuits/legal action are not the answer to every problem. You aren't being discriminated against it's just that there are plenty of other nurses who have the exact set of skills/experience they're looking for. Don't give up, but do realize you may have a tough road ahead of you.

Specializes in Med/Surg, LTACH, LTC, Home Health. Has 37 years experience.

Looks like you were licensed in 2009 and worked until the end of 2010, then, in essence, walked away from nursing until now (or 10 months ago). By my calculations, you worked for a year and a half, depending on when you actually got your first nursing job, "took a break" after a short stent in nursing, and returned a short while ago. It could be that your answer to the question that all hiring managers ask, "explain ANY breaks in employment in which you were out of work for a month or more", is not agreeable with them. Whatever your reason for "taking a break", you might try becoming a little more creative with the explanation. The powers-that-be might be viewing at you as a new grad still at the point where you decided to take a break from nursing.

When you left, you were still in the early stages of learning HOW to be a nurse. And of course, this is just my opinion.:yes: But again, trying developing a GREAT reason for leaving so early in the game. I want to leave, too, ESPECIALLY after nearly 30 years of doing this, but when I read stories like yours and another poster on here that couldn't even find a job after passing boards and ultimately ended up being evicted from her home, I count my blessings, go in smiling, come out griping:madface: :banghead: and role with the cycle of nursing yet another day:nurse:. Taking it one day at a time not only applies to recovering addicts.......

Good luck in your quest!


2 Posts

Thanks for all the encouragement. I honestly was very aggravated when I wrote this because I had just gotten off the phone with that lady from human resources. She did say the position was 10% ICU so maybe that had something to do with it as I never worked in ICU. Also, I remember when I got this job at the nursing home I applied online and my resume must have been posted because I started receiving a bunch of calls from recruiters from agencies all across the country. They said the area that I'm in (Hudson Valley, NY) is tough because there isn't a shortage here. NYC is supposedly a tough job market too. They told me they could definitely get me in at hospitals in upstate NY though as they have some places working close to 50% staffing levels.

Maybe next year. I'm kinda starting over again. When I started nursing I worked as a GN in early 2009 for a couple months before passing my boards. I got in a bad relationship with a girl. She was adopted and was trying to find her real parents. She reminded me that we're all trying to find ourselves, who we really are. I thought I could help her. She was like a real life fairytale. She showed me that we're all kinda like cats, we have a wild side. Somehow she got mixed up with the wrong people. Things went downhill fast. It was kinda like that movie fight club at the end. It sure made those intimidating nurses on the med/surg unit seem a little less bothersome to me. The sad part was everyone was worried about me. I was like family at the hospital cause I worked there for close to 10 years in the pharmacy before I went into nursing. I lost a lot of weight. I wasn't eating or sleeping right. By the time I resigned I was a broke mess. Still, even though she took me for everything I had, I feel as though she gave me the most. And even though she lied all the time, I feel she was one of the most honest people I've ever met.

Maybe when I save up enough to get a car I'll try some of these travel gigs out. I still get around 2 or 3 calls a week from recruiters. I just got to stay away from relationships and trying to fix broken people cause I'm really lucky to be getting a second chance.

Esme12, ASN, BSN, RN

4 Articles; 20,908 Posts

Specializes in Critical Care, ED, Cath lab, CTPAC,Trauma. Has 43 years experience.

Unfortunately there is not a shortage in many places....some parts of the country have as high as 47% unemployment of "new grads" less than 2 years and greater then 25 years..

Just because recruiters are calling you doesn't mean you will get hired either. Nursing licenses are public knowledge and then they do a phone search....and they cold call.

We cannot offer legal advice but I share this from personal experience. The EEOC is there to ensure everyone has an equal opportunity but that does NOT include hiring. You have to prove that you were discriminated against


Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, prohibits discrimination in hiring, promotion, discharge, pay, fringe benefits, job training, classification, referral, and other aspects of employment, on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin. DISABILITY

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended, protects qualified applicants and employees with disabilities from discrimination in hiring, promotion, discharge, pay, job training, fringe benefits, classification, referral, and other aspects of employment on the basis of disability. The law also requires that covered entities provide qualified applicants and employees with disabilities with reasonable accommodations that do not impose undue hardship. AGE DISCRIMINATION

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, as amended, protects applicants and employees 40 years of age or older from discrimination on the basis of age in hiring, promotion, discharge, compensation, terms, conditions or privileges of employment. SEX DISCRIMINATION

In addition to sex discrimination prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended (see above), the Equal Pay Act of 1963, as amended, prohibits sex discrimination in payment of wages to women and men performing substantially equal work in the same establishment.

Retaliation against a person who files a charge of discrimination, participates in an investigation, or opposes an unlawful employment practice is prohibited by all of these Federal laws.

and you have to PROVE it. Essentially employers can pretty much do what they want now that there is a surplus of nurses.

Now of they actually said to you you were not hired because you were.....black/Asian/African American/American Indian, gay, Jewish/Muslim/catholic/Amish, over 40, with a limp.....they are legal. They have all given you an application, some have given interviews, and you didn't get hired....nothing illegal there.

It is a tough market out there. I wish you luck and I am glad you have chosen a new path for yourself.

PS.......fixing broken people is a nurse phenomenon....be very careful.

Ayvah, RN

722 Posts

Specializes in Med Surg, Specialty. Has 10 years experience.
she didn't think I would be approved having been out of acute care for over 2 years. Why even call me to tell me that?

She was being nice, as most recruiters just offer silence. It is true that the longer you are out of inpatient the harder it becomes to get back in, even if you are working as a nurse in a different setting. I take her response to mean she'd like to see recent hospital experience, and a I've heard a lot of positives from people who take a nurse refresher course before working inpatient again. Its a definite positive that you have ACLS and PALS, but you may want to also look at the nurse refresher course.

A quick google search gave me this:


"Many nurses, particularly those who have been working in settings other than hospitals, are also looking to move back to hospital nursing, seeking a more stable job and better benefits. These nurses would benefit from refresher programs as well."

Otherwise, you can just make sure to apply for jobs that are less desirable (with less competition), such as night shift, or yes, you may have to travel or relocate. Stories of people having to do so in order to get a hospital job have been popping up on this site for some time now.


39 Posts

For my 2 cents...I've been an acute care nurse for 18 years almost every specialty including 5 yrs ER. I've been off for 7 months for a medical issue. I started job hunting and it was hard for me (with 2 degrees plus my RN and 18 years and certs out the whazoo) to land another hospital job. I did though. Sometimes it takes getting your name noticed in the stack of applicants. Networking sites, job fairs etc


77 Posts

"They told me they could definitely get me in at hospitals in upstate NY though as they have some places working close to 50% staffing levels."

Sorry to tell you but it's not much better up here either. NYC is a lost cause.. they don't hire new grads at all. Not that you are a new grad but with no recent experience you may be in a similar boat to them. Syracuse is probably a bit easier to get a job because there are more hospitals (but still a few nursing schools) such as Upstate I know is hiring.. But in Utica there are few hospitals and about 300 new grads.. you do the math :) I think St. Peter's in Albany is hiring.. but like someone else said nothing is guaranteed there just aren't enough positions and even if there are positions doesn't mean they're hiring. There might be a shortage but it again doesn't mean they're hiring. GL