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Is this case impossible?

by Nurse Beth Nurse Beth, MSN (Columnist) Educator Columnist Innovator Expert Nurse

Specializes in Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho. Has 30 years experience.

Dear Nurse Beth,

I have an RN, BSN, MSN but very little nursing experience and I am having a hard time finding a job without this experience. I have worked in the airline industry for the past 35 years, and because I am a single mom with 4 kids, I did not transition into nursing when I graduated with my RN, I only have 2 yrs Homehealth experience but not recent because of my MSN and work. How can I transition into nursing without the experience that is required? I would love to work in a hospital in bedside care, any suggestions on where and how to do it? all I find is New Grad, but that doesn't help since I am not a recent grad.

Dear Having Hard Time,

You may not be able to start directly in acute care (hospital) as an unemployed RN without experience who graduated years ago. But with a great deal of determination and strategy, you may be able to end up there. A lot depends on how much you want it, and what you're prepared to do to get there.

Here's a possible route:

Take an RN Refresher Course. While in the course, network- try to get some leads to RN jobs, make connections. Apply to clinics, homehealth, long term care facilities. While not your first choice, you may be able to get a foot in the door and gain some experience.

Work in say, LTC, for a year and then apply to acute care. You are building your resume. You will still have no acute care experience, but you'll have a job, and it's easier to land a job when you're working than when you're unemployed.

Network along the way and prepare to make many applications. Learn to interview like a pro (I recommend my book for you), be persistent and confident. You've persevered in your education, now make this your goal. You can do this if you really want it.

Best wishes,

Nurse Beth


Specializes in Vents, Telemetry, Home Care, Home infusion. Has 44 years experience.

In my area, nurses who have worked in Long-Term Acute Care Hospitals (LTAC) are hired into general hospitals.

The types of patients typically seen in LTACHs are for those requiring more than 25 days of acute care:

  • Prolonged ventilator use or weaning
  • Ongoing dialysis for chronic renal failure
  • Intensive respiratory care
  • Multiple IV medications or transfusions
  • Complex wound care/care for burns

Often the LTACH is housed inside a floor of a general hospital along with being freestanding facility. See if LTACH 's are in your area to use as springboard into hospital you desire to finally land in.