HELP Returning to work after 18 years!??

  1. Hi all,

    First of all I'm scared to death to return to work after such a long absence. I stayed home to raise three adopted children. My ex, a doc, said to drop my license because one of our kids has autism and took a lot of energy and care. "You won't have to go back to work, honey"... He left me for a younger woman and I am devastated and afraid to get back into Nursing, but it's the only career that can provide enough income for us.

    Because I moved around for HIS training, I had various short term nursing positions: Children's ER, PICU, Blood Bank, and phone triage for an HMO, but have not set foot into a real clinical situation for maybe 20 years. I'll be 51 soon.

    I've taken a RN Refresher course to get my license back (yeah me!) but was so disappointed that this course did not update me at all in skills or new technology. It was run by a well meaning elderly nurse who really had not, herself, been in a hospital for years. Our clinical was in a nursing home where we had ONE resident for 4 hours per day for 4 days. THAT was it! The only good thing about it was that it (somehow) qualified for 160 hours to get my license back.

    I'd appreciate help in any of these areas:

    1. How do I structure a resume? Even if I wrote a functional resume rather than chronological one, I can't say that the experience I had or the skills I did decades ago still apply.

    2. Where can I get REAL training - so that I can interview with confidence? I am willing to take classes. But, most of them, even a Masters program are book-oriented. I am still missing that "recent experience" that is written in every job description. I am going to start volunteering in a nurse block program and for the Red Cross.

    3. Thinking outside the box, has anyone found nursing type jobs that are in different fields, places where people don't usually look?

    I am motivated, I have a lot of great skills in other areas, but that darn recent experience is killing me. THANKS in advance!

  2. Visit goldenlover profile page

    About goldenlover, RN

    Joined: Dec '07; Posts: 7; Likes: 8
    from US


  3. by   HM2VikingRN
    Have you considered public health or school nursing?
  4. by   goldenlover
    Thanks for replying

    I have been looking into ALL types of jobs. Public Health and School Nursing require some type of certification - not sure if I'm ready to jump into that quite yet without knowing that is what I want to do. Their job listings still require experience.

    I'm sure every job listing will put "experience required"...who wouldn't want their employee to have experience? That doesn't mean they will always get applicants with exactly what they want.

    School nursing is not as popular as in the past because the number of positions is dwindling due to budget cuts. Many school nurses cover many schools and the pay is not good at all. I suppose the low pay is a trade off for great hours and no weekends, holidays, etc.

    My kids' parochial schools utilize volunteers as their school nurse!! Ala "moms with experience".

    But I truly appreciate your suggestions!! I'm still pluggin' along!

  5. by   MNmom3boys
    I just wanted to add my best wishes. Composing a resume even as a new grad was hard enough, and I had only been a SAHM off and on for 9 years.

    You have a wide variety if experiences that you need to showcase, and I'm sure there is someone that can give you good advice on how best to do that. Realize also that you were nursing, at least to a limited extent, at home w/out pay for years w/ a special needs child. I don't think it would be helpful to include in a resume, but keep in mind you have had to keep at least some of the thought processes and skills current to do that successsfully. I also think you are on the right track w/ pursuing volunteer postions. Any experience gained though those opportunities is fair game on a resume.

    Good-luck w/ your search and eventual new position. Let us know how things go!

    BTW - Just an additional tidbit - I would read through and post on the Nursing Career Advice section of the board for much more complete (and probably helpful) feedback from other posters. While the people on the Minnesota boards are fabulous, there are more visitors to the other portions of the boards which increases your chances of great information.
  6. by   perbd
    I know the post I am responding to is from 2008, but hopefully I will get a response from 99miles2mtee.

    Were you able to find a job?

    I was in a similar situation. I went back to nursing school while working full time at a steel plant (not as a nurse). I graduated in 1996. My goal was to work part time in home care while still working at the plant. Then, when I retired in 2009, I would find a per diem job. I wouldn't need benefits, because my pension from the plant would include insurance benefits. There weren't many nursing jobs when I graduated, and all of the home care agencies wanted experience. I finally got a job working for the son of one of my co-workers at the plant. He was in a car accident and had a TBI. The agency she hired to provide care for him hired me. I worked for him part time for 4 years. It was good experience, and it was great working for a friend. The agency would have given me more cases, but I was still working full time and didn't want to be over worked. My friend changed agencies, and the new agency would not hire me because I had no Med/Surg experience! I was ok with that, because I was promoted to a supervisory position at the plant and was working more hours.

    Well, in 2009 the plant shut down. I took a nursing refresher course in 2008, which was good in that it reviewed all of the changes in the hospitals - pyxis, computer charting, etc. We also reviewed most of the common diseases/illnesses for which people were being admitted to the hospital - CHF, diabetes, etc. We had to put in 72 hours at a local hospital, which was good for building up confidence.

    In December of 2009, I was hired at a small hospital for the Emergency Department. The nurse manager told me they normally don't hire nurses for the ED unless they have at least 1 year of med surg experience, but they wanted to hire me and train me on a med/surg unit and ICU prior to putting me in the ED. Well, I spent 2 months on Med/surg and 5 weeks in ICU. I also took an ACLS course. I have spent one week in the ER so far. It has been CRAZY!

    I am still extremely nervous. I was told that everything I learned in nursing school will come back to me, but I'm still waiting for that to happen! I am getting more confident with my skills (starting iv's inserting foley's, assessments, etc) but I feel inept when it comes to lab values, and pathophysiology, etc. I am trying to do as much reading from reference books (Nursing Made Incredibly Easy books), but I'm older now (54), and I don't seem to retain things like I used to.

    I received my first evaluation, and it was good, but I still lack confidence. My nurse manager has confidence in me, but I have my doubts.

    Well, that's my background. Hope someone responds with some words of wisdom!

  7. by   Biggie1
    Hi I don't know if anyone will answer to this but I graduated in 2008 and just took the nclex two weeks ago I. May 2012. After I graduated I experienced a great downfall in my life and just ended up giving up on the nclex because of what was going on with me...I then got married and am now living in the UK. I'm deciding on coming back to the US soon and want to work as a nurse. How hard was it for those in my position to find a job? I've passedthe nclex and am in better health now.