Need help re-entering my nursing career

Nurses General Nursing


Specializes in ICU/CCU.

First of all, I apologize if this message ends up being long but I have to give you all my background. Please bare with me as this is the most important thing in my life currently. Your feedback on my issue is critical and I value it very much......

I am a nurse returning to his career after a 6+ year gap. My license in Arizona was revoked in 2003 due to a non-criminal/non-drug related issue. I was allowed to reapply after 5 years and decided to do so. I was granted my request by the graces of the Arizona State Board of Nursing in June of 2009. I am now a resident of Washington state and just completed a RN refresher course in which I did exceptionally well. Those who worked with me during my course now say that I am very much ready to return and am even ready to jump back into ICU where I have 23 years of quality experience.

Through this process back to my career, Arizona gave me a license to practice in their state with NO restrictions. Whereas, the state of Washington where my home is now made the decision after an 8 month wait, to give me a license with a 3 year probation tagged to it!!.... I have asked why they did this for an infraction that is nearly 9 years old considering that Arizona has truly forgiven me and granted me a license there even though I do not live there! When I questioned their rationale, my "agent" from the nursing commission told me she did not know why. To this day, she has NEVER inquired for me! It was recommended by a long time nurse manager here that i "demand" a reason for their action. I am doing this in a very gentle and tactful way.

So, I have a label now and since there is not a shortage in our state for nurses, hospitals have a large pool to chose from. Application to local hospitals is done online at their website. My fear is that when they see I have had an "issue" in the past on my application, they will merely pass me up since they have so many applicants.

I know that there is probably no one out there applying that has a better background/resume' than I do but I feel I am at a great disadvantage. I know that one hospital just recently called me and after 10 minutes of what was supposed to be a one hour introductory interview by a nurse recruiter, suddenly ended the interview when she realized I had a "issue" in the past. I was emailed a week later and told that after "thoughtful consideration" they (she) had decided to move on to other candidates. I was more than qualified for this position! After a 10 minute conversation over the phone she was able to "thoughtfully consider" me as a poor candidate????.....Impossible. She did not know me and did not want to.

I will be contacted by a person who is "high up" in the Washington State Nurses Union to help me. This offer came through a friend whose spouse is an ICU nurse and has connections with the union here. This may be very valuable to me.

PLEASE give me your feelings and suggestions....I need help!


Specializes in Med/Surg, Ortho, ASC.

I don't really have any suggestions but will just point out what you likely already know: it is an employer's market out there. If an employer is looking @ 500 resumes/applications for 1 position, they are going to throw out the vast majority for any reason that they can find.

I have no doubt that you qualified for that position, but I also have no doubt that many others did also. And they likely qualified without any blemishes in their background.

It's tough out there right now....

Specializes in Geriatrics, Home Health.

I don't know what probation entails in your state, but have you considered home health, doctor's offices, or vaccine clinics, just to get some work experience?

do whatever you been doing all these years that you left nursing , until the shortage comes back

cuz nursing its the worst its been in my 8 years of nursing GL

Specializes in ICU/CCU.

In answer to the person that asked about what probation Washington, it means that I have to work in a facility where there is someone over me as a supervisor, etc. like everyone else has in a hospital type setting. In other words, where I have to answer to someone above me that sees/knows my daily performance such as a unit director, charge nurse, etc. This is not unusual for all staff nursing positions. I cannot be a charge nurse ( I will NOT miss that anyway as most people wouldn't). I cannot supervise over others (not a big deal). These are the only restrictions. These are NOT big deals at all. Whomever I am hired by has to fill out a short 2 page "check the answers" type of evaluation of my performance which would be very quick and easy then fax it to the state nursing commission. This needs to be done q 3 months. My probation is for 3 years.

You know, being on probation here does not hurt me at all because I am confident in who I am as a professional nurse. The issue is how it looks in a setting where the standard is to apply online and most of the time have to say "yes or no" to a question that asks if you have ever had any action(s) against your license in the past. If I could make my first contact with hospitals via a manager, etc. in an interview then give my total presentation, I feel I would have a much better chance of being hired. As it is, since I have never practiced in Washington, what hospitals see is my resume/application online with the additional "issue in the past" attached. No one here knows me from Adam! All I need is that first unit manager to look at me and say....."yes, I will take a chance on you because you seem to be a very nice guy with great experience!" When this happens and I am finally given the chance to prove myself, I will NEVER have to worry about this issue again!....For now, I feel I have a giant wall between me and the working nursing community here in the Seattle region.

I need to find a way to break down that wall.

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