RN With 27 Years Experience - Can't find permanent employment

  1. Dear Nurse Beth,

    I am an experienced RN with 27 years of multiple specialties behind me from trauma ICU, ER, psych etc. I went from ER to a clinic position about four years ago. I then was having difficulty at work with a supervisor so quit and have been working agency for almost a year in corrections which I love.

    My problem is I can't find a permanent position anywhere. I am told since I haven't worked in the hospital setting in over a year I am not qualified to do hospital work anymore. I am finding that some new grads are in the same position but for the opposite reason of no experience. Since I live on an island jobs here are tight and new grads are getting positions only if they have already been working at the hospital prior to finishing nursing school.

    The state system is hard to get into here and few job postings or are being given to new grads. Any suggestions on what I can do to find permanent employment? I need benefits. If nothing breaks soon I may have to sell my home and move to the mainland to pursue new opportunities. I have gone on a couple of interviews to the mainland but no luck. I can't keep running to another state every time I need to interview, can't afford it anymore.

    Dear Needs Permanent Position,

    Thanks for your question. You have 27 years of experience and recent experience in Corrections? I know here in CA Corrections is always looking for nurses.

    There are hospitals who would hire you with your experience and even with 4 (?) years out, but you may have to work in rural or less urban settings initially to gain what you need- recent experience.

    I would ask for Skype interviews because travel is too expensive in your situation.
    It is a reasonable request.

    Good luck, I know you live in what we mainlanders call paradise, but it's a very small, controlled work environment for nurses. Activate your network and let everyone know you are looking for a job.

    Best wishes,

    Nurse Beth

  2. Visit Nurse Beth profile page

    About Nurse Beth, MSN, RN

    Joined: Mar '07; Posts: 1,566; Likes: 4,700
    Nursing Professional Development Specialist; from CA , US
    Specialty: Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho


  3. by   NurseDiane
    My experience has been the same---I've been an RN for nearly 30 years. I have experience in PACU, ED, ICU, med-surg, medical office & infusions. When I fill out an application & send my resume, IF I get an interview, I'm lucky. If I get an interview, they always say the same thing---I don't have any *RECENT* hospital experience.

    As far as I know, the human body is the same way it was 30 years ago. Humans all have brains, hearts, livers, pancreas, stomachs, bladders, 2 arms & 2 legs, and skin covering all of it. 206 bones. And the illnesses are the same: CHF, CVA, diabetes, aortic aneurysms, fractures, colon resections, Whipple procedures, cardiac procedures, etc. etc. etc. The only thing that has changed is the addition of computerized medical records (which I can certainly learn in a matter of a couple of days), some new medications (of which I am familiar with most of them) and some new less invasive procedures. People on vents still have to be managed the same way, invasive lines are managed the same way, codes are run as per American Red Cross guidelines.

    So, what is the big deal with having *recent* hospital experience? New grads aren't being hired because they don't have any hospital experience. What I think they want is someone who suddenly had a revelation that they want to leave the hospital they've been working at for 10 years, with all the accumulated benefits, PTO & the day shift they waited 7 years to get, to work at another hospital that would require little to no orientation, training or administrative worries. Hospitals don't have to pay much to orient a nurse who has worked at another hospital in the past year----they don't have to pay 2 nurses, one to orient & the new nurse, for very long since the newly hired nurse can spread their wings & fly very soon after being hired.

    It is mind boggling to me that a hospital would pass on a nurse with extensive clinical experience & knowledge, as well as certifications. Is it just the age? Does the hospital look at the age of the nurse & figure that an older nurse will likely retire out of that hospital & not hire them so they don't have to contribute to their retirement package? For that reason, the hospital would rather hire a 25 year old nurse, who will likely get a master's degree & leave a staff nursing job to work someplace else. I have a feeling that has A LOT to do with it. Hospital staff are not treated like people anymore---they are treated as financial liabilities and their employment is largely based on how much the hospital will get out of them vs. how much the hospital will have to lay out if they hire them. Is this discriminatory? He** yes, it sure is. Would you be able to prove it? Nope. They'd say that your "skill set" doesn't match what they're looking for (that "skill set" including recent hospital experience). In all other aspects, you would run circles around a less experienced nurse---reliability that comes with age, knowledge & experience. But since you are viewed as a financial liability, the hospital is missing out on a very qualified, very capable nurse for their facility. A very unfortunate thing.
  4. by   sallyrnrrt
    Geoghraphagical location