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JustKaren2

JustKaren2

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JustKaren2's Latest Activity

  1. JustKaren2

    RN - return to work after 15 years!

    OnEaglesWings, Our scenarios are almost exactly the same. I was gone from nursing for 15 years and had 10 years experience before leaving the field. I took a refresher program (also had to retake boards) and have been back to work as an RN for a little over one year now. I would say it took about 6 months for me to really feel confident once again. Some things have changed (the equipment and so, so many new meds), but the patients are the same. My refresher program was not on-line and the clinicals were invaluable to me in terms of confidence-boosting. The moral support from my fellow students was awesome! Our program was very small with only 7 students because the hospitals quit hiring directly from the program due to the economy (no hospitals want to spend $$$ on training)...However, 5 of the 7 students found jobs. Of the two that didn't find jobs, one didn't really Want to find a job ... she was torn between staying home with her kids and working. So I would say that what you are attempting can definitely be done. If I did it, anyone can! I was absolutely terrified! I have to say that it WAS very difficult for every one of the students to find jobs ... because we didn't fit a category of hiring ... so few positions with many vying for the same one. It took a lot of persistence and, for some of us, settling for less than desirable jobs in order to regain experience. But we did it...and so can you! Good luck! P.S. By the way, I work acute care telemetry ... but my first job after the program was a temporary job in an outpatient clinic. Connections I made there got me my current job.
  2. JustKaren2

    Returning to bedside nursing after 9 years!

    Hi Tina, I can relate to everything you are saying (I was away from the bedside for 18 years!!! ) Your skills WILL come back to you.... Try to take every single opportunity available to practice. Let other nurses on the floor know that you would like to start any IV's for them...but don't let the patients know that you are anything but confident. For me, I find that taking my time in finding the best vein possible is one of the most important things. Then go for it! You will develop the feel very quickly. Remember, even the best most experienced nurses sometimes cannot start an IV on that patient on that day. Just keep trying and don't beat yourself up. You will get it!! I've been back at the bedside for about 3 months and now I can get most of them. You will get it! Remember, thoughts become things.
  3. JustKaren2

    back into the work force questions

    Yes, I think it is possible to get a hospital position ... but I would try to get "any" RN position that you can in the meantime. I am older than you , had been completely out of nursing for 15 years and away from hospital nursing for 18 years, took a very good refresher program (10 weeks), but couldn't get anyone interested in hiring me. You and I? we just don't fit "the mold" and the economy has not been on our side (plenty of nurses out there!)... But I kept applying anyway. I think the first job (just 6 months ago) was about timing ... a temporary job in an out-patient clinic. But the old adage about it being easier to find a job when you already have one is true. The hospital job that I have now was about timing also, I think, and because I was successfully employed and therefore somehow looked more desirable. Right place at the right time. Obviously, good interview skills and references come in to play...but you already have that going on. Just don't give up ... you never know when the door will suddenly open after being shut so many times. By the way, while I do concur that age and weight discrimination is prevalent, I believe those obstacles can be counterbalanced and/or outweighed by great energy and attitude. GOOD LUCK!!!
  4. JustKaren2

    HIV testing on all patients?

    As far as I know the testing is a voluntary thing....doing it in an E.R. is probably not the best place...but if that is where the patient feels comfortable, then that is where it shoud be, yes? And, yes, consent is required. I used to work at a county clinic where it was well known locally that testing was done between such and such a time on Tues/Thurs, etc. People would come because they liked the anonymity of it ... they looked just like anyone else coming to the clinic for the sniffles or routine visits. The great thing about it was, if we had a preliminary positive, there was someone on staff trained to deal with it. We drew blood right away, so they could get results right away (a few days) and provided psychological counseling right away ...on the spot. Some people run off and we don't see them for several months. Others just want to be swooped up into a safe environment in which they are not judjed or criticized and find out what we're dealing with. How low is the CD4, how high is the viral load? Any opportunistic infections? Any partners that need to be notified? WE guide them through the process of getting the insurance for the medically indigenet, so the very expensive HIV meds can be paid for. I don't even remember what question I was starting to answer :)
  5. JustKaren2

    HIV testing on all patients?

    I don't know about the 'swab' test, but there is a 'rapid test' finger stick that give results in 20 minutes ... some false positives, especially with pregnant women, but the accuracy is very, very high. The reason for testing? Early intervention and better patient outcomes, but the truth is that many do not 'want' to know. Many seek treatment after they have been sick for a very, very long time. Many suspect they have HIV, but do not want to deal with it. Even after they know, they don't want the frequent blood draws and meds with their side affects nor the stigma and thought of having 'protected' sex (condoms) for the rest of their lives, so they go in and out of treatment. Another reason for testing? Protection of partners. There are more knowingly 'positive' folks than you can possibly imagine that are out there having unprotected sex. Even knowing all of this, I support NOT routinely testing for HIV. I believe that it is a patients right 'not to know' just as it is their right 'not to know' that they have cancer (even though they know...get my drift?) But I am glad that there are programs such as anonymous partner notification...because it is the partner's right to protect themselves. We all know about having protected sex, but I don't think the public is commonly aware that HIV positive folks often look healthier than the average joe these days.
  6. JustKaren2

    re-entering the nursing field

    I was also out for 15 years, but I did have 10 years of experience (graduated in 1984). I'm in California and had to retake boards because I had let my license expire. After passing boards (thought I wouldnt), I took a refresher course, and I highly recommend that route for personal and professional reasons. First of all, it will give you confidence and a safe environment in which to refresh your skills/knowledge. Also, the support system of your fellow classmates is awesome (during the program and beyond). Secondly, you will make 'connections' through your clinicals. Three of the nurses in the program eventually received job offers based on those connections, although it took many months and lots of assertiveness due to the economy. Thirdly, I don't think anyone will hire a nurse that has been out that long without the refresher program. I know all of us in the refresher program had to work really, really hard to find jobs. #4...you can put your weeks of clinical experience on your resume by craftily putting it under 'work experience' and not have your resume automatically thrown out by human resources. I was the first to find a job, but it was a really sucky job that nobody else wanted; however, the connections there led to my current hospital job. After getting the job .... well, that's another story. I've worked 5 shifts and it is hard, hard, hard! But I love my patients. Good luck to you. If you want it, you can have it ... but it most likely will not be an easy road.
  7. CSUSM in Cal requires 133 units
  8. JustKaren2

    Quit after first day of orientation!

    Oh my, you guys are really beating her up. Perhaps poor body mechanics played a role? Poor physical conditioning? Forewarned is forearmed. If you really want to be in direct-care nursing, work on your physical conditioning and learn proper body mechanics. I don't think anyone (in the general population) understands just how physically demanding nursing can be. If hospital nursing is too physically demanding for you, but you desire to be in patient care, how about outpatient medical assistant? That might work :)
  9. Hi Diane: The fact that you are still looking things up after 31 years means that you care about providing excellent patient care. You must be an outstanding nurse!
  10. Actually, I think new grads may have an easier time of it because they fit in a mold. They just don't know what to do with us "refresher nurses", i.e., training programs, etc., so our resumes get pushed aside. Our value is not recognized. But 10 or 15 years of experience does mean something, no matter how long ago it was. The patients have not changed. My main worry when I started this journey was that patients would not be safe in my care. That attitude changed after my first patient care day. If I could do this, anyone can. Do not give up.
  11. I think perserverence and timing are the keys to finding a job in this economy and willingness to accept 'alternative' areas of nursing until the job market turns around again. I found a job after being out 15 years. My refresher program was 10 weeks with clinicals and I'm sure that helped a bit, but I really think it was about not giving up. Also, we were advised to get as many certifications as we can. Any available openings fill up quickly, so apply immediately when you see an opening, be ready to interview immediately and do not have any 'caveats' such as "I cannot work on Tuesdays because of child care", etc. The job I have is not great, probably not even good in others eyes, but I might end up loving it and I am grateful to be out there with patients again...the odds were so against me getting a job! Plus, once employed, the networking opportunities are great! Good luck to you!
  12. JustKaren2

    Refresher Course

    luv2swim: I just wanted to post to let you know that I have been a lot more aggressive in my job search and I am receiving more positive responses now. It is really out of my comfort zone to be so pushy, but things feel more optomistic now...one hospital said they would hire me even with the long absence, but only to med/surg. At least I didn't hear the shock in their voice...."how long has it been since you've worked as a nurse??!!" :) I'm not certain that they actually "will" hire me...I suppose that would depend on the pool of applicants for the available med/surg positions...and it was only HR that I spoke with, not even a recruiter. She asked me to apply and please wait two weeks before calling back. She won't put me through to a recruiter until then. So, we'll see.. One SNF is calling me about an MDS Coordinator position, but I haven't been able to actually speak to her yet, so I don't know. That type of job, which I hadn't considered before, might actually be a good fit for me. Another has been very helpful in guiding me to the correct people to speak with, instead of giving me the blow off. Some are still very discouraging - one recruiter said she could probably get me a job if I moved to Texas. The funny thing is that everyone I have spoken with has said that they didn't hold much stock in that very expensive refresher program that I want to take. It seems that my taking that program will be for "my" benefit, i.e., my confidence level...the facilities don't care because they say they are confident in their training, which surprises the heck out of me. Nothing has come of anything yet. It definitely is not as easy as it was when I was coming out as a student from a good program, but I don't think it is impossible. Having a positive, friendly, but assertive attitude has changed things for me. Simply "applying" didn't get me anywhere. So, don't give up!! All we have to do is get that "first job". The rest will be gravy.
  13. JustKaren2

    Refresher Course

    well, it appears home health and hospice is out. They say that state law requires that I have 'recent' acute care experience and they could not risk considering me for employment. My RN license does not even allow me to work as a nurses aide. So discouraging!
  14. JustKaren2

    Refresher Course

    Are they receptive to you (in critical care) once you complete the refresher? Yes, I know...you never know what life is going to throw at you. (I graduated in 84...it doesn't FEEL like that long ago :wink2:) At least you didn't let your license totally expire like I did! but I think that was good for me...to totally retake boards...gave me confidence. Also, when I took a review course (the oldest person in the room with a bunch of new grads!), it gave me confidence that I really hadn't forgotten all and I did know soooo much more than the new grads. You're not seeing age-discrimination out there? I know you didn't like the allied health bit, but I'm wondering how much 'working somewhere in the medical field' helped you? I'm willing to do whatever it takes. Of course, allied health would be pretty much a last resort....but you do what you gotta do. All I know is that I'm getting zero response to my resume, so I'm going to start showing up with my dynamic personality and see if that changes anything! :) Thanks for the input!
  15. JustKaren2

    Refresher Course

    So, you were gone from nursing for 19 years, but worked in medical supply sales. Then you became a respiratory therapist, then you did the refresher program, then you did admin, and now you're doing critical care? You must be something else! You had no problem getting hired after the refresher program? I never even thought of going for an allied health position, but that could be another route in the door. What kind of admin do you do? I did utilization review for awhile, easy job, but frustrating and lots of angry docs. Your story is very interesting to me.
  16. JustKaren2

    Refresher Course

    Hi Sally, Thanks for the response and for the much needed encouragement and advice. Yes, I know that I can network and sell myself while doing clinicals, but there are only about 10-12 clinical days and they are on weekends. So I'm hoping that my skills come back to me and I will impress someone. I hope those clinical days are enough...I wish it were more. (I must say I was an excellent nurse back in the day-hope I haven't lost it in the way that I have lost my vision :wink2:). If there are no jobs, at least maybe I can get a recommendation. It's funny that you mention home health and hospice because that is my end goal. Hospice is the whole reason that I started on this journey, but I figured I'd have to do acute care first. Hospice around here is asking for two years of current acute care clinical. I've done home health before and loved it, loved it, loved it...but I feel that you need a lot of confidence because you are out there alone and you are often the only one that will notice that a patient is deteriorating. I wanted to do acute care, not because I like the environment, but because I think there is no safer way to develop/renew one's skills ....there is so much support around, unlike out in the field. Just talking about it makes me smile. I've missed nursing so very much. So you think there's hope for me? Thanks for the welcome back, Karen