I think there has been plenty of talk, venting, concerns being brought up continuously for at least the past decade and nothing but continues to happen. I live in a right to work state and can honestly say I am tired of it. Poor staffing, non-union, right to work states are the perfect recipe for disaster, high turn overs and poor nursing morale. I am tired of talking and advocating! I have seen no positive change.
Ugh---I feel for you, I really do. I have a friend that left nursing when she gave to birth to her 2nd child (she has 4 children total) and now that they are in college, she wants to get back into nursing. She was an ICU nurse when she left, she is a hard worker, extremely reliable & an excellent nurse. She took a review course, renewed BCS, ACLS. But she doesn't have a BSN, which is a major hurdle for her. When she worked as a nurse 20 years ago, it didn't matter. Now, it does. She doesn't want to enroll to get a BSN if she won't be able to get a job anyway. She sent tons of applications & didn't even get one call.
I feel that hospitals are making bad business decisions when it comes to not hiring experienced nurses that took a leave of absence for whatever reason. The human body hasn't changed for quite some time, some medications have changed (which is no big deal) and treatment of some diseases have changed. That stuff is not difficult to adapt to. Everybody has cell phones & computers these days, so learning EMR's is no big deal either.
I actually feel that this could be considered a form of discrimination. I know several physician's that took time off to stay at home with their kids & had no problem returning to practice. Why is nursing different? Not hiring an experienced nurse just because they took a leave of absence--no matter what the reason is--is discriminatory practice.
As far as your resume---I would put an separate additional area for "Continuing Education" to show that you did take a refresher course. I am on the fence about explaining the 10 year leave in a cover letter. If anything, I would probably put something on the resume that explains the 10 year absence in semi-specifics. You don't say what your disability was, but if it was anything mental health related, explain it in a vague, non-specific manner. You can elaborate in a face-to-face interview. I'm not sure that I would put anything specific about any disability in writing--you don't know where those documents go. The truth is, life happens. People leave their jobs for all kinds of reasons & should not be discriminated against when trying to get back into their careers.
I personally think cover letters are the equivalent of toilet paper---I don't even know if anybody reads them, because it's all just "I want a job. I'm so get at what I do. I'll be an asset to your company. Blah blah blah". They go right to the resume. On your resume, I would include something about the 10 year absence, whether you say you took an LOA for family reasons (which many nurses do). I would somehow focus on the fact that you worked for the same place your entire career, (maybe mention this in your cover letter, because it will speak for itself on your resume) you were let go because your initial leave lasted longer than you thought it would but the same organization hired you back----that says a lot. The bottom line is that you had a 10 year absence---it doesn't really matter what for. To expect women to continue working a full time nursing job with young children without taking any time off is not reasonable, nor is it reality. You could put something in the cover letter like "After a 10 year leave of absence from nursing for family and personal reasons, I am eager to return into the nursing field to utilize & build upon the experience & skills I attained during the X number of years I worked at XYZ Medical Center. Although it has been 10 years since I worked as an RN, I have not forgotten the important skills of prioritizing, being organized, patient safety and providing quality patient care. Blah blah blah." Deflect from the 10 year absence & make yourself attractive to an employer. I think it is absurd that hospitals think nurses who have taken time off cannot return because they're like new grads, which they're not. The problem is that in today's healthcare environment, places want nurses that can hit the ground running because they don't want to spend the money to train them.
The trouble is that Friday nights are much more socially valuable than Sunday nights. On Friday nights, the restaurants, movie theaters, and bars are all packed.
Sunday nights are basically for getting your work clothes ready for the week.
Dear Nurse Beth,
I am a nurse with 4 years experience. I am also an observant Jew hence I observe the Sabbath. At my current job, I work every Sunday instead of alternating weekends (Saturday and Sunday). I went on a job interview today and the manager straight out asked me about working the weekend which would be Friday and Saturday for the night shift.
So obviously I had to answer and tell her I would not be able to work any Friday nights and many Saturday nights wouldn't work as well but I am willing to work Sundays every week and legal holidays and ie i am flexible and accommodating. There was a awkward feel in the room. The interview went on but I can't help but feel I will lose the job because of this. Could have I done something different? Is the manager correct for asking me this? I feel like she's opened a religious can of worms and as this is a really big corporation, how could they not be accommodating? Please tell me your input, Nurse Beth. I so badly want this job but the possible worst thing could be is me turned down because of something which is personal while I'm an excellent candidate otherwise.
Dear Observant Jew Who Cannot Work Friday Nights,
Some organizations are more flexible than others, and many, if not most, do try to accommodate personal requests. However, organizations are not required to change requirements of the job to accommodate individual employees.
The problem comes when accommodating an individual request comes at the cost of another individual and affects the ability to provide services.
Let me see if I can help you see this from a manager's point of view. Let's say there are 10 nurses on night shift. To keep the unit open and provide patient care services, 5 nurses are needed every night.
Hence each of the 10 nurses are required to work every other weekend to evenly share the burden of weekend requirements.
Let's say that weekends are defined as Friday and Saturday nights for night shifters. That is customary for hospitals. (Sunday nights are typically not counted as a weekend night, as 3 nights cannot be designated as the weekend for purposes of meeting the weekend requirement).
So you and 4 other coworkers are scheduled to work every other weekend as part of your job. If you cannot work your weekend shifts, the manager is unable to cover
the unit, and cannot provide the required patient care services. You must think through how your shift will be covered.
You are willing to work Sunday nights, but in return you want every Friday night off. That may not be seen as a fair trade-off. To balance the schedule, you would need a co-worker who wants Sunday nights off as badly as you want Friday nights off, and who is willing to work every Friday night. From a co-worker's point of view, it is highly unlikely that one would agree to working both her required
weekend shifts...and all of yours.
And that's the problem.
I myself work for Adventist Health, which also observes the Sabbath. But that doesn't mean the hospital closes on Saturdays, or that employees do not have to work Saturdays. Nurses, Nutritional Services, PBX operators....everyone works their share of weekends.
When interviewing and trying to land a job, it's important to present yourself as a solution to their problems, and not to present a problem. Your best bet is to look for an organization or a unit that operates Monday-Friday.
Author, "Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job"...and your next!
I have been a nurse for almost 30 years and there has never been a shortage of nurses for the good nursing jobs. I doubt there ever will be.
As far as people continuing to work into their 60's and 70's?
Very few nurses working today will have a pension. That means they will eventually have to live on their Social Security check, and their own savings, which is what a company sponsored 401k is essentially.
A typical social security benefit is 1500-2000 dollars a month. Depending on your work history. Can you live on it?
Even if you can sock as much as 500 dollars a month in a 401k, how long will it take before you have significant savings? The answer is decades.
The average 401k has less than 100,000 dollars.
I think a lot of people will have to keep working.
That's typically because employers choose to keep staffing low for financial reasons, not because they couldn't hire more nurses tomorrow if they wanted to.
A) Different government agencies have different numbers and opinions on this. The DHHS section specifically related to US healthcare services and providers is predicting a large national surplus of RNs by 2025. Guess we'll just have to wait and see which prediction turns out to be more accurate.
B) Nurses in their 50s are going to be retiring soon? I and plenty of other nurses I know are in our 60s and have no plans to retire any time soon.
Diffuse and defuse are the ones that irritate me. You don't diffuse an escalating situation, you defuse it. You're not trying to spread the situation around, you're trying to reduce the danger or tension in it! 👎