Hi there! Bipolar, GAD, Social anxiety, PTSD, severe back injury 4 years ago (none of my doctors want me working because I can barely stand somedays the pain is so excruciating) and two 3 year periods sleeping 10 hours a week. Tried for Disability twice at my Doctors and Families Insistence but I'm educated and younger (39) and so keep getting denied. I have been an RN for 19 years, worked 12 of 19 years, mostly Part Time & Per Diem after my 3rd year in nursing. My main specialty was ICU (mainly local agency, some travel) until I got injured. I'm just re-entering the workforce after 4 years off this time. I will be doing Peds Private Duty 3rd shift as the child won't be as active, just 1 or 2 nights a week as that is all I can physically handle and that will be a stretch. I *totally* get missing bedside nursing, i miss ICU a lot!
I have a ton of employment gaps in my resume (I'm talking 2,3, and 4 year gaps). Somethings that have helped me. For one, if I was only at a job a short period of time, unless it was a travel contract, I don't even put it on my resume. Secondly, do a ton 20, 30, even 40 or more hours of very recent Con Ed in the specialty you are applying too. Also, you do not have to disclose what your health issues were/are. Some do so they can be protected under the ADA act, some don't. Whenever asked about gaps in my resume I am honest, but vague. "Health issues", "families health issues", back to school, busy with church ministry etc. They can ask for details, but by law they can't discriminate and you do not have to answer (unless u have previously filed a worker's comp claim, and that I'm not 100% sure on.) When you did hospital nursing before was it a steady shift? I highly suggest working the same shift and sticking as close to the same schedule on your days off, with having psych issues, *especially* if u r on meds like me. Also, do u have to work full time? If not, I would suggest part time to ease into things. Also, try to get as long of an orientation as u can. Some hospitals have New(er) Nurse Programs to help transition easier into practicing on the floor, where they have weekly classes, meetings, etc.
I hope my ramblings help some, and I wish you nothing but the best. Also, I have worked in hospitals 26 beds to 1100 beds. The smaller hospitals tend to be friendly and may be a better fit and more understanding.
Lastly, going with the education piece, there are online CEU sites that you pay a flat fee for a year of online with over 100 courses. Some sites are only $70 a year, some are double. I have gone with netce dot com in the past. They offer over 1000 hours on a wide variety of topics and a year is only $69. Best of luck! You can do it♡