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Re-entry into nursing after retirement

Nurse Beth   (121 Views | 0 Replies)
by Nurse Beth Nurse Beth, MSN (Columnist) Educator Writer Innovator Expert Nurse

Nurse Beth has 30 years experience as a MSN and specializes in Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho.

18 Followers; 103 Articles; 234,899 Profile Views; 2,067 Posts

Dear Nurse Beth,

I am an RN, BSN with over 35+ of Nursing experience and I retired from the Army in 2013. My past experiences in nursing began in Pediatrics and Peds ICU, Med-Surg, Urgent Care, Office Administration, Nursing Supervision and Clinic Operations.

Over the past decade or so my career has been concentrated in Case Management and Utilization Management. After being "retired" for 2 years I decided to pursue some contract positions to keep up my skills and maintain my sanity. From June 2015 till now I have not worked a full time position in Nursing that did not last over 13 weeks. How to I make re-entry into the workforce as a seasoned nurse? I am truly undecided on which career track to pursue.

I am not sure how effective I would be in Utilization Management since so much time has passed and I really would like to return to clinical nursing but not entry-level. And finally, how do I document all this to reflect in my resume? Your suggestions would be greatly appreciated. And maybe you can throw in some example accomplishment statements for some one in my position.

Dear Wants to Return,

That's a lot to follow, but mostly because you have such a wealth of experience which is good.

Just to make sure I understand, you want a clinical position. I'm unclear as to when your most recent clinical experience was. You worked 13-week stints from 2015 until present, which sounds like contract/travel/clinical positions? In which case, you have recent clinical experience. 

You do not want want to return at "entry-level" clinical nursing, and I'm not sure what that means. Bedside clinicians on a unit all have the same job description but salary can be negotiated based on experience.

As far as documenting your resume:

  • Your resume should reflect your work history in reverse chronological order. You typically do not have to go back more than 10 years unless it is relevant and beneficial to the application. 
  • Your resume should be individually targeted to the position you are applying to. For example, if you are applying for a case management position, list your experience, training, and decision-making and conflict resolution skills. 
  •  If you are applying for a utilization review position, the knowledge base is similar to case management and there is role overlap, so again,  list your experience, training, and decision-making and conflict-resolution skills. 
  • If you are applying for a clinical position, list your experience, and your time-management skills. If you have second-language skills or customer service training, include those.

Be sure and use keywords from the job description itself to help you get past the ATS (applicant tracking system) software. Resume keywords are often hard skills. So for example, if the job posting calls for training or knowledge of regulatory guidelines, include that, using the same language used in the posting.

Your relevant accomplishments are important. For utilization review-Did you save the organization a significant amount of money in your utilization review or case management roles? For a clinical position-Were you active in unit-based committees or shared governance?

I hope these tips give you helpful food for thought. They are just a snapshot of all that's included in my book below, which includes how to construct resumes and how to interview to land the job.

Best wishes 🙂

Nurse Beth

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