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Return to nursing possible? Looking for advice/similar experiences.

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by BeatriceBee BeatriceBee, BSN (New Member) New Member Nurse

BeatriceBee has 2 years experience as a BSN.

121 Visitors; 2 Posts

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Hi, I’m new here, and would be grateful for advice or someone sharing their own experiences if they were/are in a similar situation. Hope this post is not too long.

I have been out of nursing for about 7 years. I would like to return to the field, but I am nervous about even attempting to get back in. The reason is I only had 2.5 years of experience when I left.

I took a job in a clinic after graduating, really enjoyed it, but after two years, I switched to a surgical floor hospital job to gain more experience ( I could not get a hospital job prior to this.)

 Unfortunately, I left the hospital after only 7 months. In retrospect I realize how terrible of a decision this was for my career. I did have normal stress of adapting to the hospital, but the unit itself was great, I had ample orientation and supportive management and co-workers. I was working nights and my body just did not react well. While normally healthy, I now felt horrible and was sick almost constantly, felt depression for the first time ever and a constant dizziness. I began to dread my shifts so I spoke to my manager and she was supportive, offering me either day shifts or an outpatient position. 

I’m not sure why I did this, I think I just felt so burnt out physically, and also had the advice from my family to leave... so I just gave four weeks instead. I was thinking I would take some time off (was getting married soon,too) and go back to a clinic position.

Instead, I ended up getting married and having 3 children back to back. I have stayed home and raised my kids the past 7 years and enjoyed (mostly!) every second of it.  Now with the last one soon approaching school age, I dream of having my nursing career back. 

I have the option of taking a nursing refresher course with clinicals in my area. However, it is over $2,000.00. That would definitely be a financial burden on my family if I am not able to secure a job afterwards. I think the course is mostly geared towards adult med/surg but would be helpful for skills with an outpatient position as well. I definitely need some kind of refresher.

I guess my question is- do you think it is even worth it to take a course and try to get back to nursing when I have such little experience and clearly a black mark on my resume? Or should I forget my dream and look for fufilling work outside of nursing. Would love feedback and others similar stories. Thank you.

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1 Follower; 44,340 Visitors; 3,007 Posts

Are you living in or near a big city?  Are there several hospitals near by, are they hiring?

I have not had a similar experience.  So my advice is not worth much.  But $2,000.00 does not seem that bad? Check the average wage of RN's in your area.  That may give you an idea if $2,000.00 is worth it.

Investigate the refresher course.  Is it accredited?  Does it help with job placement?  How long after graduation does it help with job placement? Can the school show you how it's graduates have done?  How many graduate out of how many start the program? Have they gotten jobs?

Nursing schools are geared towards adult med/surg nursing.  Realize there is a good chance you will be back on nights for a few months (hopefully not years) if you get hired in acute care.  But you have changed both physically and mentally  over 7 years, you may find you tolerate night shift now.  Don't jinx yourself and assume you will have the same problems if you work nights.  Were you  working 40 hours a week at your first job?  You should be able to find part time work, only working 2 - 3 nights a week. 

I don't see any black mark on your resume.  Four weeks notice...you were getting married, then became a stay at home worker.  Nothing wrong with that.

 

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Daisy4RN has 20 years experience.

1 Follower; 1 Article; 6,029 Visitors; 917 Posts

Have you tried to get a job yet? If you haven't you might want to try first before spending the money. Maybe with clinic experience you would be able to get a job there. Either way, I don't think $2000 is unreasonable but of course there is no guarantee of a job after. I would research like brownbook suggests and see what you can find out. I worked with an older nurse who did the refresher course and got hired, it worked for her. I also agree that there is not a black mark on your resume. You gave appropriate notice, been off work to care for family/kids, it should not be a problem. Most employers just want clarification of the gap in work history. Yours is appropriate. I would not give up on this without a good fight if this is your dream!! Good luck!

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1,735 Visitors; 38 Posts

Did you even keep up your license? Do you honestly remember anything?  Seven years is a very long time to be away for  someone with even more years of experience.   You forget meds, symptoms of serious illness, etc.  I don't want to put down your dream, but I would be very nervous about returning to nursing.  Is there anything else you could see yourself doing?

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TriciaJ has 37 years experience as a RN and works as a Retired.

10 Followers; 32,666 Visitors; 3,116 Posts

I agree with Brownbook.  I can see feeling so crummy about the whole thing the only real option was to get out altogether for a bit.  Then you got married and had a family.  That's the only part an employer needs to know.

A lot can change in 7 years.  If nothing else, you are older, wiser and have way better coping skills than you did 7 years ago.  If you research the refresher course and the opportunities available in your area, and the numbers don't look too bad, I'd give it a go.  If only self doubt is holding you back, then I say go for it.

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2,605 Visitors; 82 Posts

I am in a similar situation too. There is no way I am able to take a Nurse refresher course for $2000!! And there's no guarantee of a job. I am thinking realistically. I am in my 50's and healthcare facillities want 21yr olds. I am now reading nursing journals and doing the continuing education tests. I also would appreciate some advice. Good luck!!

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Daisy4RN has 20 years experience.

1 Follower; 1 Article; 6,029 Visitors; 917 Posts

6 minutes ago, glencovediva said:

I am in a similar situation too. There is no way I am able to take a Nurse refresher course for $2000!! And there's no guarantee of a job. I am thinking realistically. I am in my 50's and healthcare facillities want 21yr olds. I am now reading nursing journals and doing the continuing education tests. I also would appreciate some advice. Good luck!!

Yes, yours is a tough situation. Have you tried LTC/SNF or other non hospital jobs. Sometimes if you widen the search you can find something. 

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10 hours ago, glencovediva said:

I am in a similar situation too. There is no way I am able to take a Nurse refresher course for $2000!! And there's no guarantee of a job. I am thinking realistically. I am in my 50's and healthcare facillities want 21yr olds. I am now reading nursing journals and doing the continuing education tests. I also woappreciate some advice. Good luck!!

What was, or is, your current job? How long ago did you work as a nurse? Why or when did you leave nursing? Are you currently working in a non nursing job?

A 50 ish year old nurse with experience is going to trump a 21 year old with no experience.

Human resources and managers don't hire staff because they are young, cute and perky. They prefer nurses with maturity and some experience.

Any advice is going to be based on some answers about your current situation and how or why you got there.

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169 Visitors; 10 Posts

I had been out for 12 years when I went back. 

I did the refresher course at my local Community College, with clinicals at the largest local hospital.  It cost around $2000 14 years ago.  But, it was an easy decision as no one would hire me without it.

Most of us were women who had been at home with kids.  All of us were actively recruited by the hospital we did clinicals at.  The nurses said they loved having refresher students as  many of us had more experience than they did.  We all just needed our skills refreshed and an update on new technology.

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Here.I.Stand has 16 years experience as a BSN, RN and works as a RN.

1 Follower; 41,800 Visitors; 4,848 Posts

19 hours ago, MEINstudent said:

Did you even keep up your license? Do you honestly remember anything?  Seven years is a very long time to be away for  someone with even more years of experience.   You forget meds, symptoms of serious illness, etc.  I don't want to put down your dream, but I would be very nervous about returning to nursing.  Is there anything else you could see yourself doing?

That’s what refresher courses are for.  

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BeatriceBee has 2 years experience as a BSN.

121 Visitors; 2 Posts

Thanks everyone for the insight. It gave me hope to hear some of you say you didn’t think my resume had a black mark on it. I had always heard leaving a job before one year was a big no no and red flag for employers. My plan now is to ask a few questions of the refresher program, luckily it is a well known and accredited nursing school. Hopefully I will take the plunge of enrolling this summer. There seems to be a lot of nursing jobs listed in my area, both in and outpatient. I take that as a good sign but not sure how else to judge job availability.

@MEINstudent Yes I luckily did keep up my license, and definitely there are things I have forgetten. My understanding is the refresher course was designed for nurses who have taken time off, bringing them up to date with skills and knowledge. 

@glencovediva Good luck to you! I hope you are able to find something. How long did you practice and how long have you been out? If you are able to find a refresher course that is less money, or sometimes I know there are courses you have to arrange your own clinicals, maybe that would be less expensive. For me a refresher is definitely key both for safety and also my confidence. I have also heard some people say to volunteer at a hospital or orginazation you would like to work at and hopefully make some connections, that way when you are ready to return, they see a familiar face. 

@Ice keeper Glad to hear of your success story with a refresher course! 

 

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Kallie3006 has 7 years experience as a ADN and works as a Jack of all trades, master of none.

1 Follower; 5,171 Visitors; 372 Posts

Another thought if you do get back in and have to do nights for a little while..... I absolutely in no way was interested in nights, I have kids, a husband, dance, cheer etc and all the other family stuff that goes along with it.  I tried nights 3 years ago and found that I actually saw my family more, especially kids as I was able to see them after school before I left and was able to get to sleep, while they were in school, without interruptions.  

Although it may not be ideal for you and hopefully you can find a 7-3 or 8-5 but if not don't discount nights just yet, at least to get your foot back in the door. 

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