RN new to site: questions about re-entering field after medical problems.


I am a new member to this site. I have so many questions to ask. A little about myself. I graduated in '95 with an ADN from Indiana University School of Nursing. I have had jobs in the following areas after getting my license: Long term care, Home health, and school RN. I was not able to hold down any job for more than 4 months due to Failed back. I never knew that I had any problems with my back until 2 years before graduation. I have had 3 back surgeries, one being lumbar spinal fusion. I had the last surgery in '98 and have not been back to work since. Any and all problems have been fixed and have been given the all clear to return to work. I want to get back into the nursing field but fear that no one will want to hire me. Should I enter the field again as a graduate nurse with little or no experience? I need some ideas from anyone that may have an answer or has maybe experienced this before. I worked too hard and endured a lot of pain to get this degree after the age of 40. I need help with writing a resume and cover letter that deal with this problem. Thank you for listening.

live4today, RN

5,099 Posts

Specializes in Community Health Nurse.

IUNurse...Welcome to Allnurses for nurses! :)

There are many nurses who post here in your situation due to bodily damage caused by nursing or other situations. I - myself - am one of them.

I have hopes to reenter nursing next year sometime, and I've been out of nursing due to a shoulder injury for five years now. I have maintained my RN license (two of them actually), and have annually or semi-annually renewed my BCLS and kept up on my required CEUs, etc.

When I do return to nursing, IF I am required to reenter at grad pay to get my feet in the door as a nurse again...so be it. Once I "catch up" on the modern day changes of nursing as far as new medications, new procedures, and such, I can still apply for jobs after that 'nurse refresher period' that will pay me my worth as a nurse.

If the only way a nurse who has been out of nursing for awhile can reenter nursing is at a grad's pay, or grad level, take the offer to catch up on things before demanding more. The object is NOT the pay...AT THAT POINT...BUT...getting a FREE reorientation to nursing. Best of luck to you! :)


3 Posts

Dear cheerfuldoer, Thank you for your story and the words to do what I know is right. Do you have any web sites that can help me with updating my resume and the correct wording to allow me to get in the door?


3 Posts

Dear Disher, Thank you for your information on resumes. I have added them to my favorites list. I am having eye surgery this morning and can review the web sites during my down time.


47 Posts

You do not have to "forecast" your injuries unless you are speciafically asked to, hoewer if you have allready been injured, you know what you went through, you may want to be carefull where you work in order to hopefully not get re-injured again, although as I see it if you are a nurse no matter where you are, you never know what may come up to you, but you may want to try to minimize the chances! In and out of work. If people know you are injured even if you put it up front they are not going to think you are great because you are honest, maybe some employers but I would not take chances, I am not telling you to lie but you may want to consider your injury a weakness and you do not have to highlight it. never mind the nursing shortage and how desperate the employers seem to be ... watchout! be diplomatic. Face it you are better off with a less chalenging job that will let you work for 10 years of more without problems than with a 1 year job and another couple of surgeries. Good Luck!

live4today, RN

5,099 Posts

Specializes in Community Health Nurse.
Originally posted by IUnurse

Dear cheerfuldoer, Thank you for your story and the words to do what I know is right. Do you have any web sites that can help me with updating my resume and the correct wording to allow me to get in the door?

Hello IUnurse:)

I'm glad that Disher has already provided you with two great websites regarding resume information. I hope those sites prove very helpful and informative to you. Best of everything to you, and wherever you work...work with caution and respect your health. If you don't...no one else will. :kiss


4,516 Posts

My response is in 20-20 hindsite. I had a lumbar fusion 15 years ago...rehabbed well....got a full release from my doc and a high score on a FCE from my physical therapists.

I went back to bedside nursing and I noticed my tendency to easily reinjure myself....IMO your back is never the same after surgery/major injury and you will need to be VERY aware of that. Too many of my post injury coworkers worked with the pain getting steadily worse over the years....who wants their retirement years to be filled with pain? Not I. ;)

My advice would be to set a goal to find a less physical position as a nurse....nursery, office or desk work, etc. It's just not worth it to ruin your health trying to 'be all you can be' at the bedside, IMO AND from my experience.

Good luck to you and let us know how it goes! :)


208 Posts

I just wanted to tell you that I have to say that you prolly want to find a facet of nursing that is not physically demanding....

I have survived horrible injuries I received from a drunk driver, I have a right hip replacement and ORIF's (open reduction internal fixation) of bilateral ankles and forearms trust me for about a year I could not wipe my own butt.... very humbling experience. this accident was 10 yrs ago.... I returned to the work force 5 years ago.... I went from ER being on my feet 24/7 to nothing.... then after I felt that I was healed enough, I went back to work I did home health peds oncology IV team.... I went to pts homes and did assessments, and did home iv infusion. I was in a pts home for like an hour, did case management it was rewarding and less taxing on me.... and I did this until I could increase my indurance.... I now am back to school for my BSN and I work in forensic psych, the crimminally insane. It took years for me to be able to work with out crying from the pain and body spazms when I would get home. My point is that there are job opportunities for you that are less body stressing for instance....

Home health Case management

Infection control

Nursing home MDS coordinator


diabetic educator

You might want to look into pharma-nursing where you are a drug rep and research nursing where you go to diff places and audit charts of pts in drug studies.....

There are a lot of oppertunities out there other than being a floor nurse and doing direct pt care......

I wish you success!!!



190 Posts

IUNurse, goodluck with your eye surgery. I agree with Mattsmom Slinkecat and Cheerfuldoer the best plan is to prevent re-injury. The career alternatives that Slinkecat mentioned are great options because they do not require lifting. If you do find yourself in one of these jobs make a concerted effort not to sit for extended periods of time because this can also aggravate back injuries.


208 Posts


Sending well wishes to you this am and hope your eye surgery was a successful one !!!

Take care


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