Was Addicted but now Ready to Work

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  • Career Columnist / Author
    Specializes in Tele, ICU, Staff Development. Has 30 years experience.

Hi Nurse Beth,

I am returning to nursing after a long hiatus due to addiction. I have fifteen years of strong recovery and feel firmly anchored in that respect. My question is how do I look for a job and represent myself to potential employers with discipline on my permanent record?

Dear was Addicted but now Ready to Work,

If your license does not hold any restrictions, then your two challenges are gap in employment and reporting previous discipline.

The good part is it was 15 years ago, which will help to allay concerns.

Your best best is networking and perseverance. You may have to start in an entry level position such as skilled nursing.

Be prepared for interview questions such as "Why should we take a chance on you?" and "How can we be sure you will not relapse?"

Your responses will be very important, because they have read your resume by this point but are willing to give

you a chance based on your appearance, insight and articulation.

You represent yourself by being authentic and honest but confident. Remember that it is not unlikely that the

interviewer has their own problems, or has a loved one who does.

Best to you,

Nurse Beth


Start your job search today!


209 Posts

Specializes in Psych,LTC,. Has 20 years experience.

. It might even be better to bring it up before they do. usually, it takes a while to find a job by me. Sometimes I'll test an idea. If you have a few interviews lined up, pick the one you are least likely to get, and be up front. you might be surprised at the response you get. Then you can guage how to handle other interviews. My suggestion if they ask why take a chance. You have people on your staff that drank last night, last weekend, last month, last year, I'm not one of them. I am less of a chance than anyone else that has not drank in as long as I have not


69 Posts

Specializes in Psych, Addiction. Has 5 years experience.

Did you get caught at work? Tell them that was the best day of your life, because it was. It was the day your recovery started. You've worked hard to get back to your career, take it slow--expect to have to prove yourself for a period of time. Warning--not everyone understands that addiction isn't a moral failing, so be prepared to educate without being defensive. Good luck!


256 Posts

Specializes in Adult MICU/SICU.

I think you may be surprised that not many people will hold past mistakes against the nurse in recovery. Most people have their own crosses in life to bear, and many times are busy doing just that. You deserve another chance and sound ready for employment. You can do this - and you will too. I wish you the best of luck in your Job Search.


24 Posts

How would interviewers know you are in recovery?