bedside nursingSo, you have decided to go back to bedside nursing. In my nursing career coaching, I sometimes help nurses who want to return to the bedside. Common reasons for this situation are:

  • You were out of work for an extended period of time (voluntary or involuntary).
  • You have been doing non bedside nursing and want to pick up extra bedside nursing shifts.
  • You have been doing non bedside nursing and feel you are losing your clinical skills and want to do something about it.

Whatever the reasons, there are steps that all nurses can take to make a smart transition back to bedside nursing.

Barring you have not let your nursing license lapse, just like other nursing career transitions, this is about change. Plain and simple. I suggest you create a plan of action involving the following:

1. Decide on the specialty.

If you are a nursing professional returning to bedside nursing, this may be a great opportunity for you to choose a desired specialty. Perhaps you don’t want to return to the specialty you worked in before you left bedside nursing. Take some time to do research and choose your desired nursing specialty wisely. Then create a plan for entering that specialty. Be open.

You may not initially land a position in your desired specialty, but you may find another opportunity that is close to that specialty and that will give you the experience needed to make the transition to the specialty you ultimately want to work in. Create a plan for entering that specialty and then start taking action. 

2. Refresh your skills.

Regardless of the specialty that you choose (i.e., whether you worked in this specialty before or not), you will need to brush up on your skills. Here are a few suggestions for this:

  • Do you have any training/educational material from prior courses/in-services? If you do, pull it out and start reviewing.
  • Take a course. There are organizations that offer refresher/certification courses. Some of these courses are online and some are in person.
  • Do your research. Find out if local hospitals/colleges/private companies offer hands on courses.

3. Refresh your knowledge.

Yes, guys and gals, you may just need to dig out those books from the garage. You also want to take some time to study new technologies/medications/procedures/etc. (this all depends on your specialty).

You can also find a lot of information online, just make sure to find reputable sources.

4. Assess your computer skills.

My last nursing job was in informatics field. My title was the “Senior Clinical Analyst/CPOE” at HCA Columbia Hospital. I implemented the CPOE (computerized provider order entry) system for the hospital. I tell you this because computers are here to stay, folks. Like it or not. And believe me, many nursing professionals do not like it.

Do not attempt to run away or avoid this. There is actual government regulation (HITECH Act) related to Electronic Health Records. This alone is one of the main driving factors for facilities to implement computerized data systems.

Professional nursing is constantly in transition. The best way you can deal with the transitions are to be open and willing to learn. If you are not too computer savvy, perhaps you can take a basic course at a local school. This may help you to feel more comfortable working with computers.

My number one piece of advice regarding this is to relax. Computers are not “evil or stupid.”

If you go into this (or anything for that matter) with negative energy, chances are you will have a negative experience.

5. Update your resume and make that baby shine.

Today’s job market is competitive. But you already know that, right? So what are you doing about it? Are you using a basic resume template you came across on a random website? Did you take 15 minutes (or even less) to update your nursing resume?

These are the actions that “most” people are taking.

To stand out from the crowd of resumes that hiring authorities are receiving, you cannot do what everyone else is doing.

I know this sounds simple, but so many people ignore this.

My suggestion:

  • Really take the time to research what makes a stellar resume and then rewrite yours. Then rewrite it again. If you know someone who is great with resumes, ask them to take a peak at yours and give you honest feedback.
  • Hire a professional to critique it
  • Brush up on concepts like grammar, writing in the active voice, and using power words. If these concepts sound foreign to you, it may be a good idea to have someone help you.

Think about the time and energy as an investment. The better your resume, the better the result.

6. Brush up your interview skills

Do not blow a great opportunity by performing poorly on your interview for nurses.

You can download my free “Ultimate Guide to Completely Rockin’ Your Next Nursing Job Interview.” It has over 20 pages of tips and specific suggestions for becoming a nursing interview professional.

Are you ready to become a bedside nurse? If so what are you going to do next?

I don’t want you to feel overwhelmed. Pick just one action that you are going to take and then do it. Write the action you have decided to take in the comments below.