5 Tips to Get Your Nursing Career Back
It’s not usual for nurses to take time off to have children or to care for a loved one, but what happens when you’ve been out for 5 or 10 years? How do you get back into a nursing career especially if you’re feeling unsure of your skills?
Getting your foot back after a prolonged absence, it needs determination and commitment. Here are five tips to help you get back into the game. Grab those scrubs and put those shoes on and get ready to make a difference, again!
- Get familiar. Nursing tasks such as taking vital signs, giving out meds or other everyday nursing skill is like riding a bike. It comes back to you once you start doing it. But doing IVs or putting in a Foley catheter might take additional time to relearn, but it can be done. Check with your local community college to see if they offer nursing refresher course re-entering the workforce. Or if you live in the same area you went to college, check with them to see if you could use their nursing lab to practice your skills. As an alumnus they may let you do this.
If you’re taking a refresher course, make sure it is approved by your state board of nursing, meaning the state in which you will be working in.
- Volunteer. Consider volunteering, it’s a great way to ease back in. You can brush up on your skills and learn new skills which will help build your confidence. You’ll also meet new people who could help you when it comes time for a paying job. Look for places you would like to work at because you never know, that volunteer job might lead to a full time paying job.
- Brush up on your computer skills. If you’ve been out of nursing for the past five years this is a must. Healthcare is going to EHR so know the basics of how to navigate a computer. Take an online or offline course on basic computer skills or learn how to type. This may not pertain to younger nurses but it does pertain to older nurses. When our Home Care Agency went to using laptops in the home, most of the older nurses who didn’t use computers, not even at home, had very hard time making the transition from paper to computer - none of them knew how to type.
- Don’t apologize for taking time off, especially in an interview. Just know that a potential employer will ask you nursing interview questions about your gap in work history. Be prepared to answer with a positive spin on what you can do.
- Read as many nursing magazines as you can and get online and join nursing sites like NurseTogether.com. You’ll find tons of information to keep you up to date on what happening in the world of nursing. You can also join a nursing organization or association you are interested in. Get out to their local meetings or chapters and network, network and network.
Letting as many people know you are re-entering a nursing career and brushing up on your skills can go a long way for potential employers to see you are hirable. Don’t let a lapse in your work history keep you from coming back to nursing.
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