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What can I do to get hired in a hospital setting after being away from clinical nursing for three years?

Tuesday October 23, 2012
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Dear Donna,

I left clinical nursing for three years and have decided to go back. I worked in an acute care hospital for four years and consider myself an experienced nurse. However, the hospitals require more recent experience. What can I do to get hired in a hospital setting?

Wants To Go Back

Dear Donna replies:

Dear Wants To Go Back,

Don't take it personally. The hospital job market is very tight now in most parts of the country. As you already have discovered, many hospitals are hiring only those nurses with current hospital experience and are not even hiring new nurses. It's a matter of supply and demand.

Consider taking an RN refresher course and getting your IV and CPR certification up to date. However, that is no guarantee you will be considered for hire by a hospital right now.

I recommend you contact your former co-workers and supervisors and let them know what you are ideally seeking. Networking is well- known to be a great way to find a job, especially when you have obstacles to overcome, in this case, a tight job market).

While the job market trends are likely to change in the next few years — hospital jobs might be more available — healthcare and nursing positions are permanently shifting out of the hospital and into alternative inpatient care facilities (sub-acute care, rehab, long-term care, etc.), the home, the community and many ambulatory care settings. You may need to look in new directions for employment and learn to use new skills to find those jobs.

Even though you are not a new nurse, you may find the information in this article, “New nurse, new job strategies” (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Strategies) helpful, as it also applies to experienced nurses trying to return to the job market after an absence from clinical practice.

Best wishes,

Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, well-known career guru, is Nurse.com’s “Dear Donna” and author of “Your First Year as a Nurse: Making the Transition from Total Novice to Successful Professional” and “The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses: Practical Advice for Thriving at Every Stage of Your Career.” Information about the books is available at www.Nurse.com/CE/7010 and www.Nurse.com/CE/7250, respectively. To ask Donna your question, go to www.Nurse.com/Asktheexperts/Deardonna. Find a “Dear Donna” seminar near you: Call 800-866-0919 or visit http://Events.nursingspectrum.com/Seminar.