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Should a seasoned RN, who is finding it hard to find a new job without a BSN, renew her nursing license?

Tuesday May 13, 2014
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Dear Donna,

I have not been working for two years after moving back home, upgrading our new/old home and getting my health back to normal. I do not have a BSN and am 57 years old. I have been a nurse for 20 years and am finding it very difficult to find a position without a BSN. It seems experience doesn't account for much. My RN license is up for renewal in July. Should I keep my nursing license?

Trying to Get Back To Normal

Dear Donna replies:

Dear Trying to Get Back To Normal,

The entire healthcare delivery system, including the nursing profession, is changing and evolving. The job market for nurses is shifting too. If you're trying to find a hospital job, you need to know only nurses with very current experience and a BSN degree are being hired in that particular setting. Experience still counts for plenty, it just isn't enough by itself anymore.

There are plenty of nursing positions in other settings where a BSN is less of an issue so don't even think about giving up your nursing license. Even though most of us don't like change, all nurses need to look in new directions for employment and need new skills to find those jobs. Even though you are not a new nurse, read this article (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Strategies) to learn more about these changes and how to adapt.

Since you are currently unemployed, look for volunteer work as a nurse while you continue to seek paid employment. Volunteer work gives you recent relevant experience to put on your resume, expands your professional network, helps to build work stamina and provides an opportunity to hone old skills while learning new ones. Volunteer work often also leads to paid employment. Look for these opportunities in your local public health department, hospice, a free clinic, cancer care center and blood bank.

Attend local chapter meetings of the American Nurses Association (www.ana.org) and/or the American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nurses (www.aacn.org) as a guest for now. This will help you get reconnected to your profession, get current with trends and issues, stay up to date with knowledge and skills and expand your professional network. Networking is known to be a very effective way to find a job.

When what you're doing isn't working, it's time for a new approach. As the times change, so too must your career management plans and skills. It's time to “Give Yourself a Career Makeover” and reading this article (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Makeover) will explain exactly how to do so.

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://www. Nurse.com/Events.