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Who will hire an RN, who worked 2 years on med/surg unit and 1 year in a pediatrician's office, but without experience for the past 19 years?

Monday June 9, 2014
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Question:

Dear Donna,

I am a BSN who graduated 1992 and worked on med/surg floor for two years and in a pediatrician's office for one year. I was blessed to be able to stay at home and raise my children. Now it's 19 years later and even though I've taken the return-to-work course with a clinical this year, I am scared about my recent experience. I have none. Who will
hire me?

Scared About Experience

Dear Donna replies:

Dear Scared About Experience,

A great way to transition back into the nursing workforce is to seek a volunteer position as a nurse. This helps you to gain recent relevant experience to put on your resume and discuss during an interview. It gives you a chance to hone old skills and learn new ones while expanding your professional network. It's a good way to get a foot in the door somewhere; volunteering often leads to paid employment.

Seek volunteer work through your local public health department, a free clinic (where all or most staff are volunteers), a cancer care center or any other place that interests you.

Contact a nursing agency about doing some nontraditional work. Some agencies only do hospital placement (not appropriate for you because of your long absence from the workforce) but many have other things you could easily do even part-time or in a temporary role. Working as an RN part-time or in a temporary position are both great ways to gain experience, expand your professional network and get a foot in the door somewhere.

You also should attend local chapter meetings of the American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nurses (www.aaacn.org) and/or the American Nurses Association (wwwnursingworld.org). This is a good way to reconnect with your profession, get up to date on issues and trends and expand your network. Networking is well known to be a great way to find a job and get hired.

Because you do have past medical office experience, even though it was a while ago, it is entirely feasible you would be able to land such a job, especially because you took the refresher course.

The ambulatory care setting is growing, and that is in your favor. Look for large practices and give them a call. Ask to speak to the office manager. Focus on your strengths, not your perceived shortcomings. You might even be able to get a job with an outpatient hemodialysis company that would put you through a training program because outpatient hemo is a growing specialty.

Even though you're not a new nurse, this article may be helpful to you, “New nurse, new job strategies” (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Strategies).

Transitioning can take a little time so be patient with yourself and the process.

Best wishes,
Donna


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.