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As an RN who has not worked in healthcare for 17 years due to Parkinson's, how should I go about looking for a part-time RN job?

Thursday August 29, 2013
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Question:

Dear Donna,

I have just turned 61 years old. My RN, RRT and RPFT licenses have all have expired, but I plan to acquire all CEU's in the coming months to renew my licenses for both Massachusetts and a Florida. It has been 17 years since I’ve worked as a nurse as I was diagnosed with Parkinson's 18 years ago. With administration of new medications and an intensive exercise program, I feel I may be able to do some type of work. I love working in healthcare and consider myself to be intelligent and motivated. How should I approach looking for a part-time job? Will I be a suitable candidate for any position?

Intelligent and Motivated

Dear Donna replies:

Dear Intelligent and Motivated,

Fortunately, there is something for everyone in this profession. Because of your absence from the healthcare workforce and your own health challenges, I recommend that you start by volunteering (as a nurse if possible) in a healthcare setting while you look for paid employment. Volunteering is an ideal way to ease your way back into nursing while building confidence and work stamina. It's a great way to hone old skills while learning new ones.

It also gives you recent relevant experience to put on your resume and expands your professional network. Everything happens through networking and volunteering often turns into paid employment.

Look for both volunteer and paid opportunities in your local public health department, blood bank, American Red Cross, free clinic, etc. Also contact local chapters of social service agencies such as the American Heart Association, American Cancer Society and even some of the Parkinson's associations. Social service agencies use nurses in both paid and volunteer positions, and they are usually very disability friendly. I often recommend that nurses with a medical condition consider working for a foundation that helps people with that same condition to offer not only their nursing expertise but their personal experience with the illness too.

Once you have your licenses and certifications in place, contact some nursing agencies that do non-traditional placement (not the ones that do only hospital bedside placement). They have both part-time and temporary assignments of all types for nurses. You'll find these agencies at nursing career fairs, by doing an internet search or by asking your nurse contacts

It's also a good idea to get out to local chapter meetings of the American Nurses Association www.ana.org. You can attend as a guest if not a member. This is a great way to get reconnected to your profession, get up to date on issues and trends, further expand your network and provide both personal and professional support.

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.