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Does an RN, who also is a recovering alcoholic, have to mention this on his/her resume or during an interview?

Tuesday April 29, 2014
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Question:

Dear Donna,

I am an RN who has a BSN, and I also am an alcoholic. I am in recovery and have been sober for two years. I have not been working for the past three years and wonder if it is wise to come right out and state that I have been working on my recovery and not working? Or should I keep it quiet and maybe communicate it if I do get an interview. I am well aware that some see it as a strength and some as
a weakness.

In Recovery

Dear Donna replies:

Dear In Recovery,

Congratulations on your sobriety. I do not recommend that you bring up that you are in recovery at all. For starters, it is personal information and you don't need to reveal it. The only exception would be if you are applying for a job in addictive services.

Also, on any interview or self-marketing situation, you want to focus primarily, if not exclusively, on your experience, credentials, communication and social skills, and personality. These are the things that are most important. When asked why you have been out of work for the last three years, simply state you had personal issues that needed your full-time attention and that you are now ready and eager to get back to full-time work as a nurse. Time away from the workforce is a very common occurrence for nurses these days for a variety of reasons. So that, in itself, is not a problem.

Do be aware that the job market itself is changing for all nurses. You may want to read the following to get you up to date “Nursing: A new paradigm” (www.nurse.com/Cardillo/Nursing-A-New-Paradigm).

You may find the article “Picking up the pieces of your career” helpful: (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Pieces). Take the advice in the article, especially the part about volunteering as an interim step, to start easing your way back into the paid nursing job market. Transition is a process so be patient with yourself.

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.