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Why would a hospital say a seasoned RN’s work as a director, which included weekly patient care, not count as RN experience?



Dear Donna,

I’ve not heard of this practice before, and I want to know if it is commonplace. A nurse worked full-time in a hospital for 15 years. After 16 years, she was promoted to a director role where she continued to provide direct patient care on a weekly basis. She was informed later that if she ever desires to go back to staff nursing, her years as director will be deducted from her total nursing years of experience. The reason given is that working in the director role means she’s really not working as an RN so her years as a director won’t count as RN experience.

Questioning Practice

Dear Donna replies:

Dear Questioning Practice,

The scenario, as you state it, sounds a bit unusual. The issue may be related to recent direct patient care experience for a manager who wishes to go back to direct care after being away from it for some time. Their “RN” experience wouldn’t be negated, but their direct care experience can be a factor in a job/position change. It is challenging to evaluate without knowing all the particulars.

Every employer has its own policies and practices for something like this. If this has happened to you or someone at your place of employment, I would suggest that you speak to your supervisor and/or the human resources department to see if you can challenge this ruling and this policy. Ask to see the written policy and inquire as to when it was implemented.

If you or another nurse believes they were treated unfairly, your other recourse would be to consult a nurse attorney for additional advice and support.

Best wishes,



About Author

Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, well-known career guru, is’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 and, respectively. To ask Donna your question, go to Find a “Dear Donna” seminar near you: Call 800-866-0919 or visit http://www.

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