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What is a good strategy for someone with my backgound, trained in Jamaica as an RN in 1985, to find a job in the U.S.?



Dear Donna,

I am an RN who was trained in Jamaica in 1985. I have been in life Insurance underwriting for more than 15 years. I have an MBA and have now immigrated to Florida. I plan to re-enter nursing, have passed the NCLEX, and have completed IV, BLS, ACLS and PALS certifications. Where should I begin looking for a job, and what is a good strategy for someone with my backgound in finding a job?

Wants to Re-enter Nursing

Dear Donna replies:

Dear Wants to Re-enter Nursing,

Understand that healthcare and nursing are in a cycle of major change right now. Acute care hospital positions are diminishing, while jobs in other inpatient settings such as sub-acute, long-term acute, acute and LT rehab are growing. Additionally, nurses are doing more care coordination and care management versus direct care in both the inpatient and outpatient setting. The ambulatory care sector is where most of care will delivered going forward.

Look for a volunteer nursing position now while you continue to seek paid employment. Consider volunteer work in your local public health department, hospice, a cancer care center, area blood bank, inner city free clinic, etc., to gain recent, relevant experience to put on your resume and discuss on an interview. It also is a way to hone old skills and learn new ones while expanding your professional network. Volunteering often leads to paid employment.

You need to join and get active in your state and national chapters of the American Nurses Association ( This is an excellent way to get reconnected to your profession, update knowledge, learn about issues and trends, build a support system and further build your professional network. Everything happens through networking and that includes finding a good job.

If you plan to pursue any type of a direct patient care position, you also will likely need to take an RN refresher course. Find courses in your area by doing an Internet search for “RN refresher course in [your city, county or state].”

Even though you are not a new nurse, it would be a good idea for you to read, “New nurse, new job strategies” (, for additional tips and advice on breaking into the nursing job market in the U.S.

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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