I have been a nurse for five years, working mostly in med-surg and telemetry. I want to stay home with my young children for a few years before they are in school full time. My husband has a good job so we can manage, but I am afraid that if I leave I may not be able to get a nursing job again when I return. How hard do you think it would be? Is it worth it?
Wants to Stay Home with Kids
Dear Donna replies:
With decisions like this, you have to follow your heart and do what works best for you and your family. The rest will work itself out. Keep in mind that no one on their death bed ever said, I wish that I had worked more.
If you do leave the workforce, you should take steps to stay connected to the profession during that time. This would include joining (or staying a member of) a nursing professional association such as the American Nurses Association (www.ana.org) and/or the Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses (www.amsn.org). Continue to read publications (print and online) and stay abreast of changes, issues and updates in the field. And if you can get out to the occasional association meeting or convention, that would create a good balance for you of home and professional life. It also provides an opportunity to network with other RNs.
You should also keep up with continuing education while at home. You have lots of online options here at Nurse.com (http://ce.nurse.com/). You dont mention your educational background but if you dont yet have a BSN or MSN, you could use the time at home to start looking into programs and perhaps taking some preliminary courses. Many college courses are offered online allowing maximum flexibility of scheduling. Keep in mind, there is plenty of scholarship money available for those who go after it
As far as returning to work when the time comes, many nurses have done it before you. It sometimes can take a little time to transition back into the workforce, so factor in that time allowance when the time comes. Do stay in touch with coworkers, colleagues, supervisors and physicians. In other words, keep your professional network alive while out of the workforce and when youre ready to get back in you can start letting those contacts know.
Also note that the job market for nurses is changing and evolving as is the healthcare landscape. So where the jobs are when you return may be different than where they are now. Read Nursing: A new paradigm to see whats in store for the nursing profession as the job market for nurses shifts and evolves (www.nurse.com/Cardillo/Nursing-A-New-Paradigm).