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How can a former clinical nurse return to that field when all job posts are asking for current clinical experience?



Hi Donna,

I would like to return to clinical nursing after working in a non-clinical nursing specialty. I have taken a nursing review course, but I see roles require current clinical experience. What do you suggest?

Wants To Return To Clinical Nursing

Dear Donna replies:

Dear Wants To Return To Clinical Nursing,

The hospital job market has completely changed in the last five years. As care shifts from the hospital and into the community, the home and alternate inpatient settings, so too are nursing jobs. Most hospitals only are hiring nurses with very current hospital bedside experience, and there is an abundance of those nurses out there. It’s a matter of supply and demand.

I would suggest you consider other clinical specialties/settings right now such as outpatient hemodialysis, hospice or home care. You also can look into alternate inpatient settings such as sub-acute care, rehab, long-term acute care, ventilator management facilities and long-term care. The acuity in many of these alternate settings is very high and comparable to what hospital med/surg units were 20 to 30 years ago.

Even though you’re not a new nurse, this article offers some additional information and tips: “New nurse, new job strategies” ( For a more comprehensive overview of the state of the nursing job market, including where the jobs are and what nurses need to do to stay competitive, read “Nursing — A new paradigm” (

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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