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How can an experienced RN, with only recent experience in home care, get back into the hospital setting and get the training needed to move forward?



Dear Donna,

I have been an RN, BSN for more than 12 years. However the last year and a half, I have experienced some personal traumas and have only been able to work a few months in home care, and have not actively worked for the past seven months. I have worked in various specialties over my career, and my goal is to get back into the hospital and be certified in a specialty. I a single mom to a wonderful 3-month-old. How can I get back into the hospital setting and get the training I need to move forward?

Starting Over

Dear Donna replies:

Dear Starting Over,

The entire nursing job market is changing and shifting. Unfortunately, without current hospital experience, you may not be able to land a hospital position right now, depending on where you live (opportunities vary from state to state). I say not “right now” because the hospital job market for nurses has been cyclical for the last 20-plus years and likely will remain so going forward.

I do encourage you to attend any area nursing/healthcare career fairs and talk to hospital recruiters to see what they are looking for in job candidates. You also can call hospitals, but many hospital recruiters don’t take phone calls because they are swamped. In most cases you will have to submit online applications. It is a tough way to go but you can give it a shot as long as you don’t rely exclusively on online applications to land a job.

Your best bet is to attend local chapter meetings of nursing professional associations such as the American Nurses Association (www.nursing and/or a specialty association such as the Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses( any other clinical specialty you’re interested in or where you have experience. You can attend meetings as a guest if not a member. This is a great way to get reconnected to your profession. But more importantly, networking is well known to be a great way to find jobs and get hired. When there’s something you want to do it makes sense to rub elbows with those already doing it.

I also would suggest you look into positions in ambulatory and outpatient settings, including home care and hospice because of your most recent experience.

Even though you’re not a new nurse, this article provides some additional tips and ideas for any nurse trying to land a job “New nurse, new job strategies (

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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