Getting Back Into Nursing Job After a Long Absence

I am an RN in Illinois with a current license. My problem is that I have not worked in the past 9 years. I did speak with 3 nurse recruiters at local hospitals and they all recommended I take a refresher course. None of them could tell me of any so I had to research myself. I found 2 online but you have to arrange your clinical rotation yourself. The other one isn't exactly local and these cost between $1000-2000! I don't have that kind of money.

There have to be nurses out there who have also been out for a number of years and didn't take refresher courses. I just need someone to be willing to train me. What am I doing wrong? The underlying message I'm getting is that even though there is a shortage of nurses, a new graduate is more valuable than I am. Help!


Pamela from IL

May 22, 20080 found this helpful

Have you contacted your local college nursing program to see if they offer such a course? Have you had to take classes/workshops for continuing education credits to keep your license?

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May 22, 20080 found this helpful

Nine years is a while, but have you thought about applying at a long-term care facility in your area? They tend to be not as stringent with their experience requirements. Even part time at first just to get your feet wet again , then when you have some experience can think about other options. A good facility will be willing to give you extensive orientation and make sure you are ready to be on your own. Though nursing has changed, a lot of it has remained the same as when our instructors drilled basic concepts into our heads. You could also get a couple of books to review basic principles such as anatomy and nursing procedures on your own. Hope this helps.

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May 22, 20080 found this helpful

I'm willing to bet that a local employer would be willing to sponsor your refresher course in exchange for an employment contract for a set amount of time. Try calling local nurse recruiters and see if they'll help. The cost of your refresher course could serve in lieu of a sign on bonus, and if you frame it that way surely someone will see that it makes sense.

Good luck!

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May 23, 20080 found this helpful

I want to echo the long-term care place, not only will they be glad to have you, they have such complex medical situations in their patients that you would be refreshed quick. Or you could take a job at a lesser level of training for a few months which would serve nicely.

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May 28, 20080 found this helpful

Wow - I know what you mean! I was an LPN and out of the field for just over 3 years. Nobody wanted to take the chance on me. I went ahead and applied with an assisted living,which gave the opportunity to practice a bit of skills and get re-familiarized with the routines,labs,med passes, etc. I then went to long term care. A home health company may be of great value to you - fewer patients,and willing nurses to shadow for a bit. Best of luck to you!

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May 28, 20080 found this helpful

I have a similar problem in a different career area. I'm thinking of working through temporary agencies for a while until I feel I'm up-to-date. I also think we need a mentor - someone to tell us what we need to do to catch up and what opportunities are available to us. Maybe you could find one at your local technical school or college where they teach nursing.

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February 23, 20100 found this helpful

Hello I am also an RN and been out of hospital work for 18 years.I used to work in MICU. However presently I work two days a week in a doctors office doing clerical work and occasional patient care. However I want to further my skills in Nursing. Applied on line to two local hospitals two months ago but no response yet. If anyone knows any schools that do refresher course for Nursing please respond! Thank you so much.

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