I completed my ADN two years ago and have also passed my state boards. I worked for about six months after finishing school and left the workforce to tend to a family illness and other personal matters. I am ready to re-enter the nursing profession. How do I explain my absence and will a hospital hire me?
Dear Donna replies:
Your situation is more common than you might imagine. What you should do right away is join and get active in your state chapter of the American Nurses Association. Visit www.ana.org and click on Constituent Member Association. This will help you to get reconnected to your profession, get up to date with information and trends, and make valuable contacts. Networking is well known as a great way to find and get a job.
Also, while you look for paid employment, start volunteering somewhere medical such as a blood bank, clinic, public health office, etc. This will help you to ease your way back into the workforce, learn new skills, hone old ones, and build your network. Besides, volunteering often leads to paid employment.
On an interview it is best to be honest about what you’ve been doing since your last job without going into great detail. You can present it as you did above in your post or you can simply say that you had pressing personal/family matters that required your full-time attention. Then mention that those issues are resolved and you are ready and eager to get back in and restart your career.
Understand that the job market is very tight for new graduates, so it may take a little time and effort to get your career restarted. If you have difficulty finding a hospital job, consider alternate care settings such as acute rehab, sub-acute care, long-term acute care, outpatient hemodialysis, etc. Every employer is different, so keep making contacts. Also attend career fairs and recruitment/open house events. Persistence and determination will always win out in the end!