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I haven’t practiced nursing for 17 years, but I want to get back into it. How should I proceed?


Dear Donna,

After working as a staff RN (ADN) in maternal-child health (labor and delivery, high risk OB, antenatal testing, postpartum, newborn nursery, and minor GYN surgery) and dual-diagnosis (chemical dependency/psychology) for seven years, I gave up practicing nursing to raise my family. In the interim 17 years, I have maintained active/current RN licensure. I am interested in returning to non-hospital based nursing in one of three areas of practice: perinatology/OB-GYN (antenatal testing, etc.), outpatient IV therapy/chemotherapy, and home health. How would you suggest I obtain the necessary skills to make myself attractive to prospective employers?


Dear Donna replies:

Dear Maia,

Get yourself reconnected to nursing by joining and getting active in your state chapter of the American Nurses Association ( At least attend some local chapter meetings as a guest to make valuable contacts and connections and to get up to speed with information and trends in the profession. Read “Re-entering the Workforce” at Start making contacts with prospective employers to see what they would require to consider you for hire. With your background in OB-GYN, you could be hired in a related outpatient setting. Reactivate your network from that specialty, even if it was years ago that you worked in it. Attend local chapter meetings of the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nursing (, even as a guest. Networking is a great way to find and get a job, especially when you have obstacles to overcome.

Consider volunteering in a related setting such as a Planned Parenthood clinic (you might even find paid employment there) while you look for paid employment. Volunteering is a great way to get your foot in the door somewhere, ease you way back into the workforce, and make valuable contacts. Additionally, volunteering often leads to paid employment. Do some informational interviewing ( with the state chapter officers of any specialty that interests you, including AWHONN and the Infusion Nurse Society (

Best wishes,

By | 2009-08-21T00:00:00-04:00 August 21st, 2009|Categories: Blogs, Nursing careers and jobs|0 Comments

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