Is an online refresher course with no clinical portion sufficient to get me back to work?

By | 2022-02-11T11:13:14-05:00 November 12th, 2009|0 Comments

Dear Donna:

Dear Donna,

I have been out of practice for 10 years but have kept my RN license current. I know I need to take a refresher course. My question for you is whether taking an online course with no clinical portion would be sufficient, or would you recommend that I take a course that meets in a clinical setting? My field of choice is maternal/child care.


Dear Donna replies:

Dear Mary,

Because MCH is your specialty of choice, I would suggest looking for an MCH-specific training program. They exist in some hospitals, healthcare facilities, and community colleges. This might be more appropriate for you. Check with your state chapter of for specifics.

I also recommend that you join and get active in AWHONN, if you are not already a member. At least get out to local chapter meetings as a guest. This is a great way to get reconnected to your profession and your specialty, make contacts, and create a support system. Additionally, networking is a great way to find and get a job.

I also suggest that you start volunteering somewhere medical while you get up to date with knowledge and skills and seek paid employment. Consider a Planned Parenthood clinic, inner city maternity/baby clinic, or public health department mother/baby program. Volunteering is a great way to ease your way back into the profession/specialty, and it sometimes leads to paid employment.

If you decide to take a traditional refresher course, a precepted clinical experience is ideal. However, many home study programs have a clinical component that you arrange with a local facility. You might be able to get that precepted experience in your specialty of choice. Read “Re-entering the Workforce” at

My best wishes,


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