I am 56 and have been working in home health and hospice for years. I have been employed at the same health system for 18 years. I was on leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act, and when I returned to work I was required to take a physical fitness test that required lifting 50 pounds. Because I was unable to pass the test, I was unable to resume my position. I need to find another position that doesnt require lifting. How can I change to a different specialty?
Dear Donna replies:
Fortunately, you have many nonphysical options in nursing. Start by reading How to Change Specialties (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/ChangeSpecialties).
A good way to explore options is to get out to professional events such as nursing career fairs, professional association meetings (attend as a guest if you are not a member) and nontraditional employer open house events (some insurance companies and others have recruitment events). You never know from where the spark, idea or opportunity will come. Wear a business suit, update your resume and brush up on your interview and networking skills.
You also should start volunteering somewhere medical while you look for paid employment ideally somewhere youd like to work or are interested. Consider a blood bank, free clinic, public health department or social service agencies such as the American Heart Association, American Red Cross, etc. Volunteering is a way to get your foot in the door, and it offers an opportunity to hone old skills, learn new ones and make valuable professional contacts. Volunteering often leads to paid employment.
You also might want to consider attending my Career Alternatives for Nurses seminar or using the home study version. Find out more at www.nurse.com/CEseminars/ and http://ce.nurse.com/Professional-Development. Check out my book The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses which will support you through this process (www.nurse.com/ce/7250).
Transitioning is a process so be patient. As the above article suggests, take time to do a self-assessment, explore options and look in new directions for employment.