I recently had the misfortune of having a herniated disc that eventually required surgery. I have been out of work since April. They now want to do a repeat MRI of my lumbar spine. I had requested it about five weeks after surgery, but they would not order it. In the interim, I had my resume redone to focus more on case management work. I have been an RN for 27 years, and most of my experience has been in critical care. Do you have any suggestions for me?
Dear Donna replies:
Start by reading Working with a Disability (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Disability) and Picking Up the Pieces of Your Career (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Pieces). As both articles suggest, you should start volunteering somewhere healthcare-related now while you look for paid employment, presuming you have been cleared by your primary care provider and disability counselor, if applicable. This is a great way to keep skills and knowledge current and build recent experience to put on your resume. Obviously youll want to look for something nonphysical such as a clinic, blood bank, telephone advice or hot line, etc.
Since you express interest in case management, attend some local chapter meetings of the Case Management Society of America (www.cmsa.org) as a guest. Do some informational interviewing (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Interviewing) with officers and members at large. When theres something you want to do, it makes sense to rub
elbows with those already doing it.
You should attend career fairs, employer recruitment and open house events (some insurance companies and other nontraditional employers run these), seminars and nursing conferences. Networking is a great way to explore options, expand your network and find and get a job. Everything happens through networking! See some of what is scheduled at www.Nurse.com/events.
Your resume doesnt need to be geared toward case management per se for you to be marketable in that specialty. A solid clinical base (which you apparently have) is what matters, but even some new graduates have been hired into this specialty. Your personality and attitude are just as important (in some cases, more so) as your experience. And you always have your cover letter and the interview to discuss how your background and personal attributes relate to the position for which youre applying. You should be able to use the same nursing resume for almost any healthcare position you go after.
My best wishes,