My last nursing position was as a medical supervisor for a county jail. I am a certified case manager. I stepped away from patient care for a while after that position for two reasons.
First, my son-in-law came home from his fourth deployment, in time to see the birth of his first child. When he came home he was ill. While he was at home with his new child and my daughter, he suddenly passed away. My daughter was distraught and nonfunctional so I made my daughter and granddaughter my priority. At the same time as my son- in-law died, I was preparing to go before the board of nursing to fight an allegation by a diabetes nurse at the local hospital who did not understand that things work differently in a county jail versus a hospital. The doctors I worked under at the jail felt I did nothing wrong.
My attorney advised I would be able to obtain a 30-day delay in the board appearance and needed to spend time with her preparing for it. As I could not pull my attention away from my daughter and granddaughter, I took my attorneys advice to take the censure and get on with my life. She said it would have little impact on my career so I signed it. Little did I know I would not be able to get another nursing job with it on my record.
Since this has occurred I have not been able to get any nursing position. My license has never been restricted. The only requirement they had of me for the censure was to take a one-day diabetes refresher course, which I completed immediately.
I have applied for all nursing positions I find, will work as a nurse in any venue and will retrain for any specialty. Can you provide me with some direction on how to look for my next position?
Dear Donna replies:
You and your family certainly have had your challenges. I am confident that you can get your career, and hopefully your life, back on track.
The job market for nurses has changed very dramatically over the last several years. What many of us did to find work in the past will not work going forward. Also, the fact that you have been out of the nursing workforce for a while requires a different approach. I suspect these things present more of a challenge to you in finding work then the censure. Even though youre not a new nurse, read New nurse, new job strategies to understand what’s happening and learn new, more effective ways to market yourself: (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Strategies).
The fact you are a certified case manager is great, and it seems like the most logical position for you to persue. You cannot rely solely on responding to classified ads and filling out online applications. You need to do more face-to-face networking. That involves getting out to local chapter meetings of the Case Management Society of America (www.cmsa.org), even as a guest for now if you are not a member. Have a simple business card made, shake hands with and introduce yourself to people and let them know what position you want.
Dont sell yourself short. Focus on your great experience and credentials, not your absence from the workforce or personal or work-related challenges.
You also should attend nursing career fairs, seminars and conferences, and any community or business networking events in your area. See what’s coming up here: (www.nurse.com/events). Get on the telephone and contact everyone you know, both in and out of healthcare. Let them know what type of position youre looking for and ask for their help by the way of leads, introductions, referrals and recommendations. The power of networking is that people know people.
You never know from where the next opportunity, lead, connection or idea might come. Networking is known to be a great way to find a job,, especially when you have obstacles to overcome. Everything happens through networking.
Read Picking up the pieces of your career (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Pieces). When asked why you left your last job, you only need to say you had family issues that needed your full attention but that you are now ready and eager to get back to full-time work. The issue of the censure does not even need be mentioned.
While you continue to seek paid employment, look for volunteer work as a nurse. This will give you recent relevant experience to put on your resume, expand your professional network, hone old skills and learn new ones, and get you back into the swing of things. Volunteering is a way to get your foot in the door somewhere and often leads to paid employment. Look for volunteer opportunities in your local public health department, cancer care center, a free clinic or hospice.
When what youre doing isnt working, its time to try a new approach. Start generating positive career momentum with the above suggestions, including those in the referenced articles, and move forward in a positive direction. With some patience and a more proactive approach, youll get your career back on track. Persistence and determination always will win out in the end.