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How does an RN whose license was revoked for 4 years find a job as a nurse?

Dear Donna,

My license was revoked by default because I failed to update my address with the board of nursing. A foolish mistake at best. The complaint, while valid, did not result in anyone’s physical harm. Had I answered, the revocations would have never happened. I am looking for a job and having a difficult time getting past the revocation and four-year hiatus I suffered. I have already asked Nancy on Nurse.Com about expunging the record. I would like to go back
to work.

License Revoked

Dear License Revoked,

It is challenging for me to respond to your question without knowing all the details. A four-year revocation, if that is what you are inferring, for a simple failure to notify your board of nursing of change of address or to respond to subsequent notices seems a bit harsh, so that is confusing to me. I also have to assume that you now have your license back.

You don’t mention where or how you are looking for work, but hospital work is not the best path for you right now. Because of the evolving healthcare delivery system and shifting job market for nurses, most hospitals are hiring only nurses with current hospital experience. You’ll have to look in new places for employment including the ambulatory care setting, alternate inpatient settings such as rehab, LTC, sub-acute care or outpatient work such as hemodialysis.

Because you are unemployed, have been out of the nursing workforce for more than four years and your license was revoked, first start volunteering as a nurse in a health setting. This might include your local public health department, a free clinic, hospice, cancer care center and so on. Volunteering is a great way to gain recent, relevant experience to put on your resume or discuss on an interview. Volunteer work will also help you build confidence, hone old skills, learn new skills and expand your professional network. It is also a way to get your foot in the door somewhere as volunteering often leads to paid employment. I always say if you can’t get in the front door, try the back door. When volunteering, if you are doing anything hands on, such as administering vaccinations or flu shots, you should have professional liability insurance.

You also need to focus your job finding efforts on networking (word of mouth). That means you should let everyone in your circle — family, friends and former coworkers — know what happened with your license and what you are now looking for in a job. Networking is the most effective way to learn of opportunities and get hired, especially when you have obstacles to overcome. Employers are more inclined to hire someone with a challenge in their background when referred or recommended by someone they know. It gives them more confidence in hiring that person. You may not be accustomed to looking for work this way, but it is the way to go.

Read “Picking up the pieces of your career” ( You might also seek the services of an RN career coach (as opposed to a non-nurse coach) to help you get over the hump.

When what you’re doing isn’t working, it’s time to try a new approach. Use the advice in the above post including the referenced articles. And remember that transitioning back in can take a little time so be patient with yourself and the process.

Best wishes,

By | 2014-07-30T00:00:00-04:00 July 30th, 2014|Categories: Blogs, Nursing careers and jobs|0 Comments

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