Should an RN, who has not worked as a nurse for 10 years and cannot find a job, give up and move into another profession?

By | 2021-05-28T17:24:05-04:00 February 17th, 2015|1 Comment


Dear Donna,

I am an RN with 10 years of experience. I left work to stay home with my children. I am trying to get back to work as a nurse after 10 years away. I kept my license current, and updated CEUs. I’m finding it impossible to get any nursing job. I send my resume and no replies, and if I get a reply it’s usually “we are looking for recent experience, and you were away for too long.” I am willing to take classes and training as needed, but I need advice as far as what kind of training I should get to guarantee I can actually get a job. I have been actively searching for the last five months with no results. Is it the end of my nursing career? Should I just give up and search for another profession?

Ready to Give Up

Dear Donna replies:

Dear Ready to Give Up,

Your nursing career is not over nor should you give up or switch professions. You will, however, need to take additional steps to transition back into the nursing force. A lot has changed in the last 10 years.

You don’t mention what type of jobs you’ve been applying for. If it is mostly hospital direct care positions, that segment of the market has completely changed as jobs have shifted into other areas. Many hospitals are only hiring nurses with very current hospital experience. Even though you’re not a new nurse, my article “New nurse, new job strategies” explains the changes and what nurses need to do to find work and market themselves (

Since you’re currently unemployed, look for volunteer work as a nurse until you find paid employment. Volunteering gives you recent relevant experience to put on your resume, provides an opportunity to hone old skills while learning new ones, expands your professional network, and builds confidence and work stamina. It also is a good way to get your foot in the door somewhere since volunteer work often can turn into paid employment. Seek these opportunities in your local public health department, a free clinic, blood bank or hospice. Be sure to have your nursing liability insurance up to date if you’re going to do anything hands-on.

I also suggest you join and get active in your local chapter of the American Nurses Association ( At least attend meetings as a guest for now. This is a great way to get reconnected to your profession, get up to date with information and trends and further expand your professional network. Networking is well known to be an effective way to find jobs and get offers.

Consider attending my Career Alternatives for Nurses seminar to not only get information on job market changes and trends, but also to learn the most current ways to find job openings and self-marketing and networking skills. I also provide specific nontraditional job leads and contact information. See where I’ll be (

You might also look into using the services of an RN career coach. Find one by getting a referral from your state chapter of the American Nurses Association (whether or not you are a member), asking around or doing an online search.

Getting back into the nursing workforce is a transition, so be patient with yourself and the process. Start the process by implementing the above strategies, including those in the referenced article. Move in a positive forward direction, one step at a time. You’ll eventually get to where you want to be. Persistence and determination will always win out in the end.

Best wishes,


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One Comment

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    kylar thomad November 22, 2016 at 8:07 pm - Reply

    Thank you. You have given me the strength I needed to keep going☺

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