Q: Dear Donna,
My current nursing license is on probation due to actions taken by another nurse against my expired license. There were no drugs or alcohol involved. I did not hurt any patients and my license is still active. How do I deal with this when looking for employment? It seems every time I’m upfront, I’m told “we’ll call you” and nothing happens. The only restrictions I have are I cannot be the only nurse in facility and cannot supervise LPNs and above. What can I do to maximize my chances of gaining employment?
Trying to Work with License on Probation
A: Dear Trying to Work with License on Probation,
It is always challenging for me to respond to this type of question without knowing the particulars of your situation. Based on the license restrictions you mention and the experience you relay in applying for jobs, it might be best to go after non-clinical nursing positions for now where this will be less of an issue. These might include working for an insurance company or a pharmaceutical company, both of which offer a wide variety of opportunities for nurses. You also can contact your state Quality Improvement Organization about doing chart audits. These are just a few examples.
You can seek non-clinical positions through a nursing employment agency. Many of them do non-traditional placement, including part-time, full-time, temp and contract work.
Since you are unemployed, seek volunteer work as a nurse while you continue to look for paid employment. Consider your local public health department, a blood bank and the American Red Cross. Volunteer work gives you recent relevant experience to put on your resume, gives structure to your week and helps to keep your mind off your troubles.It also gives you a chance to hone old skills while learning new ones and to expand your professional network. Everything happens through networking. Plus, volunteering often leads to paid employment, so it is a way to get a foot in the door somewhere.
Read “Picking up the pieces of your career” for additional tips and advice.
If you are not already working with a nurse attorney to get your license issue resolved, I recommend that you consult one. Nurse attorneys are uniquely qualified to represent and advise nurses with such issues. Regardless of what actually happened, you could use someone who knows the system advocating for you. Your license, your livelihood and your reputation are at stake. Find a nurse attorney by getting a referral through your state chapter of the American Nurses Association whether or not you are a member, by asking around, and/or by contacting the American Association of Nurse Attorneys.
Send nursing career-related questions to Career guru Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, CSP: