I just joined Nurse.com and did so after a time of grief and reorganization of my life. At first, I vowed to never return to nursing. I am ready to reenter the world of nursing. Little did I know that all of my skill would be used to care for my daughter and husband during their times of infirmity. My daughter has been moved to a group home so I no longer providing 24-hour care. My husband died relatively quickly from a dreadful cancer.
I’ve read your suggestions to others to volunteer first to ease back into the medical scene again. How do I market myself? I used to live in a metropolitan area with many options, but live in an extremely rural area with few medical facilities.
Wants to Reenter World of Nursing
Dear Wants to Reenter World of Nursing,
It sounds like you’ve been through a lot. Sometimes it’s good to come back home in times like this. I suggest that you find out where the nearest nursing community meets and make plans to get there if possible. This could be a local meeting of your state chapter of the American Nurses Association or the American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nursing. You don’t have to be a member to attend meetings as a guest. But I do encourage you to join a professional association, whether you can attend meetings or not. It gives you a sense of belonging, connection and support. Joining and being active on a committee, and getting out to meetings if possible, is a great way to get reconnected to your profession. It is also a perfect way to build your professional network, especially when in a new area. Even if you can’t get to meetings or nothing meets anywhere near you, you can be active online and by phone.
As you already mentioned, volunteering as a nurse is another great first step. Identify any health-related facilities and services in your general area. These might include a public health department, (city, county or state), a rural health clinic, blood bank, urgent care center, long-term care or a chapter of the American Red Cross. Inquire about employment; but if nothing is available, offer to volunteer there until something comes up. It will give you a chance to hone old skills and learn new ones, build confidence and meet more people. Volunteer work often turns into paid employment.
There also are companies offering work-from-home positions for nurses. These opportunities might include case management, telephone triage and telephone advice. Many companies are willing to train nurses to do this type of work. Find these opportunities by networking with other nurses and health professionals including physicians, through professional association connections or online forums. You can even do an online search for these companies and contact them directly. For example, search for “private case management company.”
Contact some nursing employment agencies in your state. Ask if they do non-traditional placement (things other than bedside clinical positions). Search for them online. Even if they are not in your immediate area, many of these companies work with opportunities all over. In other words, use every source available to you.
Transitioning back into nursing can take a little time so be patient with yourself and the process. As long as you’re moving in a positive forward direction, are proactive in the process and use all of the steps above, you’ll eventually find your way back.