I have been an RN for 26 years. I left bedside nursing in 1998 to raise my children. I became a school nurse so I could work the hours my children attended school. I want to transition back into bedside nursing. Do you know of any nurse reentry programs?
Wants to Transition Back to the Bedside
Dear Wants to Transition Back to the Bedside,
The job market for nurses has changed quite dramatically in the last 10 years. For starters, hospitals are downsizing as care shifts out of the hospital and into the home, the community and alternate inpatient settings. Additionally, there is an abundance of nurses with current hospital experience in the job market. Most hospitals are only hiring nurses with very current hospital experience and do not offer re-entry programs. Taking a refresher course will not help you to get hired either. Even though you’re not a new nurse, read “New nurse, new job strategies” to understand what’s happening and why. You will learn what any nurse needs to do to market themselves today.
The job market fluctuates and is changing again. As older nurses start to retire from hospital work, the demand for all nurses to work in hospitals will increase. Once that happens, hospitals may once again offer re-entry programs.
I would suggest you consider other employment options for the time being. Look into public health nursing and ambulatory care centers. Check out hospice, home care and outpatient hemodialysis centers. They usually have comprehensive training programs and may be willing to hire you.
You can also attend career fairs in your area and network with employers and agencies. It is a good way to test the waters and speak to many prospective employers, both traditional and nontraditional, in one place. It’s also a good place to hone your self-marketing and networking skills. See what’s coming up in your area.
Since networking is known to be a very effective way to find jobs and get hired, you should also attend local chapters meetings (as a guest for now if not already a member) of the American Nurses Association and/or the American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nursing.