Nurses may choose to temporarily leave the profession for any number of reasons. Perhaps it’s to raise a child or recover from a temporary disability. Perhaps it’s to try another profession or pursue another goal. Regardless of the reason for the hiatus, nurses who return to the profession are likely to find that re-entering the profession can be a challenge — unless they have prepared for the possibility. If you’re a nurse who must temporarily stop working, it’s important to remain as engaged as possible during your time away. Here are three tips for doing so:
Maintain your credentials, knowledge base
Fulfilling the requirements to maintain your license and certifications helps you remain eligible for employment as a nurse. This includes keeping track of your continuing education, especially if you live in a state where you are required to earn a certain number of CE credits.
Conferences and seminars also are helpful in keeping you in the loop on current trends in patient care, healthcare policies and so on, and are great for networking. Many excellent online learning opportunities exist for those who prefer to learn remotely. Nursing care and medicine are constantly changing in relation to evidence-based practice, research, treatments, technology and pharmacology, and it’s important for nurses on a break from the workforce to invest some time for their edification.
Continued membership in state, local, regional and national nursing organizations can keep you connected to colleagues and thought leaders. Membership also keeps you up to date with new challenges within the profession and legislative and other changes affecting nurses. You also have access to useful information via nursing organizations’ websites and can attend their local and national conferences. If you have time, serving on committees or boards is a powerful way to network and serve the profession.
Take advantage of social media and the internet
Through the skillful use of social media and by reading online articles by reputable organizations, nurses who are not active in the workforce can keep abreast of the latest news in the profession. Twitter and Facebook are platforms frequented by many individuals and organizations within nursing, medicine and science. Blogs, articles, professional journals, videos and podcasts all are viable means for remaining educated and informed.
Myriad methods exist to remain engaged. Doing so can be part of your career strategy, especially if you plan to return to the nursing workforce. Consider devoting a certain number of hours per month to maintaining your credentials and license and staying connected and educated, while on a nursing hiatus. Keeping current on changes in the industry can make your return to nursing a lot easier.
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