It is very common that, as a nurse, you may one day take a break from your career. Perhaps it will be to raise children, or perhaps you will battle a disease which prevents you from working, or perhaps you just decide you need a break from the nursing world and pursue other goals.
Either way, should you ever decide to enter the nursing workforce again, what do you need to do?
We received a great question:
I have been a stay-at home mom for 25 years. I would like to return to nursing now. I am a associate degree RN in the state of WI. I had been a circulating RN in OR, but would like to return to psychiatric nursing. What would I need to do to get up to speed and get a job? Thank You,
– Kathleen B.
Thanks for your question Kathleen. Being a stay-at-home mom is such a wonderful and important job. I’ll do the best I can to answer your question.
How to Check If Your Nursing License Is Active
I’d recommend the first step is to see if your nursing license is still active. You didn’t mention whether or not it was, so I’d do this if you haven’t already. The place to start would be the Board of Nursing in your current state of residence. They can not only tell you whether or not your license is active, but they can also offer the exact steps required to get it active if it isn’t already.
Remember, the nursing compact states do allow licenses to be valid for other states, so you can also look at that to see if your current state of residence is under the compact of the state where you were originally licensed.
In the event that your license is no longer active, you may be required to take either refresher courses, a licensing test (NCLEX), and/or pay for a reactivation. Again, this is something you need to find out for your specific situation by contacting the Board of Nursing in your state. Laws can vary significantly from state to state (and change frequently), so we do not even attempt to keep up with them all. That’s why it is always best to go straight to the source for the most current information regarding licensing.
Getting Up to Speed for a Job
One of the great things about many hospitals and nursing facilities is they often have their own refresher courses, or their own training sessions. This way, you can re-certify yourself or learn the new up-to-date information for your field of Psychiatric Nursing. In this particular field of nursing, I would think that there may be a lot of new information that has changed in the past 25 years.
You could always contact a local hospital, or find a nursing continuing education course in your area if you are required to do so (or if you just want to brush up).
If you find employment first, they may even pay for this on your behalf. When I was hired on in a cardiac floor, I was given the opportunity to take a lot of classes to help me learn more specific information about this. I did things such as reading heart decelerations and more.
So you may be required to take some educational classes for licensing purposes, but if not, the hospital that hires you will probably provide training, refresher courses, or whatever they feel is necessary to get you up to speed.
Preparing a Resume for Nursing
This is also the time to be brushing up your resume. We have some great sample resumes for nurses and also some nursing interview tips to help you prepare for potential job interviews. Some nurses also like to create nursing portfolios, and this can be helpful in keeping track of your continuing career accomplishments. So if you haven’t put together a portfolio, you may want to consider whether or not it would help you in your efforts.
Once that is completed, you can then begin searching for jobs. Check your local papers, our online nursing jobs section, and you can even go directly to local hospitals or health clinics to see if they post jobs or accept resumes on their own websites.
I hope this helps point you in the right direction! I wish you the very best of luck in finding a job.