What can an RN who took 10 years off to raise a family do to find a job in acute care at a hospital?

Dear Donna,


I took 10 years off to raise a family, took a refresher course and re-entered the nursing field in home care. I would like to return to hospital nursing but recruiters seem put off by my lack of recent acute care experience despite the refresher course and recent home care experience. How can I refresh my acute care skills?

Dear Wants to Return To the Hospital,


Dear Donna replies:


Wants to Return To the Hospital

The hospital and healthcare job market has changed quite dramatically in the last 10 years in response to the evolving healthcare delivery system. As care shifts out of the hospital and into alternate in-patient settings, the home and community so do jobs for nurses. Because there is an abundance of nurses with current hospital experience, many hospitals are only hiring those nurses. Trust me you are not alone in your situation so don’t take it personally.

You may not be able to find an acute care bedside position right now. However, every employer is different and the job market will continue to change and evolve. Your best bet would be to use your contacts in acute care (former co-workers, supervisors, physicians and others you know or come in contact with) and let them know you are looking for a job in acute care. You can find these former coworkers and contacts on LinkedIn and Facebook, through professional associations and by simply asking those who do have contact with for help in reaching others who might be able to help you. This is known as networking and it is a very effective way to find and get a job. Even though you’re not a new nurse, read “New nurse, new job strategies”( www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Strategies) for some additional tips on marketing yourself in 2014.

It would also be beneficial to join and get active in your state chapter of the American Nurses Association (www.ana.org) and/or a nursing specialty association you might be interested in working in such as Emergency Nurses Association (www.ena.org). Many of the nurses who belong to these groups are working in acute care. When there’s something you want to do it makes sense to rub elbows with those currently doing the job.

To get a better view of the bigger picture of nursing and healthcare read
“Nursing: a new paradigm” (www.nurse.com/Cardillo/Nursing-A-New-Paradigm).

Best wishes,


Read more from

Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, well-known career guru, is Nurse.com’s “Dear Donna” and author of “Your First Year as a Nurse: Making the Transition from Total Novice to Successful Professional” and “The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses: Practical Advice for Thriving at Every Stage of Your Career.” Information about the books is available at www.Nurse.com/CE/7010 and www.Nurse.com/CE/7250, respectively. To ask Donna your question, go to www.Nurse.com/Asktheexperts/Deardonna. Find a “Dear Donna” seminar near you: Call 800-866-0919 or visit http://www. Nurse.com/Events.

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