Many of us take a career break at some point during our working life. Sometimes, it’s less of a break and more of an opportunity to try something different or to work differently for a while. Sometimes we take an extended break to travel. But often we take time away from our careers to raise a family. Nursing is a career that appeals to mothers, or people who hope to have children in the future, as it offers flexibility and a chance to use maternal skills in the workplace. So, it’s no surprise that many nurses take time out, sometimes fairly early in their careers.
If you have taken a break from your nursing career and are looking to get back into things, you certainly aren’t alone. Many nurses take years, or even decades out, before returning and having a long, successful, and fulfilling career. But that doesn’t mean that it’s not daunting. If you’ve been out of practice for a while, there might be some hurdles to jump before you can return to healthcare and finding the right position might be tricky.
Here are some tips to help you to navigate the process of returning to nursing as smoothly as possible.
Check Your Qualifications and Update Your License
While you are on your career break, it’s a good idea to keep your license to practice up to date, so that you can go back whenever you are ready. If yours has expired, look into renewing it as soon as you start to think about heading back to work.
You should also check that any other registrations are still valid and that your qualifications are still relevant. The world of healthcare evolves quickly, so make sure you have all the qualifications and legal documents that you need to return at the same level. If you haven’t, find out what you need to do.
Take a Refresher Course
Even if your qualifications are up to date, if you’ve been out of work for a while, a refresher course can be an ideal choice. This will help you to brush up your skills, learn anything new, and boost your confidence before you head back to a healthcare setting.
Create a Career Plan
Why are you returning to work? What do you want from your career? Are you hoping to take on a leadership role? In which case, you might want to look at leadership styles in nursing for some inspiration. Do you want to enter a specialist field that needs further education? Going back with a career plan can help you to hit the ground running.
Update Your Resume
If you’ve been out of work for a while you might want to avoid a chronological resume and instead focus on a layout that shows off your key skills, relevant experience, both in and out of the workplace, and your qualifications.
Check in With Old Colleagues
One of the best ways to find a new position in nursing is to get back in touch with old colleagues, friends, and bosses. This doesn’t have to be anything formal; simply making a lunch date, or visiting your old place of work and mentioning that you are ready to return could lead to a natural job offer or at least a promising conversation.
Take Some Volunteer Work
Volunteer work is a great way to brush up on your skills, gain some new experience, and make connections, and healthcare settings are always on the lookout for experienced volunteers.
Know What You are Looking For
It’s important that you know what you are looking for in a job, and what you can offer, before you start applying for work. Do you need flexibility? School hours? Can you work weekends? Can you do overtime? Are you able to commit to full-time hours? Does your availability depend on childcare arrangements? Make sure you are only considering jobs that are the right fit.
Know Your Value
An experienced nurse is far more valuable than a newly qualified nurse. There’s an awful lot that can only be learned on the job and can’t be taught in school that you will already know. This makes you incredibly valuable. Make sure you know this, and don’t let knockbacks get you down, or managers make you feel less than your worth.
Going back to any job after a break can be difficult. Try not to worry too much if it takes time to find the right position, or if you feel a little lost when you first return. You’ll soon settle, and it’ll be like you’ve never been away.