You earned your credentials as an RN or LPN years ago, and after completing your exams and clinical training, you stepped into the profession and started learning the ropes and making a name for yourself. But for one reason or another, you left the field for a few years. Now you’re ready to head back in. Regardless of the reason—family obligations, medical issues, another career, or simply a change of heart—you’ve been out of the game for a while, but here are a few moves that can help you pick up where you left off.
Find out what you missed.
You don’t have to put your job search on hold while you do this—Stay active and keep applying. But as you do so, study up and learn as much as you can about the healthcare industry changes that have taken place in your absence. Technology evolves fast, and if you’ve been sidelined for a while, you may want to investigate recent changes in medical record keeping, HIPAA and privacy protections, shifts in healthcare accessibility, advancements in your specific healthcare specialty, and changes in nursing and workplace culture.
Of course you don’t need to sit across from your interviewer and apologize for the medical, family, or personal circumstances that have shaped your life path. But you will certainly be asked about your hiatus, and you should have an answer ready. Keep your answer short and positive. Don’t reveal personal information that could harm your chances, and once you’ve said all you intend to say, redirect the conversation back toward your qualifications and skills.
Focus on what you have to offer.
Of course you’re hardworking, and of course you’re smart. And of course you completed your education and gained a certain number of years in the clinic, OR, residential facility or physician’s office where you began your career. But what else can you offer? What have you specifically learned from these experiences, and how do the specific details of your education and training set you apart? Just as important, what knowledge have you gained during your time spent away from the profession? Use your unique qualities and personal wisdom to highlight what you have to contribute.
Turn to your network.
You may not have made contact with your former mentors or employers in a long time, but that’s okay. Reach out and rebuild your bridges; these relationships may help you more than you realize. Your contacts can provide leads, information about the field, introductions, and advice that you might not have access to if you try to tackle this challenge on your own.
For more on how to relaunch your healthcare career—or start from square one—reach out to the Little Rock staffing team at CSS.