While Nursing is an excellent career, some nurses choose to take extended breaks from nursing for a variety of reasons. Some chose to have families, others pursue different career paths or interests but may decide to return to nursing after a period of six months or more off.

Maintain Your Credentials

It is very important for a nurse to maintain his or her credentials. This allows an individual to maintain their license and remain eligible for employment as a nurse, and includes completing continuing education credits. If a nurse fails to complete continuing education, they will fall into "inactive" license status. To change this, submission of continuing education requirements completed within the past two years is required. It is essential that the nurse check the regulations pertaining to his or her state. For example, in the state of California, a nurse that has had a CA RN license expire for eight years or longer without an active RN license in another state will have to retake the NCLEX exam.

Once this is done, a nurse must ensure their Basic Life Support (BLS) is active. If it has lapsed, a quick search on the internet can help locate a local BLS renewal class. Most nursing jobs require a current BLS to ensure eligibility for employment.

Nurse Refresher Course

After updated credentialing is complete, some nurses chose to take a Nurse Refresher Course. Many of these courses are not endorsed by the Board of Nursing. However, they provide an extensive program with clinical hours to help reintroduce a nurse to the workforce. Nurses can search online to find courses offered in their area.

The final step is to start applying! Some nurses chose to work in home care or at a long-term care facility to gain back experience and rebuild their resume so they can re-enter an acute care setting.

Be Flexible

Returning to nursing after a hiatus may require adjustments to accommodate changes in your personal circumstances. Explore flexible work arrangements such as part-time positions, per diem shifts, or telecommuting opportunities that offer a better work-life balance. Many healthcare facilities recognize the value of experienced nurses returning to the workforce and are willing to accommodate flexible schedules to retain their skills and expertise.

Be Open

Regardless of your previous experience in nursing, returning after a hiatus requires a willingness to learn and adapt to new challenges. Be open to receiving feedback, seeking guidance from colleagues, and embracing opportunities for professional development. Nursing is a lifelong learning journey, and every experience, whether positive or negative, contributes to your growth and development as a nurse.

Manage Expectations

Returning to nursing after a hiatus may not be without its challenges. You may encounter obstacles such as adapting to new technologies, navigating changes in healthcare policies, or dealing with workplace dynamics. It’s essential to manage your expectations and be patient with yourself as you readjust to the demands of the profession. Remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day, and success in nursing often comes through perseverance and resilience.