Now that COVID is increasingly under control, we're seeing nurses returning to their profession. But what if you've been absent from your profession for a year, two, or even three years? A decade?
If you took leave from the nursing profession for any reason other than disability, medical conditions, or urgent situations, think about how you'll remain connected with the profession. Some ideas to keep in mind as you seek your next position as a certified skilled nurse:
Make a plan.
Start with a professional resume overhaul that addresses applicant tracking systems (ATS), AI, and bots. You'll also need to establish or refurbish your online brand (LinkedIn, for example), develop cover letters that tell a convincing story, do constant networking, and research favorable employers, jobs, and the overall nursing job market. Job seekers often find employment through a "side door" or "back door," so networking, personal connections, and warm introductions are essential. You'll want to conduct informational interviews with key individuals, identify your allies, and let all your friends and family know your goals.
Be sure the proper agency credentials you.
Every healthcare provider needs to be credentialed and then re-credentialed every three years to practice, maintain their privileges, and get reimbursed from payers. You may need to enroll in a nurse refresher course if it's been more than a year or two and attain nurse practitioner credentials, if applicable. Start by choosing a certification board and applying. Board certification validates a nurse practitioner's education, knowledge, expertise in each area of practice, and skills as a care provider. Organizations that administer board certification exams include the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). For example, nurse practitioners will need to send credentials off for verification, take the exam, receive official certification, and apply for—and receive--nurse practitioner licensure with the state board of nursing. Some nurses will need to apply for a DEA certificate, any state-required controlled dangerous substance certificates, and receive a national provider identifier (NPI) 10-digit number that uniquely identifies him/her to Medicare and Medicaid.
Stay visible and active in your profession.
It's a good idea to pick up at least one per diem nursing shift per month to remain current. Or you can consider volunteering for a hospice organization, shelter, or free clinic at least once a month. You can also raise your professional profile via social media (especially LinkedIn), make phone calls, send emails, arrange face-to-face meetings, or attend a conference or seminar (whether in-person or via Zoom). Be sure to stay current by reading nursing and medical journals, articles, blog posts, listening to medical and nursing podcasts, and even maintaining a personal blog to keep your professional brand alive.
If you are returning to the nursing workforce after a hiatus, one of the easiest ways to return is to work for ShiftMed, which allows you to work when and where you want. Make the transition easy by working a few shifts – or work full-time. ShiftMed can put you to work as soon as your application is approved. Apply today!