Making the Choice to Return to Nursing

doctors and nurses in a hospital
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Nursing can be a wonderful profession, but it certainly isn’t an easy one. There are a lot of pressures that come with this role, including dealing with worried patients and their relatives, the tragedy of a patient passing away, and often a demanding work schedule that can be difficult to juggle sometimes. Although many rewards come with working as a nurse, it’s easy to see how some of them do suffer from burnout and choose to step away from this career if they have reached their limit. They may choose to move into a different healthcare role, or decide to work in a completely different industry when they have decided that they have had enough.

While this choice to switch career paths can be the right one at the time, there are some cases where an ex-nurse might start to miss their old job, and wish to return to nursing as they feel that is their true calling, despite the challenges this role presents. If this sounds like a familiar story to yours, then you might currently be contemplating whether or not you should return to nursing and give this career another shot. If so, below are some of the key things you will need to think about before you start your journey back into the world of nursing and healthcare.

1.   Are You Ready to Face These Challenges Again?

If you did choose to leave nursing previously because there were certain aspects of the job that you found stressful at the time, consider whether or not you are ready to accept these issues again as part of your job role. Chances are, these challenges will still be there, and there might even be new hurdles for you to overcome. You need to decide if you are willing to take this on again and if you have perhaps grown into a person who can handle these pressures better at this stage in your life. It is important to carefully consider this; otherwise, you might find yourself wanting to leave the nursing profession again in the future and it might not be the best decision to return.

2.   How Do You Plan to Deal with These Challenges?

Accepting that you will need to face the difficulties that you struggled with in the past is a good start, but you might want to think about how you intend to tackle them this time around. You might not have had the right experience previously to know how to cope with these challenges, but now you might better recognize practical and healthy ways to handle these situations. Do take the time to think about the things that bothered you in your nursing career before and see if you can come up with solutions to these issues to help you manage stress and pressure better. If you can do that, you will be putting yourself in a strong position to return to this line of work and thrive in it.

3.   Do You Know What You Want to Get Out of Your Nursing Career?

Another question to ask yourself is what direction you think you would like to take your nursing career in this time around. There are a lot of different options available to nurses, and you might not have considered this when you were previously working in this role. This might have been one of the reasons you chose to leave, as you couldn’t envision the future of your career and found this to be overwhelming. Take some time to explore the different areas of nursing that are available, and see which roles you think would be suitable for you at this stage in your life and the sort of working environment you would like to be in. For example, would you like to work in a hospital as a fast-paced workplace? Or would you prefer something with better hours and less pressure, like working as a school nurse or in a GP’s office? Having some idea of where you want to go in your nursing career can help you plan more effectively and keep you motivated.

4.   Do You Need to Return to Education?

You may already have a nursing degree that you completed the first time around, but if it was a long time ago that you finished your studies, you might discover that you require more up-to-date qualifications to re-enter this profession. If you started your nursing degree but didn’t complete it, then you will need to do this first before you can start thinking about applying for jobs or sitting for your RN licensure exam. If you are concerned about how to fit your studies around your current lifestyle, consider enrolling in programs like this ABSN program online that could offer a flexible and fast-track approach to achieving your degree.

In addition to a nursing degree, you might also want to think about other training that could benefit you transitioning back into your nursing career to better prepare you for this next step.

5.   Make the Most of Your Professional Contacts

If you are still in touch with some of your former nursing colleagues or other healthcare team members you worked closely with, you might want to make the most of these connections. Let them know that you are thinking about returning to nursing, and see if they can give you any information on possible job roles or other advice to help you on your way back in. Networking is important no matter what your career is, and if you do still have contacts that you can trust, it will be worth reaching out to them for some support.

6.   How Does a Return to Nursing Impact Your Current Lifestyle?

It’s also important to think about how this return to nursing might impact the way you live today. Although you might have some idea of the kind of nursing role you would like to move into, it might take some time for you to achieve this goal, and this means that you could be working in a different area for a temporary period until this opportunity comes along. Are you willing to go back to unsociable working hours? Will a move back to nursing mean you will be getting more or less money than you’re earning now? If less, what are you willing to cut back on to accommodate this dip in your income? Do you think you will be able to adjust to the unique pressures that come with a role like this well at this stage in your life? These are just some of the things that could change how you live now, and they are all worth contemplating before you decide to take the first step back to a nursing career.

7.   Be Honest with Yourself About Why You Want to Go Back

This is very important as you don’t want to decide to return to the nursing profession on a whim. If you feel like this thought has come to you at a time when you’re not sure what else to do, it might be worth rethinking whether going back into nursing is the right move for your after all. As this is a very demanding job, your motivations for working in healthcare again need to be strong and resilient. It needs to be about more than just finding a stable job with the chance to earn a good salary. Your passion for helping others and engaging in a field that can change lives is the best motivation for a nursing career, as well as other healthcare roles. Wanting a job that will challenge you, as hard as that might be at times, is another good reason to return to this line of work if you are ready to take it on at this time in your life. You will need to be committed to learning and working as part of a team to provide the best care to patients and to improve the healthcare system from within.

Make sure that you are being honest with yourself about your motivations for returning to nursing so that you can know it is the right path for you, rather than making an impulsive decision.

Working as a nurse can be a wonderful experience at times, but it isn’t the right career for everyone. Many people try their hand at nursing and might decide that it isn’t a suitable role for them, but they might change their minds about this later in life when they feel they are ready to take on the challenges that this career presents. If you used to work as a nurse, or perhaps started your journey on this career path without completing your training, and you would like to give this career another shot, make sure you are thinking about the points above. Use these questions and suggestions to help prepare you for your return to the world of nursing, and to make sure it truly is the right choice for you at this time.

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