Career Timeouts Don’t Have to Mean Career Derailment, and Staying Professionally Engaged Keeps Doors Open for a Return to Nursing
AURORA, Colo. – August 29, 2017 – Nurses often make personal choices to commit their time and energy to something outside of their career. But according to American Sentinel University career coach, Kim Dority, it’s important for nurses to realize career timeouts don’t have to mean career derailment.
“Nurses may decide to stay home and spend more time with their young children or care for elderly parents, and they’ve made a choice to prioritize personal commitments over professional engagement for the time being,” says Dority. “These factors can often compromise their ability to work full time, but they don’t have to compromise their nursing career.”
Dority says by staying professionally engaged and connected within the nursing/healthcare management profession, they’ll be able to keep doors open for when they’re ready to return to nursing.
Dority details five steps nurses should take to keep themselves professionally viable.
1 – Stay current with industry trends and issues in the nursing/healthcare management field
Dority urges nurses to set aside a regular time to read about what’s going on in their field. Whether print or online, there are dozens of resources available to help nurses stay abreast of their professional discipline and maintain an understanding of changes that will impact how they’ll work when they step back in.
2 – Maintain your professional memberships
Dority says membership in at least one professional nursing/healthcare management association is key to maintaining a nurse’s network, staying current with issues and emerging trends in their field, and finding potential volunteer opportunities that will signal their ongoing career engagement.
“Consider them as a re-entry lifeline. The knowledge, connections, and potential visibility can all help nurses while they’re taking a timeout and provide the path back into their career when they’re ready to re-enter,” Dority says.
3 – Stay professionally visible
Attend conferences (especially local/regional ones) and the meetings of the local chapters of professional healthcare associations.
Dority says a nurse’s goal should be to stay abreast of current events, topics, and issues by hearing about them being discussed by those “in the trenches.” Nurses should take the time to introduce themselves to other attendees to make sure they continue to grow and strengthen their professional network.
“These people will likely be your best source of job-opening information when you launch your job search,” says Dority. “You can also volunteer to serve on virtual committees for the national nursing/healthcare management associations to keep up your national visibility.”
4 – Do occasional projects
No matter what specialty or position a nurse may be taking a time out from, Dority says it’s important for nurses to consider undertaking occasional fee-based or volunteer projects that use their professional skills.
“Taking on the occasional task offers multiple benefits because nurses will be able to point to professional-level work when speaking with an interviewer; the work keeps their confidence level up, and they’ll be continuing to build their professional network and career brand,” explains Dority.
5 – Take courses to maintain the currency of existing skills, or expand value with new skills
Check out the degree and certificate programs offered by American Sentinel University for the easiest way to keep your nursing/healthcare management skills current. Nurses should also make sure to add the information about any coursework they are taking to their LinkedIn profile.
Dority encourages nurses to consider taking courses outside their immediate field to add unique expertise to their resume. She recommends taking courses in project management, marketing, Spanish, and similarly useful skills to expand their career value.
These courses can be found through local community colleges or even through online providers.
“A nurse’s goal should be to devote a small, but consistent, amount of time to keeping their career active so that when they do decide to return to the workplace, they hadn’t lost all that professional equity they’ve built up before they stepped out,” Dority adds.
Dority reminds nurses that it’s not a career dropout, it’s a career timeout.
“Today’s nurses have the skills, the experience and the passion to make real change, and healthcare needs them,” says Dority.
About American Sentinel University
American Sentinel University delivers the competitive advantages of accredited online nursing degree programs in nursing, informatics, MBA Health Care, DNP Executive Leadership and DNP Educational Leadership. Its affordable, flexible bachelor’s and master’s nursing degree programs are accredited by the Commission for the Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). The DNP program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). The university is accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC). The Accrediting Commission of DEAC is listed by the U.S. Department of Education as a nationally recognized accrediting agency and is a recognized member of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.