THE CHALLENGES OF RETURNING TO THE NURSING PROFESSION AFTER A LONG BREAK

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The challenges of returning to a nursing profession after a long break

Nursing is a career that is of great demand too many in the healthcare industry. It has also prompted many students who are yet to start O’ level education to gain an interest in the career. Many studies show that a shortage of registered nurses means employing nurses who are yet to join the nursing workforce is not an option.

It is widely believed that nurses joining the workforce after ten, fifteen or twenty years are widely put in consideration since they are deemed valuable staff members across many healthcare settings thus bringing maturity, life experience and enthusiasm to their work.

One of the biggest obstacles in improving healthcare is in the recruitment and retention of the current and new nursing staff. Many of the shortages currently experienced worldwide are least attributed to the aging of the current workforce as many health facilities recruit low numbers into the profession. Another obstacle is in the number of people who are in high demand for the health services to which the hospitals and the many health facilities in the country cannot cope with.

Most registered nurses who are still out of the nursing industry has received a lot of interest due to their cost efficiency needed in refreshing them compared to employing new registered nurses that will take more time and money. Registered nurses who return to work after fifteen or twenty years are always valuable members of the healthcare team because they carry with them previous work experience and maturity which are huge assets to many hospitals and care facilities. Many generally return to the industry because of their deep love for their profession plus have local advantages i.e. if they went to nursing schools locally other than internationally to cope with the language and cultural difference which makes them preferable.


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One of the main reasons which make nurses leave their profession is pregnancy. Others claim work-related injuries has forced them to either stop working and even prevented some from returning to work. It is commonly known that nurses must work for many hours which is undesirable for many to report back for duty. Some are unable to meet the unrealistic expectations that are demanded of them by the health facility and whether they can build a relationship with the current medical staffs.

Research has shown that many returning registered nurses find it hard going back to work since their conditions cannot be met by many hospitals. Nurses who left because of pregnancy will require shifts that will enable her to find time for her family responsibilities. Others who left due to the nature of the work find it hard to return because the shifts and the work overwhelm them.

Many surveys done in most of the countries realized that returning nurses wanted opportunities that covered three main areas namely flexibility, family friendly shifts, support, and acknowledgment by managers for family responsibilities. Other nurses also require refresher courses that will help them transition back to nursing after a long period without nursing. Returning registered nurses are often unwilling to return to the profession as they speak of feeling out of touch and fearful of some new changes like new technology and methods that have been introduced in the health sector to which they are not familiar with.

Some of the registered nurses face challenges because they are unaware of some of the support systems that have been put in place and if there are any retraining opportunities. Refresher opportunities need advertising in the public domain but not limited to the health departments or registration board websites. If the courses are advertised in radios or the local media, then it will raise the possibility of many registered nurses returning to the workforce.

It is imperative for registered nurses to gain skills that they had forgotten plus requiring updating and knowledge that they have not yet learned with the refresher programs that they undertake.