There are many reasons why you decided to make the leap and become a stay-at-home parent. For most today, it is simple economics. If daycare and childcare costs are higher than you or your partner makes in a month then you can save by staying at home. It is a win-win situation since you avoid costly childcare costs and, most importantly, you get to spend those important years together as a family.
All children, however, will eventually leave the nest. Perhaps they are simply older and are now in school full-time and need you less, or perhaps they have moved out and are getting started with their new lives all on their own.
When you go back to work is entirely up to you but do know that you won’t just want to try to get your old job as a RN back. With the rise in online education, you can kickstart your career faster, and more efficiently, and you can do it all at home. This guide will help you understand your options, and just how to go about it.
Recertify and Renew Your License
The first step to kickstarting your nursing career once again after spending time as a work-at-home parent is to renew and activate your license. You won’t be able to work with an expired license, and therefore the first step is to renew it. To do this, you will need to get in touch with your state’s nursing board.
If you requested your license to be made inactive while you were a stay-at-home parent, there often won’t be a fee. If you allowed your license to expire, then you will often have to pay a small fee or fine, usually around $50.
What you will need before you can restart your career depends on the state. Many states will require you to complete so many hours of continuing education. Other states have a remedial course, and some still just have a higher renewal fee and paperwork you will need to complete.
Regardless of where you are based, the process will be straightforward, and your options will be clearly laid out.
Easing Back into Nursing
If you want to ease your way back into nursing, a great idea is to skip the full-time job and instead look into travel nursing. Travel nursing simply means that you fill in when hospitals and clinics are experiencing a shortage of staff. As hospitals and clinics are still hotspots for the coronavirus, this still happens often.
Being a travel nurse allows you to stay in charge of your schedule and allows you to branch out your network and find out what you want from your nursing career in this new phase of your life. You may have worked in a hospital in the past, for example, and now realize you much prefer working in a clinic. The same applies to working in different units.
Exploring your career this way doesn’t mean taking a pay cut, either. In fact, when you work full-time as a travel nurse, you are typically paid a higher day rate. You won’t receive the same benefits as working full time, of course, but for the freedom and the ability to explore and understand what you want out of your nursing career this go-around, it can be an invaluable career move.
Skip the MSN and Earn a DNP
If you want to kickstart your nursing career again after years of being a stay-at-home parent, then the best way to do it is to look for integrated degrees. A great example is the BSN to DNP track. All you need to qualify and apply is a 3.0GPA BSN and 1-year full-time working experience as a RN.
The BSN to DNP track does not mean you don’t earn your MSN qualification. It simply means that you will take MSN courses, and then DNP courses, and graduate with a doctorate at the end. You are just as trained as any other DNP-holding APRN.
There is one caveat, however, and that is the fact that you will need to know what area you want to specialize in and be very firm with your decision. You can always go and earn a post-graduate certificate, yes, but earning a DNP in that specialization means even more time, money, and effort. Knowing for a fact it is the role you want to commit your career to is essential for your sense of fulfillment and peace of mind.
There are several reputable online BSN to DNP programs out there. You can study to become an Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, a Family Nurse Practitioner, and more.
Understand the Authority APRNs Have in Your State
Having a DNP means being at the top of your career, at least education-wise. What this means in terms of your future career options will depend entirely on the state you live in and its rules. You may or may not have full practice authority, for example, and as a result, may or may not be able to open your own clinic and add business owner to your resume.
It is also important to note that there are many career options outside of healthcare itself. If you ever want a change of pace you can work as a nurse educator, can work in nurse administration or leadership, or can even work on projects within the private and entertainment industries.
With a DNP, you will be one of the top-trained nurses and have more opportunities available to you. By paying attention to your own satisfaction levels and keeping an eye and ear out for any new opportunities that may come your way, you will find that your future is firmly in your hands.
Nursing is a wonderful career. It can be customized, it can be flexible, and it is often paid very well – especially once you become an APRN. Kickstarting your career again can be daunting, but with these tips, you will be able to make the most out of this next era of your professional life.
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