Refresher programs help nurses return to work

If you’re going back to nursing after a break, refresher programs will help you brush up on your skills and regain your confidence.

Refresher programs help nurses return to work

Courses are available for nurses with various levels of experience.

Are you looking to return to nursing after taking time off, but want to brush up on your skills before you start looking for nursing jobs and caring for patients again? You may want to enroll in nursing refresher courses.

“When nurses have been out of the workforce for a while and wish to re-enter, it’s a great idea to find a refresher course that reviews current practice information, provides a pharmacology update and skills lab, and ideally is connected to a hospital that will provide a hospital-based clinical immersion experience,” says Deborah Dunn, EdD, MSN, GNP-BC, ACNS-BC, GS-C, President of the Gerontological Advanced Practice Nurses Association.

How to find nursing refresher courses

Offered through colleges and health care facilities, nurse refresher courses are designed for registered nurses (RNs) and licensed practical nurses (LPNs) who have been out of the field for three years or more. If your nursing license is no longer active, your state board of nursing will require you to take a nurse refresher course in order to return to active status. (You can check out Monster's nursing site for more valuable information.)

In fact, one of the first calls you should make when you’re researching refresher courses should be to your state board of nursing. As a state government agency, the board of nursing regulates the state’s Nurse Practice Act, determines the requirements necessary to maintain active status, and approves nursing refresher courses. Many state board of nursing websites also provide a list of nursing refresher courses in their state.

Michele George, MBA, BSN, RN, National Director of the Academy of Medical Surgical Nurses, recommends also calling hospitals in your area. “You can call the human resources department and ask to speak to the nurse recruiter,” says George. “Even if they don’t have a refresher course, they may be able to customize their new graduate training program to meet your needs.”

However, these days, you may not even have to leave your house to take a refresher course. More and more schools, such as the University of Delaware, are offering online refresher courses for nurses who have been out of the workforce. State board of nursing websites often list both online and in-person refresher courses.

In addition to schools and health care facilities, some professional nursing associations also offer courses for nurses with various levels of experience.

For example, for nurses who want to work in nephrology, “a course specifically related to dialysis or chronic kidney disease would be beneficial,” says Lillian Pryor, MSN, RN, CNN, President of the American Nephrology Nurses Association.

Support in the workplace

Dunn says even after completing a refresher course, one of the biggest worries that re-entering nurses express is that there will be new equipment they won’t know how to operate or that the computer charting will be too daunting to learn quickly.

“When you're working with a great organization, you will receive a lot of support when re-entering practice,” says Dunn. “The hospital will provide a structured orientation and precepted clinical practice orientation over several weeks to make sure you have the knowledge and tools needed to practice competently in the particular hospital environment.”

Find your next nursing job

When you're ready to get back into the field, embarking on a job search can feel like a monumental task—especially if you've been out of the workforce for a while. But don't let it make you sweat. Could you use some help taking the first steps? Join Monster for free todayAs a member, you can upload up to five versions of your resume—each tailored to the types of nursing jobs that interest you. Recruiters search Monster every day looking to fill top jobs with qualified candidates, just like you. Additionally, you can get job alerts sent directly to your inbox to cut down on time spent looking through ads. You've shown your commitment to nursing, and Monster is here to help you reinvigorate your career.