I think that every nurse I know has a story about jumping in to help during an emergency outside of the work setting. I’ve had several over the years, the most recent being this past summer while out with my kids. It was an evening out at the park, close to dinner time, so it wasn’t very crowded. Suddenly a young boy ran from the swings holding his head. His mom (or another caregiver – I’m not certain what the relationship was) was seated at the next bench, not very far from me. She started to scream and cry.

I could see the blood coming down the little boy’s neck and quickly ran over to help. Fortunately I had a towel in my bag since we had just come from the pool. As I approached, the mom/caregiver stepped away crying and fell into the arms of another woman who was there. I quickly assessed his head (it was a pretty big gash) and held pressure with the towel while lowering him to the ground where we sat and waited for emergency medical services (EMS) to arrive.

All the while, my own children were watching in fear. After the EMS team arrived and took over the boy’s care, which included a trip to our local emergency department, we collected our stuff and headed toward the car. I reassured them that the little boy would be okay and that he might just need some stitches. The conversation that ensued with my one son went something like this:

Me: “It’s a good thing there was a nurse around, huh?”

My son: “There was?”

Me (shocked): “Yes! Me!”

My son: “Oh yeah…I forgot you’re a nurse. You're more of a ‘typer’ than a nurse though, mom.”

The conversation went on a little longer, but I must say it was as if something just hit me right then. I’d recently been considering getting back to patient care, but hadn’t even begun to look into job opportunities or refresher courses in the area. This brings me to my reason for sharing this story…

I’ve been away from bedside nursing for more than 10 years and have a few questions for anyone else that took a similar “hiatus” and then returned to patient care.

1. What steps did you take to prepare for a return to bedside nursing?
2. Did you return to your prior place of employment or a similar unit, or did you start over in a new area or with a different patient population?
3. How easy or hard was it making the transition?

Please share your story! I look forward to any advice you may have for me!

Thank you J