I'd like to comment on "Barriers to Reentering Nursing" (Letters, December 2004). I started my nursing career in small rural hospitals, but I had trouble getting back into hospital nursing after working in long-term care since 1998. I applied for several hospital jobs but no one wanted to take a chance on me because I'd been "out of the setting" for too long.
After moving to Oregon, I got a job with a Portland hospital that has a program designed for nurses who want to return to the acute care setting. A returning nurse is assigned to a preceptor in the medical unit for 4 weeks and then in the surgical unit for 4 weeks. After this, she can apply for a job where she'd like to work.
This hospital has a terrific orientation program for new nurses, both returning nurses and new grads. It's a wonderful place to work-plus it has magnet status, which makes it even better. I'd recommend that anyone wanting to return to the acute care setting look for places that offer such opportunities.
Linda Hopkins, RN
I was dismayed to read the letter by Pam Feis about the barriers she faced as she tried to reenter nursing. Here in Illinois, I enjoyed a very hearty welcome when I returned to active hospital nursing in the critical care unit of a metropolitan hospital.
I have a weekend position, which fits my lifestyle perfectly-I can work and still have a family life. My hospital provided an extremely supportive orientation program in which I gradually took on more responsibilities under a preceptor's supervision. After 7 weeks of orientation, I had full responsibility for my patients, but everyone in the unit was still available for help and advice.
Please let Pam know that I returned to active nursing after not working as an RN for over 5 years without taking a refresher course. If she just keeps looking, I think she'll find the perfect hospital and the perfect unit.
Susan A. Kuzelka, RN, BS
Kankakee County, Ill.