When applying for a new position in your nursing field, you know recruiters will be reviewing your resume, including your employment history. Should there be a few unemployment gaps when you opted to do something other than pursue your nursing career, your recruiter may have some questions for you. Explaining the unemployment gap in your work history is only the beginning. If you’ve been out of the field for even a short while, you’ll need to bone-up on many of the skills required in the nursing field today.
There are many reasons why you have some unemployment gaps in your resume. The reason recruiters hear most often from nurses seeking employment is that they put their careers on pause in order to raise children or care for an aging parent. Most recruiters will see these reasons as a testimony to your integrity and won’t hold your unemployment gap against you.
Learn New Skills to Mend Unemployment Gap
Even though your unemployment gap was justifiably noble, you will still be lacking in certain skills which are essential job requirements. Technology moves at sap speed these days and if you’ve been out of the loop for a few years-or more-you may need to be brought up to speed in order to perform your duties as a nurse.
Because most employment opportunities are with healthcare facilities that cannot afford to send you back to school for a refresher course, or use valuable patient care time to provide you the training necessary to bring you up to speed, mentors are typically assigned to get you up and running. While everyone needs mentoring at some point in their career, the “newbies” need it the most.
- Getting The Most From Your Mentor
If you’re re-entering the healthcare field after a few years of unemployment gap, you will greatly benefit from having a nurse mentor. Mentors are different from preceptors and should be seen as less a “teacher” and more a trusted advisor. Your mentor is someone who will guide you and stand by your side, ready to answer any questions or concerns you may have. The influence and support of your mentor is priceless and will go a long way toward excelling you on your career re-entry. Here are some tips to help you maximize your experience as a mentee:
- Seek a Mentor in the Area in Which You Want to Grow
If you’re not yet employed, but seeking to get back into nursing after an unemployment gap, find someone in your community who may be able to offer some guidance in the field you choose to pursue. Nurses are a very nurturing group of individuals. That sense of caring, teaching, and offering guidance doesn’t stop at the patients’ bedside. You may be surprised by how much help is offered once you put out the word that you’re seeking a mentor. And the networking will serve you well in your future career endeavors.
- Check Your Ego at the Door
You’ll never gain from being a mentee if you can’t practice humility. You don’t know everything so don’t try to prove that you do. Lifelong learners never let their egos get in the way. Medicine always has something new to teach and technology evolves by the minute, so keep your ego in check.
- Be Willing to Accept Their Advice
Being offered advice doesn’t mean anyone sees you as inept. Be open to changing certain behaviors in order to improve your performance.
- Ask Questions
Never be afraid to ask questions, even if you consider them foolish. Should you need clarification or direction, ask, no matter what.
- Check In With Your Progress
Ask your mentor for updates on your progress at regular intervals. Your unemployment gap may have you feeling a little unsure about what you’re doing. Frequent progress reports will help you stay on track. If you’re seeking brand new knowledge ask your mentor for some suggestions.
- Do Your Homework
Ask your mentor for recommendations for publications and websites that will help you on your way to learning and developing new skills. Seek out information on current healthcare trends that impact your field and specialty. Broaden your understanding of those events which have an effect on healthcare. This type of “homework” will help you fall back into the loop, even if your unemployment gap is a wide one.
- Show Your Appreciation
Always show your mentor how much you appreciate the time he or she is taking to help you. Treat your mentor to lunch, surprise him or her with a gift card to their favorite coffee house, or simply offer a kindness now and again. Your appreciation means everything to your mentor.
Ultimately, the knowledge you gain from a mentorship program is just as valuable as your diploma. Remember to pay it forward and become a mentor when you have the opportunity. The great nurses of tomorrow depend on the mentors of today.