Returning to nursing after a career break: Elements of successful re-entry

Janet Long*, Sandra West

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The well reported shortage of registered nurses (RNs) means recruitment of RNs not currently in the nursing workforce is an option. Nurses re-entering the nursing workforce are widely considered to be valuable staff members across many health care settings, bringing maturity, life experience and enthusiasm to their work. Objective: To survey the literature to identify the special needs of the re-entry RN and suggest elements of a successful re-entry recruitment, training and retention policy. Conclusions: The typical re-entry RN is a 40 year old female with school-aged children. She may be unaware of re-entry opportunities in her area. She wants family friendly shifts and an acknowledgment of family responsibilities; a paid, on-the-job refresher course that is relevant and that guarantees future employment; as well as ongoing support to help overcome anxiety and loss of confidence. Positive support from existing staff is crucial.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-55
Number of pages7
JournalAustralian Journal of Advanced Nursing
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Career break
  • Re-entry
  • Recruitment
  • Refresher
  • Retention


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