For many experienced nurses, a lifelong career in the industry may come with some interruptions along the way.

Nurses may choose to take time off for a number of reasons, including:

  • Maternity or paternity leave
  • Other family care responsibilities (eg, ageing parents)
  • A negative experience/feeling of burnout from a previous role
  • Financial hardships
  • To pursue another career path or start a business

With many nurses choosing to take time off to raise families, the challenge of re-entering the nursing profession is one experienced by many.

Unlike in other professions, where re-entering the workforce may be as simple as dusting off your favourite suit jacket and polishing your CV, it’s often much harder for nurses.

If you’ve been out of the profession for some time, it can be difficult to get your nursing registration reinstated. Provisional registrations may be granted, but these often come with onerous reporting liabilities that make them unattractive to potential employers.

Many consider post-graduate study as an option, with universities including Central Queensland University (CQU) offering Graduate Certificates designed to get your skill-set back up to speed.

If you’re a nurse considering further study to help you re-enter the workforce, we’ve put together a few tips to consider below.

Is studying to re-enter nursing the right choice for me?

Choosing to re-enter the workforce after time out can be a challenging decision for a registered nurse.

Whether or not you choose to study will come down to your personal situation and the type of roles you’re looking to apply for, but there’s little doubt it will leave you far more able to re-instate your professional registration and re-enter the workforce smoothly.

However, it’s not always as easy to study as it may have been at the age of 18. As we age, we tend to pick up responsibilities and obligations along the way, meaning studying again can be a much harder ask as we get older.

How can I juggle more study with my other commitments?

One of the biggest barriers for registered nurses looking to complete post-grad studies to re-enter the workforce is juggling it with their other commitments and financial responsibilities.

Nurses who may have taken time off work to be the primary caretaker of children report finding it difficult to make the switch back into study mode.

Many find it difficult to manage the additional financial commitments of studying – both the cost of the course itself and time away from any other work commitments.

One of the biggest challenges many nurses have reported is travelling to take up placements in other areas, which are generally a pre-requisite of post-graduate training.

What help is available if I want to study to re-enter the nursing profession?

If you’re keen to re-enter the nursing profession and have decided post-graduate study is the best option for you, there is help available.

HealthX developed the HealthX Rural Nursing Scholarship to help tackle the problem of equipping nurses to re-enter the workplace.

This scholarship provides recognition and financial assistance to students studying a Graduate Certificate in Nursing (Re-Entry) at Central Queensland University (CQU).

The scholarship, which is now in its third year, provides $5,000 to one recipient to help him or her juggle the responsibilities of study with the rest of their lives. This money can be used to help cover the expenses of travelling, accommodation or babysitting to take up practical placements in other locations.

The intention of the scholarship is to support an experienced nurse to requalify so that they can bring their nursing experience to the regional communities they live in.

This aligns with HealthX’s commitment to building long-term nursing capacity in Australia’s regional and remote communities.

This scholarship is open for application now and we encourage applicants who think it would help ease the transition back into study and, ultimately, the workforce.

If you’re interested in talking more about the scholarship, or other opportunities for re-entering the workforce after time out, please contact our team to discuss your options.