Refresher Programs Help Nurses Return To Work

By: Linda Childers

Are you ready to return to nursing after some time away, but feel you need to brush up on your skills before treating patients again? Many registered nurses (RNs) and licensed practical nurses (LPNs) are finding the education and support they need to reenter nursing by enrolling in a refresher program.

Offered through colleges and hospitals, nurse refresher programs are designed for RNs and LPNs who have been out of the field for at least three years. Whether your current nursing license is inactive or lapsed, your state board of nursing requires you to take a nurse refresher course to return to active status.

“There tends to be a lot of anxiety among nurses reentering the field,” says Scott Gross, director of Science Technology and Professional Programs at Cal State San Marcos Extended Studies, which offers a 10-week RN refresher program. “They are returning to a different world where many of their duties, such as dispensing medications and charting, are now computerized.”

For Sue Kuhns, who had been out of nursing for 14 years, the San Marcos refresher program, which combines classroom instruction with a clinical practicum, was a chance to renew her skills and reconnect with other nurses.

“We went through the program in a cohort group and supported each other every step of the way,” says Kuhns, who worked as a nurse for 11 years before taking time off to raise her children.

The San Marcos program costs $2,399. Gross says the college and a local hospital are working out an agreement whereby the hospital will cover half the program expenses of students who accept jobs at the hospital. Students now meet tuition costs by taking out student loans or by using tuition reimbursement offered by their current employers. Other students use signing bonuses to recoup tuition costs.

Home Study

Michigan State University (MSU) is one college that allows students to take RN refresher courses from home, as does the University of Delaware and South Carolina’s Beaufort Memorial Hospital, which offers a four-month online refresher course for both RNs and LPNs.

“Our online program attracts nurses from all across the world,” says Katie Kessler, RN, MSN, APRN, BC, who coordinates the MSU program. “Since our program is ongoing, students can enroll at any time and complete the program at their own pace.”

Kessler says that while some students have completed the program in five to six weeks, most take three to six months to finish since they often juggle coursework with work and family responsibilities.

MSU’s program features 15 online course modules that help prepare students to identify the professional roles, responsibilities and assessment skills needed to return to nursing. The entire program is $800 plus the cost of textbooks.

The university offers a 24-hour support line for students with technical or academic questions, and Kessler helps students secure a clinical assignment in their hometowns where they work with a nurse preceptor.

“Many of our nurses begin working in the hospitals where they have done their clinical assignment,” Kessler says. “It’s a win-win situation for both the nurses and the hospitals.”

Refreshers as Recruitment Tools

Like other medical centers across the country, Maui Memorial Medical Center uses a refresher program to help recruit and retain RNs and LPNs. The weeklong program, which was open to any nurse in the area, included training in wound care, respiratory and vascular therapies, infection control, pain management, dialysis patient care and documentation.

“The medical part of nursing stays the same but the equipment, medications and therapies change every couple of years,” says Marianne Vasquez, RN, BSN, MEd, CDE, the facility’s clinical education coordinator.

As part of the program, the hospital set up various skill stations where nurses learned how to use new equipment. Vasquez says nurses gave the program, which cost $300 to attend, such high marks that the hospital is planning to offer the training again next year.

Ready for a Refresh?

Here are some tips for finding a nurse refresher program:

• Check with local nursing association chapters and your state board of nursing. As a state government agency, the board of nursing regulates the state’s Nurse Practice Act, determines the requirements necessary to maintain active status and approves nurse refresher courses.
• Contact state and community colleges.
• Call area hospitals to see if they offer or can recommend a refresher program.

Nursing Articles & Information.
About the Author:

.


This Article is Brought to you by:


Nursing Related Articles:

Where Are The Best Nursing jobs?

As a new grad, the best thing you could do for yourself to form yourself a well-rounded foundation of practice is to work in a hospital in a medical / surgical setting. This will give you the most well variety of experienc...

By: NurseGuides.com

Finding A Nursing Specialty

There are dozens of different specialties that one can choose from when they have chosen the career of a nu...

By: NurseGuides.com

What Nurses Need to Know about PDA's

Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) provide nurses with portable access to extensive reference materials as well as other organizational and time saving benefits. Although many nurses have adopted PDA technology, many nurse...

By: Collen Davenport, RN

Updated Nursing Related News:

Changes to trainee doctor rotations are needed to improve patient safety and ...

The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges has published proposals to end the so-called 'black Wednesday' phenomenon - the day in August every year when medical trainees across the UK move to a new post...


Experts call for higher exam pass marks to close performance gap between inte...

The pass mark for a two-part test that international medical graduates must pass to work as a doctor in the UK should be raised to reduce differences in performance between international and UK...


Commission suggests improvements to cancer care in China, India and Russia

The Lancet Oncology publish the findings of a special commission formed to analyze the quality of cancer care in three large countries that present major health care challenges.



Website Friends: