Nurses: Should you work with an ex-employer?

Published On: Aug 1, 2019
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Returning to a previous employer was once seen as a career mistake, but that view is changing. As the healthcare industry evolves and the broader employment landscape changes, nurses will have unique opportunities to reach their career goals.

In the first half of 2019, the U.S. unemployment rate fell to a near 50-year low, giving job seekers more leverage as they look for new opportunities. If you're weighing your options between returning to a previous employer or finding a fresh opportunity, take some time to think about the available options.


Consider the reasons you had for leaving the first time


They say time heals all wounds, but nurses understand that real wounds require some assistance to heal properly. If you left an employer on bad terms, it's unlikely the situation there has improved very much. As time passes, it's easy to forget the bad and focus only on the good memories. However, you should be realistic about the reasons you had for leaving the first time.

For an objective perspective, ask your close friends and family what they would think if you returned to your previous employer. If you complained about the employer in the past, there's a good chance your friends will remember.

The skills and experience you've gained since leaving an employer should be reflected in your new compensation package.The skills and experience you've gained since leaving an employer should be reflected in your new compensation package.




Recognize that not everything will be the same


An organization is composed of many different people, and as time passes those people leave for other opportunities, retire or get promoted to higher positions. The organization you left is not the same one you will return to; this can be a net positive or negative, depending on how events have unfolded since your departure.

For instance, if an unpleasant manager has left the organization, you may have an easier time there; if they were promoted to a more senior position, working conditions may have deteriorated further. To better understand what you're getting into, reach out to coworkers who remained at the employer and ask for their honest opinions.


Plan to renegotiate your compensation


Since you last worked for your previous employer, you've likely gained new skills and experience. You should reasonably expect that these qualifications will translate to a better compensation package, whether that means a higher salary, better work schedule, more paid time off, or some other benefit.

If you do return to a previous employer, prepare to explain what you've learned since you left. Frame your experiences in such a way that the employer can clearly see how you've grown and developed as a professional. And don't hesitate to ask for compensation that reflects your new abilities.


Keep an open eye for better positions


According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the U.S. is expected to experience a shortage of nurses in the coming years. Citing data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, AACN reported that healthcare organizations will need to fill approximately 203,700 registered nursing positions every year between now and 2026.

In other words, nurses today have the power to decide what kind of employer they want to work for; their skills are in high demand, and the supply is low. You can take advantage of these circumstances by expanding your medical job search to include organizations across the country.

Sign up for free job alerts from myHealthTalent.com today to take the next step in your nursing career. As the healthcare industry evolves and the broader employment landscape changes, nurses will have unique opportunities to reach their career goals.