Balancing Motherhood and Nursing: Resume Strategies for Returning Nurses

by Guest Author, Miles Oliver

People leave the nursing profession for all kinds of reasons. Whether you were trying your hand at a new career, taking maternity leave, dedicating time to your family, or simply recovering from years of burnout, the thought of re-entering the workforce is probably a bit daunting. We hope you rested well and achieved your goals during this period, and want to assure you that, despite the distance you’ve put behind your old career, you are still very much valued and needed.

You likely know that healthcare organizations are struggling from a severe staffing shortage, which makes your experience highly sought-after. But knowing how to maximize the efficacy of your application efforts may help you elevate yourself to a higher position than you previously occupied.

And after all, isn’t that the point? Especially if you left the profession due to burnout, but you’re considering returning to nursing as a second career, you want to re-enter the workforce in a better space than you were before. And if you’re a new mother, work-life balance is an extremely important thing to achieve – something that the nature of a position in nursing sometimes makes difficult.

In this article, we’ll walk you through how to re-enter the workforce recharged and set up for as balanced a life as possible.

Embracing Self-Care

Cardinal rule number 1: you can’t pour from an empty glass. Nurses who have suffered from burnout know that when you push yourself beyond your limits, you eventually crash; and that’s not good for your personal health, let alone your job satisfaction. Finding a way to attain and maintain inner balance while you deal with fast-paced hospital environments is therefore paramount if you want your new job to be sustainable.

Here are a few self-care tips you can use as a working mom to make sure you’re able to avoid burnout:

  • Know when to step back, or when you’re at your limit
  • Know the methods that work best when attempting to recharge
  • Communicate your needs to your company, and make sure they’re taken into account as
    much as possible
  • Allow yourself time to spend on your appearance, as that boosts self-confidence
  • Set aside a journal that you use regularly to communicate your inner thoughts
  • Take up a hobby that involves outdoor activity
  • Try meditation and yoga techniques, or keep up with an exercise routine
  • Join a support group dedicated to women in nursing

It’s also important that you find space to just breathe at work. We know that hospital environments can be both stressful and busy; take a minute or two if you start to feel overwhelmed, go to a safe space, and practice a brief meditation or mindfulness technique. Center yourself before heading back out into the mess, and you’ll find stress has less staying power than you might have thought.

Resume and Application Strategies

As a former nurse, you have a leg up on most other candidates from the jump. But if you want to apply for a higher position, or even negotiate conditions that will allow you to achieve work-life balance in your former job, your resume and applications need to be on point.

Let’s briefly discuss some resume and application strategies for returning nurses like you:

  • Make your objective statement as clear (yet thorough) as possible. A good objective statement is what separates the wheat from the chaff, and also is an opportunity to communicate experience, goals, and soft skills right from the start.
  • Emphasize your value. Leverage your experience! The nursing field has a wide variety of opportunities for advancement, so don’t undersell yourself. You may be able to leverage the skills you’ve developed from your background into a higher starting position than normal.
  • Elaborate on your soft skills. As a mother and as a nurse, you’ve developed a variety of useful soft skills that, again, other candidates just don’t have. Nurses like you have skills like agile communication, intercultural competence, emotional intelligence, and the ability to shift priorities rapidly. Advertise them, and prepare for interview questions that ask how you’ve demonstrated these skills in the past.
  • Tell them about yourself. Your prior experience as both a mother and a nurse is relevant, as it helped you develop resilience, compassionate communication, and other unique qualifications. Don’t be afraid to leverage those, and let your employer get to know you before you walk through the door.

A well-constructed resume can make all the difference to a future employer, helping you stand out from a large pool of applicants and positioning you for a higher-seniority role.

Finding Work-Life Balance

As you re-enter the workforce, keep a pulse on how you’re feeling. If you need to scale back your role to accommodate your family, do so; they’re most important, after all. Similarly, prioritize your own physical and mental health, as you can’t take care of others if you aren’t taking care of yourself.

We hope that this primer provided valuable insights that will help you seamlessly re-enter the nursing workforce, and achieve a degree of satisfaction in your new role.

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About the author: Miles Oliver is a freelance contributor whose writing focuses on professional development. You can reach him at

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