resume writers

Too Old To Return To Nursing? Says Who?

Nursing_olderBeen out of the nursing field a while or think you are too old to go back to work?


By Early Gardner, RN

I worked as a nurse generalist for 37 years before retiring from nursing. My grandmother was a community health nurse in the early 1900. I followed her into nursing in 1959. I chose a diploma school of nursing; she trained by being a mom of nine and by local doctors. I come from pioneer stock and “you can’t do that” is something I never accepted in life or my career.

In 2o03 my brother and mother died of GI cancer 5 months apart, and my father died six days before my mother. I went through a horrible period of grief and depression for a few years. Just when I was feeling better and ready to return to work, I got Lyme disease, fainted, and had a farm accident that resulted in a shattered jaw and some short-term memory loss. So I thought, “there goes the career and returning to nursing.” I dipped into a deeper depression. Understand that I started as a nurse when I was 17, was an RN by 20, so a lot of my identify was tied up in being a nurse.

My health improved and in the summer of 2010, I went to visit some friends in the Albuquerque area. After being there for a month, on the Isleta Pueblo, I drove to Gallup and on a whim and decided to visit the Indian Health PHN Hospital.   Just walking through those familiar doors of a hospital made my heart beat faster.

So, I decided to be brave, take a chance, and apply for a job in Gallop. It was on my last interview that I found the perfect job for me with Indian Health Services, but I needed a resume!

{Let me tell you about Indian Health Services. They have great benefits,  many have government housing that is inexpensive, and the salary is competitive with other states and hospitals as well as Hospice and Community health nursing Check out They sometimes run 40% vacancies in nursing and lose millions of dollars a year having to hire contract nurses.}

Getting the resume prepared


I was guided by serendipity and found Rosa Vargas (certified resume writer) to help me. I wrote her a long rambling letter about my almost 40 years of nursing. I then called, spoke with her, and knew I had a match! Process was painless with great results!

As most of you know, we all write in shorthand in charting and really have to work hard to get a resume together succinctly. I expressed my concern about the years out of official employment, and how to put all the information down on a few pages. Rosa reassured me, “the more information you give me the better your resume will be when we condense it,” she said.

We finished the resume and cover letter well in time for me to send them out. I was so excited, almost dancing! I am finally going back to work at current age 66! Being on social security and Medicare, I realized how little income SS really is when you are used to making a working wage. But, I was ready now with a resume I could be confident with. I sent out my resume…and got responses!

I am telling you this tale of woe with the great ending to say, you can do it! Be it 10 years, or only two since you have last worked. There are refresher courses if you want to do acute nursing. You will be surprised how fast it comes back.

Personally, I love hospice. I joined the HPNA, and have been studying to take the certification exam for several weeks. I included that in my resume!

Ultimately, I have applied for the job I love with a great resume and cover letter, and am currently in the interview process. In addition, I have been contacted by other facilities; it is great to know I have options.


I did it ladies and gents; so can you!


Early Gardner, RN

Hospice and Palliative Nurse



Rosa Elizabeth, CMRW
Rosa Elizabeth Vargas is a uniquely credentialed executive resume writer with four of the Career Industry’s Top Resume Writing Certifications. She also offers a robust corporate background, blending hiring management accountabilities and HR.