Retired Nurses Returning to Work: Insights, Tips, & Support 987839088534212 [9:30 AM] Katie Iglewski

You were stressed, feeling burnt out, overworked, undervalued, and tired. It was time to retire.

So you thought.

Now you’re on the other side and realizing that the grass isn’t really greener. You still have debt to pay off, costs of living are skyrocketing, and you feel as if you’ve lost your purpose.

It’s time to return to work. But as a retired nurse, you’re nervous about making the transition back into the field.

Learn the benefits of pursuing a travel nurse career as a retired nurse, tips to get started, and how working with the right agency can help.


Table of Contents



Why Might a Retired Nurse Return to the Workforce?

Did you know that around 12% of the retired workforce plans to return to work in 2024?

This includes nurses. According to surveys, the top reasons people are returning to work following retirement are:

  • Inflation (61%)
  • They were unprepared for retirement (34%)
  • They need money to help with debt (34%)
  • To keep busy (34%)

Why have so many nurses left the workforce to begin with? There are many common reasons, including:

  • Burnout – A 2023 study found that over half of nurses were experiencing burnout due to long shifts, constant pressure, and lack of support.
  • Poor leadership – With many experienced nurses and healthcare workers leaving the profession because of subpar and stressful working conditions, newer and inexperienced nurses are pulled to fill that void. The lack of leadership affects nurses who benefit from expertise.
  • Feeling undervalued – To retain valued workers as an employer, you must show them that they’re valued. This happens by accommodating them, listening to their concerns, offering competitive salaries, offering flexible schedules and additional paid days off, etc. 

Despite these many valid reasons for nurses leaving the profession, they’ll likely return to work soon, especially if the U.S. nurses-returning-to-work trends are like the current ones in England.

With so many retired folks — nurses included — why are so many choosing to make their way back to the bedside? We’ll tell you.


retired nurses returning to work


More Personal Freedom 

Did you know that the divorce rate for nurses is 33%?

Although it’s a sad statistic, this combined with the fact that many retired nurses are, on average, in their late 50s and early 60s, means they likely have a lot of personal time on their hands. 

To some, this could mean ample opportunities to pick up a new hobby, travel the world, etc. But with inflation on the rise, the need for more money, and how unprepared many feel going into retirement, more personal freedom could be just what retired nurses need to jumpstart their nursing careers. 

With more freedom to re-pursue their career, retired nurses can return to their profession with invested vigor. Not only that, but they’ll have a community and sense of camaraderie they might be lacking as an older individual living alone.


Financial Security

Times are getting hard and the cost of living is skyrocketing. 

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, consumer prices rose 3.5% in one year from March 2023 to March 2024.

Not only do retired nurses need money to survive, but it might be nice to have an extra income to help pay the bills or cover expenses of especially rewarding things like:

  • Kids’ weddings, college, and grad school
  • Padding up the retirement fund
  • Saving for a once-in-a-lifetime vacation

As a travel nurse, you could earn an average of $2,091 per week taking assignments across the country. Wouldn’t it be nice to have this extra cash in your pocket? Trusted Nurse Staffing can help.


A Sense of “Unfinished Business”

With a high-stress job, burnout, and long shifts, many nurses believe it’s time to leave the profession. 

But then they do, and they feel lost. 

The truth is that some nurses retire before they’re ready. Initially, they enjoy the stress-free days, having more time to themselves, and feeling like they have their low-stress life back, but they miss the job.

The fast-paced environment of nursing is like no other. The fellowship and camaraderie of successfully crushing a particularly hard day with your team is difficult to find elsewhere. The sense of purpose you get from saving lives isn’t something you’ll experience day-to-day otherwise. 

If the pros outweigh the cons, you might be realizing it’s time to head back.


Travel Opportunities

If you can afford to, traveling is one of the most desired aspects of retirement.

But inflation is on the rise, remember?

Returning to work as a travel nurse makes traveling after you’re retired an option. Trusted Nurse Staffing helps nurses find contracts that fit their lifestyle and needs. 

Do you only want to work a few contracts a year? Great. 

Do you have a desired location you’d like to go to? We can get you there. 

Do you only want shorter contracts? We’ll help you find them. 

Check out Pronto today for available travel nursing jobs nearly anywhere across the country.


retired nurses returning to work


5 Tips for Retired Nurses Returning to Work


#1: Research What Re-Entry Requires

Unfortunately, nurses can’t just jump back into working if their license has lapsed. Each state has its requirements, so do your research to know what renewal entails. Some states require a certain amount of continuing education or hours practiced, certifications, and more. 

Working on an expired, delinquent, lapsed, invalid, etc. nursing license may result in:

  • Hefty fines
  • Restitution
  • Criminal charges
  • Probation


License Reactivation

To re-enter the nursing field after retirement, you’ll need to renew or reinstate your nursing license. The fees for renewing or reinstating a lapsed license may vary from state to state. 

Use our state licensure guide to gain a better understanding of what license reactivation requires in your state.


Continued Education Requirements 

As mentioned, continuing education (CE) might be required to reinstate your license. This varies for each state. 

For example, the following states have no CE requirements: 

  • Arizona
  • Connecticut
  • Indiana
  • Maine
  • Wisconsin

Other states have a few simple CE requirements to meet, like:

  • Alabama
  • California
  • Kansas
  • Massachusetts
  • New York
  • Ohio

And some have specific and extensive CE requirements, like:

  • Alaska
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Iowa
  • Kentucky 
  • North Carolina


Updating Your Skills

Staying up-to-date on skills and certifications is always important and can give you a leg-up in securing a contract as a travel nurse. 

You may want to consider updating your certifications like Basic Life Support (BLS), nursing refresher course, and other certifications you may have held or that may help you find a good job. 

If you’re not sure where to start with this, your recruiter at Trusted Nurse Staffing can help.


retired nurses returning to work


#2: Consider Which Position Would Suit You Most

Take some time to compile a list of nursing positions that would fit your wants and needs after re-emerging from retirement. Consider your physical abilities and restrictions during this process. This could help narrow down what positions and organizations to apply for.

You might consider things like:

  • A bedside vs. a clinical nursing position
  • Working weekends and/or overnight shifts
  • What excites you the most about nursing
  • Possible challenges with returning to specific positions
  • Ways to overcome challenges
  • Your preferred healthcare setting (doctor’s offices or clinic vs. hospital)
  • Skills and certifications you have vs. what might be required


#3: Update Your Resume

If you were a nurse who worked in the same unit and hospital for most of your career, you may have not updated your nursing resume in the past decade or so. This will call for a resume refresher before dipping your feet back into the nursing candidate pool.

Not only are you likely more experienced than you were when you last used your resume to apply for a nursing job, but resume requirements and formats have vastly evolved over the years. 

As an ex-retired nurse, consider these tips for revamping your resume:

  • Craft a compelling professional summary – You want to catch the attention of hiring managers right off the bat, so include a brief and focused statement that encompasses your qualifications, experience, and aspirations. 
  • Use relevant keywords and vocabulary – Scan the job description and include keywords used to help your resume stand out.
  • Highlight accomplishments – Rather than simply listing jobs you’ve had, talk about your achievements in each role.
  • Be concise – Prioritize your most pertinent and recent experiences while maintaining focus and relevance.
  • Highlight your skills and experience – Include a dedicated section to spotlight your nursing skills, clinical experience, technical proficiencies, and soft skills. 
  • Emphasize continuing education – This demonstrates your commitment to staying current in your field. Highlight your ongoing education, professional development courses, workshops, and self-study efforts in their own section.


#4: Try New Things

Have you ever thought about travel nursing, but it didn’t work out with your lifestyle at the time? Travel nursing allows you to reenter the workforce with flexibility. 

Do you want to just dip your toes back in before using that income to head off to the Bahamas? Try short-term travel nursing.

Were you used to the fast-paced environment of the ER but would like to experience a bit more laid-back specialty? Try your hand in other specialties like hospice or home health nursing.

There are many opportunities available to travel nurses that make the career a new, exciting, easy, and beneficial way to re-enter the nursing profession.


#5: Be Patient and Rely on a Support System

With how quickly the medical field advances, it doesn’t take long for things to change in the healthcare industry. These changes can make it both scary and difficult to re-emerge as a nurse who has been out of practice. Finding a job might even take some time. 

Relying on a good travel nurse recruitment company like Trusted Nurse Staffing to help you get your ducks in a row before returning to the pond can make a world of difference. 

Trusted Nurse Staffing recruiters are healthcare professionals who have been in the industry for a long time and have pretty much seen it all. From giving you additional support in finding a position that fits you to helping you navigate your first contract, our team is here for you every step of the way.

We offer support by:

  • Helping to customize your resume
  • Assisting with all pre-hire compliances
  • Helping find, negotiate, and extend contracts
  • Arranging phone interviews with hiring managers
  • And more

Ready to get started? Use Pronto to find available contracts.


retired nurses returning to work


Benefits of Pursuing Travel Nursing as a Retired Nurse

If you’re a retired nurse who feels called to return to healthcare, pursuing a career as a travel nurse can fill your cup while also proving to be beneficial.

Not only does travel nursing allow for flexibility and high incomes, but you become a part of a community, can network, see the world, and more.


Getting Paid To Travel

That’s one of the perks! Travel nursing is an attractive career because you’re getting paid to visit new places. At Trusted Nurse Staffing, our recruiters work hard to help find you contracts where you want to go.

Are you longing to lounge on a California beach? We can get you there. 

Maybe you’ve always wanted to visit the Grand Canyon. We’ll find you a contract nearby. 

Keep in mind that some cities and states offer higher travel nursing salaries than others. This is dependent on the specialty, demand, cost of living, and more. 


Flexible Scheduling

Travel nursing allows retired nurses to pick and choose contracts that fit their desired work schedule, duration, and timeline. 

As an older nurse returning to work, you might enjoy flexibility in your schedule for many reasons, like:

  • Giving your body a physical break
  • Visiting children and grandchildren
  • Taking part in family celebrations
  • Traveling


Delaying Social Security Benefits

By delaying the start of Social Security benefits, you may result in higher monthly payments when you begin to claim payments. 

Choosing to return to work to bridge the gap between retiring and claiming Social Security could offer you future benefits. 


Attractive Employee Benefits

Depending on who you use as your travel nursing agency, you can experience attractive employee benefits. This is the case with Trusted Nurse Staffing. Our list of benefits for our travel nurses is extensive and includes:

  • Customizable pay packages
  • 401(k) with a 4% match after 1,000 hours and 1 year of employment
  • $1,500 referral bonus program
  • Loyalty program
  • Employer-sponsored health insurance
  • Dental and vision insurance
  • Additional insurance benefits
  • Work flexibility
  • Student loan assistance program
  • And more


Creating a Newfound Sense of Purpose

In theory, retirement sounds great. Especially if you’re leaving a job that always leaves you feeling stressed, burnt out, overworked, underappreciated, and tired. 

However, sometimes the grass isn’t greener on the other side. 

After retirement, some nurses might be experiencing boredom and a lost sense of purpose that they once had while they were working.

Don’t let this be you. If you’re a retired nurse who is feeling the pull to get back into the field, Trusted Nurse Staffing makes it easier than ever to rediscover your purpose and find contracts that bring you joy.


Trusted Nurse Staffing: Return To Nursing by Joining Our Expansive Pool of Nursing Talent 

As a retired staff nurse with many years of experience, you’re itching to get back to the profession — but working full-time in a facility may not sound enticing to you anymore. 

There are many travel nursing opportunities available to retired nurses who were not quite ready to leave that can have you feeling fulfilled, free of the stresses of staff nursing, and flexible. 

Trusted Nurse Staffing is a travel nurse agency filled with experienced recruiters who want to help you make your return to nursing. Our team not only helps guide you through renewing your nursing license, but we also help refresh your resume, search for jobs, set up interviews, and send you on your way. 

With the many benefits available to our nurses paired with the advantages of returning to nursing as a travel nurse, working with Trusted Nurse Staffing is the right choice. Start your search on Pronto and touch base with a recruiter today.


retired nurses returning to work