So I wanted to give you guys some tips on how to land a job after nursing school! The beauty of Nursing is its versatility. Nursing has so many different facets to it; You could be a school’s Nurse or a clinical professor, you could work in a clinic, or do research. The options are limitless, except when you are a new grad. Unfortunately, because most nursing jobs require a year or two of experience, it might seem a little difficult or overwhelming to find a job as a new graduate. After months of job hunting, and so many rejections later I learned a thing or two here are some of the most helpful tips I have found & applied.
7 TIPS TO HELP YOU LAND YOUR FIRST NURSING JOB.
- FIND YOUR NICHE: What are you passionate about? What area of Nursing peaks your interest? Like I said in the beginning Nursing is a very versatile field. Finding your Niche or passion makes job searching a little easier. Knowing what areas of Nursing peaks your interest would help you create a career goal. So, say for example your goal is to become a flight Nurse: to attain that goal you would first need to have at least 2-3 years of critical care experience (ICU, & ER), so you can start your hunt looking for jobs in the critical care field. Understandably it might take time, and experience to find what you are passionate about. Some people know even before starting Nursing school exactly what they want to do, and if you are anything like me I figured out what I wanted to do my very last semester in Nursing school, and some people figure things out while they are on the job, and that is okay too. However, if you already know what you are passionate about, use that to your advantage, and create strategies that would help you attain your goals while you are on the hunt.
- START EARLY: It is never too early to start job hunting or at least looking to see what kind of jobs are out there for you. I started seriously searching toward the end of February, even though I graduated in May. Most hospitals offer new graduate nurse opportunities, and since graduation usually falls in December, and May, hospitals are more inclined to put up job positions and start interviewing a couple of months in advance.
- APPLY TO NURSE RESIDENCY OR INTERNSHIP PROGRAMS: Many hospitals now offer residency or internship programs for Nurses in different clinical areas (labor, and delivery nurse residency program, or critical care nurse residency programs). These programs aim at helping the new nurse transition smoothly into bedside Nursing, or they help a Nurse transition from one area of nursing into another (e.g., a medical, surgical nurse transitioning into the critical care field.) The program aids transitioning by providing mentor-ship, longer teaching, and orientation periods, more advanced, and comprehensive education tailored to that specific area. In my opinion, and from my experience every new graduate should start out in a residency, and or internship program. They provide support for the New graduate nurse for about a year. I have not found a major difference between, internships, and residency programs. They offer the same benefits, and support. I have found that the internship programs in most facilities are usually a little longer, and slightly more intense. Depending on the area you reside getting into an internship or residency program can be slightly competitive, it is advisable to start looking, and applying early.
- CREATE AN IMPRESSIVE RESUME: A resume should be short, and sweet, highlighting your strongest assets. When creating a Nursing resume as a new graduate, be sure to include clinical experiences, externships, or shadow experiences, nurse technician experiences if any.
- NETWORK, AND MARKET YOURSELF: You are your best advocate and hype man. A handful of my classmates got job offers while still in school, and during their clinical experience. If you find yourself in a facility, an area that you are interested in during your clinical rotation, find the manager and discuss job opportunities available. Be on your very best behavior, ask questions, find an opportunity or an area of need, and offer to help, do things that would distinguish you from your peers.
- GET A GRADUATE NURSE PERMIT: Unfortunately, I do not know the laws of Nursing in all 50 states. However, I know some states let you practice with a graduate nurse permit. “GN permits are issued for first time RN Candidates for temporary authorization to practice as a graduate nurse, under the direct supervision of a registered nurse.” To obtain a GN Permit, you have to be a graduate of an accredited Nursing school obviously and turn in all the necessary paperwork to your board of Nursing, e.g., background check, transcript, letter from the dean. (These are things you should have already sent to the board, to get approval to register for the NCLEX, so you do not have to send it in again). Some facilities let you work with GN Permit with a time frame for you to take the NCLEX.
- TAKE THE NCLEX AS SOON AS POSSIBLE: Studies show that the sooner you take the Nclex after graduation, the greater your chances are of passing it on the first try. Give yourself about a month of studying, and then take it. Managers are more inclined to higher you if they know you plan on taking your Nclex as soon as you get the chance.
I hope these tips help you guys!
-Nurse Chi Chi