Nursing Student worried about job placement

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    Hello, new to the site and the profession, just finishing fundamentals 2 and going to my first clinicals. Male nurse here worried about job placement upon graduation. Yes I know, worry about graduating and licensure then the job but I can't help but be concerned with the large influx of new nurses into the workforce. My plans are ICU then on to CRNA school. My question is, how hard is it to get and ICU position fresh out of nursing school? Will writing letters to hospital directors with my intent to apply upon graduation help? Any help is appreciated.
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    Depends on the job market in your area, but you can be proactive about it! If possible, try getting a job in either the icu or float pool to gain exposure into the critical care world. Build up your reference base for your resume from day one. Take an cardiac monitoring class would help strengthen your knowledge in rhythms. My current job in the icu requires that am I am very thankful for it! I don't recommend taking ACLS before graduation as your employer will pay for your class and you really need more exposure in CC to understand the algorithms beforehand. Also, if your program has a senior practicum, try to do your practicum in the unit of your choice during dayshift. That way, you get a sense of what the unit is like and the nurse manager can see first hand your skills, willingness to learn, and how well you help out your fellow coworkers. It doesn't hurt to have your cover letter and resume ready at hand to give to the nurse manager. Be prepare for an impromptu interview if the manager has time to interview. I am only days away from graduation and already accepted a job offer weeks before graduation in an ICU. I also have work experience as a cna and NT and worked in all areas (except ER, peds, L&D) of the hospital.
    Esme12 likes this.
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    Quote from eacue
    Hello, new to the site and the profession, just finishing fundamentals 2 and going to my first clinicals. Male nurse here worried about job placement upon graduation. Yes I know, worry about graduating and licensure then the job but I can't help but be concerned with the large influx of new nurses into the workforce. My plans are ICU then on to CRNA school. My question is, how hard is it to get and ICU position fresh out of nursing school? Will writing letters to hospital directors with my intent to apply upon graduation help? Any help is appreciated.
    First off slow down. I like to get things done quickly but you need to go slow. It is difficult to get a job in ICU fresh out. I personally would try to go into step down (which is what I did) and them transfer to ICU in six months. There are plenty of ICU jobs and many nurses cannot handle the ICU because the ICU is a different place and scary for someone who is inexperienced. Have your goals in mind and keep them to yourself. Especially don't tell everyone you want to be a CRNA. You will make people upset and they will not want to hire you because they will spend a lot of money training you and then you will leave in a year. Go slow and enjoy it, learn as much as you can, and apply to ICU and step down when you graduate. Once you have 6-12 months you will be ready for ICU which will bring you one step closer to your goal.
    Esme12 likes this.
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    It is definitely possible to be hired in the ICU after graduation. I have been and I start right after I pass the boards! Just waiting on my authorization to test... I say that if it's what you want, go for it! I don't think a letter would do anything for you, really. The best thing you could possibly do is to work in the ICU you want to get hired in as a CNA/PCT beforehand. If you can't get outright hired as a CNA, try for an externship in critical care the summer before your senior year and stay on as a CNA, transferring departments to get to where you want to end up if you don't get your first choice location for the externship. That way, you know the managers and they know you, making it more likely for you to get a job. When it comes time to do your senior practicum, do that in critical care as well if possible. My panel interview for the critical care residency I was hired for involved the interviewers asking things related to critical care to briefly assess what I knew and where my thinking skills were, such as what is the significance of X pulmonary artery wedge pressure and those kinds of things. I disagree with the worry about graduation/licensure and then the job advice that you've received; obviously if I'd never worried about learning stuff related to critical care, which is not necessarily covered on the NCLEX as deeply, I may have bombed that interview because I would have had no idea what they were talking about. My senior practicum in a MSICU was invaluable for teaching me the information that I needed to succeed in the interview.

    The job market is brutal right now and you need to start looking early. I recommend that in January/February of your senior year you should start looking for and applying to jobs. A lot of hospitals have new grad residencies and a lot of those programs close applications in March/April or earlier, so waiting for graduation would be way too late. A local hospital where I am opened applications in mid-February and the posting was gone within five days because of the huge number of applicants, so you really can't apply too early for these things. Find out what day the postings go up and make applying to that job your project for that day so you don't miss any opportunities. I hope this is helpful.
    Esme12 and Pavolga like this.
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    Hey there! I'm a fairly recent BSN grad with about a year of experience on an awesome Cardiothoracic ICU, a job I was offered a few months before graduating from my BSN program. Please don't let people discourage you from trying to work in the ICU as a new grad. Although it is extremely intimidating and terrifying (for a while, mind you) it IS possible. Depending on where you live (I'm in the South) it may be much harder to find an ICU job as a new grad. I know about 6 girls who moved to my area from up North to work on my unit as new grads because they wanted ICU jobs, so maybe consider moving for a great job. My advice is start trying to get relevant experience early. If your program does a capstone/preceptorship try to get it on an ICU, get a job as a CNA on an ICU if you can, and start applying as soon as the applications become available, especially for hospitals with very competitive new grad programs. Also, look into the orientation process once you get interviews (how long is it, how many extra classes will you take, how quickly do they plan to train you on devices if that's applicable) and ask how many new grads they plan on hiring. I know it's a crazy process but enjoy nursing school, because as a new grad on an ICU you'll probably miss it. Also, if you get a job on an ICU be prepared to kind of hate your life for a little while; many people won't like that you're a new grad and nurses eat their young, plus it's just plain terrifying sometimes. Eventually people will come around, you'll learn, and things will settle out.
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    Eacue - can you state, with true meaning and clarity, why you want to be a CRNA? Do you truly want to be a nurse?

    That aside, writing letters to hospital administrators or HR reps sounds kind of silly to me. If you truly want to be a nurse (see above) then get a nursing aide license and work the floors for a year while you're in school. Hate it? then drop out of your nursing program and go pre-med. Let your resume speak for you, not a letter. CNA experience, excellent grades, and bedside manner will get you in the door to a new grad program. Also - don't do ICU as a new grad. You need RN experience before you can handle a vented, sedated pt who is probably on two high alert drips with family in the waiting room who are asking for their loved-one's nurse. are you prepared to answer them?
    Last edit by MissM.RN on May 18, '13 : Reason: spelling
    Esme12 likes this.
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    First off, congrats on choosing nursing and finding your desired path!
    I'd say the best way to get into an ICU is to find a nurse internship for the ICU. If you feel that is hard to come by, I would say working as a tech would help you. My niece just graduated nursing school and she worked as a tech to gain experience needed and she landed herself a job in the ICU! I think it is all about how aggressive you are is how you will find a job. One does not simply apply online and hope for a phone call these days. Best of Luck!


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