Excel Grads getting jobs? Clinicals questions?

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    Okay, I graduated a few years back and hung on to my other profession due to financial and life reasons. Left that career and am in job search mode 100%. I've got a background different from most of you but all of you share my same dilemma in that only recently is the clinical mandate enforced in select areas. My questions...

    1) If you got hired from your Excelsior ADN what and how did you get around the "clinicals" questions? I've been called to some very good interviews but as soon as that generic question comes up all I hear is "crickets". My whole presentation/sales pitch on me comes to a screeching halt no matter how I try to explain the whole "Excelsior students are given credit for clinicals due to their healthcare background" which is albeit somewhat construed but never-the-less true.

    2) Do you personally feel trained and adequate in the things we got tested and passed on in the CPNE despite not necessarily doing those tasks in our prior careers? LVN, paramedic, EMT and even foreign med grads (In my case Chiropractor) don't necessarily do those tasks in our prior careers but we are smart enough to learn, figure it out and test out. That is hardly the answer I want to give in an interview but I'm running out of ideas other than embellishing. I know that a traditional new grad from a community college may have done these things on mannequins and walked around watching other nurses on clinicals but it pales in comparison to having to test on real patients and actually do various forms of patient care EVERYDAY on literally thousands of people in our past work.

    3) Is there a way to find other Excelsior grads in hopes of networking and applying to places that grads are already working and proving the point that our education is adequate? I'm a little peeved that the school doesn't selfishly keep us in an alumni form that we can actually network. For example, plain ol' ask us if we want to be published in an alumni guide that's accessible to students/alumni for networking purposes. It sure would be great to have someone talk to the hiring manager that has my same degree and vouch for it rather than explaining it over and over again to a blank stare.

    I know it's a tough market for jobs period, any job. And I do feel lucky to get the bites I've gotten with the big dogs BUT I'm coming up empty and it's partly due to this clinicals dilemma. I literally feel if I outright BS'd my way through it nobody would ever check and I would have gotten some offers but I didn't leave my past profession to BS anybody...I already had to do enough of that.

    Appreciate insight. Don't appreciate comments from non-excelsior people telling me what I already know...Excelsior sucks...blah, blah, blah. It doesn't suck and I've got the same license as everyone else but this damn clinicals thing...that I have no comeback to!!!
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  4. 8 Comments so far...

  5. 2
    I explain that the CPNE is a grueling, exacting clinical competency exam during which our every move is evaluated by Masters-prepared nurses, that this multi-day exam is to ensure that we can function safely as first-day new grads, and the exam consists of lab simulations as well as real-time patient care that spans the full spectrum -- careplanning, implementation, and evaluation. The reality is that every person admitted to EC is not a green, off-the-street person; we are healthcare providers of some type who have had clinicals in the past and are not new to patient assessment or patient care. I explain the admissions policy, which some people don't know about ... they think anyone can walk in and do the program, which is obviously incorrect.

    I can't really help with the rest of it ... I had a job in my ED before I even finished EC! I was very lucky, good timing and I worked hard to make myself a "keeper." I felt adequate, yes -- I had a number of years as a paramedic when I became and RN, and I was working in the same ED where I'd been a tech for 3.5 years. Even so, there was a learning curve -- not going to lie! Once I had time management and prioritization down, the rest was smooth. If I didn't know how to do something, I'd ask. I still learn new stuff all the time, even 4.5 years after starting to work as an RN. It never stops.
    ToothFairy(5) and natnat122 like this.
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    Its hard for me to answer your question. In my case I haven't found an LPN job yet but I currently got a job as a Mental health tech and it pays well and had a ton of OT, they said once I have my RN they will offer me a position. so unlike your case my job is already kind of in place, so I won't be asked those extra questions. best way to answer would be to let them know of your past experience and challenge your past experience with a green nurse coming out of a brick and mortar school. I would ask them would they hire a nurse who came from a school but couldn't pass nclex at the end of the day we all are sitting for the same exam.
  7. 0
    Okay, not an Excelsior grad yet (I am in their RN to BSN program though) but I helped my husband through the Excelsior ADN program. What I would add is that though I had traditional clinicals, there were many skills on my check-off sheet that never got done. So you as a former chiropractor probably have excellent patient assessment skills and patient rapport skills but you probably never inserted an IV on a patient. On graduation I had minimal patient assessment skills, poor patient rapport, had inserted an IV (one only), but had never sunk an NG or placed a Foley. Who would be the better new hire?

    I would counter that your assessment skills, highly varied education (that's a good thing), strong holistic views of patient health and years of experience with patient relations give you at least equal (and probably superior) skills as a new grad ADN.
  8. 1
    Ok, I graduated from EC 5/17/13. Passed NCLEX 7/5/13. Just got my first job offer 7/12/13 making $30/hour as a night shift charge nurse at a sub acute facility. I have 2 more company's to call back next week, and of the other interviews I've done, not ONE has asked about clinicals! It does help that I have been a LPN for 5 years in the same field, but so does almost EVERYONE who graduates from EC. I feel completely competent in the position offered, and I don't talk around anything. I have been a great floor nurse and plan on continuing.

    Good luck!
    natnat122 likes this.
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    1. no one ever asked me about clinicals either. no one even asked what school I went to. it sounds like you're going to some hardcore interviews. almost everyone sucks one way or another when they're new. that's part of being...new.

    2. generally the place I work doesn't hire new people (as in new nurses who never did anything else), but there is one who has been there about a year, and I can run circles around her in every single aspect of the job (bedside manner, pt care, documentation, meds, etc.) I'm still in orientation, but it has to do with "being able to figure it out" based on common sense and work experience. it has nothing to do with excelsior, that's for sure.

    3. you would think so, but like every college I've attended (UCF, Valencia, SPC, USF, Barry, Excelsior, Phoenix), they suck and I hate them. I write them all off to typical higher learning idiocy and expect the worst. the good news is I'm never disappointed, or pleasantly surprised.

    good luck, it's a surprisingly tough job market out there. and since it's been 5 months since you posted, any news?
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    I know, old thread but I have never been questioned about my clinical skills regarding my EC education with a job interveiw. I avoided that by stating what Lunah said and accenting that I had been a LPN working med-surg over 4 years plus 2 semesters at the local college's RN program. Got my first job in ICU and loved it. Been in behavioral health over 11 years now as well as some per diem jobs in home health and LTC along the way.
    Pixie.RN likes this.
  11. 0
    Quote from BerryHappy
    Ok, I graduated from EC 5/17/13. Passed NCLEX 7/5/13. Just got my first job offer 7/12/13 making $30/hour as a night shift charge nurse at a sub acute facility. I have 2 more company's to call back next week, and of the other interviews I've done, not ONE has asked about clinicals! It does help that I have been a LPN for 5 years in the same field, but so does almost EVERYONE who graduates from EC. I feel completely competent in the position offered, and I don't talk around anything. I have been a great floor nurse and plan on continuing.

    Good luck!
    Congrats BerryHappy. It's good to hear something positive. Mind me asking what part of the country you are in? Sounds like a decent job market.Thanks.
  12. 0
    Hey ctcpete! I am in southwest Florida. Because of the "pete" in your online name, I actually have wondered if you might be in St. Petersburg, FL just a bit north of me. Are you?


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