New nurse jobs - easy or hard to get?

  1. Hi all, just wanted to say first of all that I love reading everyone's posts and you have given me a lot of motivation for moving forward with nursing school. :1luvu:

    I have a question about nursing experience-- when someone is a newly graduated RN, is it hard to find a nursing job if you have no prior experience in health care? I know there is a nursing shortage and what not, but real life experience with people has shown me that it's not as easy to get that first nursing job as some people think.

    My dilemna is- I just started working in an assisted living facility as a CNA while attending nursing school. I am really struggling with this job, especially with lifting residents since I'm pretty small and generally a wimp when it comes to muscles. My back is killing me beyone belief.

    But, I am not sure if I should try to keep this job since it might help my resume out when I am finally an RN. What do you think? Is it possible to get that first RN job without much prior healthcare experience? As a side note, I have years of experience at a desk job which I'm sure won't help much. I tried and tried to get a hospital job recently instead of a being a CNA in a nursing home, but I couldn't get any HR departments to call me back. I also do love taking care of the residents/patients I work with now, so many of them are just so sweet and really brighten my entire day. But I am really having trouble with the lifting. And there's a lot of poop, which isn't too bad, but it isn't the greatest thing either.

    Opinions? I need help!
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  2. 11 Comments

  3. by   anne74
    It definitely helps to have health care experience, but you can still get an RN job without it. I know several people in my new grad class who did not have a job in school. But it depends on the hospital and the area of the country you live in. If it's really competitive it could be harder.
  4. by   ICRN2008
    In my area it is not necessary to have health care experience, but it does seem to help new grads get into specialties that they otherwise wouldn't get.

    Your back in a precious commodity; please protect it. It is better to address pain early (such as going to PT, etc.) than to wait that it is a chronic problem.
  5. by   socishan
    Yes, I'm in the Chicagoland, IL area so there are a lot of hospitals around but I have heard that some new grads can still have trouble with finding a job, especially if they've overly confident and have the "I'm a nurse and I'll get any job that I want" attitude. Me, I'm not like that at all, I feel very lucky to be going into nursing after coming from a different career, so I'll start at the bottom and don't mind at all. I just want to give myself the best chances for getting a job at the end of the road. If I don't do the CNA thing, I was thinking I can always get a waitressing job (I need to work a little bit for the money) but at least then I won't be killing my back as much. Today I lifted a 280 pound woman all by myself because no one else would help me. She could stand a little, but not very much...

    It's all worth it, though, if it helps me on my path into nursing : )
  6. by   lannisz
    I had previous career experience in social work before becoming a nurse. While in Nursing school I took a part time job as a Health Assistant at our local community health center...and that was my only real healthcare experience. I think it did help me get my first nursing job. (AND it wasn't back breaking - like a previous poster said, please take care of your back!)
  7. by   Wise Woman RN
    Using a gait belt and having the patient use the side rails or bathroom rails to support some of her weight is a good idea... I know I am lucky, but in 15 years as a rehab nurse, I have never hurt my back... set up the transfer so that you can make use of base supports. Ask a physical therapist to teach you transfer methods... and suggest to management that perhaps a lift would be a good alternative to injured staff... good luck in all you do...
  8. by   Wise Woman RN
    Where in Chicagoland??
  9. by   sunbeach73
    I got my license in May this year. I began actively looking for a nursing job first day of August. I just got my first job as a nurse and start in two weeks. I filled out so many applications and was about to give up. I have never worked in the nursing field before. I just started working 7 years ago because I was a stay at home mom. The job I am holding down and that I have had is doing data entry work. So depending on where you are, it can be VERY difficult to find a nursing job fresh out of school. Good luck!
  10. by   ginger58
    Please don't continue lifting! Read some of the reports at: http://www.wingusa.org/ Your back is too precious. Get with someone in PT that works inpatient and let them work with you on safe transfer techniques. If you don't feel safe moving a heavy pt get help. More and more states are cracking down on lifting. Tighten/strengthen your abds and get some lessons.
    Back to your question. Having CNA experience is useful but I wouldn't say you'd be hired over someone that didn't have it. Best Wishes.
  11. by   socishan
    Thanks all for your replies. After another day, I am feeling it in my upper and lower back! I did call an HR recruiter today, for a hospital though, to bounce some questions off of her and she was pretty helpful. FYI, she told me that most new nursing positions are in pretty general areas and that you need more experience to get into specialties.

    To answer your question, Wise Woman, I am in the McHenry County/Lake County area and as a coincidence, I am thinking about getting about getting into Rehab nursing myself one day (in the future, of course, once I build a base with general nursing). How do you like it?
    Last edit by socishan on Sep 22, '06
  12. by   mvanz9999
    What other career were you in? You are pretty young.

    I'm in Chicagoland as well. Good to know.
  13. by   socishan
    I was a corporate worker for about 3 1/2 years after I finished up with my M.S. degree (I graduated with my BA at 21 and my MS at 23). Talk about a big difference!!
    Last edit by socishan on Sep 23, '06

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