Finding An RN Job

  1. Although I have several more quarters before I finish nursing school, I'm thinking about what I can do to get a nursing job when I graduate. I'm currently volunteering at a hospital I'd like to work at -- is there anything else I should be doing?

    Should I try to get a CNA-type job in order to get an inside track somewhere?

    Should I start working on my resume -- I'm an older male student with an accounting background. All of my previous work experience is in that field.

    Shoud I be trying to talk to nursing managers?

    Or should I just finish nursing school and just take it from there?
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  2. 9 Comments

  3. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    If you have several more quarters, i'd hold off on pursuing a nursing job.

    You might want to determine what in nursing that interests you first.
  4. by   MamaTheNurse
    volunteering is great - it will give you a chance to see different areas of the hospital where nurses are utilized and you might find something that really interests you..........

    when you are a little further along, check and see if your hospital has a summer work program for nursing students - different places call it different things (Nurse Extern, Nurse Tech, etc.) - you usually function between that of a CNA and an RN - you'll get awesome experience and cash (you will get paid for what you do) and it gets HR and managers familiar with you and you might also get a chance to try out working in a unit for a while before totally committing to it after graduation and maybe finding out that it's not what you thought and it's not for you.............

    I don't know how many quarters you have left but until you get some skills and clinical under your belt, I personally would just concentrate on learning - there will be plenty of time to practice, believe me!!!

    good luck - you sound as if you are really committed and will do well - as for your previous life, I know people in healthcare who used to work factory jobs, run very successful businesses, be elementary school teachers, be university professors (with PhD and all) and the list goes on.............the experience you have gained in your "previous life" (as I call it) will come in handy, you'll see!
  5. by   Daytonite
    I was a nurse manager who hired new grads and was part of a new grad orientation program at a large teaching hospital. Here's some of the things you should do:

    Concentrate on your nursing studies and try to get the best grades you can. It will all be for nothing if you don't pass your state board exam. I'm sure your nursing instructors will be telling you this 10 times a day.

    Our nurse recruiter hired new grads who got very favorable recommendations from one or two of their nursing instructors, so start sucking up (I'm just kidding on the sucking up part). What you do want to do is make sure at least one of your instructors is going to be able to say that you have a positive attitude, had a good attendance record, worked past your fear of doing new procedures, volunteered for new experiences, have a lot of common sense, are very careful to do nursing procedures correctly, are honest and open, are pleasant and relate well to patients and take criticism well (this is a biggy! since new grads have to take a lot of criticism). Now, the wild card and inside information you definitely want to be aware of in all this was that our nurse recruiter knew who most of the instructors were at all the nearby nursing schools. Even though a student might have listed the name of a particular instructor, this nurse recruiter would ask for another instructor at the school to get the low down on students. She would also call around to the instructors with whom she had a pretty good relationship and ask who were likely candidates for her to hire! She would then encourage the instructors to have those particular students come over and fill out applications. This is how networking can work for you. Hospitals know that new grads need a lot more practice in doing procedures, so don't fret over only getting a chance to put in one or two foley catheters during your student years. When you go looking for your first nursing job, you will be starting with a clean slate with relation to your work history. They may want to verify the dates you worked for a former employer to see if you are truthful, but, really, what your nursing instructors will have to tell them about you and how you come out of an interview is what will nail a job for you. Start looking for a job about 2 to 3 months before your date of graduation. Many hospitals do not advertise their open nursing positions in the newspapers, except for, perhaps, the Sunday edition. Call a hospital you are interested in working in and ask to talk to their nurse recruiter. Most of the recruiters are very friendly and will exchange information with you about job seeking if you ask them. So, when your time comes to go to an interview with one of these people and a job prospect starts to sound like it's not gonna happen, ask the recruiter for suggestions as to where a new grad should look for work, or what kind of experience would she prefer to see you have so you could be hired to work in one of their nursing units. And, finally, don't put all your eggs in one basket. Apply to a bunch of hospitals, you never know which one is going to come through with a job offer. You should have a job ready to go to by graduation. After graduation all the open positions for new grads will have already been filled by the local hospitals. For now, concentrate on learning your nursing and worry about getting your first RN job later as you approach graduation. Good luck.

    P.S. Something I just thought of was that as you go through your clinical experiences try to engage some of the more friendlier and open staff nurses in conversation about how new grads are treated in their hospital without sounding like you're desparate for a job. That can help you figure out if there are some hospitals where new grads are treated poorly (read some of the posts in the First Year In Nursing forum). Ask them if XYZ hospital is a nice place to work. Don't depend on comments from only one person either. And, watch. Watch, when you can what is going on in the interactions of the staff nurses on the units where you are doing your clinicals. Be on the lookout for people treating their co-workers badly. You'll want to steer clear of those units for a potential job.
  6. by   trustsupplyguy
    Thank you for your help and support! In general, it sounds like I should just focus on doing well in school for now, and worry about getting a job a little later in the process. You've given me some great insights and I really appreciate everyone's responses. Thanks again!
  7. by   nursern20
    Also, depending on how you feel your performances are at clinicals, you may want to consider applying for a nurse extern position at a hospital. You have the option of being an extern only for the summer or you can continue throughout the year like once every other weekend once school starts again. This way you can practice managing ur time on the floor more efficently, and gain more confidence with doing assessments, and interacting with patients and the whole healthcare team.
  8. by   trustsupplyguy
    Externship sounds fantastic! This summer would be excellent, since I'd have completed all my classes except for preceptorship. I've read many posts about externships on AllNurses.com, and most people rave about them. I feel it would help me tremendously.

    Any thoughts on how to locate programs? Googling didn't return much, and my school has never mentioned them. Calling area hospital HR departments sounds like the next step. Other ideas?
  9. by   Hoozdo
    Quote from trustsupplyguy
    Externship sounds fantastic! This summer would be excellent, since I'd have completed all my classes except for preceptorship. I've read many posts about externships on AllNurses.com, and most people rave about them. I feel it would help me tremendously.

    Any thoughts on how to locate programs? Googling didn't return much, and my school has never mentioned them. Calling area hospital HR departments sounds like the next step. Other ideas?
    Go online to the different hospitals in your area and look for nurse externships. I know most of the larger hospitals in my area have them and I am currently in an externship. It gives you great experience!
    Cheers,
    Lu Ann
  10. by   KatieBell
    Usually your school knows about externships in local areas. Sometimes they even give you an info session. Be cautious however. My externship was essentially working as a CNA. And that actually was alright I got exposed to a new hospital (other than the one I was already working in), learned that I didn't want to work at the new hospital ever (!!!), and I actually learned some other things as CNA's with instruction did Ortho casting and blood draws in that particular ED. Other people in the sam ehospital had the same experience. People who went to a different one, had a really more positive encouraging experience. I think externships are great, but I want to say all are not equal!!!!
  11. by   nursern20
    Hi
    Absolutely. The best way to find the externship programs is to call the actual hospitals human resources department and talk to the nurse recruiter or whoever they may direct you to in regards to a nurse externship program. You have direct contact with the person and are able to ask them any questions/concerns you have about the externship. That's your best bet. I have found places like google, monster, etc... to be unreliable for whatever reason when it comes to finding extern jobs for students. Also, definitly apply to more than one hosp. and see which one suits you better or just incase the one you want doesnt accept you. There have been some students who got externships at hospitals that treated them like crap and didnt enjoy their experience, so thats why it's important to get a feel for them first. It's kinda like the same process u go through getting a regular job Some hosp pay more than others, have different orientations, different program lengths, etc...
    hmmm what else.. I hope i helped

    -nursern20

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