How a nursing student can prepare for future nursing jobs

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    Hello everybody, I am new to AllNurses and trying to dive deeper into topics and post some insightful posts. I just graduated in May, took and passed my boards in June. The biggest thing that was stressful to me when I got out of school was not the NCLEX, but rather when and where I was going to get a job, especially one that I would not dread to go to each day. I received three job offers before I even completed school. One in a medical-surgical floor while floating to the ER and two ICU departments and I will tell you how you can be just as lucky.

    First, everybody says that grades do not really matter through nursing school and all employers really care about is passing your boards. This statement is ABSOLUTELY false! All three of the jobs I was offered wanted official resumes sent to them and they took note and mentioned the resume more than once in my interviews (they care if you received good grades). Grades are important to applying for jobs, especially if you are a new grad because this is really your bread and butter, because your only true nursing experience is clincals, but that only takes you so far.

    The second is work your butt off during your senior preceptorship program if your school offers one. It may seem like a month of working for free in a certain department is unnecessary and not worth your time, but again IT IS! If you half ass your preceptorship the nurses on the floor will take note and mention this to the director if you are selected for an interview in the future. Learn as much as you can, constantly show interest in all procedures, medications, assessments and critical thinking. This is how I received my ICU job right out of school because my preceptor gave a good review to me for the interview, had good grades and interview went well.

    This brings me to my last point. The interview needs to be taken seriously. That means dress professionally. Men: tie, dress shirt, slacks and dress shoes that all match. I had my fiance dress me. Women: professional dress as well. No skirts or low-cut shirts! Directors like women to wear dress pants, dress shirts, dress shoes and hair out the way, so either pulled up or in a ponytail. You will never truly know what the employer will ask you during the interview, but prepare as best as you can and be yourself! If they ask you question like "Why did you decide to become a nurse?". Do not try to talk your way through this and give a generic answer, "Because I want to take care of people" does not cut it in today's world. They are looking for something more personal and that is not rehearsed.

    In the end, I hope you all get the job of your dreams out of school, but know you must work hard for it STARTING with nursing school! You cannot expect to receive your dream job by getting mediocre grades in nursing school and not working hard during clinicals. Good luck and wish you welcome to the nursing field!
    dotoriffic, i♥words, BBB<3, and 2 others like this.
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  5. 0
    Thanks!!!
    And congratulations !!!! Passing and on the job!
  6. 0
    *Promptly bookmarking thread* Wow, that is awesome and very inspiring, in addition to giving me some much needed HOPE that I might not have to look for months for a job as long as I heed this advice! I start my ADN program in August. I plan to get my BSN after I am working but I have honestly been a little discouraged by alot of the nurses on here who say we will have a hard time finding a job, especially with "just" an ADN. Don't know if you have your BSN which makes you more desirable to employers, but I am praying I will be given a chance once I graduate. Thank you for posting it!
  7. 7
    As an experienced BSN-RN who now sits on several hiring panels in my organization, I can offer a few more contributions to this thread:

    1. Keep your personal life, personal stories and personal problems to a minimum - ALWAYS. In school, on a résumé, on a cover letter, on an interview and on the job. It's a sign of immaturity; in cover letters that tell a long, personal sob story or interviews with people who focus more on their personal needs or story than their professional goals. Sorry, but people are busy and don't really have time to hear 15 minutes about how your relative's cancer inspired you to pursue nursing.

    2. Learn to write, speak and spell clear, concise, articulate and professionally appropriate ENGLISH. I don't care what it takes. I don't care what your excuse is. Talk like an adult. Write like a professional. It makes all the difference in the world. Trust me on this: it matters.

    3. Be a class act. Send written thank you notes on nice stationery. Learn a firm handshake. Look people in the eye. Conquer nervousness. Stand up straight, relax and be confident. Don't smoke. Get that cat hair off your jacket. Lose the high school nail polish. Be early. Be polite. Have a breath mint.

    4. If you don't know the answer, say, "I don't know, but I will/know how to find out." That is MUSIC to my ears in an interview!
    elprup, RNinthemaking15, kskaggs126, and 4 others like this.
  8. 1
    As someone who was starting my nursing education as my mom was dying of breast cancer, and who now works in oncology, as well as a 2nd career nurse who conducted many interviews in my previous field, I have to respectfully disagree with melennan's comment above. Good interviewers look at the whole picture. If you were a good student for whom your clinical instructors could give a sincere recommendation, AND there is a personal reason for your desire to become a nurse, by all means, tell the truth. Don't cry or anything, but by all means, if "your relative's cancer" inspired you, that shouldn't be a point of derision as the PP made it sound. OP, excellent post.
    priorities2 likes this.
  9. 0
    Great tips!!!
  10. 0
    Very good information to have! I have also bookmarked this and thank you for sharing!!
  11. 0
    mclennen and OP, printed out your advice and it's on my "advice wall" in my office LOL. Thanks for the great tips! Might I also suggest volunteering at the hospital you hope to work at? I just recently started at a small local hospital, and I've meet with the PCU and Medsurg/ Onc directors multiple times to get assignments and ask for "OT" in volunteering... the charge nurse tells me they're impressed with me and hope to hire me when I graduate, so for me, volunteering is a great way to get your foot in the door.
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    Quote from kskaggs126
    mclennen and OP, printed out your advice and it's on my "advice wall" in my office LOL. Thanks for the great tips! Might I also suggest volunteering at the hospital you hope to work at? I just recently started at a small local hospital, and I've meet with the PCU and Medsurg/ Onc directors multiple times to get assignments and ask for "OT" in volunteering... the charge nurse tells me they're impressed with me and hope to hire me when I graduate, so for me, volunteering is a great way to get your foot in the door.
    I am also planning to go that route. I need the experience, and I want to learn the hospital inside and out before I apply there as an RN in 2015.
  13. 0
    Great post! I am starting my program Sept 3rd and I really want to work for the hospital in which I am going to Nursing School through. They only hire a "Couple at top of the class" so if my grades aren't there I wont get a chance. Volunteering might be a good route too.. Thanks!


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