New LPN & all jobs seem to want experience. How can I gain experience with no job

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    I graduated from a Practical Nursing program in late August, and have passed the NCLEX for my state, so I am now licensed. I can't seem to find a job, even though I had great grades in school and 11 years previous experience as a CNA/HHA. I've been offered jobs as a CNA and as a HHA (home health aide) but have been told "we're not hiring inexperienced nurses" too many times ot count. I've even applied at the county prison who is in desperate need of nurses, and haven't heard back yet. I have what I believe is a great resume, explaining my new nurse status, as well as my previous history in nursing. I know a lot of LPNs are graduated in my area at an alarming rate, but only dream of working as a med nurse in a nursing home (which are plentiful around here). I'm worried I might have been getting a bad reference from a previous employer, so I've removed that employer for recent applications (such as the prison), and still nothing. Ideas?
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    I know what that feels like. I graduated August from my program and just received my license but had been applying since before graduation but they want experienced nurses. Just keep searching and stay positive!
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    My 1st job was with an nursing agency. I didn't have a lot of experience as a LPN but about 20+ experience with being a Medical Assistant. I got in w them and got training thru them did lots of flu clinics at the military bases. Lots of dressing changes,wound vacs,etcs. The agency is called Brightstar... Good luck to you,I hope you find a job soon.
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    Check with your local clinics and urgent care centers, I know in most states they use LPN/LVNS. I'm surprised no one is picking you up with your CNA experience that seems like the icing on the cake. Don't give up looking for an LPN job, something will come up!
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    I know exactly how you feel. I graduated in July, got my license in September. I've been looking for a job for over a month and have put out several resumes a day, online and in person. About half my class is employed now, and they were all hired before I had my license (there was a mix-up at the BON & it took them longer to issue my ATT). So, I feel like all the facilities that hire new grad LPNs in my area are fully staffed. I'm actually going to call the Women's Commision and see if they will help review my resume and give me some advice. They work with divorced, widowed, single moms re-entering the workforce. I have no previous healthcare experince. I ran a home daycare before going to nursing school. If something doesn't come up soon, I'm going to start applying for CNA positions and hope I'll have a better chance for an internal promotion.
    Good luck!!
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    I'm an experienced LPN (5 years) and am having a hard time finding a job. I've actually started applying for MA positions so that may be an option. Most offices don't want to pay LPNs when they can pay MAs a lot less, but a new grad LPN may be willing to start at a pay rate closer to MA and you have your own license instead of the MA being on the doctor's license. I was actually offered a position in an office that was looking for a MA but they wanted me. I didn't want them, too much going on that I wouldn't feel comfortable signing my name to and putting my license on the line for, but it helped. Something that got my first nursing job was my immediate availability. They needed someone NOW and I didn't have to give a 2-week notice so I got hired. Hang in there, I graduated in June 2007, licensed August 2007, first job February 2008. Also, check with your teachers--some of your clinical locations you visited in school may have openings or they may knows nurses in other places that could hook you up.
  9. 1
    Quote from LPNTAW
    I graduated from a Practical Nursing program in late August, and have passed the NCLEX for my state, so I am now licensed. I can't seem to find a job, even though I had great grades in school and 11 years previous experience as a CNA/HHA. I've been offered jobs as a CNA and as a HHA (home health aide) but have been told "we're not hiring inexperienced nurses" too many times ot count. I've even applied at the county prison who is in desperate need of nurses, and haven't heard back yet. I have what I believe is a great resume, explaining my new nurse status, as well as my previous history in nursing. I know a lot of LPNs are graduated in my area at an alarming rate, but only dream of working as a med nurse in a nursing home (which are plentiful around here). I'm worried I might have been getting a bad reference from a previous employer, so I've removed that employer for recent applications (such as the prison), and still nothing. Ideas?
    Were you working as an aide while in school...and your employer didn't just elevate you from a CNA to a LVN position? A-holes. They could've at least put you on the cart as a med aide. They do this at my facility, BUT they pay you a nurse's salary as well. I did this for my first week as a nurse, too. Worked the med cart.
    If you get desperate, you could try that. Would your previous employer where you worked as an aide be willing to do this, you think? If they need a med aide, you can work there until a slot opens. It's not like most nurses want to exclusively pass meds all day. I didn't. That's why they paid the nurse-med aide a nurse's salary. It was an incentive.

    My DON 'gets' it, I think. Her daughter just graduated with a BSN and it took her 6 months to land a hospital gig (neuro). She worked at the nursing home until she landed the job, as a charge. I think that situation kind of helps the DON understand how much has changed in nursing and the sort of environment that many nurses are graduating into.

    Try staffing companies or home-health.
    Most won't touch you, but a few will. You just might not get much in the way of training, but it's 1 X 1. Not 40:1. Keep you pocket manual handy and take your time. I've an interview tomorrow with a staffing company. They won't let me NEAR the hospital b/c I haven't hit the 6 month mark, but they're interested. I don't really care whether it's a hospital or not, to be honest.

    My coworkers will tell me, apply 'here' and apply 'there' and 'I just went to Davita but I had to turn down the position because I don't want to work nights/days/be oncall, etc...'.
    "...but I don't know anything", I say.
    She shakes her head. "Doesn't matter. They'll train. They were going to train me for acutes. They'll train you."

    No, they won't. They're willing to train her b/c she has all of this experience...and I'd like to mention something else: The notion that LTC and Psych nurses can't get on elsewhere? That's b.s.! The nurses at my job are turning down positions left and right! Most of them have 2-3 PRN jobs and they could've gone to the hospital ages ago. They just don't want to. One of the nurses at my job just got her RN and is headed for the State mental hospital while working hospice. She wrinkled her nose at the idea of working in an ICU.

    Whereas...someone like me, with my '1-month-as-a-working-NURSE-that-morphed-into 3-with-my-GVN-but-I'm-gonna-stretch-it-to-4-because-it's-Nov 1' technicalities? LOL
    They won't touch me. They're probably thinking that it takes too much to hire a newb, get them accustomed to real world nursing and bring them up to speed on dialysis nursins. Makes sense, I won't lie.
    I still applied to Davita, though. LOL
    Hey, worse they can say is 'no'... right?

    At this stage in the game and at this time in nursing? It sucks to be a baby nurse.
    While I have my standards, like most young nurses who have enough sense to know that beggars can't be choosers...LOL...I'm not picky. I'm just trying to snatch up as much experience as I can, any way that I can.

    Only purpose of having a CNA is to get a foot in the door and to get yourself acclimated to most things nursing-related. How's it look to employers? Well, it shows determination and a little familiarization. You're a hardworker, most would say.
    Looks good on a resume, but you can't swing it as nursing experience.
    ...because it's not.
    - CNA alerts the nurse to a problem. They don't assess, dx AND treat the pt themselves.
    - CNA takes vitals for the nurse. They don't evaluate the condition based on the values.
    - CNA takes the blood sugar and gives it to the nurse. They don't treat hypo/hyperglycemia.
    - CNA alerts the nurse to a skin tear. They don't do skin assessments or treat the wounds.
    - CNA alerts nurse, after putting a pt down, that the pt in question just back from the dining hall and is breathing 'funny'. Who wants to bet that the pt's bed is FLAT...?

    This isn't about making anyone feel diminished. I was an aide, too. Point is, CNA exp is not nursing experience. CNAs alert nurses to problems. They don't fix them. They're not taught to. It's beyond their scope of knowledge (and practice) to do so.

    For instance, I did xray and CT for 7-8 years. You think that matters to people trying to fill a nursing position? LOL
    NOPE.

    Point is, I've only been a nurse since AUGUST...if you include my GVN (and I do. LOL).
    So, I take my xray/CT skills that are most applicable to a nursing position:
    - Pt Teaching
    - IV starts
    - Foley insertions
    - Assess for reactions to contrast medium.
    ...and put this at the top of my resume, beneath my stated Objective.
    THEN, I list work history.
    I'm rusty, yes...particularly with 'sticks' and we didn't have all of these new-fangled syringes that we do now. LOL
    'Push in here. Flip that there. Press this and it hides the needle.'
    ???
    I'm still scooping the cap, twisting the needle off and disposing in Sharps. LOL
    But I used to do 'sticks' and insert Foley's pretty often.
    I know how. That's the point.

    Think 'skills'...not 'job title'. So, do you have any transferrable skills?
    kobbysm likes this.


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