Keep looking for RN job, or CNA?

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    I've had a Massachusetts RN license for one year. In that time, I've been applying to hospitals, medical offices, LTC, and home health agencies. I even got interviews at some offices and LTC facilities. I'm still looking for a job.

    I made a couple of serious mistakes, like getting a two-year associate's degree when everyone is looking for BSNs (I'm applying for RN-to-BSN programs) and not working as a CNA as a nursing student. Oops.

    Is it a better idea to keep bashing away at RN jobs, or to try to get work as a CNA? If everyone takes second-term and up nursing students as CNAs, I don't see why "new" grads should be different. Can I work in MA as a CNA with an RN license, or would I have to go and get certified as one? I've heard from a friend still in school that a number of the nursing assistants in the hospitals they have clinicals in are new grad RNs.

    Will this actually count as experience for all the experience-requiring jobs I can't get? Will it lock me forever into a lower pay scale? Or should I continue seeking elusive entry-level RN jobs, having no experience and a current pay rate of zero?
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    Find out the state's policy from the Board. While many are able to work as CNA's even though they have nursing licenses, some employers will not hire one in this category by policy, and other employers will display the attitude during an interview that, "there must be something wrong with this applicant". Be prepared either way to be on the defensive when being interviewed. While you would be gaining work experience, CNA experience is never considered in lieu of RN experience, only that you participated in patient care.
    Bearhoney likes this.
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    I also graduated a year ago.. associates with no CNA experience. Don't give up. I started off Long term care.. now I am at a LTAC hospital in Boston. Keep applying on craigslist. That is how i got my first job. Are you willing to go northern VT, NH, or Albany? They all have New grad spots in Hospitals.
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    I'm a May 2009 graduate, RN BSN. I have been unable to find permanent employment. I, too, made mistakes early on. I did not work in healthcare before graduating. Instead of looking for a job senior year, I was involved in (nursing program related) extracurricular activites. The August after graduation I was injured, and unable to work for several months. So, I didn't really start looking till January 2011. The first job I got was in a dangerously mismanaged LTC and I gave my 2 weeks notice after 2 weeks.

    You might want to consider working as a camp nurse. This is a great time to be looking for camp jobs. I tried it out for two weeks last year, and despite having very little (almost a negative) interest in pediatrics, I loved it. Camp nursing has its own quirks and difficulties, I'd be happy to discuss with you. In addition to Craigs List, you can find camp nursing jobs at the American Camping Association website and the Association of Camp Nurses website.

    Also last year, in the fall, I worked as a flu shot nurse for Mollen Immunizations. The company is based in Arizona but runs flu clinics all over the US. It was work and a paycheck, sometimes boring and occasionally frustrating, but I have to think it was better than nothing on the resume. If you want to know more about this job, I'd be happy to discuss offline.

    I, too, would be/have been willing to work as a CNA and it is allowable in Massachusetts -- I checked -- but in practice no one will hire you as an RN to do CNA work.

    One classmate I know was hired for a per diem position in LTC and has all the hours she wants. I never used to apply for per diem jobs, now I do. If you can move, I'd recommend it. Also, check out the VA. The application process is tedious but they might be willing to take on a new grad; I'm not sure if they require a BSN.

    One strategy I have employed in the past is to apply for LPN and MA jobs. I don't reply with a lengthy cover letter, just a brief note asking if they would be willing to consider a new grad/lifghtly experienced RN, and stressing that I am very motivated to work. This has gotten me a couple of interviews. I like going on interviews even if I don't get the job because I get better with practice.

    There are some free medical programs in the state and you might want to volunteer; you can check the Needymeds website for a clinic near you.

    As far as Craigs List goes, my latest strategy is to check every morning; and throughout the day depending on what I have going on. I strive to have my resume be the first -- or one of the first -- a prospective employer gets in response to an ad.

    Good luck!
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    Speak of the devil, Mollen has started to advertise on Craigs List.
    Better to sign up now and get in the system. You're under no obligation to work, you sign up for the shifts you want.
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    Quote from ceriseames
    I've had a Massachusetts RN license for one year. In that time, I've been applying to hospitals, medical offices, LTC, and home health agencies. I even got interviews at some offices and LTC facilities. I'm still looking for a job.

    I made a couple of serious mistakes, like getting a two-year associate's degree when everyone is looking for BSNs (I'm applying for RN-to-BSN programs) and not working as a CNA as a nursing student. Oops.

    Is it a better idea to keep bashing away at RN jobs, or to try to get work as a CNA? If everyone takes second-term and up nursing students as CNAs, I don't see why "new" grads should be different. Can I work in MA as a CNA with an RN license, or would I have to go and get certified as one? I've heard from a friend still in school that a number of the nursing assistants in the hospitals they have clinicals in are new grad RNs.

    Will this actually count as experience for all the experience-requiring jobs I can't get? Will it lock me forever into a lower pay scale? Or should I continue seeking elusive entry-level RN jobs, having no experience and a current pay rate of zero?
    Are you applying to community hospitals in addition to teaching hospitals? I worked at a community hospital when I was in school and the majority of the nurses on the floor I was on (new grads and experienced nurses) were associates prepared. In Boston, it's damn near impossible to get hired without a BSN. Even with one, it's hard.

    Whether or not you can work as in a CNA role with an RN license depends on the facility. Many hospitals won't hire RNs into a CNA role for several reasons- 1. they know you'll split the minute an RN job comes along, 2. Role confusion is a liability to them and to you. As far as I know, even if you're working as a CNA, you're still held to the standards of an RN in the event of an emergency but it's kind of a catch 22- if you respond as an RN would, you're working outside of your job description, but if you don't, you've failed to act within your scope of practice as a licensed RN.

    My former hospital had many CNAs who were nursing students. The minute they passed NCLEX, they were no longer allowed to work in the CNA role.


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