smn2010 5,847 Views
Joined Jan 18, '08 - from 'Virginia but considering another state'.
smn2010 is a Registered Nurse.
Posts: 266 (34% Liked)
If you have an interest in psychiatric nursing.....
Apply with the Commonwealth of Virginia (State of Virginia). Eastern State Hospital (ESH) in Williamsburg, Virginia is hiring!!!
Disregard the salary range listed on the state job listing site. Regardless of what you may think, the state pays well. As a new nurse, you will make about $46,500 base pay annually but then you must include the shift differential to this. If you are able to work 3pm-11pm, the shift diff is about $5.75 hour (which is an additional $12,000+ annually = $58,000 annually). Not bad for a new grad!!! For those with years of nursing experience, the state usually provides 10-15% salary increase about your current job salary when hired.
With Eastern State Hospital you can work in either of two new buildings:
(1) Hancock Geriatric Center is building 1
(2) Adult Mental Health Treatment Center (AMHTC) is building 2.
Building 1 contains geriatric patients 65+ in age as well as patients who are younger than 65 but have medical conditions (cardiac, amputations (usually knee), PEG tubes, etc.) who cannot be cared for in building 2. Building 1 also has newly units that will contain patients who are preparing to be released to the community. These patients are like you and I however they have criminal backgrounds and basically served their time at ESH versus the local jail or prison. The new units will help these patients prepare for the outside world.
Building 2 contains civil (civilly admitted) patients and Forensic patients (the criminally insane). The forensic units consist of men/women who have been adjudicated Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity (NGRI). These men/women may have committed heinous crimes (murder, brutal rapes/serial rapists, pedophiles...) which you must disregard while you care for these individuals.
I work with the forensic patients. The job is exciting, interesting and at times, mentally draining. The criminally insane are not "stupid" --- they are just crazy/insane!! (smile!) and there IS a difference!!. What I mean is, they are actually very intelligent. They are much smarter than most and can easily manipulate their caregivers (RNs, LPNs, CNAs). The forensic units are dangerous so you must be aware of your surroundings at all times. The patients usually get transferred from local jails. Once at ESH, the patients can be "off the chain" !!! Combative, threatening, inappropriate (walking around naked, urinating/defecating (urinating/defecating is rare; but it has happened)....) You will go through training on how to protect yourself as well as your staff. Your staff, in turn, are there to protect you. Every few months, we (forensics) do get patients that take weeks to get under control. Most of the jail transfers are not medicated (they can refuse their psychotropic meds while at the jail) so it does take days or weeks (2) before the medication becomes effective. Once this occurs, the patients are fine; but prior to this it may be constant - holding (of patients)...administering IM injections (buttocks usually)....placing patient into a seclusion room.
I can only say....it is NOT as bad as it sounds. The first month you are on the floor (out of orientation) you will be a "little" scared because it is all new to you; but once you get to know your patients, what their "triggers" (what upsets them) are it will be no different than a medical-surgical unit at your local hospital.
Many people will say, "I can't work psych" but keep in mind, EVERY nurse that goes to work on a med/surg, cardiac, oncology, etc. unit deals with psych EVERY DAY. There are many people/patients who are taking psychotropic meds so you will deal with the schizophrenic, narcissistic, schizo-affective personalities at your local hospital and not focus on it since the patient is there for reasons OTHER THAN psych issues. The bad thing is, you (the nurse) just won't know what they are capable of. You can be punched, spit on, kicked, etc. in any Emergency Room as well as the usual units in a hospital at any time. At least with psych hospitals, you know what you're dealing with-->right when you walk in the door. I actually feel safer going to work at ESH than walking inside the local mall. I say this because there are patient's who literally have beat innocent people to a pulp just for "looking at them the wrong way" while walking in the mall. They were arrested for the aggravated assault and the judge determined them to be NGRI and now they are at ESH on the forensic unit.
So if psych is your passion, decide whether you want to work with forensic patients, civil patients, geriatric patients or those patients preparing for release....
When you submit your application on line, PLEASE add a cover letter (Hint: find out who the director of the human resources department is and address your cover letter to him). In your cover letter, PLEASE indicate which area you are interested in/what your preference is. If you are hired, you will enter into an orientation period; however, you won't know what unit area you will be assigned until about 4 weeks into the orientation process. This part is a bummer!!! If you prefer forensics, you may find you are being placed on a geriatric unit. So, for this reason, be clear and SPECIFY what your preference is in your cover letter. If you get an interview, be clear and SPECIFY what your preference is!!
Commonwealth of Virginia employment website:
Just do a search of "Registered Nurse" or "Nurse"....
If psych is not your interest -- consider public health with the state of Virginia (use the same website). Additionally, check each cities' employment site (Norfolk, VA Beach, Chesapeake, etc.) and look for nursing jobs with crisis rehabilitation, substance abuse, mental health departments. The jobs are out there.
Also for psych nursing positions, consider Virginia Beach Psychiatric Center (First Colonial Road in Virginia Beach) and other establishments like this because they hire new grads. Their website: www.vbpcweb.com
Think "outside of the box" when looking for nursing jobs. For now, forget the local hospitals and "think" about other places that nurses are needed (Patient First, dialysis centers...). It will be easier to find a job this way since most new grads will be bombarding Sentara, Chesapeake Regional, Riverside, etc....
I've written a short novel... So sorry, but I get carried away when it comes to helping others find jobs!!!
DON'T FORGET... CREATE A GOOD -- SPECIALTY SPECIFIC -- COVER LETTER !!!
(I have cover letters written specifically for psych, urgent care, doctor's offices, etc.)
Best of luck to you --- in whatever field/specialty you pursue.....
The plans for this facility are constantly changing....
They now have plans to build housing on the property!!!! Old building will be demolished and replaced with new housing to allow the patients to experience a home-like atmosphere while learning, if they are able, to cook, clean, etc.
But, this current plan could change tomorrow!!!
You should have already interviewed for the position by this time. Hopefully, you asked the right questions and you now have a better idea about the workplace and future plans for the facility.
* pay: the pay should have be listed within the job description you applied for. if not, look at another rn (or lpn) position with the state (same city) and you may see a salary range. if you placed the salary of your last employer on your application, which i hope you did; be expected to be offered 10-20% above this as a starting salary. if you did not indicate your salary of your last employer, good luck; because you may be offered the minimum for this job position. often, you are asked to bring in the last few pay stubs from your previous employer as proof of your actual salary. this may seem strange; but, there have been nurses who have falsely "elevated" their previous salaries so we must now show proof. (note: when applying for a state or government job, always place the salary from your current, last employer on your application...otherwise you may lose out when it comes to salary offers. with any other organization, i would not indicate my salary; but i know that state/government jobs offer 10-20% above your last salary.)
* benefits: do a search of "virginia state employee benefits" and you will locate the human resources main page (http://www.dhrm.virginia.gov/). click on the blue "employees" link. you will find all the benefit information you need (pay days, holidays, insurance info., retirement info., etc.). working for the state will provide you with many benefits (vacation, family leave, education/community leave, etc.) that allow you to have many days off in a given year. the longer you state a state employee, the more hours/days you will receive. if you are offered the job and you take the position, keep in mind that you can always transfer to another facility if it is not a good fit for you.
* working conditions: i work for the state but i don't work at this facility. it is in a part of chesapeake that, to me, is out in the boondocks. but, i honestly haven't heard any complaints from the nurses that work there.
i work at the state psych facility in williamsburg. i have friends that work at the training center in chesapeake as well as in petersburg and they love it. keep in mind, you will always come across those who have negative comments about their place of employment/employer. you must just decide what works best for "you"... and keep it moving!
during your interview will be the time to ask the questions that will help you determine whether you want to work there. ask: how did the position become available (promotion, transfer, departure, etc.)? what is the average tenure of the nursing staff? can you give me an example of an "average" day (...a hectic day?...)? what have you found to be the biggest complaint/concern of the nursing staff (i.e. lack of sufficient supplies/equipment, call outs, etc.? what are the staffing ratios (staff to patient) for each shift (i.e. rn/lpn/cna/techs)? what are your expections for a new hire in the first 6 months, 12 months?
hope this is helpful!
good luck with the job. if you want it....i hope you get it!!!
$1200 month is doable. check craigslist. it will give you an idea of what's out there (search for newport news) in the apts/home rental section.
don't limit yourself to just newport news.
for additional information, check the city-data website - city-data.com forum: relocation, moving, local city discussions go to the virginia forum. then hampton roads (for newport news information). right now, someone has posed the question re: neighborhoods in newport news!!! you will be surprised at the amount of information you will find. if you don't find the information you need in a search, just create an account and ask the question yourself. everyone is very helpful and they will point you in the right direction.
just a suggestion....
...if you are not sure of what an appropriate pay scale/amount is for your years of experience/background, you should always turn the question back around to the interviewer and ask:
"(considering my xx years of experience...) what is the starting salary range for this position." in doing so, you are not putting the interviewer on the spot because you are merely asking, "what is the minimum and the maximum" salary range based upon your years of experience.
i will tell you the interviewer will hesitate to answer (and let them!!! don't say another word!!); because he/she expects you to offer an amount---at which point, if you are too low they will be very happy... if you are too high, you may not hear back from them after the interview.
...just a suggestion...
try sending an exploratory cover letter directly to the director of nursing (don) at long term care (ltc) facilities in the area. i know that kindred is always hiring. they have several facilities in hampton roads. you would want to work on their skilled unit in virginia beach or on the 2nd floor acute care unit of their norfolk facility. on these floors: virginia beach--skilled unit--you will learn trach, ng-tubes, g-tubs, iv's, colostomy/ileostomy, etc. norfolk--2nd floor, acute care--you will deal with short stay patients (2-5 days) who are there for rehab (i.e. ortho patients)/step downs from hospital, etc. prior to going home. i would suggest the norfolk facility (harbour pointe in the ghent area) because it is similar to a med-surg/ortho environment of a hospital. new grads start at $24-25 hour ($49,900-$52,000 annually, base pay before adding any shift diff -- 40 hour work week) which is better than the sentara system which starts new grads at only about $20-21 ($37,440-$39,312 annually, base pay before adding shift diff -- 36 hour work week). and it may only be $19 and change, for new grads, i'm not sure... sentara is a large medical organization; however, they are placing all their funds into new buildings/restructuring and they have not been paying rns what they should. i say this because rns with 3 years of experience at sentara are only making $22.40 hour base pay ($41,932 annually, base pay)!!!yuck!!
another option would be westminster canterbury in virginia beach, va. they also start their new grads at $24-25 hour.
both kindred and westminster have websites that display their current vacant positions; but i would "suggest" you send a cover letter with your resume directly to the don as a start; then apply online. a recruiter will call you, if they are interested, after you apply online; however, the don can start the process also. there are other ltc in the area, just call them to find out if they have a skilled or acute care unit---unless you like working strictly geriatric; then, it doesn't matter what ltc facility you apply to.
the state psych facility in williamsburg is hiring (forensics, adult treatment center and geriatric units). they hire new grads and still have positions available. base pay is $45,681+ with no experience (which amounts to about $22.00 base before you add your shift diff. this new nurse starting salary is equivalent to what rns with 3 years experience at sentara are making so you would be starting out ahead.... shift diff for evenings (3p-11p) is $5.72 so that amounts to $27.72 hour!!!
with a state psych job in williamsburg, the base salary goes up from there ($45, 681 with a negotiable end range based upon years of experience/background experience at the psych facility). so, don't let the low starting salary on the website for any rn positions turn you off. if you are a good negotiator, you will not have to start at the minimum starting salary. if you decide to apply online with the commonwealth of virginia to work at the psych facility, please incorporate information about your psych rotation in school. also incorporate what you liked about the rotation and provide information as to why you would like to work at a psych facility and what positive assets you will bring to the environment (hint: search the psych posts and read why nurses love their jobs---the ability to see small improvements over time...working in a field that has much stigma where nurses are truly needed...etc.). as someone else stated, the public health departments are also hiring. search positions using the word "nurse" on the commonwealth of virginia website. commonwealth of va website is: https://jobs.agencies.virginia.gov/a...elcome_css.jsp
if you're okay with working psych, also apply to virginia beach psych (private facility) located near virginia beach general on first colonial road.
check online http://www.usajobs.gov/ and do a search for positions at the v.a. hospital in hampton, virginia (zip code 23667 will make the search easier). some people don't like to travel from virginia beach to hampton; but you get used to the distance in no time and it is really not a big deal. the v.a. hospital (govt. jobs) are slow with their hiring process. you can apply online today and may not hear back for 6 months so get your application/resume/cover letter in and wait it out. it will be beneficial in the long run. since your husband may be military, state and govt. jobs are a better option for you in regards to transferring from job-to-job, within the system, as he moves around.
also, consider large medical practices (cardiology, orthopedic, neurology, etc.). don't wait for a position to be posted in the paper or on a website, call the medical practice and get the first/last name and title of the individual who does the hiring and send your exploratory cover letter and resume.
you really have to think "out of the box" in today's economic state. you may not be able to get a job in nicu, icu, peds, med/surg units right now; but you can get into another area in the meantime.
be patient. a job will come your way before you know it!
sorry for the long post...i get long winded at times...
There are many patient report sheets and other docs that can be found within AllNurses. There was a post where nurses provided copies of what they were using on their unit. They have a specific name they used for them; but I can't remember what they called them.
Here are a few that I saved to my computer. I hope they can help you. I prefer the second (bottom) document.....
Hang it there. It will get better. If not, talk to your unit Educator/Manager about a move. Also talk to other nurses at your facility to see what's going on where they work. You might feel more comfortable working on another unit. In the end, you have to find your own niche.
Hope the attachments help! Good luck!
dee tonia is so, so right about sentara and the tidewater/hampton roads area. no money for rns here in the sentara system, unless you work straight weekends and garner the $9 per hour shift differential. without that, there's no real money with sentara. base pay is too low to get any where with. i don't see how nurses can afford to live in hamton roads using sentara's base pay. chesapeake regional and riverside are not much better. sentara does not pay additional money for a assoc./bsn degree either! new grad to 5 years of experience you make less than $44k a year base pay. i too was embarrassed about my rn bsn salary while at sentara!!! sadly, i know of rn at sentara who constantly "brag" about themselves for the mere $1 per hour more they get for a certification...when their base pay is only $22.25 (with 3 years experience)!!! i do believe er and icu nurses get a dollar or so more to work in their areas but.....it's not worth it!!! too much politics with sentara and ever worse at depaul!! after graduating with my bsn, i left hampton roads to go to work at what is considered "rural" hospitals, just so i could have a better starting salary. my starting salary was over $24 base pay as a new grad. much better than the $19-20 sentara and other area hospitals were paying at that time (less than 3 years ago!). i was in central virginia, off of route 58 and i-85. the facilities in these areas truly appreciate their nurses and credit you for your associate or bsn degree by offering $1 more per hour for each. in addition, they even credit you 1-year of nursing for each year you worked as a certified nurse aide (cna), pct, ncp, etc. prior to your rn career! surprising that sentara built the spah and now plans to turn a unit at virginia beach general into a psych specialty area but can't manage to increase nurse salaries to where they should be. for this reason, i will only work for the state of virginia or on an acute care unit of a ltc now that i have returned to the hampton roads area. with the state my base pay is over $27 hour now and i have only 2 years of experience! so, with my shift differentials, my annual income is nearly $70k year (40 hour work week, not 36---work 3 days, off 1, work/off/work, off the weekend) and i don't miss 3-12's any more!!. i don't have to think about doing overtime any more either!!! my base pay now with the state/commonwealth of virginia as my employer is more than the base-plus-$9 shift diff combined together that sentara was offering me! years ago, nurses (and other professions) "ran away" from state jobs because they paid so little. now, the state has caught on with their thinking and nursing salaries have greatly increased and continue to rise. needless to say, the federal government (hampton's v.a. hospital and area military clinics) will pay me even better; but, i'll wait until i have 5 years of experience before going that route.
dee tonia - if you are still working with the sentara system, consider working for a long term care (ltc) facility that has an acute care unit (like a med-surg). in particular, try the kindred system (harbour pointe) in norfolk and virginia beach. the 2nd floor of their norfolk facility is acute care and consists of patients who are there for short stays (2-5 days) as they go through rehab (ortho type, hospital step-down type patients) before going home. also consider westminster cantebury in virginia beach. both start new grad rns at $25 per hour.....
consider apply for positions in areas that may have been your third, fourth, fifth option. i.e. if you've been applying to hospitals (med/surg, progressive care units), consider skilled units of long-term care facilities (ltcs). also look for state jobs: public health, state psych facilities, etc. also city jobs like a school nurse or even at physician offices. while these may not be your top choices, you can at least get more opportunities to find employment.
long ago, state civil service jobs did not pay well; but now, they pay more than private industry!!! in virginia any way. don't let the salary range listed with a state/city job posting turn you off to applying for a position. if you are a good negotiator, you can/will get the salary you desire, even if it is your first rn job!! if state employment isn't of interest to you right now...down the road, after you've worked some where for awhile and you want to consider a change...try a state job. the state will pay 10-20% more than your current nursing salary as an incentive to get you to work for them. again, in virginia any way. by the way, the only time i list my salary on an application for my current job is when i am applying for a state job because of the fact that their (the state's) intent is to increase the pay 10-20% above what you are currently making.
if you haven't already, send "exploratory" cover letters of employment with your resume. don't wait for a job to be posted in the newspaper or online. contact facilities, get the full name and title of the individual that hires rns (don, recruiter, office manager, etc.) and send a letter directly to him/her stating "dear mr. abc, i'm submitting this letter to explore possible registered nurse positions that may become available within your organization. the attached resume will provide you with information regarding my education and work history... (end of paragraph #1). then go on to sell yourself (education/skills/abilities) in paragraph #2 and in paragraph #3 explain why you feel that you will be a good rn/an asset working for him/her at this particular facility (...why are interested in working there specifically---here do some research about the facility and what they do...) ...."
don't give up. these are hard economic times right now. there is a job out there for you!
i agree with nedrn.
it's good that you feel that travel nursing is something you might be interested in; however, it is not something you get into "just for the great money." most travel agencies require rns to have one solid year of nursing under their belt; but, i don't think this is enough. as nedrn stated, when you work as a travel nurse, you will be expected to hit the ground running!!! you will not receive weeks of orientation. you might only get 1-2 days!!! that's it!!! if you happen to be working in a paper charting environment as our first rn job and travel to work at a computer charting environment, you will be expected to teach yourself the computer/software after you spend.....maybe....a few hours.....maybe.....one day.....watching someone use a computer as they do their daily rn routine. then you "might" be given a computer manual to "teach yourself" what you need to know, overnight, so you are ready the next morning!
you're onyour own as a travel nurse basically. once your co-workers show you where the supplies and equipment are located on the unit, you start your assignment shortly there after. no playing around.
so imagine.....one year of nursing, not familiar with computer charting, start working as a travel nurse where you're placed in a computer charting environment....you have to remember door codes to supply/equipment rooms while learning a new facilities' protocols while you care for your patients after only 1-2-3 days of unit orientation....
you should hold on to your interest as a travel nurse and for now focus on being a good/great floor/staff nurse first. i'm pretty sure that you will be working as a staff nurse for 2 years, minimum, before you even begin to feel comfortable enough to travel. as a new nurse, "you don't know--what you don't know" yet and this will come with time---usually after more than one year.
once you start your first rn job, that is the time for you to inquire about travel nursing. you can talk to travel nurses that may be at your facility. you may even find that you coworkers were once travel nurses and utilize them to get more feedback.
there really are no "suggestions" as to which agencies you should work with. too many to choose from. that's up to you, what your expectations are, what region of the u.s. you want to travel to, your specialty, etc. the longer you work as a nurse the more information you will find out as you communicate with those around you while on the job....
best of luck with school....the nclex....and finding that first great rn job!!!
here is a better site on scribd.com for nclex question trainer #1:
nclex question trainer w_explanation
as you can see from both of my posts, your search will provide you will a lot of information. this website is formatted to make it easier to read/answer the questions.
i think the "3500" website i provided and the scribd.com site will give you enough "nclex review" information to help you prepare for your next test. you just have to find different ways to search for the "nclex" information without utilizing the words "kaplan", "hurst", etc. to get helpful....free.....information.
[FONT=century gothic]nclex question trainers are still available online. i just found this one on scribd.com - question trainer #1 (15 pages) at:
nclex question trainer explanations test 1
i am sure you can do a "search" of "nclex question trainer" on this same website to possibly find several other nclex trainers. if you have a topic/area of nursing that you find confusing, i would search for it here also. ...much helpful information was found here by me years ago....
i would also suggest this website. it is great!!!
main menu - nclex-rn 3500 - institutional version
fyi....this site changes constantly so i would suggest you use it will it is available. a month from now, you may not be able to find it using this link. note: for 30-days i took a test each morning. reviewed my answers in the afternoon while taking handwritten notes for any/all topics that i got the question wrong. at the end of each day, i reviewed my handwritten notes from front/back before going to bed.
it's been a long time since i took my nclex but there are many sites available online. i can still find them!! just do a search of "nclex review" "nclex question trainer" etc.
hope this helps!!!
[FONT=comic sans ms]So, so sorry everyone!
I completely overlook Australia/New Zeland in the original post. It's a shame your orientation is so minimal where you all are..if you can even call it "minimal" since it is next too nothing compared to what we in the U.S.A. receive from our hospitals in regards to training. For new grads, orientation is 12 weeks minimum for us here in the U.S.A. If you are accepted into an internship, the time frame changes to 6 - 18 months dependent upon the department/facility, etc. (example: 9-12+ months for RN in Intensive Care/NICU internship/orientation, 18 months for a Operating Room RN orientation).
Again, my apologies for not realizing where you all are living.
I think you are doing yourself disservice by not applying for RN positions. Orientation for new graduates is usually 12 weeks. This is enough time for you to get your feet week and be ready to get out on your own in your unit. Just make sure you are not placing yourself on a fast-paced unit (i.e. Progressive Care, "large" medical-surgical unit...) While a new grad program can be 6 months to a year in length----which is great, you need to get in there and practice the skills you've learned in school!!!
If you take the route of a Long Term Care (LTC) facility, I would suggest you try to be assigned to a skilled nursing unit (you will gain practice with trachs, NG-tubes, G-tubes, IV's, PICCs, colostomies/iliostomies, etc.) but better yet request to be placed on an acute care unit (some have ortho patients right after surgery who are there at LTC facility for rehab before going home and patients are of all age ranges because with ortho patients these are usually elective surgeries which are usually only done on patients who have been deemed "healthy"; patients are usually there for 3-10 days at most).
As an FYI....most new grads/nurses never feel fully prepared for their first assignment/job. It takes as much as 18+ months before a new grad really feels confident with their work. Each day is a new experience so you're always learning, learning, learning. Basically "putting all the pieces" together between what you've learned in school and what actually occurs at the workplace.
Shake off the bad nerves and look a job on a unit that you will feel comfortable in that may not have that high of a nurseatient ratio (i.e. 24-hour/short-stay unit, cardiac cath lab, step-down unit--a particular unit where patients are placed before being discharged home, etc.). Once you've done this for about 6-9 months, I'm pretty sure you will want to branch off into another unit where you can advance your skills.
Best of luck to you!!!
* change your font to times new roman, it will look more professional.
* not sure why you used a table format. removing the table format allows for more spacing on the page.
* not sure why but your font changes from 9-10 throughout each section so your square "bullets" are not the same size when the change occurs.
* you are using single and double dashes within our text and it is easily noticed. determine which you prefer (1 dash or 2 dashes) and make it consistent throughout. note: when you type two (2) dashes together and then hit the space bar, you get a longer "dash" appearance. take a look at your resume with this in mind and you will easily notice the difference.
* remove the entire column that contains your name and address. it is taking up too much space that could be used in the sections below. place your name/address at the top of your resume--and centered (or at the left margin). you could even place a double line border under it (going the full length of the page) as a separator for the address and body of your resume.
* you have a 6pt and 12pt spacing throughout your resume. much too much. if your preference is to utilize point spacing rather than a carriage return, after your name/address, change your spacing to 2pt before/2pt after your headings (employment history, clinical experience, etc.); then use single spacing throughout your resume, except where i referenced above. once you change your spacing, you could retain your section headings at the left margin but indent each section's information a "little" more and your section headings will stand out more.
* in your clinical experience, if you were at the same hospital for mulitiple courses, list the hospital only once. (i.e. abc hospital, 06/2011-12/2011 and 01/2012-03/2012 - cardiology/medical-surgical i and ii). also don't use italics for your dates, just place them in parenthesis followed by a colon.
* remove the "references" section. all employers are aware that references will be provided when requested; so it's not necessary to place this on your document.
i tried all of the above myself using your document .....you will now have a one page resume now!!!
i used to prepare resumes as a part-time job so i'm just providing my two cents....
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