I would love to hear from some of the recent grads. Are you working? Did you find a job right away? How long did it take you to find work? Do you think that previous experience (volunteering, extern positions, etc) and grades helped you land your position?
I know that the economy has been bad, and new grads were having a tough time last year... but I am wondering if the job outlook is getting any better. I have heard varying viewpoints on this subject... from "the economy was just bad, but there is a nursing shortage and employment should pick up" to "the industry is over saturated, and there are little to no entry level rn positions available".
I am a little nervous, as I currently have a job, but plan to enter a full time ABSN program next spring... I can handle taking a year off work, but I am hesitant to jump if my leave from the world of being employed is indefinite ;-)
Feb 5, '11
I graduated in October. Had a job lined up before I graduated. I did not volunteer and no one asked me about grades. I did work as a nurse tech for 18 months while in school.
My classmates that got jobs are the ones that worked in hospitals. Mostly nurse techs and PCAs. Some of the PCAs though could not find jobs.
Many (at least half) of my classmates are still jobless.
The key is working in a hospital. Really, they don't care about your grades. Also take your NCLEX ASAP. Nowadays many hospitals will not even interview you without it being passed.
Feb 5, '11
Thanks for the advice SnowStar4! How did you get your job as a tech? I am volunteering in an ER right now and want to make the jump to a tech position... but I am not sure how to do it.... I am still working full time, do part time/ weekend tech jobs existi? Did you become a CNA first or did your school help you find a position? I have not seen many tech positions advertized, and most that are require experience.
Sorry for all the questions, LOL... I know that I have quite a bit of time, but want to make sure I set myself up for success ;-)
Feb 6, '11
In order to be a nurse tech you already have to be enrolled in a nursing program and completed a certain number of courses...
I got my job as a tech following completion of an extern program offered by a local hospital (for students entering their final year of a nursing program). My position is contingent so I work when I can around school (so mostly weekends, more during school breaks etc). I know a few students who have contingent, part time, and full time nurse tech positions at a variety of hospitals. Many did "externships" through St John or Henry Ford, but others work at places like Botsford and Beaumont and didn't do an externship before a tech position.
To get tech positions many classmates had to call and hound the nurse recruiters until they found something. Lots of them were recommended by classmates already working there and had an "in." It's all a matter of being in the right place at the right time. You mentioned you're in the ED-- while in school I don't know anyone who has a tech position here. Most of the ED techs have an EMS background and additional training as they do many things that a floor tech does not.
You're not going to get a tech position before enrolling in nursing school. You may be able to work as a CNA if you have taken a course, but once you're in nursing school hospitals will take you as a tech or CNA (without needing a CNA course) after the first semester.
I have a RN job lined up for when I graduate in May from the traditional program, and a few of my classmates who are techs at other hospitals also have jobs lined up following graduation on our respective units. I ran into a classmate who was in a second degree program and didn't work in the hospital during his program. He has a full time job on the unit next to mine. It took him about 5 or 6 months following his graduation but he did find something (and his is a "desirable" unit). There are jobs out there (and for new grad RNs without experience). It just takes a little persistence to find them.
You also mentioned that you're in the second degree program. Those programs are VERY fast paced, and realistically you may only have time to learn content and not have time for outside work.
Good luck in your program when you start!
Feb 6, '11
I just applied for the tech position online. Actually, I applied for like 75 of them before I started getting interviews! It is competetive especially in this economy since it is a bonus position. I did not know anyone who worked for the hospital system and got in on my own merit. I just had to complete an acute care clinical before being allowed to work. You probably would have no problem just working on the weekends after a brief orientation. These positions are made strictly for nursing students so they work around your school schedule. They are pretty much alwas contingent positions, requiring 1-2 shifts per two weeks. I worked 4-5 days/week but that's not the norm for a nursing student.
It seemed like my classmates who were PCTs had a harder time becoming techs/externs. Their managers kept promising to put in the paperwork but never did. This happened to several of them. They pay techs more so that is probably why.
Feb 6, '11
I graduate in May. I spend the first year of nursing school applying to every PCT/Tech/Extern job at every hospital in the metro area. The summer before this year I got a nursing assistant job at Henry Ford. It wasn't my dream job, since I had already finished a year of nursing but it got me used to the hospital and got my foot in the door. After 6 months my manager put in paperwork for me to be an Extern. I anticipate being offered an RN position on my unit once I pass boards.
The key is to just apply apply apply! I didnt know anyone or have any connections at all.
About half my classmates do not work in hospitals and I really think they will have a hard time when they graduate.
Feb 9, '11
I was supposed to graduate in December but an injury has me now graduating in May. Many of my former classmates have jobs already and not all of them worked as techs/aides/externs. I don't know the percentage that does *not* have jobs because I haven't kept in touch with all of them.
Best of luck!
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