Job search tips for new grad NPs

  1. Hello, everyone. I've been lurking on AllNurses for awhile and this is my first thread. I'd like to start a thread on tips for new grad NP job search.

    Please don't get discouraged. There are lots of jobs out there. I'm a new grad NP and am getting lots of interviews for great jobs that pay well. Yet, on paper, I have a lot of negatives: middle-aged, never been an RN, "old" new grad (graduated December 2016), Adult Primary Care NP when it seems everyone wants FNP or PMHNP. I changed careers in mid-life and my previous career had nothing to do with healthcare. My only positive is that I went to a well-known school with a good reputation. Oh, and I do have a lot of experience with job search as someone who has had to find a job and as a hiring manager. I live in California.

    I started actively looking for my first NP job the week of November 6. It took a couple of weeks for the job search to start producing results, but 4 weeks into this, here are the results:
    - Good phone interview yesterday with an Indian Tribe clinic in beautiful Lake Tahoe (Nevada side)
    - Face to face interview next week for specialty NP role Fresno for prestigious clinic
    - Face to face interview with primary care clinic in Calexico (El Centro area) TBD
    - Today (Saturday), had 2 hour phone interview with incredible rural health clinic in Hawaii, they are going to schedule a follow up video conference
    - Tomorrow (Sunday) have phone interview with sleep clinic in Chico
    - Monday phone interview with clinic in beautiful Northeast California
    - Monday phone interview with clinic in Northwest Oregon
    - Tuesday phone interview with clinic in Northeast California
    - Numerous email conversations in progress with employers and recruiters

    If you look at the above, the theme is that I am flexible on location. Most of you are in your 20s and 30s. Your first job is not forever! After a couple of years, with experience, you can more easily get a job in competitive markets like NYC, San Francisco, LA, etc. There are literally jobs going begging out there and in many of these areas, they will pay you MORE and the cost of living is way less! Not only that, many of these areas are eligible for federal and/or state loan repayment programs. It's a great opportunity to pay down debt and build up savings while gaining valuable experience and providing a true public service.

    Let me know your thoughts.
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  2. 15 Comments

  3. by   TangoDeux
    Thank you for posting this and for the great tips and reminders. I am in the process of hearing back from the NP schools that I applied to and the cost is something that has been weighing on my mind and the mind of my fellow applicants. It is good to remember that there are good jobs out there and there are institutions that can help you pay back those loans once you start to work as an independent clinician.

    Like you, nursing is my second career and I echo your sentiments about being flexible and to be open to moving around to other locations and cities. I have lived in Europe and Asia during my first career and it was both a great learning experience and a wonderful adventure that I can look back upon and also talk about to both the schools that I applied to and the future patients that I will meet.

    Good luck with your job search and congratulations on becoming a NP.
    Last edit by TangoDeux on Dec 3
  4. by   NPbyDay
    Are you saying that NP positions focusing toward adult care, still want FNP's over Adult Primary Care NP's?

    I'm curious why employers want FNP if there is no children clients involved? Am I missing more that is different between FNP training and APCNP than just pediatric training?
  5. by   FullGlass
    Quote from NPbyDay
    Are you saying that NP positions focusing toward adult care, still want FNP's over Adult Primary Care NP's?

    I'm curious why employers want FNP if there is no children clients involved? Am I missing more that is different between FNP training and APCNP than just pediatric training?
    In the Western U.S., almost all the job listing ask for an FNP. At my school, they told us the West prefers FNP, while the AGNP is more accepted in the East. I don't know about the Midwest or South. I can definitely understand requiring the FNP in a very small clinic with just 1 or 2 providers. However, even in many of these rural areas, the clinics are pretty large, with multiple providers and even PNPs and WHNPs. So, they might advertise for an FNP, but will sometimes consider an AGNP. I think they just ask for an FNP more as a reflex and because that is what they have always done.

    I have also had decent response from specialty clinics, like the sleep medicine clinic, because those are usually geared to adults. There are also a lot of geriatrics positions, but because I won a Nurse Corps Scholarship, I can only work in an area with a HPSA score > 14, and very few geriatric facilities are located in such areas.
  6. by   FullGlass
    Quote from TangoDeux
    Thank you for posting this and for the great tips and reminders. I am in the process of hearing back from the NP schools that I applied to and the cost is something that has been weighing on my mind and the mind of my fellow applicants. It is good to remember that there are good jobs out there and there are institutions that can help you pay back those loans once you start to work as an independent clinician.

    Like you, nursing is my second career and I echo your sentiments about being flexible and to be open to moving around to other locations and cities. I have lived in Europe and Asia during my first career and it was both a great learning experience and a wonderful adventure that I can look back upon and also talk about to both the schools that I applied to and the future patients that I will meet.

    Good luck with your job search and congratulations on becoming a NP.
    Thank you for your kind wishes.

    With regard to the cost of an NP education, please apply for the Nurse Corps or NHSC scholarships. I wish I had done that sooner - it would have saved me a lot of $. A lot of people don't even apply, just assuming they won't get it (a mistake I made). The application process should be starting soon, so check their websites. The scholarships are full-ride, including a $1300 living stipend! In return, you have to provide public service in a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) for 2 to 4 years, depending on the length of your scholarship. These are rural areas, but also many small to medium size cities.

    In addition, the federal government, as well as many states, have loan repayment programs for working in underserved areas. For example, California will repay up to $50,000. Alaska has a very generous program - $20 to $27K a year for NPs.

    My other tip is to talk to your professors about scholarships and grants, as well as the financial aid department. My last year of the MSN program, I was chatting with a professor and it turned out she had a bunch of $25,000 scholarships that financial aid didn't know about! It was a grant she had won for the school.

    Finally, go to the best school you can get into. This has been a topic of contention here, but so many of the employers and recruiters that have contacted me have said, "I saw you went to XYZ school! Great school, so I wanted to talk to you!" This is especially true for MDs that are hiring NPs - the school is very important to them.

    Good luck to you!
  7. by   TangoDeux
    Quote from FullGlass
    Thank you for your kind wishes.

    With regard to the cost of an NP education, please apply for the Nurse Corps or NHSC scholarships. I wish I had done that sooner - it would have saved me a lot of $. A lot of people don't even apply, just assuming they won't get it (a mistake I made). The application process should be starting soon, so check their websites. The scholarships are full-ride, including a $1300 living stipend! In return, you have to provide public service in a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) for 2 to 4 years, depending on the length of your scholarship. These are rural areas, but also many small to medium size cities.

    In addition, the federal government, as well as many states, have loan repayment programs for working in underserved areas. For example, California will repay up to $50,000. Alaska has a very generous program - $20 to $27K a year for NPs.

    My other tip is to talk to your professors about scholarships and grants, as well as the financial aid department. My last year of the MSN program, I was chatting with a professor and it turned out she had a bunch of $25,000 scholarships that financial aid didn't know about! It was a grant she had won for the school.

    Finally, go to the best school you can get into. This has been a topic of contention here, but so many of the employers and recruiters that have contacted me have said, "I saw you went to XYZ school! Great school, so I wanted to talk to you!" This is especially true for MDs that are hiring NPs - the school is very important to them.

    Good luck to you!
    Thank you for the great information and real world knowledge! Yes, I asked to be notified by the HRSA when the Nurse Corp application is going to be open so I am definitely applying when the next cycle opens. I am also from CA so I will look into loan repayment programs as well, I have it in my notes from doing some past research on scholarships and financial aid.

    Thank you for the additional information on which school to attend. Yes, I agree from what I read on AN that most people on the boards feel that school that you went to has no bearing on whether or not you will be a good clinician or your skills as long as you are licensed; that is what hospitals hiring you will look at. Your skill and knowledge are what you make of it by studying and working hard but that is only one part of finding a job. I do agree with you that the school you go to at least sparks a place of common ground where a relationship can take root and perhaps turn into a job offer.

    I used to work in financial services and many of the top banks would only hire from certain schools. While it isn't as prevalent within nursing, there is much to be said about alumni networks and career center contacts. I have heard again and again that many of the best positions are normally filled through internal hires or word of mouth / referrals.

    Thank you again for taking the time to respond and your advice.
  8. by   grad2012RN
    You may find a career opportunity, if you're interested, in Gerontology/Geriatrics/Older Adults. I worked in this area for two years and may return to it. It's a very fulfilling area of nursing for some!

    Best wishes to you and congrats on getting your NP!!
  9. by   Dranger
    Quote from NPbyDay
    Are you saying that NP positions focusing toward adult care, still want FNP's over Adult Primary Care NP's?

    I'm curious why employers want FNP if there is no children clients involved? Am I missing more that is different between FNP training and APCNP than just pediatric training?
    I am convinced most other providers and admin have no idea about the about the different specialties. All of my MD preceptors are completely lost when I talk about it. They just assume it's all the same like PAs.
  10. by   lolotambu
    I'm also a career changer evaluating if I should go and get my MSN directly to NP or if I should just do the ABSN and get experience as an RN before pursuing the graduate degree (would be my second).
    I know I want to be an NP but I'm uncertain about job prospects if I graduate without RN experience. Thank you for putting yourself out here and bringing to light your optimistic results. It must be very exciting.
    Can I ask you the school you attended and if you considered other schools with the same MSN program?
    Thanks again!
  11. by   ck32
    Thank you so much for sharing your experience!! I too chose nursing as a second career (actually third degree). I have been working as a nurse though, while in NP school. I have 15 credits until graduation....woohoo!!
    If I read your information correctly, it looks as though you waited a year until you started your job search. Is this correct? My husband, also a nurse, and I have strongly been considering traveling with our children, one toddler now and one due the end of March, after I graduate from NP school. He would work and I would stay with the little ones. One of my biggest concerns is not applying for positions immediately. Could you share any thoughts on this?
    Thanks so much!! And good luck with your interviews!!
  12. by   FullGlass
    Quote from lolotambu
    I'm also a career changer evaluating if I should go and get my MSN directly to NP or if I should just do the ABSN and get experience as an RN before pursuing the graduate degree (would be my second).
    I know I want to be an NP but I'm uncertain about job prospects if I graduate without RN experience. Thank you for putting yourself out here and bringing to light your optimistic results. It must be very exciting.
    Can I ask you the school you attended and if you considered other schools with the same MSN program?
    Thanks again!
    RN experience is required if you want to be an NP in a hospital. In that case, you would need to be either an Adult or Pediatric Acute Care NP and those programs almost always require 1 to 2 years of RN experience. Check with the schools you are interested in for their admissions requirements.

    If you want to be a primary care NP, then you don't need RN experience to get into a Primary Care Adult, Peds, or FNP program. You can also work in a hospital-run outpatient or Urgent Care clinic. In addition, specialty practices are generally considered outpatient, so you could also work for a specialty like Sleep, Pain, Derm, Occupational Health, etc.

    I live in the San Diego area, so I applied to UCLA, Univ of San Diego Hahn School of Nursing, and Hopkins. I got into all 3 and decided to go to Hopkins. I chose AGNP Primary Care for my MSN.

    Good luck to you!
  13. by   FullGlass
    Quote from ck32
    Thank you so much for sharing your experience!! I too chose nursing as a second career (actually third degree). I have been working as a nurse though, while in NP school. I have 15 credits until graduation....woohoo!!
    If I read your information correctly, it looks as though you waited a year until you started your job search. Is this correct? My husband, also a nurse, and I have strongly been considering traveling with our children, one toddler now and one due the end of March, after I graduate from NP school. He would work and I would stay with the little ones. One of my biggest concerns is not applying for positions immediately. Could you share any thoughts on this?
    Thanks so much!! And good luck with your interviews!!
    Hello. Yes, I did wait before looking for work and I was very worried about this. Here's my timeline:
    graduated in Dec 2016, had to pack up and stuff and then drive back to Calif, so got back to Cali toward end of Jan 2017. Took some time off (3 mos) then started to study for license exam (3 mos). Passed the exam on first try, but California has a super long processing time for NP license - 3 to 4 months typically but some people get delayed up to 6 months. I got my NP license at the beginning of October. It took me awhile to get my job search going and I really started pounding the pavement hard at the beginning of Nov. Long winded answer. However, when I explain this to potential employers, they are ok with this answer. I also took a class in Medical Spanish and a class in Medical Neuroscience during this time, so I tried to stay productive. Everyone understands that a new grad might need to take some time off. However, I wouldn't wait more than a year, as I was pushing it. Best wishes to you.
  14. by   db2xs
    Quote from FullGlass
    California has a super long processing time for NP license - 3 to 4 months typically but some people get delayed up to 6 months.
    Why is the process so long? My NP preceptor said it took her six weeks, but that was probably almost a decade ago.

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