Took NCLEX in 2016 but Cannot Get Nursing Job

  1. Dear Nurse Beth,

    Here's my background in chronological order:
    I received my BSN from the Philippines in 2006.
    Migrated to the US right after that; did not take the NCLEX cause I was unsure what to do with my life at that point.

    In 2010 I decided to join the US Air Force, but since I didn't have my license and I wasn't a citizen back then, I could not practice nursing so I enlisted as Cardiopulmonary Technician.
    In 2012 I was assigned in cardiology department were I did EKGs, stress test and cardiac sonography.
    In 2013 I became proficient with cardiac sonography (echo) that I did that for 2 yrs.
    In 2015 I was assigned in Cardiac cath/EP lab, where I assisted cardiologist with diagnostic coronary angiogram, pacemaker/crtd implant and EP study and ablations.
    In 2016 I challenged NCLEX and passed (10 yrs after being out of school)-- and became an RN.
    I was deployed as a Respiratory Therapist from July 2016-Jan of 2017 to Niger Africa as part of the Air Force field surgical team.
    In Feb 2017 I passed my Respiratory Registry.
    Currently, I am the manager of cardiology services in an Air Force base.
    Getting ready to challenge the cardiac sonography boards in December.

    The thing is, I am separating in March 2018 so I applied for a med-surg position in our local hospital. I was asked for an interview and the hiring manager seemed eager to get me on board. She offered a 3 hour shadow for me to get the feel of the department, which I thoroughly enjoyed. The day after, she called and asked what I thought and I said I was very interested to be a part of her team.

    She then forwarded my application to the recruiter and everything seemed going well. I had my employment verification, background check and my reference input done and was getting scheduled for the orientation only for the recruiter to turn around and said "they did not catch the fact that I didn't have nursing experience".

    "They will call me back" was the last words I heard from them.. I have emailed the recruiter to follow-up on my progress but no response as of late. I went to the company's website and on my profile, under the job title that I applied for, it said "not selected".

    I felt bummed... I know I don't have nursing experience.. but I have been working in the medical field for 8 yrs..

    I just need some input.. Thank you!

    Dear No Nursing Experience but Medical Field Experience,

    I'm sorry, but I think you are realizing that a nursing hiring manager will look for nursing experience. You passed the NCLEX in 2016 (congrats!) but have no RN experience. While you are ambitious and goal-oriented, the lack of nursing experience is your problem.

    From your resume, it seems your focus has been on non-nursing technical skills. Your focus has been on Respiratory Registry, non-RN manager of Cardiology services, and Cardiac Songography certification/boards.

    The reality is that hiring nurse managers look for nursing experience. Yes, you have been in the medical field for 8years, but nurse managers do not count non-nursing experience as nursing experience. The skill sets are very different. In the hospital setting, you would be functioning at a new grad level.

    Essentially you are a new grad but you have been out for 2 years. To gain nursing experience, you will need to persevere and apply to several hospitals. Some may make an exception to the "graduated within 1 year" and hire you into a residency program (best choice) since you have not worked as an RN.

    Second choice is you work in sub-acute to gain nursing experience with the goal of applying to acute care later.

    Best wishes,

    Nurse Beth


    Author, "Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job"...and your next!
    Last edit by tnbutterfly on Mar 23
  2. Visit Nurse Beth profile page

    About Nurse Beth, MSN, RN

    Joined: Mar '07; Posts: 1,310; Likes: 3,920


  3. by   meanmaryjean
    Look outside the hospital to get experience first. Cast a wide net.
  4. by   Meriwhen
    Quote from meanmaryjean
    Look outside the hospital to get experience first. Cast a wide net.
    This x 1000. A lot of nurses have started their careers outside of acute care settings and were able to transition into acute care down the road. Considering you've experienced firsthand how not having nursing experience held you back, it wouldn't hurt to be open to grabbing nursing experience wherever you can. So keep that mind open when applying for jobs.

    Best of luck
  5. by   karrikon
    Starting out in Skilled nursing, aka SNIF seems to be a good start for many nurses I know. Just a thought...
  6. by   JenMH88
    It looks as if you have Cath Lab experience. Have you applied for a Cath Lab nurse position?? This would be a good start!!!
  7. by   headofcurls
    I would just apply to the new graduate residencies and attend the new graduate open houses and tell your story. I'm sure you'll find something great!
  8. by   feelix
    I thought Veterans wee being given priority over other catagories For Employers - Veterans Opportunity to Work
    Try the VA hospital. I hope they understand. If I were you, I would not apply to Med Surg. I would apply to a cath lab.