"Jan 26, '08 by llg Guide
I run a summer extern program that requires letters of recommendation from at least one clinical instructor. I have also been involved in hiring many new grads for staff nurse positions. So, I have read a lot of such letters. I've also written some letters.
As others have said, I can read between the lines. When I see words like "outstanding" and "exceptional," I know that this is a student that is significantly above average. When I don't see those types of words, I don't get the same message.
The types of things I am interested in knowing about include things like:
Reliability and dependability
1. Ability to learn quickly
2. Ability to learn/handle complex information
3. Energy level & Stamina -- not "bouncing off the walls," but someone who is going to have the physical and mental stamina to sustain a high level of performance over a full 12-hour shifts 3 days per week, week in and week out. No wimps need apply.
4. Perseverence, determination, etc. -- See #3
5. Able to take constructive feedback that is critical of her performance -- A new nurse needs to be able to handle the fact that she will probably struggle in that first year and have a few problems to cope with. That can be very stressful for people used to being "the head of the class" and some get very defensive when you try to give them some guidance.
6. A pleasant temperament -- gets along well with all types of people and doesn't get upset easily.
7. High standards -- but realistic
That's what most of us are looking for when we hire. Yes, specific nursing skills and knowledge are nice plusses -- but if there are a few gaps there, we can usually fix that. We can teach them the specific facts and technical skills they need for the job. We just need a good basic nursing foundatin to build on. But we need the new hire to be a "good fit" on the inside in terms of personality for things to work out. "
The above thread was closed but I wanted to see if this is what hiring panels are looking for in letters of recommendations for students that are getting close to graduation and plan to look for a job in another place. Personally I wouldn't be as worried if I planned to work where I precept (as have lived my whole life here) but my family and I are planning a PCS to another instillation and I will have to start over. I am worried that the new places I apply to won't know me since I won't precept with them. I want to look good on paper in terms of my abilities and demeanor. I am in the top 1/3 of my class and have recently been offered an invitation to Sigma Theta Tau International as well as tutor for several nursing classes (6 to be exact). I have a work record that shows that I stay at a job for at least a year, usually more. I am asking the person who is my boss for tutoring to write a letter for me as well as the instructors I tutor for, since they know me best. I also have my clinical instructors who have said they will write a letter for me. The only one who has asked about what to include is my boss for the tutoring. I think she is relatively new to that role and that may be why she asked what she should include. My clinical instructors and the teachers I tutor for seemed to know what to put in the letters. I appreciate any feedback for anyone who writes these letters as well as anyone who is on a hiring panel or a nurse manager. Thank you for your time and attention to this post!