I finished an RN Update program last month and am ready to apply for a job. But there is a problem. I need to have a tendon in my right arm repaired and I can't have the surgery until after I return from a trip to Ireland during the last half of February. Following the surgery, I'll have about eight weeks of a splint and lifting restrictions.
Realistically, that means I can't start a job until the middle of May. I'm feeling hamstrung and frustrated. I've been looking at job postings for hospitals in my area and I'd love to apply for several of them, but what's an employer going to think if I say, "Oh, by the way, I can't start for at least four months."?
I don't feel like I can take any steps forward at this point and it's making me a little crazy. All revved up and no place to go.
I'm mostly interested in NICU, PICU, and Peds. My background is sub-acute in a nursing home (end-stage everything, infectious disease, and anyone needing tube feedings, complicated dressing changes, IVs, etc.) and acute child and adolescent psych. I plan to apply for entry level positions in the departments I'm interested in. To keep my enthusiasm from flagging, I am going to volunteer at a special needs daycare nursery (most of the kids are NICU alumni). If any of you have ideas about other things I can do while I'm waiting, please let me know.
I'd also really appreciate input on how and when to begin my job hunt.
Jan 6, '05
I don't think any hospital would mind if you would start applying now or in the next couple of months. We are currently lining up our new grad hires for the summer -- so, this is not too early. We also hire well-ahead for people who are moving into the area and for people who are pregnant and wanting to start after the baby is born.
Make the initial contacts, tell they you are looking for a job beginning in May or June and then let them determine the exact timetable for interviewing, etc. Simply say that you have some personal things to attend to this spring and want to wait until they are wrapped up before you start your new job. There is no need to go into a detailed explanation.
However, there is no reason to lie or hide the truth: you are not doing anything wrong. In fact, at some point in the hiring process, you will probably have to undergo a health screening in which you tell them about your surgery. I would try to wait until after you have been offered the job to tell them about that and emphasize that you will not have restrictions when you start work. That's why you are waiting until May to start. ( You might want to wait until June to be on the safe side.)
The more I think of it, the more I think you might want to line up your job BEFORE you have your surgery. That way, you won't be going to interviews, etc. with a splint on -- raising the issue of your ability to phyisically do the job.
Jan 7, '05
Thanks much. It helps to know that applying months in advance is not insane. I already applied online for three NICU positions (the only option for this hospital) but hadn't heard anything. Then I met one of the HR people at a job fair and she said that, although the NICU manager will hire new grads, she already had her quota for this semester and I probably wouldn't hear anything from her. I think I need to write a letter to this manager and explain that I'm really looking at a more long-range hire. Would it be okay to mention some qualifications that actual new grads might not have? I have 15 years experience as an EMT. I have 6 kids and 9 grandkids (this might make me sound ancient but I'm in my late 40s). One of the g-kids has spina bifida and one has CP. I'm looking for a position where I can put down some roots and where learning is ongoing. I have tons of experience dealing with emotionally-loaded situations. And I prefer to work nights.
If you were hiring, what would get your attention in a positive way?
Thanks again for your input. Your suggestion about applying now makes great sense.
Jan 7, '05
i'm really glad you posted this question. i have a similar dilemma. i am graduating in june of this year. upon passing nclex, i will be relocating to arizona. not quite sure when i should begin applying to hospitals out there, since i don't know when i can test yet. rumor has it that it takes at least 4 weeks to get a seat for the exam. then, how long does it take to have license in hand, which i need before i can leave pa?
maybe i should just start. what's the worst they could say... call us closer to graduation?
any advice would be great!
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