No luck getting med/surg job in hospital, what are best alternatives?

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    I'm a new grad RN with a BSN from So. Cali and have been applying to jobs in the hospital (mostly med/surg, oncology, and some telemetry) for the last 2 months and I've not had a single call for an interview. I know that hospitals are tight with their budgets and prefer experienced nurses, but what is astounding is that I have been disregarded for even the New Grad RN positions! I can't even get an interview! I'm not sure what's wrong. I know there's a lot of competition for New Grad RN positions in So. Cali.. I don't have any CNA/PCT experience and unfortunately don't have many connections. While I would love to get my nursing career started working in an acute care hospital, I realize how difficult it is to do so.. I'm now exploring 3 different alternatives and would appreciate some advice..

    1) Should I try to get a job as a PCT/CNA in a hospital so that I can get my foot in the door and eventually get hired as an RN on that floor (hopefully)?

    2) Or should I try to apply for a position in the hospital on another floor that is easier to get into (like psych) and then eventually get transferred to my ideal floor (med/surg or oncology)?

    3) Or should I just try to get a job in a nursing home for now so that I can practice my basic nursing skills and improve in time management, prioritizing, and organizational skills and eventually apply for a job in the hospital later? I'm tired of waiting around for a hospital job and I've got to start somewhere. I realize it's also not easy to get into a hospital with just nursing home experience on your resume..

    Ultimately, my goal is to get a good 1-2 years experiences in an acute care setting like med/surg or oncology and then go into hospice nursing or public health nursing. I don't see myself in the hospital down the road at all but I want to build on my nursing skillls and apply everything I learned from nursing school and I am positive I want to work on a med/surg or oncology floor early in my career.

    Any input would be greatly appreciated..thank you!!
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  3. 4 Comments so far...

  4. 0
    I think you should apply everywhere, but dont apply to CNA jobs because you have an RN license. I don't think they would even hire you because they know you would leave the moment you could and you are well overqualified. Do apply to nursing homes, home health agencies, wherever they hire nurses. Can you possibly apply out of state, too where there are more shortages? Apply to psych but from my understanding psych nursing require experience and med/surg is generally where most new nurses start in the hospital setting.
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    1. Most facilities will not hire RNs as CNAs because they know the minute a RN job opens up you are out of there, and so they don't want to waste the time and money on training you as a CNA when they know you plan to leave as soon as you can. You're far better off getting into a facility as a part-time or even per-diem RN, and transferring from there.

    2. Contrary to popular belief, psych is not necessarily easier for new grads to get into...while we're here, neither is rehab, ortho, geri or a lot of other so-called "easy" specialties. Doesn't mean you can't apply because you never know, but be warned that most of these specialities require experience.

    LTAC or TCU are not bad starting points for new grads though...your odds may be better there.

    3. Apply anywhere and everywhere they hire nurses, including non-hospital settings. If you don't land in acute care on your first try, take whatever job you get and still keep applying. IMO you have better odds getting an acute care job if you have some nursing experience on your resume than if you have none.

    Also keep in mind that hiring trends vary depending on where you live in the country, and if you will not settle for anything less than an acute care job, you may have to consider relocation.

    Best of luck.
    biggirl11, nyteshade, and somedaypeds like this.
  6. 0
    I started in Assisted Living. I too am a new RN, I graduated in May 2011. An Assisted Living Wellness Nurse is a jack of many trades. You see it all (psych, cardiac, pulmonary, endocrine, dietary), really a huge mixed bag of human beings! You write notes, review charts, contact families and physicians.. you create service plans based on individual needs.
    When i was hired, the manager sated that typically they do not hire new grads but I had life experience (read a little older, 30's).
    It was a good stepping stone for me. I knew right away I was not cut out for floor nursing. I always wanted to be on the administrative side of health care. I am not like many others. I did not apply everywhere. I was very picky with where I applied because I left my prior career with the mindset that I wanted to do what I loved. I no longer wanted to work for a paycheck. i wanted to be interested and invested in my career, you spend a LOT of time there!

    Best of luck on your search!
  7. 0
    Just be careful not to stay working in a place like a nursing home to long. You get labled as a "long term care" nurse. It's very difficult to get into the hospital later.

    My advice is to keep trying for med/surg. I see many jobs in California. You may have to travel or move for awhile but it would be worth it.

    If you are not even getting interviews you may want to have someone look over your resume, help you with cover letters. It seems you should be getting some interviews. Your resume just may not be standing out enough to catch someones interest. There are state employment agencies that can help you with that.

    When you do interview, I wouldn't tell them you were planning to move on from there, They invest a lot of time and money to train you, and won't hire you if they think you will leave as soon as you get the needed experience. And who knows! You may like hospital nursing!

    You would be wise to take any hospital job offered. I know from experience, they hire for other units first from the inside. Also many facilities will cross-train you to other depts. You can also float to other units when they are short staffed.

    But first you need to figure out why you are not getting interviews!

    best of luck!
    Last edit by stargazer88 on Apr 23, '12 : Reason: to add


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