Experienced RN cant find a job??? I thought there was a shortage???

  1. Hello I am new to this site and have a question for all those other frustrated unemployed RNs out there. I have been an RN since 1995, worked for 5 years and then took off to travel with my family. I always kept my licences current and worked every few years in acute care to keep my skills and practice up. The last time I worked was last year (Dec 2011). The only reply I had was a home health company that told me that since I hadn't worked in a year I needed to take a refresher course. I dont understand that as I have worked every few years.

    Now I am permanently settled and looking for work but not getting any responses through the online application processes. Is there a secret to the online application system so that you are not "over-looked" by the computer. My daughter told me that the online application process is reviewed by a computer not a person and if you do not have certain keyword in your resume/cover letter you are "spit out". Any help or advice would be appreciated!!!
  2. Visit dcsail profile page

    About dcsail

    Joined: Jan '13; Posts: 2


  3. by   taossantafe
    Unfortunately this is the case with many RN's with our 20 plus years of experience. Nurses who burn out physically from ICU after many years and move onto clinic or office positions, then are layed off, cannot easily return to the bedside. Many organizations now state "recent" experience (3 - 6 months recent experience) required. I have a per diem position as a college health nurse and going to school at the same time. I encounter new nursing students with the same dilemma and I advise them to keep a stand by job (whether a waitress, secretary, etc.) until they find a full time position in nursing. I hope college nursing professors are preparing new nursing students and grads on the hardships of finding work. In fact, the market was bad back in the 90's, that I moved to Montana after graduation and got my ICU training. Perhaps, that's one answer for new grads. As for the experienced ones, let's hope for the best and keep looking. Networking also helps; looking up former colleagues who still work at the bedside and know of any inside open positions; returning to a refresher course---nursing is still nursing, but technology advances and we need to keep current; starting off as per diem and getting the foot in the door method.
    Last edit by taossantafe on Jan 14, '13 : Reason: Add comment
  4. by   dcsail
    Oh I am still looking and applying for EVERYTHING I can find. I have also been looking to find a refresher course if that is what it will take but 10-12 weeks and $2500 plus is not really an option right now. One of the reasons I became a nurse in the first place was so I could always find a job and it has never been an issue until now. I can only imagine what new grads are facing......
  5. by   taossantafe
    Other alternatives are: apply to any college student health services (fax and/or hand deliver your resume; I did); apply to unified school district nursing jobs (most take LVN's, but it is worth the effort to regain skills); although, many nurses shun nursing and hospice facilities, they too can be a source of income; sign up with a nursing registry--but, make sure they understand your dilemma---I signed up with Nursefinders, Inc. and they sent me to the Kaiser Permanente Nurses Clinics where I gained valuable experience. At one point I had to travel from San Diego to Anaheim to work at their clinics--but it was worth it; These jobs are no long term, but I gained the experience and kept my employment current. Try USA GOV Jobs: Indian Health Services, which requires relocation, but its worth a try. San Diego is not a good nursing job market at the current time. It's tough even for nurses experienced and new grads.
    Last edit by taossantafe on Jan 14, '13 : Reason: Add Comment
  6. by   HouTx
    RE: online employment applications

    There are a bazillion different types of online application systems in use these days. Generally, they are set up to automatically screen applications based on specific criteria. For instance, if the job posting says "minimum of 5 years experience", it will reject any applicants that do not have at least 5 years of experience... duh, right? Some systems also have the option of having some built-in screening questions like a mini-interview and the applicant's responses are used to cull out the 'best' responses based on some sort of criteria.

    But - online systems are dumb simply because they are automated systems. They will also reject applications that aren't filled out exactly how the (automated) system wants them to be. So if you miss a field or try to type in a word when it's expecting a date, you are SOL. Be sure to read and follow all of the instructions - to the letter. Be sure to double-check your entry for the position number for the job you're applying for. If you're attaching a cover letter or resume, don't use any fancy fonts or slick formatting... these may look great to human eyes, but turn into gibberish because the application system can only cope with Arial and Times Roman. It's a very one-dimensional universe out there in online-application land so make sure that all of the 'stuff' that represents you is of the highest quality. No spelling or grammar mistakes. Make sure you aren't confusing your 'theres' and 'heres'. Be sure that all of your work history information is complete.. including that job you were fired from after 3 months. Remember, with today's technology they can have nearly instantaneous verification of all that stuff.

    In most cases there is an actual HR human being on the receiving end. S/he is responsible for reviewing the applications that 'met the cut' and flipping the switch that sends them to the hiring manager - who then decides who to interview.

    Good Luck!!! Sometimes that's all it takes
  7. by   nolegirl96
    I understand how you feel. I graduated with my Rn degree in 2007, worked for a year in the OR, then moved too far away to take call, so I then worked a year in public health. My family owns a small business that needed help so after doing so in my "free time", I took a temporary leave from nursing to help them. Although constantly looking for a job during that time to see what was out there, I never really saw much that caught my eye. Unfortunately that was 3 years ago and now, although I have returned to school for a BSN program as well as obtaining certifications to show my motivation, I get barely any calls for interviews. I've had a few mention refresher programs but they are so expensive, especially while I'm in school! I haven't been out of practice that long! The frustration gets worse when people talk about the "shortage". They don't get it. I also got into nursing because of job stability besides helping others, etc. I don't know what to do either. If I knew this would have happened I would have never taken time off to help my family. Good luck. I totally understand.
  8. by   GinginRN
    I could see if you were out of the nursing force for 3-5 years, a nursing refresher course would be beneficial Since it has only been a little over a year, why would a refresher be necessary? Where I work, we have had retirees come back after a few years with no issues and no requirements for a refresher course. Most of the facilities advertising open positions are requiring a year's previous experience. My advice is to contact a nursing agency and to continue submitting applications to the facilities you are interested in. Some of the agencies do not require one year's previous experience. Also, consider opening up possibilities for positions that may be a little further in distance. The job market for RNs has been really bad the past few years, so don't give up.
    Last edit by GinginRN on Jan 18, '13 : Reason: Additional info. corrected and added.
  9. by   dah doh
    Since you do have experience, consider trying an agency for registry work or a travel assignment. You will network and you might click with someone at one of the places you work for which may lead to a more permanent job.
  10. by   dspacc
    I also have been advised recently to take a nurse refresher course. And I have never stopped practicing. I do homecare for pediatric cases. Apparently this is not considered experience? This is crazy. I am I am in a home setting with a trached and vented child that requires skilled nursing, yet this adds up to nothing when looks g for a job.
  11. by   LadyFree28
    Quote from dspacc
    I also have been advised recently to take a nurse refresher course. And I have never stopped practicing. I do homecare for pediatric cases. Apparently this is not considered experience? This is crazy. I am I am in a home setting with a trached and vented child that requires skilled nursing, yet this adds up to nothing when looks g for a job.
    Where are you at???? I was a pediatric T/V HH nurse for as long as I have been a nurse (7 years and counting)...In my area, that experience would get you in a step-down unit!!! It got me in a PICU...in addition to working in a pedi facility-but my major mainstay was HH, which the hospital focused on...got me the job!!!
  12. by   dspacc
    I am on long island NY
    Yes 13 years NICU and 10 years peds homecare =nothing around here
  13. by   LadyFree28
    Quote from dspacc
    I am on long island NY
    Yes 13 years NICU and 10 years peds homecare =nothing around here
    That is CRAZY...but I've been hearing that from a nurse we just hired...no recent acute experience=don't apply...although she did not have no trach/vent experience. I'm in Philly, and at the agency I work for 5 trach/vent nurses who had 10 years home care, returned to acute care children's hospitals...2 went to a NICU.
  14. by   dspacc
    What is the agency you work for? Maybe they have a NY branch!