Sorry Nurse Recruiters/Nurse Managers! - page 12

by Isitpossible 33,762 Views | 170 Comments

As I receive rejection after rejection for nursing jobs, I feel the need to apologize to nurse recruiters/managers who overlook my BSN because I lack patient care tech experience. I am sorry I could not afford to take a job as... Read More


  1. 1
    Quote from Merlyn
    But there are other agencies that would.
    Believe me I know, I keep getting called by them. When I question my lack of RN experience I'm told my LPN experience counts exactly as RN experience. I even asked my mother's HH nurse about that and even they were like "umm, no it's not". It's good for the skills, but there is a lot more to being an RN than just skills.
    tcvnurse likes this.
  2. 2
    Yes, "SHOULD" is the operative word here. There are many people who don't do what they "should" be doing. My point exactly. I'm sure you know as well as I do how many unethical people there are working in healthcare, nurses who don't do the right thing when "nobody's looking."

    I was not a CNA before becoming an RN (well, 25 years ago I did some CNA work but got out of it after a while to pursue another education). I do, however, have a Master's degree in mental health and have years of experience doing assessments, writing plans of care, monitoring patients for drug interactions, s/e's, symptom exacerbation, decompensation, assessing the need for hospitalization (I would be the one who directly determined this). In other words, using clinical judgment based on solid knowledge of disease processes, knowing very well how to communicate with and assess patients and what to do about it. Sound familiar?

    I think someone like me has at least as much on the ball going into an RN position as someone who two or three years ago was in high school and living with mama and daddy, even if they did work as a CNA while in nursing school. Commendable, yes, but if their CNA job was conducted as it should be legally, they did not really gain any nursing skills while working as a CNA as they are not allowed to perform these tasks (yes I know what really goes on but I think that's a whole 'nother subject...)

    I just don't get why CNA experience seems to be the be-all-end-all, there are so many other variables to consider.
    netglow and OCNRN63 like this.
  3. 2
    Quote from Zookeeper44
    Yes, "SHOULD" is the operative word here. There are many people who don't do what they "should" be doing. My point exactly. I'm sure you know as well as I do how many unethical people there are working in healthcare, nurses who don't do the right thing when "nobody's looking."

    I was not a CNA before becoming an RN (well, 25 years ago I did some CNA work but got out of it after a while to pursue another education). I do, however, have a Master's degree in mental health and have years of experience doing assessments, writing plans of care, monitoring patients for drug interactions, s/e's, symptom exacerbation, decompensation, assessing the need for hospitalization (I would be the one who directly determined this). In other words, using clinical judgment based on solid knowledge of disease processes, knowing very well how to communicate with and assess patients and what to do about it. Sound familiar?

    I think someone like me has at least as much on the ball going into an RN position as someone who two or three years ago was in high school and living with mama and daddy, even if they did work as a CNA while in nursing school. Commendable, yes, but if their CNA job was conducted as it should be legally, they did not really gain any nursing skills while working as a CNA as they are not allowed to perform these tasks (yes I know what really goes on but I think that's a whole 'nother subject...)

    I just don't get why CNA experience seems to be the be-all-end-all, there are so many other variables to consider.
    It seems to me, in my humble, minimal experience that hospitals want RN's to function as glorified CNA's and not as RN's. Thus the importance of CNA experience......
    Not_A_Hat_Person and anotherone like this.
  4. 16
    It seems there are a lot of assumptions being made. I've heard applicants complain, "I didn't get the job because I have no CNA experience" or, others assuming that, "Places won't promote CNAs after they graduate because they're too expensive with their seniority", or, "They won't hire new grads" or, "No one will hire you if you didn't get at least a 3.5 GPA".... the list goes on, and on...

    For every manager who won't hire a ex-CNA there is another who looks for RNs with previous NA experience. For every manager who won't hire a new grad, there are others who want only new grads as they are pliable. And, for every manager who prefers someone young, there are others who want someone older. Managers are people, each with their unique perspectives and prejudices. And, most of these prejudices and perspectives are based on their own professional experience. All it takes is for a director to have a string of twenty-somethings not show up for work on occasion and spend lots of time texting and that director is going to label all young nurses as irresponsible. Same for a manager who has a bunch of ex-CNAs complaining, "When *I* was a nursing assistant, *I* had to do that job... *I'm* not going to do that now as an RN!" After the third or fourth problem-child, ex-CNA the manager figures she's better off hiring someone who wasn't a nursing assistant before.

    These personal prejudices happen with all of us, mostly without our awareness. Categorizing things makes our brains more efficient. Usually, like in the case of us glancing at orange cones in the road, pots of boiling water, or edges of cliffs, we know that these things are dangerous and we should be cautious--we don't have to get out and inspect the road, stick a thermometer in the water, or measure the drop from the cliff . We also make these assumptions with people--usually unfairly. We deal with a few difficult people then assume everyone who fits that category (ex-CNA, young person, inexperienced worker, male/female, etc.) is going to be exactly the same as the ones we dealt with before. Thankfully, some of these classes are protected against discrimination, but it's perfectly legal to not hire someone without (or with) experience.

    The trick is to find the right manager who wants to hire the type of person you are. It's like finding the right puzzle piece, and different puzzle pieces fit different empty spots. The trick is to know where you might fit in best, and focus your efforts in that direction.

    If you get to the interview and see the workplace is filled with employees over the age of 35, and you're in your early 20's, make that point with the person who is interviewing you. "I recognize that I'm very young compared to most people here, and I know that some people of my generation have some difficulties with responsibility. I'd like you to know that I'm punctual, I don't bring my cellphone to school or the workplace, and I get along very well with older adults. In fact, I like that you seem to have mature employees, here--I'll be able to learn from them and their experience." Really sell yourself in the interview. Know what a manager may perceive as a limitation on your part, then YOU must be the one to bring it up, because they won't. When the interviewer asks, "Do you have any questions?" make sure that one of your questions is something like, "I'm really excited about this place because (fill in the blank) and I hope to be hired. Do you have any questions about anything on my application or in this inteview that I can clarify for you?"

    Most important, don't assume that no manager will hire you because you do/ don't have CNA experience, or some other issue. And, if you aren't getting calls for interviews, or aren't getting hired after interviewing, it may be you have some other issue--not lack of experience, etc. Take a hard look at your job search approach and try to improve the way you're going about finding a job.
  5. 0
    Thanks for sharing your wisdom Patti!! Great stuff
  6. 3
    Quote from CrazierThanYou
    In my area, teacher's assistants are the ones who automatically get hired as teachers when they finish the degree. They've been in the classroom, they've worked with children, etc. With CNA's, I do feel they should get hired first. They've been in the hospital/other care facility and they've worked with the patients. In fact, it seems odd to me that someone who has zero experience whatsoever with patient care would decide to be a nurse.

    I go to school with several people who have no experience working with other people. Some have no experience working at all. They're all clueless. They have no people skills, they don't know how to communicate with the patients, they're always "scared" of something.

    Now, in our area, one must have taken the CNA class and obtained certification before they can apply to the nursing program. Unfortunately, that didn't go into effect until the class after us. I think it should go a step further and mandate that one must WORK as a CNA. A college in a neighboring county requires 2 years of full time CNA experience to be a radiology tech.

    I worked as a CNA all the way through nursing school and for years before. If I am up against some of my classmates who have no experience, I absolutely think I should be hired first. Of course, it might not happen, due to the "connections" we keep hearing about...
    I completely disagree with this. Some of the best people in my class never worked as CNAs. They were second career students; some had been SAHMs; and one had been in the military and had worked as a police officer. You can't make sweeping generalizations like that. There are some people who never worked as a CNA who may be better candidates than you, based on their background.
    DSkelton711, Merlyn, and netglow like this.
  7. 1
    Quote from Patti_RN

    The trick is to find the right manager who wants to hire the type of person you are. It's like finding the right puzzle piece, and different puzzle pieces fit different empty spots. The trick is to know where you might fit in best, and focus your efforts in that direction.

    If you get to the interview and see the workplace is filled with employees over the age of 35, and you're in your early 20's, make that point with the person who is interviewing you. "I recognize that I'm very young compared to most people here, and I know that some people of my generation have some difficulties with responsibility. I'd like you to know that I'm punctual, I don't bring my cellphone to school or the workplace, and I get along very well with older adults. In fact, I like that you seem to have mature employees, here--I'll be able to learn from them and their experience."
    GREAT post, Patti. If we had a "hall of fame," I'd be nominating this post. You hit the nail right on the head.

    I hire people -- I try to be as fair as I can be, but I admit it -- I have my prejudices based on about 35 years of experience in the field. There are certain things I am looking for and certain things that turn me off in an applicant. If you don't "fit" what I am looking for, I am probably going to turn you away and hire the person who does. Someone once compared the process of filling a vacant position to fielding a baseball team. If you need a "pitcher," you are not going to choose a "catcher," no matter how talented that catcher may be. You are only going to seriously consider the candidates who are good at pitching.

    Hiring someone is about meeting the needs of the employer -- nothing else. A candidate needs to be able to show how they can better meet the employer's needs than the other people who applied.
    anotherone likes this.
  8. 0
    I'm so sorry that you are having a difficult time finding your job.I have found often that new RN's are sought out the most due to their recent training and testing.I would be interested in the area of the country you are looking.I could put you in touch where I have known this to be the case.
  9. 0
    Patti-RN I had goosebumps reading your post.. very well said.
  10. 0
    I don't believe CNA experience is required for one to be a great RN. I don't think it hurts either. However hiring CNAs is far less risky for nurse managers. If they hire a CNA then they know what they are getting. The CNA is already their employee so not only is the hiring process faster for one already in the HR system, the NM knows if this person is a hard worker who shows up on time and doesn't abuse their sick calls.
    A huge number of new RNs leave their first job withing a year or two. If a NM hires a CNA who already works on the unit then the new nurse knows exactly what they are getting into and already knows if this is the kind of unit they want to work on, they understand the unit culture and the patient population.
    If I was hiring and had a choice between to new grads and one had already worked for me for years and I know him/her to be a good employee it kind of a no brainer who would get the job.
    In one SICU where I work part time they do not hire new grad BSNs, ADNs only. The exceptions that have been made are only for long standing unit employees (CNAs, HUCS) who have graduated from a BSN program.


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