Applied to 6 Residencies and No Offers

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Dear Nurse Beth,

After I passed my NCLEX-RN, I started applying to nearby hospitals for RN Residency programs.

I have applied to six hospitals so far, and most of the RN Residency programs will be starting soon. I have applied to ED, OR, ICU/CCU depending on hospital openings. I am still waiting to hear back from them.

How long do I have to wait? Should I relocate to a different state if I do not hear back from the hospitals I have applied? It's hard to stay patient but I am hopeful that there is a right place for me down the road. I am looking forward to hearing from you soon. Thank you so much for your time and consideration.

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Specializes in Tele, ICU, Staff Development.

Dear Staying Patient,

Congrats on passing your NCLEX!

Not knowing the job market in your area- what is the demand for new grad RNs? Did most of your classmates land jobs?

If it is a competitive market, then yes, it pays to re-locate for at least 1-2 yrs to get started. You are in your first golden year after graduating, but after 1 year, you may not be eligible for many new grad residencies. The clock is ticking.

Staying patient is good, but be patient with a sense of urgency.

Apply to MedSurg to get your foot in the door. Does your resume stand out from all the other equally qualified residents, and is it tailored to each organization, using keywords from the job posting? Is your resume wordy and packed with cliches, or is it succinct and punchy?

Are you dedicating prime real estate in your resume to lengthy descriptions of your clinical rotations (guaranteed to put the recruiter to sleep)?

Honestly, I wrote my book (below) for new grads just like you, from a hiring manager's point of view. There are multiple insider strategies, such as how to cold-call a manager, how to make your resume stand out, and what managers are really looking for in a candidate.

Once you get just one bite- an interview- I teach you how to nail that interview and land the job.

Sometimes you have to pull out all the stops to get hired and kick-start your career. it's worth it, because in 1-2 years you will be highly marketable.

Wow...hard to comprehend ! Too bad nursing programs are not structured (and funded !) to sponsor internships for their students to give them the ready to hit the job skills and appeal. Employers are notoriously skimpy today on "orientation". The actual clinical time in nursing programs is not enough. Add to that skimpy staffing with mo one having time for mentoring new grads once they are on their own and I can only imagine what the new grads are going through. In retrospect, I would have volunteered for six months to have the opportunity for the one I had paid (way long ago !).

Things that are important to consider: Are you getting interviews? If not then your resume or experience are not making you competitive. If you are getting interviews remember You are also applying to the most competitive residencies. You need to think about applying for other specialties at this point. You can work for a year or two and then move over to those specialties. Also, have you written a cover letter specific to the residency? From my experience in talking to the recruiters in my area it mattered! I sat in on a virtual workshop and that recruiter specifically mentioned it. It sounded like this recruiter put you to the side without it. It could also just be a pure numbers game. Others may have had clinical oR worked as a tech/CNA on these units. They have a major advantage.

Hi, I work in North Carolina and we have a pretty impressive RN residency program. One of our new hire nurses relocated just for the residency program we offer. The hospital is Carteret Health Care in Morehead City, North Carolina. And it is like 15 minutes from the beach !! I have being living down here for two years, moved from New York. Great place to live and great organization to work for as well. Good Luck and check us out if you are still looking !

Specializes in SICU, trauma, neuro.
I have applied to six hospitals so far, and most of the RN Residency programs will be starting soon. I have applied to ED, OR, ICU/CCU depending on hospital openings.

I suspect your very narrow Job Search may be your problem. I personally have never seen an ICU hire more than one or two new grads at a time -- even if they have residency positions posted in these units, we are likely talking about only a handful of positions. Compare that with the number of nursing school graduates enter the workforce twice per year...

You need to be humble and cast your net much wider. In my area a few years ago (it may still be the case), I know of many new grads who couldn't even get a job in a HOSPITAL, let alone critical care areas.

That said, you could always do some market research around areas that typically don't attract many out-of-state transplants. You don't have to commit to relocating if your search doesn't turn up any results.

Some hospitals don't post their residencies online. I would suggest calling each hospital and asking whether or not they have a residency program. It took me a while to find and get hired at my current residency too. Good luck!

I truly believe that there should be a "mandatory" 1 year of Med/Surg nursing before you get into a specialty. That first year is so critical in developing the clinical skills you don't get anymore with the BSN programs. That's why they developed the residency programs. Basic things like time management, technical skills, etc. (I don't understand how a new nurse can graduate without ever once inserting a foley or changing a dressing!

My advice is the same as the others - get a position on Med/Surg for a year. It will make you a much better nurse. And way more marketable! Best of luck and welcome to nursing!