Best use of time waiting for phone to ring? Didn't work right after graduation

Posted

Hi everyone,

I graduated with my ASN in 2011 on the honor roll. I a good student who tutored classmates. I also have a bachelors from a local University in a somewhat unrelated field. I am smart, articulate, well educated, and detail oriented. I scored 99th percentile in my TEAS entrance exam and passed the NCLEX easily on the first try.

When I first graduated, I procrastinated in aggressively looking for work. At the time I didn't need the money so much. A divorce-in-progress was slowly coming to a close. I took care of some family matters. I did volunteer work. I got remarried, and we have a 4 month old. Now I NEED TO WORK. My husband was laid off, nursing pays better than his job, and it's time for me to use my education. He's offered to be Mr. Mom, if I can find work. I'm ready!

Trouble is nobody wants to touch someone who graduated a few years ago and didn't work. I'm prepared to work anywhere at any pay to get experience, as long as I don't have to move. I'm commuting distance from 2 major cities. Where are the entry level jobs??

I don't (yet) need to take a refresher course for my state's license. It's still in good standing. I kept my BLS updated.

So...

What do you think is the best use of time while waiting for the phone to ring?

  • I did sign up for additional college classes, and if I can't find work I'll keep taking them until I get my BSN. Right now I'm taking Nutrition for credit. How do I list on resume "taking pre-req classes in preparation for applying for BSN at school yet to be determined"?

  • I could volunteer at my local hospital. But their don't give "nursing" work to volunteers. I'd be sitting at a desk maybe answering the occasional phone call. I did this when I started nursing school, and I felt it was not a good use of my time. Is the boredom worth it?

  • Is there such a thing as volunteer work for nurses that utilizes our skills? How do I find such a thing -- without me having to relocate? I'm willing to work for free for a few months, if it helps me find a good job. It would be better than me sitting around waiting for the phone to ring.

  • I am looking at taking little classes and seminars for Continuing Education credit. Can't hurt, right? Do I list these individually on the resume?

  • Is it worth it to join the national/state ANA and list that on resume? I see they offer some CE-credit classes for cheap or free. Cost annually is about $130.

  • There don't seem to be any internships available, and the few I heard others got were because they were recruited out of a graduating class. How do I find such a thing if it's not on hospital web sites or coming up in google searches?

  • I am networking with former classmates and anyone else I can think of. My classmates and one of my old faculty will happily write letters of recommendation. But how do I get far enough in the job hunt process to show them to anyone.

  • Any thoughts on me tutoring at my college? My nursing school had a tough program. I passed it with all A's and B's but I know students who failed. It might be a few extra bucks, but it also refreshes my memory, and maybe it can't hurt my resume? Is there any reason I should not do this and/or list it on a resume?

  • Is there anything else I can to do to freshen up my resume to make up for the huge black hole?

...And the next person who tells me there's a "nurse shortage", I'm going to smack with a wet noodle! Some of my classmates from my '11 gradating class have really struggled. Some are between jobs or stuck in a nursing job they hate. I'm in the northeastern US between two huge cities, so there are employers. But if you don't have 2 solid years of recent experience, very few places will talk to you.

Yes, I agree with RN2012, you might try looking for LTC jobs to get your foot back in the door, gain some experience, and then transition into the hospital if that is what you aspire to do. It also depends on your area. Some areas truly do have a nursing shortage and you might be able to land a job right away, although, you state you live near two major cities so I am not sure if that would apply to you.

Even though you may not yet be required to take a refresher course per your BON's requirements, I still think that it could only benefit you. First of all, you have been out of school for a while and things have already changed, also, it would be nice to refresh I would imagine after all of this time. Secondly, it will show potential employers that you are serious about re-entering the nursing world and I imagine would make you more attractive as far as landing interviews goes.

What do you think is the best use of time while waiting for the phone to ring?

-Take a refresher course, maybe obtain your ACLS certification,or any other certifications that you note under the job requirements listed on job applications

I did sign up for additional college classes, and if I can't find work I'll keep taking them until I get my BSN. Right now I'm taking Nutrition for credit. How do I list on resume "taking pre-req classes in preparation for applying for BSN at school yet to be determined"?

-That sounds great, especially if the hospitals in your area require a BSN. I would put under your education something along the lines of "Currently pursuing acceptance into an RN-BSN program" or "Currently taking courses towards BSN" something like that. State where you are taking the courses as well and maybe include when you plan to be accepted.

I could volunteer at my local hospital. But their don't give "nursing" work to volunteers. I'd be sitting at a desk maybe answering the occasional phone call. I did this when I started nursing school, and I felt it was not a good use of my time. Is the boredom worth it?

While it may be boring...it is certainly an opportunity to network with people and make valuable connections. Sometimes, it is not about your experience, but, WHO you know.

Is there such a thing as volunteer work for nurses that utilizes our skills? How do I find such a thing -- without me having to relocate? I'm willing to work for free for a few months, if it helps me find a good job. It would be better than me sitting around waiting for the phone to ring.

I know that the American Red Cross does offer volunteer opportunities for nurses, but, I do not know if they require experience, and I do not know what exactly you would do. The volunteer opportunities vary from place to place and what is available. Check their website: www.redcross.org.

Also, sometimes if you check your city/town's volunteer website you can find that they need volunteer blood pressure screeners and what not. That would be something to do at least....of course you are not using all of your nursing skills, but, it is better than nothing and again, it would give you an opportunity to make connections.

I am looking at taking little classes and seminars for Continuing Education credit. Can't hurt, right? Do I list these individually on the resume?

That's right, it cant hurt. You need to keep your license active anyway. I would not list them separately. I would just make a generic title and then put how many hours down. You want to keep your resume short. One page, ideally. With having no nursing experience besides clinical, you want to keep things brief.

Is it worth it to join the national/state ANA and list that on resume? I see they offer some CE-credit classes for cheap or free. Cost annually is about $130.

If you feel that it would be worth it for YOU and your continuing education credits, then sure. I am not sure how big it will be on your resume at this point. Some hospitals value being involved in nursing associations and will ask you on your job application if you have joined one and some will not. It depends. That's great that they offer CE credits for cheap. Keep in mind, that your hospital or LTC facility might offer CE classes as well...cheap...and convenient. But, ultimately the decision is yours.

There don't seem to be any internships available, and the few I heard others got were because they were recruited out of a graduating class. How do I find such a thing if it's not on hospital web sites or coming up in google searches?

If you are referring to a new grad internship/residency, I would not bother searching any further, you have graduated about 3 years ago which means that you are no longer considered a new graduate. You no longer fit the requirements for this position.

I am networking with former classmates and anyone else I can think of. My classmates and one of my old faculty will happily write letters of recommendation. But how do I get far enough in the job hunt process to show them to anyone.

That is great that you have former classmates willing to write letters for you. Have you straight up asked them if their unit is hiring? You might try giving them your resume, cover letter, or at least a business card if you have one. Use these connections to get your name and interest out there. If you decide to reach out to nurse managers directly via e-mail maybe you can attach one of these letters. Other than that, I would just bring them with you to the interview.

As far as getting far enough to utilize the letters. Apply to as many jobs as you can. I put out over 100+ applications before landing a job after two months. Apply, apply, apply, and then apply some more. Get your name out there. utilize career websites. Post your resume. Make connections. Find nurse managers on LinkedIn or find their contact info on the hospital website. Reach out to them. Some people will say not to do this, but, I did not start hearing back from potential employers until I reached out to human beings, I did not rely on the computer. Unless the site specifically says "do not call" or something of the like. Reach out and follow-up. Then you will get to the point where you will interview and utilize your letters of recommendation. IF they want them. Sometimes they just call references.

Any thoughts on me tutoring at my college? My nursing school had a tough program. I passed it with all A's and B's but I know students who failed. It might be a few extra bucks, but it also refreshes my memory, and maybe it can't hurt my resume? Is there any reason I should not do this and/or list it on a resume?

I couldn't see how this would hurt. It would be a source of income for now...it might not be a big deal on your resume as it is not nursing experience, but, I don't think it would hurt either.

Is there anything else I can to do to freshen up my resume to make up for the huge black hole?

You can put that tutoring on there if you so choose to do that. You can also put the volunteering that you stated that you did briefly (at least I think you said that, I am too lazy to scroll back up). Or you can put any volunteering that you might do in the meantime. Just be honest when asked about the gap, hey, life happens. You had a baby, you went through a divorce. Life doesn't always go how we plan it to. Any real human being can understand that.

What is important is that you are ready to get back in the game...so show them that.

There truly is a nursing shortage in some areas. Certainly, not in mine, and obviously not in yours. But, some places really are desperate for nurses. Some people have the luxury of living in those areas while some of us do not. Best wishes.

Edited by RN403
gr

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych. Has 15 years experience.

Bluntly put, you have several things going against you.

First of all, the national economy is still experiencing the so-called "jobless recovery," and as you know, nursing jobs have been affected. Second of all, HR managers and recruiters tend to be suspicious of the nurse who graduated more than three years ago and never actually worked as a nurse. Regrettably, you are no longer considered a new nurse even though you have no paid nursing experience.

My advice is to look outside the acute care hospital for your first job. Skilled nursing facilities, private duty, home health, hospice, clinics, group homes, doctors offices, jails, psychiatric hospitals, physical rehabilitation centers, assisted living, adult daycare, and other non-hospital environments might be more open-minded to hiring someone without experience. Good luck to you!

MoshRN

Specializes in OB, Postpartum, Nursery. Has 2 years experience.

In the same boat.

go LTC. I'm an Associate Degree RN, graduated 2012, got a job in LTC for 6 months on the Rehab floor, then recently got hired at a Rehab Facility within a huge healthcare network in NYC. I hope to be successful there as I finish my BSN (which they totally reimburse to some extent) and then I want to transfer into one of their hospitals :)