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Nurse Beth Nurse Beth, MSN (Advice Column) Writer Innovator Expert Nurse Verified

Can't Get Job With MSN

Nurse Beth   (1,318 Views 6 Comments)
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Dear Nurse Beth,


I am a nurse with 7.5 years of experience. I was in MedSurg the first 4.5 years with the past 3 years in Dialysis. I received my MSN in December 2016 but have had no luck utilizing my degree. I have applied for multiple jobs trying to leave dialysis but have had no luck. Prior to working in dialysis I never had difficulty getting an interview. Now I can't seem to get an offer if I tried. I have applied for positions that only require a BSN just to get out of dialysis. I am not sure what the problem is. I am stuck in dialysis and very unhappy. I have more experience than I did working in MedSurg and now an MSN. I thought this would make me make me more marketable. I feel since working in dialysis no one wants to hire me even within my hospital.


Please help. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Dear Stuck,

Congrats on getting your MSN. You don't say what specialty track your degree is, or what positions you are applying for. For example, if your degree is a Masters of Nursing in Nursing Administration, and you are applying for leadership positions, the employer will also look at your resume for progressive leadership experience.

If you are looking for a hospital-based role, such as Staff Development, you may need to go back to the hospital as a bedside clinician to augment your resume with recent clinical experience.

Your MSN in and of itself does not qualify you for an advanced role. Conversely, if an employer hires you for an advanced role solely based on your degree, you may be in over your head. I precepted a nurse in a Master's program who worked in a small PACU. She believed that as soon as she got her degree, she would have her choice of high-level jobs. It didn't happen that way, and instead, she worked for two questionable employers in short succession. She found herself in leadership positions but in very troubled work settings.

Look at the postings to see what other qualifications are required for the jobs you want, and plan your strategy from there. You have your degree, and now you need to broaden your work experience. If you decide to go back to the hospital setting, a refresher course may help boost your resume.

Best wishes,

Nurse Beth

Author, "Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job"...and your next!



Edited by tnbutterfly

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Excellent advice from Nurse Beth!

You do not say what types of jobs you are applying for- that might guide the discussion as well.

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Unfortunately your most recent experience is very much a niche market. Finding educator roles or management roles in dialysis are pretty few and far between. You don't say what your MSN is in, but if it is in education, you may consider what tangents apply to your experience. For instance, a large number of dialysis patients are also diabetics. You may be marketable as a diabetic educator if your knowledge level is up to snuff and/or if you became certified in that specialty.

I agree with Beth, returning to a clinical bedside role may be in your best long-term interest. You may have trouble finding one full time with an MSN, but you might find a PRN gig is more receptive.

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Perhaps you are limiting your search areas in career and location. Are you willing to relocate? When I was job hunting I did not have the resources you have to day but I looked up a couple of sites and came up with and came up with these:

Military depending on your age


under served areas (Alaska or Wyoming) where student loans can be worked off quickly

Job titles may include:

Nursing Consultant. ...

Research Nurse. ...

Nurse Educator. ...

Nurse Administrator. ...

Advanced Nurse Practitioner. ...

Clinical Nurse Specialist. ...

More Opportunities and Higher Salaries.

I hope you find the position you are looking for or better yet your perfect job.

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OH my gosh. I am in the exact same position. I work in dialysis, have a master's degree and can't get hired ANYWHERE! I took the MSN off my resume hoping it would help, but no luck. Just today I got yet another notification that I have been turned down for a med surg position.

I don't know what to do. I feel like I wasted many years, a lot of time and so much money getting my education and nothing has come of it.

Anyway, I'll create a separate post because I, too, could use some advice.

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How about looking into the insurance sector? Many insurance companies or value-based programs are looking to leverage dialysis experience when developing teams to reduce the cost for dialysis members. 

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