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Can't seem to get a job despite prior RN experience

Nurses   (1,955 Views 15 Comments)
by Wheaties Wheaties (Member) Member

4,575 Profile Views; 156 Posts

I never fully understand the difficulties of new nurses trying to land a job in a hospital after graduating from nursing school, but now I know. I know it's hard to get a job. I have so much respect for all those nurses who have put in dozens to 20 to 40 applications before landing an RN job. I'm a a nurse with over 7 years experience in the same hospital working med-surg/tele, the same job since I graduated from nursing school. I left my job for 2 years to travel, and now I'm applying again. I applied to 2 places so far in a span of 2 weeks, got an interview. I got a response online saying I wasn't hired. It's kind of discouraging. I'm kind of sad about it. I made sure to apply to in med-surg/tele where my experience lies.

At this point, I also applied to 2 more positions, same sort of area, one in the ER, the other is a medical floor. I have an idea why I didn't get hired. I just don't interview well because I get nervous. I even wrote out nearly 10 pages of questions/answers to practice to get better. I even took an online refresher course.

Is it because

1) I've been in the same position for 7 years in the same hospital that hospitals look at it as a negative? I've seen my coworkers who leave my department after 1 year and go somewhere else.

2) I've been away from work for 2 years

3)i get nervous when I interview, and english isn't my first language. i try to go into detail but most of my responses are short and simple despite of it. how much does interview count for not getting hired?

So yeah, I'm kind of disheartened right now, of course I'm not giving up. I'm going to try and do better in interviews, I'm going to keep reviewing the nurse refresher course.

What else can I do, any advice and help is appreciated.

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14 Posts; 1,282 Profile Views

Sorry Wheaties, I feel ya! I've been out for 3 years and am trying to get back into bedside. It has been difficult getting rejected when I have 6 years of experience. I've even applied to new grad jobs and got rejected.

Hang in there and keep trying. In the meantime, see what you can do to make yourself a stronger candidate- maybe volunteer work or trying a refresher course with a clinical to get yourself "recent experience".

Also, try talking to travel nurse companies who are always recruiting for new hires. Some of the jobs might be a bit far (I was offered a job about 35-40 miles away from where I live but realistically the commute wasn't for me), but at least it's something. One caveat is that they usually want recent experience (the ones I've talked to require experience within the last 3 years)- so you could be a potential candidate in their eyes.

Hope this helps. Good luck!

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156 Posts; 4,575 Profile Views

Thanks. My very first job, I landed it because I applied for a student extern position ( I got lucky to be honest, it was hard to land a student nurse extern job). eventually when I graduated, I decided to stay on and I worked there for over 7 years. of course a lot has changed since then. mainly the economy tanking, and the lack of budget

I have 5 applications out right now. I was sure I was going to land one of the first 2 that i put out, but apparently not. I sort of expected that being away from work despite the experience was going to bite me in the end. people always say, well you have experience, but to be honest, nowadays, it doesnt matter unless your experience lies in a specialty area like cadiovascular or ICU

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Davey Do has 35 years experience and specializes in Psych, CD, HH, Admin, LTC, OR, ER, Med Surge.

15 Followers; 1 Article; 6,341 Posts; 78,783 Profile Views

Wheaties, luckycat- just an FYI: In the area where I live, specifically the medical center where I work, in the St. Louis metropolitan area east, there's openings for med/surg nurses. They're even hiring new grads!

The med/surg supervisor had merely six years of experience before attaining that position.

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Nurse SMS has 8 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development.

4 Followers; 6,043 Posts; 47,875 Profile Views

This field definitely seems to punish for having gaps in employment. I wish you all the best. Something will come up, though it may not be exactly what you are hoping for.

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156 Posts; 4,575 Profile Views

Thanks Davey. It's definitely something I might consider, relocating to another state. I live in California, but I live in the rural part of california hundreds of miles away from san francisco and los angeles. the cost of living is definitely much much more affordable here. it's a pretty sizeable area, i've seen hundredes of jobs listed, since we have 3 big hospitals, and another 3 smaller ones in a 20 miles radius but most openings are specialty areas like ICU. But I'll keep trying. I think just posting here in the forum really helps get this off my head. been anxious all week. but i'll contact my former coworkers and see if they can help me out as well.

but for now i'll keep applying and just wait for it.

not.done.yet- thats what i suspected, because i've seen new nurses who have barely 1 year experience get hired easily. i agree its easier to land a new job if a person is currently employed, especially in nursing.

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MrNurse(x2) has 28 years experience as a ADN and specializes in IMC, school nursing.

3 Followers; 1 Article; 2,492 Posts; 9,865 Profile Views

My wife left the same job after 28 years because she couldn't do the 12 hours anymore. She was unemployed for 2 years. No matter what they tell you, the economy sucks and this proves it. Good luck, maybe try AR or LTC, different pace and may be a good fit.

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118 Posts; 1,179 Profile Views

It sounds to me like you need a colleague/manager to vouch for your abilities and history as an employee. Instead of applying to posted jobs, I would reach out to people in my network (people you went to school with, had clinicals with or worked with in past jobs) and ask if there are any job openings on their floor. If there are, ask if they will consider your resume or pass on your resume to the hiring manager. If you have someone who knows you and can talk about your awesome nursing abilities, great rapport with patients and dependability, it will go a long way.

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1 Follower; 473 Posts; 11,408 Profile Views

In my opinion, the interview is an important part of the hiring process. It gives prospective employers an opportunity to see how the candidate will fit with the overall tone of the unit. For instance, does the person present a flexible attitude/personality? Kudos for writing out possible interview questions and answers. I always do that. But I try to limit it to two pages.

In nursing, the interview questions are generally behavioral-based, so you can always expect to be asked to tell a bit about yourself. Since you took two years off to travel, this question gives you an chance to shine! Where did you travel? Why? A short, well-thought out reply can say a lot about you and give you a chance to set yourself apart from the other applicants.

Be prepared to give examples of a time you didn't live up to your personal best. They want to know how you respond to set backs. It is also okay to bring notes with you to the interview. I do this too. Not detailed notes, but notes that include key words and phrases that I want to remember to use. When we are nervous, it is easy to forget what we practiced at home.

Since you clearly enjoy travel, maybe you should think about relocating. Earlier, there was a thread that discussed: Is There Really a Nursing Shortage. The answer appears to depend upon where you live. Another poster said there are plenty of jobs in the east St. Louis area. Where I live, in central Kentucky, there are also lots of jobs.

Good luck. Practice controlled breathing before your interview to calm your nerves. Let us know when you find a job. I know you will!

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NurseGirl525 is a ASN, RN and specializes in ICU.

3,663 Posts; 32,388 Profile Views

I would work on my interviewing skills. Contrary to PP, the economy does not suck and there are jobs out there.

If you are coming across as nervous in interviews that is probably your issue. You need to have confidence in yourself. If you don't, you can't expect a prospective employer to.

Grab a friend and go over interview questions. Let them pick the questions. You work on answering them. That may help you.

Good Luck.

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6 Posts; 475 Profile Views

I have over 13 years experience (mostly ER). I've been doing casual/part-time, working FT hours with NO benefits. I am working and have had absolute H*LL with recruiters.1) I don't think you are necessarily doing bad interviews. 2)You've taken a refresher course. 3) I know many people for whom English is a first language and they still suck at it (haaaa!). If you can do a couple of local contracts (like home care where you can do some IV's, it might help just to say "yes, I am currently working"). But my experience with many recruiters and hr recently has been disgusting. I know several companies who have taken away the power of HR in the hiring because they just have no clue how to pick appropriate candidates. FYI, the ER would be hard to break into if you've been out for a while. They are all hopelessly understaffed and don't have time to do proper orientations -they have the money but they won't spend that on nursing. They want you to hit the ground running. Don't lose heart. No one's opinion of you should ever matter more than your own and some stranger in an HR department does not determine your worth as a nurse or as a human being.

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580 Posts; 10,763 Profile Views

I live and work in Los Angeles. I'm surprised the more rural parts of California are not even considering hiring you, especially since you already live in that area. I am always reading about how rural parts of the country are understaffed, and yet here you are, someone with experience and not getting hired! SMH

Sure, it may be easier to land a new job if you are already employed, but I can tell you I've seen numerous times my hospital hiring new grads and then as soon as they have six months' experience to a year, they are out. Then the managers gripe about how they wasted money on them. Give me a break! I hope that's not what's happening in your situation, their hiring new grads over you.

Since you like traveling, have you considered travel nursing? You could earn more money that way, especially if you go to the more populated areas of California.

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