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Confused and discouraged new graduate

MHF0808 MHF0808 (New) New

I graduated last May 2016 from a 4 year traditional BSN program in Chicago. I graduated at the top of my class and passed my NCLEX in 75 questions. I then made the bold decision to spend my first year as a nurse volunteering at a clinic affiliated with my university in a poor and rural area in South America. I wanted to do this to expand my cultural perspective and become fluent in Spanish. My work at the clinic was in basic primary care and administrative tasks. I am now back in the US and trying to get on track to pursue my initial goal of working in a pediatric or intensive care inpatient setting.

I applied to a new graduate residency program to which I was well qualified and had connections, but I didn't even get an interview. I am now looking at other new graduate programs and most require you to start within a year of graduating (I am now a little over a year). I'm feeling a little stuck because I feel my resume is confusing for new graduate programs as I graduated last year, even though I tried to clearly describe my volunteer experience. I also don't qualify for most other experienced positions because I don't have real US RN experience.

I am looking mainly for positions in Chicago, but now am considering moving elsewhere.

I'm feeling confused and behind, and like a year of volunteer work may have hurt my career.

Thank you for your help!

Rose_Queen, BSN, MSN, RN

Has 15 years experience. Specializes in OR, education.

Unfortunately, you're now seeing the reality of what is a glut of inexperienced nurses rather than the highly touted nursing shortage. You are now a stale newish grad- you don't have relevant nursing experience, but being more than a year out of school you are unlikely to find a new grad residency as either you don't meet the requirements related to time of graduation, plus those that don't outright state a time requirement are quite possibly simply going to "round file" your application. You are likely going to need to expand your Job Search outside of acute care- LTC, rehab, ambulatory settings. You may also, as you are already, need to look into relocating. So, while you've got an uphill battle, I hope at least others can learn from this that not hitting the pavement and finding a job as soon as possible after graduation can become a roadblock later on.

shibaowner, MSN, RN, NP

Has 1 years experience.

It sounds to me like you have great experience! There is a huge demand for healthcare professionals that can speak Spanish. You might want to look in other locations where this is important. I live in California and Spanish is a requirement for many jobs here. In addition, demand for nurses is different by location, so be flexible on location. You can also look for jobs that are not in hospitals, like home care, SNFs, etc. Consider jobs that are not in major cities. For example, in California, it is hard to find health care professionals willing to live in any city besides San Francisco, Los Angeles, or San Diego. There are many jobs available in the inland areas of the state, especially for someone who speaks Spanish and has some experience. A city of about 100,000 is big enough to have hospitals and they may be more flexible in hiring people, as everyone seems to only want to work in big cities. Also, your school should provide you with some assistance - networking, etc. Finally, you might consider the military - they are always looking for nurses. Good luck!

Oh, and you might find this article helpful:

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