Did I ruin my chances?

Nurses Career Support


Straight out of nursing school I was injured and physically unable to work in a hospital.  I spent almost 2 years as a corrections nurse and was able to see and do all sorts of cool things (stitches, toenail removals, treating sucking chest wounds, managing shingles outbreaks, etc) but now I'm trying to go to hospital nursing and it feels impossible. After leaving the prison (the management made me feel my license was not safe), I went to a community health center and I absolutely hate it.  The nurses do nothing but medication refills and prior authorizations.  After sticking it out for a month I have interacted with two patients... 
In the last month I have submitted countless applications to the local hospital all without even the offer to interview.  This is the same company I worked for during nursing school.  Did I pigeon hole myself into corrections nursing? How do I make myself more marketable? 

Specializes in Psychiatric and Mental Health NP (PMHNP).

I'm curious - how did the corrections management make you feel your RN license was in jeopardy?   Was this because of actions you took as an RN there?

If this a smaller town or city with only 1 hospital, people at the hospital may have heard negative things about you from the corrections people.  That's just a possibility.

You should try networking and being active in local organizations that would allow you to meet people from the hospital.  You could also look into volunteering there.  A referral from an employee generally carries a lot of weight.

There are other RN jobs you could look into as well:  school nursing, home nursing, rehab facilities, and travel nursing.

Good luck

The supervisor for most of my time there was a nurse, then in the last month she left and was replaced with a person with zero medical experience. Among other things he tried to push policies to withhold medical care from transgender inmates, change how we gave any injections including insulin, TB skin test, etc., and tried to cover up events we were mandated to report. 

I had a good report with all but one of the night nurses who has been around since the ice age so that is a possibility. She was known for sabotaging people at work so I wouldn't be surprised if that carried over outside of work. 

I spoke to the regional hiring manager of the hospital who said I had good experience and would pass my information to the local nurse manager. Hopefully that helps! 

Specializes in Postpartum/Public Health.

It's super cool that you had the chance to work in corrections and in community health! 2 years of experience is extensive, and it's great that you recognize the safety issues with your former job in corrections, which is why you are deciding to try something new. Have you tried attending any job fairs at hospitals, or applying through LinkedIn? I find that I have had quite a bit of luck through LinkedIn, as you can even message or connect with the recruiters/HR personally. It's good networking! Stay positive, I find it takes a bit longer for hospitals to get back to candidates sometimes.

Though hospitals scream they need nurses they are notoriously slow to respond to applicants..part of that is the ebb/flow of when new grads hit the market. Hospitals can bring them on for a lot less than an experienced nurse.

You may have to broaded your area - if you are only looking at local hospitals you may want to consider something a little further out - if for nothing else to get your feet into the hospital setting as that would definitely make you more marketable to other hospitals.

Understand completely not liking the clinic work - I had a job very similar to that - absolutely hated it.

Good luck

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