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Feeling Defeated With Only Corrections Experience

by Nurse Beth Nurse Beth, MSN (Columnist) Educator Columnist Innovator Expert Nurse

Specializes in Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho. Has 30 years experience.

Dear Nurse Beth,

I have been a nurse for 7 years, 3 as LPN and 4 as an RN. After completing RN. I started working corrections. I am ready to make a change to hospital nursing. I have applied for residency programs and been denied since I have been out of school more than a year. How do you gain experience if no one will give you a chance. Feeling very defeated.

Dear Defeated,

Even though you do not have acute care experience, you're right, residency programs are limited to newly licensed nurses. The window of opportunity to qualify for a residency program is typically one year, with the clock starting at graduation.

That presents a problem to the non-newly licensed nurse who lacks experience, like yourself.

So the key is to make yourself marketable. How do you do that with only corrections experience? You need a strategy. It will take time and persistence, but it can be done.

What you need to do is identify the skill sets you need to work in acute care, and then plan how best to get them. The closest setting to acute care is sub acute care. Find a job in skilled nursing or sub acute. Work for 1-2 years and then apply to acute care.

Nurse who gain experience in sub-acute do land jobs in acute care because they are skilled at procedures and time management.

While you are working in sub acute, expand your network. Your colleagues will know of nurses who successfully transitioned to acute care, and which hospitals are hiring.

Best wishes,

Nurse Beth

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