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Finding a job in NE area as an AA

So this thread is really just a vent. I graduated May 3rd and immediately took the boards nearly a week later. I passed, and then I immediately started applying to NP jobs. I was pessimistic in the beginning because I thought that since I attended an online university (despite the fact that it was a pretty good school), I would have trouble landing a job in this particular area since there was so many great nursing schools in the area (i.e UConn, UMass, Farfield, Quinnipiac, Yale etc). However, it was quite the opposite.. I received so many call backs, phone interviews, and scheduled a ridiculous amount of in-person interviews. Unfortunately none of those in-person interviews resulted in me being hired. It was really puzzling to me because these individuals sounded so eager to get me in and hire me, but the moment they met me their demeanors changed immediately. At first I thought that I must be doing something inappropriate in the in-person interview process, but what? I was dressed appropriately with dress pants a button down dress shirt and a business jacket or sweater. My shoes were appropriate. I had no inappropriate tattoos or piercings showing. I arrived 15 minutes before the the interview. I brought extra resumes and typed questions. I made sure to smile and make everyone feel comfortable. I just did not get why the in-person interviews always resulted in the cold shoulder. I shrugged off the idea that it had to do with my race, but I kept getting this uneasy feeling that people were "surprised" when they met me. Then I talked to another minority NP who informed me that it didn't necessarily have to do with race, but who the practice's patient population felt "most comfortable with". NE has a very large population of whites (higher than the national average, and not a lot of A.A (Especially in my area which is Avon). So naturally practitioners will tend to see a substantial amount of older caucasian adults. She said that this population feels most comfortable around white male practitioners unfortunately and if the patients do not feel comfortable around you they will not want to see you which means you are not an asset to their practice. So armed with that information, I decided to look for AA physicians and NP to practice with. I found a total of 3. One of which I already new of before hand. She is a pediatrician and hired me on the spot without applying (go figure!), and that would be great if my background was mostly adults and geri and peds is not my strong point. Another physician was an internist who works under a contract, along with 5 or 6 other physician, with Yale and they don't really need NPs at his practice since they use residents. The last one was definitely a no go since he was no longer practicing medicine and was a convicted felon for sexual assault charges. Now I know plenty of NPs who have had to wait a year or more to find someone to hire them (but they are usually ANPs or AGNPs) so I should give it some time. Plus I can always work peds if necessary, but I am so very frustrated and angry with what has occurred so far with my finding-a-job process. It would be different if I received little to no call-backs, or if when I did receive a call-back I never got asked to actually come in an interview, but that's not the case, and sometimes when I do come in for an interview they tell me the most apparent lies. Its almost insulting. Ugh!!! Okay I am done with this vent. Am I the only one experiencing this? And is that one NP right?

I should also add that I can understand people wanting to go with practitioners they feel most comfortable with. I mean some women will only go to other women for ob/gyn purposes, and many people feel more comfortable and have more trust in people they feel they can relate to.

traumaRUs, MSN, APRN, CNS

Has 27 years experience. Specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU.

I too live in the Midwest but work predominantly with an AA population (I'm a white middle aged female). While I feel some initial mistrust op from some of my pts, the majority learn to like and respect me. In our practice we have whites, staff from India, Phillipine, Cuba and several other countries.

maybe take the peds job and then continue to network? I've found I'm far more marketable if I'm already employed.

zmansc, ASN, RN

Specializes in Emergency.

First let me say I'm sorry you experienced that. It would be interesting if you brought it up in the interview to see if they would open up about it (I doubt it).... Something along the lines of, "Have you hired practitioners of other ethnicities in the past and how has the reception been towards them? Has the practice had to alter it's marketing approach to take advantage of a more diverse group of providers?" I'm also curious, did you do your clinicals in the same geographic area? Were your preceptors of color, or have practitioners of color or other ethnicities in their practices? Did anyone express any concerns to you?

Personally, I think it's shortsighted of the practices to be limiting themselves to practitioners of a specific ethnicity, although as you mention it might impact the building of your panel, I would have to believe that having more diversity would allow the practice to reach into populations that they don't currently penetrate. Hopefully as you gain experience and a reputation you will be able to help breakdown this barrier for yourself and for others who come after you.

Zmansc, it is interesting that you asked that. No I did not do most of my clinicals in NE. I spent one semester at MinuteClinic and it was awful. I learned absolutely nothing other than how to do an assessment (which I already knew how to do). My preceptor was also a nightmare. I attempted to find clinicals at an actual practice, but I could not find anyone willing to take on a student unfortunately. My father is a physician in FL so I had to move back there for a year and do clinicals with a lot of his colleagues (they were of all different races. Some were AA, some were caucasian, and some were middle eastern). I had no trouble in Florida, but I think that was mostly because I had connections. I received very positive feedback from every single one of them and even received two job offers (which I would have taken had I not had to move back to CT).

traumaRUs, MSN, APRN, CNS

Has 27 years experience. Specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU.

Duh, I'm sorry....I thought NE was Nebraska!

Then when hen you commented about CT I got it...sorry...

juan de la cruz, MSN, RN, NP

Has 27 years experience. Specializes in APRN, Adult Critical Care.

I've visited many parts of the Northeast but I've never been anywhere in CT, I've only heard from people who lived there so that's not enough to form a conclusion. I do notice that to some degree, there is a preferential attempt to mirror the community's racial demographics in deciding the racial mix among providers in that same community. There are obvious advantages to that but it's also a double edged sword.

As a person of color myself (who is male), I've never felt judged based on my race but I've also only worked in diverse urban settings where my race might have given me an advantage in some people's eyes. Again, that's the opposite of what you're feeling because I always hate to think that I was picked for a job merely because I'm a minority.

Having said that, I am really upset about the fact that we accept physicians of Indian and Middle-Eastern ethnicity and see them successfully practicing in predominantly white suburban and rural communities yet African-Americans seem to struggle for acceptance. OP, I have no advice to you other than to consider relocation.

BostonFNP, APRN

Has 9 years experience. Specializes in Adult Internal Medicine.

It makes me sick to think about even the possibility that the color of someone's skin could be the deciding factor in getting a job.

I also agree with Juan that there is a double standard there with foreign physicians and NPs providing care that should be addressed; I would even contact the CT NP association and the CT state rep for the AANP to discuss the issue. I would also add that any patient the refuses your care based in your skin color (or religion or gender or orientation or anything else) is not deserving of you wasting your time on.

That all being said, are you positive it is racially related? Maybe there is something in your interview that is bothering potential employers? What questions are you being asked, what are your answers, and what are you asking them? Where did you do clinical rotations?

Do you mine sharing your job search statistics? Roughly how jobs did you apply to; how many interviews did you get called in for and how many interviews did you actually do? These numbers will put things into perspective.

My sister is an African American CRNA and no problem landing jobs in various locations (Midwest, NE and Southeast). Another family member is an NP, who graduated from a brick and mortar NP program at a State University and received only one interview and Job offer from a University Hospital that is subcontracted to work managing the infectious disease program through the local Public Health Organization. She felt her lack of experience and fierce competition for NP jobs was the deciding factor for not getting more than the one interview/job.

I agree with BostonFNP that your interviewing technique, questions asked and the response to the interviewer's questions can send the wrong signals. For instance, did you mention anything about your "bad" experience at the Minute Clinic and the issues with your preceptor?

That all being said, are you positive it is racially related? Maybe there is something in your interview that is bothering potential employers? What questions are you being asked, what are your answers, and what are you asking them? Where did you do clinical rotations?

BostonFNP, believe me, I asked myself the same question. The problem is sometimes before I even get to the question portion, I'm getting blocked and receiving the cold shoulder. For example, I was communicating back and forth with a certain physician owned company's hiring manager and HR representative. We talked on the phone a couple times and she did her portion of the interview via phone with questions like where do I see myself in a couple years, what type of practice am I looking for, how do you deal with noncompliant patients etc. She seemed to really like me and wanted to get me in to meet the physicians. We scheduled a date and time. I showed up 15min early as usual when I go to an interview . She, the HR representative, came out and said she would call me back in a few. I waited 25 min past my interview time until she finally came out and told me the physicians wouldn't be joining us today because they were running behind schedule at their office. Ok this was kind of a waste of my time but no problem, I sat down with the two individuals I had talked to a couple times over the phone and we went through some of their company's policies, beliefs, benefits etc. Took maybe a total of 5 min. I asked a few questions like how many patients would I be expected to see...what is the patient population like....what type of training would I receive.....etc. She then stated that she had two different locations that could be of interest to me but I needed to pick just one so they could send my resume to that group....she stated that I could still be considered for other positions but they just needed to narrow it down for the time being. My initial thought was....then exactly what physician(s) were suppose to come to THIS interview? So basically she had either lied to me earlier over the phone about a IM group being interested or she was lying at the time of the interview when she said they (the physicians) were delayed at their office. The total interview lasted a total of 10min with very little interaction on their part. At the end she stated she would give me a call on Tuesday after she sent the resume off. Tuesday rolled around didn't hear anything. So I sent a follow-up email on Thursday thanking them for their time and telling them I look forward to hearing from them. Later that day I received an email back from the hiring manager that stated that that particular office had decided to go with a NP that they had already met but they would keep my resume on file for other opportunities. Of course I continued to apply for other jobs and I noticed online that this particular company had plenty of new opportunities available for new grads. Even though they stated they were keeping my resume on file I applied anyways and shot the hiring manager an email. Never heard back from her again. Despite the fact that she originally stated over the phone she liked my "bubbly personality", my resume and critical care skills were excellent blah blah blah. Now it could be they just had more qualified candidates but I can't shake the feeling of the way they treated me when they first met me in person.

Also I did my clinical

rotation at two internal medicine offices. One on/gyn office affiliated with a large teaching hospital. A pediatric office that served a high concentration of indigent children and a SNF. These were all in Florida...oh except the minute clinic that I did in the beginning....that one was in ct

Edited by xtclass08

Hi Sonia,

Thanks for your response. I definitely hear you. I too have considered that fact and have gone over and over what I.can do differently but nothing really sticks out. Since May I would actually have to go back through all my emails and my schedule to determine how many phone calls and interviews I've schedule but i know it's at least 15.....and that from mid-May until now and does not include places like pain management clinics that contacted me. Also, I NEVER mention the MinuteClinic. I didn't even put it on my resume because I didn't consider it to be an adequate clinical rotation

Hi Sonia,

Thanks for your response. I definitely hear you. I too have considered that fact and have gone over and over what I.can do differently but nothing really sticks out. Since May I would actually have to go back through all my emails and my schedule to determine how many phone calls and interviews I've schedule but i know it's at least 15.....and that from mid-May until now and does not include places like pain management clinics that contacted me. Also, I NEVER mention the MinuteClinic. I didn't even put it on my resume because I didn't consider it to be an adequate clinical rotation

First I want to congratulate you on your achievement. That is a great accomplishment. I am so sorry for your experiences but unfortunately race still is and will always be a determining factor in America. You should humbly accept the pediatric np position. You may enjoy that specialty.

Racial discrimination is illegal, regardless of whether it is driven by the local population's "preference" in providers. In fact, that kind of thinking just allows such ridiculous and unfounded prejudice to continue.

I really liked zmansc's suggestion of bringing it up directly, but non-confrontationally. Providers who are so uninformed that they will make a decision based on their beliefs as to their patients' preferences may be uninformed enough that they will discuss this with you. It also maybe a way for you to open the door to discussion about race in general in their practice. They may be willing to talk about a small subset of their patients who, perhaps, "have never had an experience with a provider of color" and how you might deal with that. After all, aren't we taught today in all these sensitivity and diversity classes that acknowledging and talking about our differences is better than ignoring them. Only through discussion and interaction will we be able to understand what is driving these feelings and perhaps change them.

That said, obviously you can't file EEOC complaints against all these people, which will do nothing to help you get a job. I agree with the poster who suggested that you take the peds job you were offered, to get your foot in the door and get some experience. Or, are there providers (of any race) that serve minority populations within driving distance of your house?

It is sad that you are dealing with this in 2014. When I was a floor nurse in an affluent white community, I was shocked at some of the outright prejudice (thankfully rare) that was expressed by some elderly patients toward nurses and CNAs of color. Many of these patients had some dementia or delirium and lost their inhibitions. The hospital's way of dealing with it was to refuse to make staffing changes and suggest that they can find another hospital. I know it upset the nurses. I think that, as a white person, I can't really appreciate how harmful that type of prejudice is.

Good luck and please tell us how things are going.

Hello all,

so I finally found a new job with a community health center that serves the indigent population. The pay isn't that great but it's definitely a learning opportunity since they have a very sick patient population. I was told that what you see in that clinic is stuff most people only see in textbooks..... and they repay 50k in student loans so I'll take the pay cut. Anyways, thanks you guys for all the words of encouragement and advice!!

Psychcns

Has 30 years experience. Specializes in Psychiatric Nursing.

Congratulations!!

kanzi monkey

Has 5 years experience.

I was going to say "come to Mass!" But then it sounds like you got a fine opportunity. Where I work, some days it seems there is no "dominant ethnicity". And in this country, that means (for better or worse) there are a lot of poor and sick members in our community. You are going to learn so much. I wish you all the best.

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