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2013 Grad - Still can't get acute care job

Nurse Beth   (9,941 Views | 8 Replies)
by Nurse Beth Nurse Beth, MSN (Columnist) Educator Writer Innovator Expert Nurse

Nurse Beth has 30 years experience as a MSN and specializes in Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho.

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Dear Nurse Beth,

I am a 46 year old nurse with an associate's degree. I graduated and received my license in 2013, however the only job that I was able to secure was with a nursing home. I have continually applied with hospitals to try to get in a nurse residency program or regular staff nurse I positions.

None of these attempts have been successful. I was recently told by someone that when she finally got into a hospital, some of the hospitals don't feel that you have enough experience coming from nursing homes, hospice or home health to work in the hospital. This is terribly frustrating and disheartening. I'm not going to give up but at times I feel really bad about not being able to start my career right away and utilize some of the skills that I learned in nursing school.

Since I live in the Atlanta area and there are so many hospitals in the metro area it seems that I would be able to at least get in one of the hospitals, right? Please help if you can and thanks for any advice in advance.


Dear Can't Get into Acute Care,

Thanks for your question.

With a graduation date of 2013, you will no longer be eligible for many new grad residency programs, although some hospitals do accept candidates such as yourself with no acute care experience. The hospital where I work recently admitted a nurse into our Residency program who is not a new grad, but has 3 years experience in skilled nursing and has even been a supervisor. He is doing well, and I'm glad he had the opportunity, as he is kind and competent.

Hospitals set their own residency requirement criteria, and they differ widely. It has a lot to do with the demand in your geographical area.

Don't give up, though. If you want to land a job in acute care, you can do it with persistence and strategy. Is your resume polished and effective? Are you networking? Have you practiced your interviewing skills?

Read How to Land a Job and Prepare for Your Interview for some helpful job searching tips.

Best wishes,

Nurse Beth

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Pixie.RN has 12 years experience as a MSN, RN, EMT-P and specializes in EMS, ED, Trauma, CNE, CEN, CPEN, TCRN.

8 Followers; 32 Articles; 13,349 Posts; 130,314 Profile Views

In a saturated area, a BSN might be helpful. I would suggest looking into RN-to-BSN programs.

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3 Posts; 375 Profile Views

She may need to consider relocating outside of Atlanta. I know the hospital in Warner Robins is hiring

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Kiki1970 has 10 years experience and specializes in Psychiatric, Aesthetics.

113 Posts; 3,287 Profile Views

I just posted something about this the other day!! I'm 45 going into a ASN program. A client of mine who is an RN for 20+ yrs, just told me to stay away from LTC, she said I'd never get it! She's in the UC system and grandfathered in.

Good luck to you... Don't give up!!

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mykg has <1 years experience.

20 Posts; 2,093 Profile Views

This is a similar situation to what I see happening to many Associate Degree grads in Chicago. One thing you may wish to consider is to find small neighborhood hospitals that aren't part of a large conglomerate and aren't even bothering to seek magnet status. There are small hospitals of this nature in Chicago and they seem to hire many graduates from my community college program who might otherwise be unable to find work at larger healthcare systems. I've had one clinical at such a hospital and have personally seen many students from my ASN program get jobs there. Since many of these types of places have little to no chance of gaining magnet status, they are much more apt to hire non-experienced RNs without a Bachelors degree and will likely give you more hands on experience than you may get at a large University Hospital...etc.. which could be valuable in a first position.

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Nurse Beth has 30 years experience as a MSN and specializes in Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho.

18 Followers; 104 Articles; 2,091 Posts; 235,901 Profile Views

This is a similar situation to what I see happening to many Associate Degree grads in Chicago. One thing you may wish to consider is to find small neighborhood hospitals that aren't part of a large conglomerate and aren't even bothering to seek magnet status. There are small hospitals of this nature in Chicago and they seem to hire many graduates from my community college program who might otherwise be unable to find work at larger healthcare systems. I've had one clinical at such a hospital and have personally seen many students from my ASN program get jobs there. Since many of these types of places have little to no chance of gaining magnet status, they are much more apt to hire non-experienced RNs without a Bachelors degree and will likely give you more hands on experience than you may get at a large University Hospital...etc.. which could be valuable in a first position.

This is really good advice :)

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Here.I.Stand has 16 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in SICU, trauma, neuro.

1 Follower; 4,986 Posts; 42,996 Profile Views

Have you looked in rural/critical access areas? I hail from a very rural area (the big city one hour away is pop 64K...my parents get bears in their yard...neighboring towns' PDs have one squad car...no stoplights...one all-volunteer ambulance for a 30 mile radius...the most common cause of totalled vehicles is auto vs. deer MVCs...RURAL!)

Anywho, the critical access hospitals I'm familiar with hire many more ASN RNs because they just don't have the same applicant pools that the bigger city hospitals do. The working environment teaches nurses to be extremely resourceful, and they see some of everything. And who do you think keeps the bad traumas alive until they can be transported to a level 1 or 2 trauma center? ;)

Might be something to think about.

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Hoosier_RN has 20 years experience as a MSN and specializes in LTC, home health, hospice, ICU, ER, dialysis.

5 Followers; 1,877 Posts; 4,058 Profile Views

I just posted something about this the other day!! I'm 45 going into a ASN program. A client of mine who is an RN for 20+ yrs, just told me to stay away from LTC, she said I'd never get it! She's in the UC system and grandfathered in.

Good luck to you... Don't give up!!

Depending on where you are, consider a BSN as well. Most hospitals are making this the preferred, whether they are magnet are not. ASN limits your choices in the areas where this is true. In this tough market especially from your profile seeing that you are in CA, you may have to "take what you can get". It's easy for someone who has a job and grandfathered in to tell you to hold out. Good luck, though, I hope it works out for you!

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1 Article; 8 Posts; 7,995 Profile Views

Florida has hundreds of nursing openings in acute care, and is expanding nursing programs in the state due to the shortage. Just a thought.

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