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Nurse Beth Nurse Beth, MSN (Advice Column) Writer Innovator Expert Nurse Verified

Graduated 4 Years Ago, Looking for First Job

Nurse Beth   (3,344 Views 5 Comments)
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Dear Nurse Beth,


I finished my nursing program in August of 2013. I graduated with my ADN degree in May of 2014. I gave my first NCLEX exam in September of 2014 and failed. Due to some family situations, I made my 2nd attempt to my exam in June of 2017. I failed yet again with 265 questions and near passing in all areas.


Fortunately, I passed in March of 2018 with my third attempt. Now I'm trying to look for work. My question is will it be easy for me to apply and get a job after being out so long? I Don't know where to start. Unfortunately, I don't have any medical experience besides what I learned in nursing school and I have been a stay at home mom mostly.


Most of the jobs want experienced nurses. Where can I start in order to get experience and training? Will they train me anywhere I start working? I would love to do a residency program...am I still eligible to do so after 4 years? Plus I don't have any letter of recommendations for that. I don't know where to start. Please, any advice will be appreciated. Thank you

Dear Where to Start,

Congrats on passing your NCLEX!

You will most likely not qualify for a residency program, having graduated in May of 2014. Generally, facilities hire new grads without experience into their residency programs. Eligibility typically includes having graduated no more than a year prior. Every program is different, though, and some make exceptions to their own rules. It would take both very good luck and your making a stellar impression or knowing someone, but it doesn't hurt to apply.

You are an "in-between" status- neither experienced nor a new grad. Most facilities offer 4-6 weeks orientation for a non-new grad, and that may not be long enough. It is easier to land a job in sub-acute than acute care without experience.

Meanwhile, you should consider a nursing refresher course since you graduated over 4 years ago. It will help you with your skills and boost your resume.

While nursing refresher programs don't offer job placement, it's a good place to start networking, so make the most of the connections you'll be making.

Best wishes,

Nurse Beth

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

Edited by tnbutterfly

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Try dialysis or long term care. Both are places to begin learning and you can build a career if you work for a facility that is good, and you like it. Good luck!

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+1 to dialysis..

I had an unintended "break" of a year after nursing school before I could actually take a nursing job.

Outpatient dialysis centers are sometimes chaotic with staffing & that's an opportunity for new grads. They invest a lot of time in training new nurses and there are cms rules that protect the new nurse (and the patients!) from inexperience - you aren't allowed to be the only nurse in the building until you have a year of experience as a nurse. Ltc, you can be swinging in the breeze.

A refresher wouldnt be a bad idea if you can find one in your area, if not, definitely consider dialysis. Individual clinics can be heaven or hell based on crew dynamics & management, but that's kinda not that different than nursing in general.

I went into dialysis with the intent to just survive for a while & get a good reference as a nurse, but I lucked into a very nice clinic with excellent staff & management & I doubt I'll leave unless someone upsets the Apple cart.

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thank you for your suggestion, I will definitely look into those.

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Guest Sara
by Guest Sara

Hello, I graduated 2 years ago. 

I dont know how to study for the Nclex or where to even begin.


Any recommendations

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