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Have Not Worked Since Graduating Nursing School

Nurses   (777 Views | 15 Replies)

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Hi Nurses,

So, I graduated nursing school December 2018. Passed my NCLEX in March 2019. I was applying for jobs from the second I graduated until months after I passed my boards. I wasn't getting any bites at all. I was applying non-stop, everyday, to all the hospitals I could drive to (I'm in Nassau County in Long Island, NY). I had no luck. It was extremely discouraging. I had one interview for a float position. I could feel it not going well, but it felt like the interviewer had already made up her mind about me the second I mentioned I had a child. Needless to say, I never heard back.

My father mentioned that I should speak with his cousin who worked at a hospital in New Rochelle, about an hour and a toll bridge away from me. I did, and everything went pretty quickly at first, then halted, but eventually I had the job. Before I even got to start though, I found out I was pregnant, and not only that, I was high risk due to the conditions of my previous pregnancy ( only the year before ), AND I was having TWINS! So they told me to speak with my doctor to see what they would recommend as far as taking on this new position. The high risk doctor told me I should sit this one out. So I unfortunately had to decline my position. Fast forward 9 months,  I delivered my twins in December 2019. I'm 8 weeks out, so I know its not time to go back to work quite yet, but I can't stop thinking about how I don't look good as a candidate.

When I declined the previous position, the HR director said to contact her when I was ready to come back to work, to see what positions were available. I did call and leave a message, as well as emailed her, and still no response. I am fearful that me being out of work for so long (I've been a stay at home mom since 2018), and being a year plus out from graduating nursing school, I will have a hard time landing my first nursing job, specifically within the hospital setting. I have really bad anxiety and this thought has been on my mind my entire pregnancy with the twins, and now that I am closer to 12 weeks postpartum it is really putting me on edge.

I guess I want to know if anyone has had a similar experience needing to get back into work after a bit of a hiatus. How did it turn out for you? Is there anything I can do to make myself look like a more attractive candidate? Were you grilled about the time off during interviews? I know finding your first nursing job after graduating is the hardest. That's why with the gap in time, I am very nervous. The thought of not finding something is really discouraging, especially because I was only offered the job I had to decline, due to a family connect who got me in with the recruiter. It felt like I didn't earn it on my own.

Any advice would be fantastic. 

Thanks 

 

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3 Followers; 37,203 Posts; 99,007 Profile Views

I suggest you don’t bring up children during a job interview. Although not allowed per discrimination laws, the question may wiggle in there somehow, but you should firmly reply that you have matters in control. Speak about your eagerness to work rather than family.

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ruby_jane has 10 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in ICU/community health/school nursing.

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7 hours ago, OrchidLoveYIZ312 said:

I have really bad anxiety and this thought has been on my mind my entire pregnancy with the twins, and now that I am closer to 12 weeks postpartum it is really putting me on edge.

I guess I want to know if anyone has had a similar experience needing to get back into work after a bit of a hiatus. How did it turn out for you? Is there anything I can do to make myself look like a more attractive candidate?

with the gap in time, I am very nervous. The thought of not finding something is really discouraging, especially because I was only offered the job I had to decline, due to a family connect who got me in with the recruiter. It felt like I didn't earn it on my own.

Any advice would be fantastic. 

Thanks 

 

With respect - it's not a bit of a hiatus. It's two years since you passed your boards. While there are real life nursing shortages across the country, it does not sound like you live anywhere near one.

Going back to work now with postpartum issues and anxiety - is this your best possible plan? We are prohibited from giving medical advice here but I'd strongly recommend you see a counselor. The abrupt shifts in estrogen/progesterone are no joke. 

The gap in time is hard to explain, and it's more than just it was  hard to find a job. 

Things you might do once you're feeling a little stronger:

1. Take a refresher course of some kind. Look on your BON and see if they have documentation courses. Is any hospital offering refresher nursing courses? It doesn't sound like you're in a shortage area.

2. Consider something smaller, like working for one of those clinics who does mobile flu vaccines. The peak time for that has passed but it will pick up again in the fall. That way you're using some of your skills and you have a reference.

3. Consider not working in a hospital.

It is possible that you may be considered for a nurse residency program but at our local hospitals they've started indicating that those are only available for folks fresh out of nursing school.

Best of luck to you.

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Nurse SMS has 9 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development.

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Never talk about having a child or any other barriers like that in an interview.

Long Island is a very tough market.

You may have to consider less desirable positions just to get a foot in the door. Night shift. LTACH. SNF. Corrections. Etc.

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EllaBella1 is a BSN and specializes in ICU.

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If its reasonable for you and your family, consider moving for a year to get experience. I moved from NYC to upstate NY and there were plenty of new grad jobs there in all specialty areas. That was before I had kids though, so I would understand if it weren't a realistic option. 

Edited by EllaBella1

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17 hours ago, ruby_jane said:

With respect - it's not a bit of a hiatus. It's two years since you passed your boards. While there are real life nursing shortages across the country, it does not sound like you live anywhere near one.

Going back to work now with postpartum issues and anxiety - is this your best possible plan? We are prohibited from giving medical advice here but I'd strongly recommend you see a counselor. The abrupt shifts in estrogen/progesterone are no joke. 

The gap in time is hard to explain, and it's more than just it was  hard to find a job. 

Things you might do once you're feeling a little stronger:

1. Take a refresher course of some kind. Look on your BON and see if they have documentation courses. Is any hospital offering refresher nursing courses? It doesn't sound like you're in a shortage area.

2. Consider something smaller, like working for one of those clinics who does mobile flu vaccines. The peak time for that has passed but it will pick up again in the fall. That way you're using some of your skills and you have a reference.

3. Consider not working in a hospital.

It is possible that you may be considered for a nurse residency program but at our local hospitals they've started indicating that those are only available for folks fresh out of nursing school.

Best of luck to you.

It will be one year since I passed my boards in March 2020. I'm not two years out. Also, 12 weeks is maternity leave, women go back to work after having children all the time. Getting started in my career has been what I have been looking forward to. I have anxiety knowing that the gap year since I passed my boards will look bad on my resume. 

I have looked into refresher courses, but I also have all my textbooks, notes from school, and NCLEX review material that I have been going over. I've also looked into taking an IV certification course and ACLS course. I was also in contact with an LTC last year that I might have to revisit if hospitals don't work out. 

Thanks for the tips.

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17 hours ago, Nurse SMS said:

Never talk about having a child or any other barriers like that in an interview.

Long Island is a very tough market.

You may have to consider less desirable positions just to get a foot in the door. Night shift. LTACH. SNF. Corrections. Etc.

I'm definitely finding that Long Island is tough to break into. I was also talking to a LTC facility last year, I'm considering contacting them again just to get in as you suggested. But if I were to get a hospital interview, what am I supposed to say I've done the last year when I took off due to a high risk pregnancy? I understand everyone is saying not to speak about children, but I'm at a loss at what I'm supposed to say when I'm asked about the time off. What can I say that would be in my favor?

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Jasonat6034 is a BSN and specializes in Progressive Care.

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I graduated with my BSN in July of 2016. I moved to NYC (from Ohio) that September and started a serving job that paid so well I kept putting off taking my NCLEX. I eventually took and passed my boards in December of 2017. Unfortunately, on January 9th, 2018, I was in an accident that left me an AKA. This forced me to move back to Ohio, but with great PT and an awesome prosthetist, I felt strong enough to apply to jobs in September, 2018. I was hired at my first interview early that month and have been there ever since. I definitely lucked out bc I live in a high need area, but stay strong! Life happens and interviewers know that. Just make sure you focus on your strengths and learn how to creatively spin your weaknesses. Have someone review your resume and do everything you can to show them how bomb you are. 

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

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On 2/14/2020 at 3:45 AM, OrchidLoveYIZ312 said:

Also, 12 weeks is maternity leave, women go back to work after having children all the time

They go back, meaning that they were working before. Unfortunately, you don't have that experience 

On 2/14/2020 at 3:45 AM, OrchidLoveYIZ312 said:

I have looked into refresher courses, but I also have all my textbooks, notes from school, and NCLEX review material that I have been going over

While that may help some, some information has already changed. 

Try LTC, corrections, or inpatient dialysis or outpatient dialysis. They are jobs that use skills.  I've seen inpatient dialysis lead to acute (hospital) jobs for 3 people, just by making valuable contacts. Good luck, as we all know that NYC can be a really tough market

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288 Posts; 71,672 Profile Views

How should OP address the gap year without disclosing that she had kids?

On 2/14/2020 at 5:31 AM, Jasonat6034 said:

I graduated with my BSN in July of 2016. I moved to NYC (from Ohio) that September and started a serving job that paid so well I kept putting off taking my NCLEX. I eventually took and passed my boards in December of 2017. Unfortunately, on January 9th, 2018, I was in an accident that left me an AKA. This forced me to move back to Ohio, but with great PT and an awesome prosthetist, I felt strong enough to apply to jobs in September, 2018. I was hired at my first interview early that month and have been there ever since. I definitely lucked out bc I live in a high need area, but stay strong! Life happens and interviewers know that. Just make sure you focus on your strengths and learn how to creatively spin your weaknesses. Have someone review your resume and do everything you can to show them how bomb you are. 

Jason, how did you address your gap (if you were asked about it)?

To everyone:

How should the OP address the gap year without disclosing that she had children? Or, should she go ahead and reveal that she had children?

How should any nurse address the gap year without disclosing a medical reason?

Unfortunately, in healthcare, I have seen employers eliminate job candidates due to medical reasons, even when these reasons have been resolved. But, not disclosing medical reasons and just having a gap year can raise eyebrows 😕

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2 hours ago, DTWriter said:

How should OP address the gap year without disclosing that she had kids?

If I was the OP, I would give a very vague answer and quickly change the subject. 

Such as " After nursing school and passing the NCLEX, I took a little time off. Since then I have been actively seeking full-time employment. I was was thrilled/excited when I saw the open position at this hospital because XYZ. Can you tell me more about the orientation process?"

I would end with a question, so the interviewer can't try to dig deeper. 

 

 

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klone has 14 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in Women's Health/OB Leadership.

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Your mistake was mentioning the child in the first interview. However, I feel like the best thing NOW to explain your long time off is to say "I had a high risk pregnancy and decided to take that time off until after I delivered and could focus 100% on my job. I'm at that point now and am excited to come back to my career." I would also make a point of mentioning the great support system you have at home and your availability to work any time.

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