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How hard is it to write a stinkin' recommendation letter

Nurses   (10,961 Views 28 Comments)
by Lovelymo79 Lovelymo79 (Member) Member

Lovelymo79 has 4 years experience and specializes in CTICU/CVICU.

14,713 Profile Views; 908 Posts

I feel like screaming!

So, I applied to summer nurse externship programs. I knew from the start that everything would be easy to get together but recommendation letters may be a problem. Not because I'm not worthy of getting one..but because I would have to depend on other people to write them. And I was right.

For one externship, there were 2 forms. I applied in November so I got my clinical instructor (Ms. CI) at the time (last semester) to fill it out and another non-clinical instructor to fill it out (Ms. J) . Cool. For the 2nd one, I haven't heard back from them yet but I applied to another program they have where they will pay for my schooling in exchange for me working for them. I needed 3 references and 2 recommendation letters. Got the references and 1 recommendation letter (from my new clinical instructor for this semester -- Ms. B). It was December, so I had asked my first clinical instructor (Ms. CI) for the 2nd recommendation letter for the program. She promised she would get one together and I believed her because she was able to do the 1st one so quickly. Not.

So, here it is THREE months later and I'm still waiting. Thankfully, the coordinator of the program stated that it was no rush because they didn't start reviewing the applications until early spring. But, now, it IS early spring! I also have an externship interview next Monday (the 15th for a 3rd externship), and I need 2 recommendation letters. I still have my current clinical instructor's letter -- Ms. B. But, I need another letter!

So, I am going crazy. I emailed, called and talked in person for Ms. CI to get me a recommendation letter and she has failed so I have given up on her. I spoke with my manager (I'm a nursing assistant part-time) to see if she could write me a recommendation letter but she was like "What am I suppose to put in to it?" HUH?? You're a manager over 3 units and a regular floor..how do you NOT know what to put in the letter? So, I'm a little shaky on her. I emailed Ms. J (my non-clinical instructor) to write a letter but that letter would only be good for the interview. I would STILL need another letter for the program at the hospital because since I put her down as a reference, I can't have her writing a letter -- go figure.:uhoh3: I haven't heard back or seen Ms. J yet, which is weird. I've gotten so desperate that I emailed my former boss at my corporate America law firm job (the job I had before I left for nursing school). She's actually at a conference but she said that although she hopes I get a letter from someone from school since it would probably be more relevant than her letter, that she would email me an unsigned letter of recommendation.

So, what should I do? I've given up on Ms. CI. I hope Ms. J gets back to me. I won't be back at the hospital until Friday but I may try to run up there to the hospital to see if I can get my manager to write a letter (as well as bring a sample letter so she can see what goes in a letter!). Would a letter from my former boss in corporate America be relevant? Or should I just email the interviewer and tell them I haven't been able to secure a second letter?

What would YOU do?

Thanks in advance!

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piscesguy specializes in Hospice Volunteer.

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I've had success with asking with at least a month in advance and giving a deadline. I also ask for a copy of the letter, and I give the person writing a list of things I am proud of, some notable things I have done or am doing. I write them a letter telling them why I have chosen them, things that I admire them, and what I have learned from them. When I ask for the letter (in person), I ask them if they truly feel that they can write me a GOOD letter of recommendation, and I say it like that, emphasizing the GOOD. Sometimes I go as far as to say that I understand if they might not feel like they can honestly write a good one and to let me know how they feel. That has worked for me, so far. If I haven't heard back after two and a half weeks, I find them in person. That sucks that you're having a hard time. I hope that there's something I do that you can use and good luck getting a great one!

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EwwThat'sNasty has 5 years experience and specializes in Occ Health; Med/Surg; ICU.

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Some of us have "poop" phobia, others "blood" phobia, and others still, "writing phobia.

Do the best you can but give up on that person. If you can't find a nursing instructor that you knew, go with the former boss. Sometimes if you ask an instructor that did not even know you well they'll still write one as they can review your grades and ask around.

Sadly, these days, few nursing instructors/professors know how to write well.

Good luck.

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Moogie specializes in Gerontology, nursing education.

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Sadly, these days, few nursing instructors/professors know how to write well.

That is downright depressing. I was a freelance writer for eight years and am in a graduate program for nursing education. I try very hard to write well and be articulate, at least in written communication. I hope my future students will appreciate their well-written letters of recommendation someday.

Warning to future nursing students: someday Moogie the Grammar Freak may be grading your care plans so make sure your spelling and punctuation are correct! ;)

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Lovelymo79 has 4 years experience and specializes in CTICU/CVICU.

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Thanks for the responses! There is nothing else I can do for Ms. CI..forget asking a month in response..I asked THREE months in response and given her numerous deadlines. This externship, I didn't know we needed 2 recommendation letters until yesterday (and I would have had 2 if Ms. CI had written one when she said she was) so now it's down to the wire and not even my fault.

Also, I failed to mention this earlier but I'm not the only one waiting for her to write a letter. She mentioned to me (one of the times I saw her in PERSON), that she had a FEW letters to write. She's a nursing instructor..she gets these requests all the time..this is nothing new to her. I don't need you to write an thesis..I just need you to write how clinically sound I am and about my personality. There are samples all over the web...copy one, twist it to be relevant to me and call it a day. Ms. B (my current clinical instructor) -- the day I asked her, she gave it to me. I suspect it was a form letter where she just inserted my name in (but also twisted it some bc she included info related specifically to me) but even that is cool. Have a form letter and insert name here.

Even worse, my school has a form for JUST THIS THING -- nurse externships. You check some boxes, write additional sentences and that's it! I told Ms. CI about this form letter and where she could get it from NUMEROUS times (we students don't have access to it). There is no excuse in my opinion.

I think I'm going to make a decision tomorrow. Just get my former boss to write a general letter just for the interview on Monday and work with my manager on writing a general recommendation letter. I may just write it and have her sign since she has no idea what to write!

Just pathetic in my opinion.

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Lovelymo79 has 4 years experience and specializes in CTICU/CVICU.

908 Posts; 14,713 Profile Views

That is downright depressing. I was a freelance writer for eight years and am in a graduate program for nursing education. I try very hard to write well and be articulate, at least in written communication. I hope my future students will appreciate their well-written letters of recommendation someday.

Warning to future nursing students: someday Moogie the Grammar Freak may be grading your care plans so make sure your spelling and punctuation are correct! ;)

Moogie, I have my B.A in English so I totally understand! Wanna write my recommendation letter? :yeah::lol2:

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280 Posts; 5,090 Profile Views

Sadly, these days, few nursing instructors/professors know how to write well.

This is so true. When I graduated from nursing school last May, I asked one of my clinical instructors for a letter of recommendation. It took several months and a few reminders before I was able to get a letter from her. When I finally got it, she had put my name in the first paragraph and another student's name in the second paragraph. I pointed it out to her and asked as politely as possible if she could rewrite it with just my name in it. Finally, a few weeks later, she gave me another recommendation letter, but that one looked like a middle school student had written it. There were multiple spelling and grammar mistakes, so I never used the letter. I would have been too embarrassed to give it to anyone. Needless to say, I gave up on getting a letter from her. Other students who requested a letter of recommendation from her found themselves in the same boat. Sad, sad, sad!

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3 Followers; 36,937 Posts; 98,010 Profile Views

That is downright depressing. I was a freelance writer for eight years and am in a graduate program for nursing education. I try very hard to write well and be articulate, at least in written communication. I hope my future students will appreciate their well-written letters of recommendation someday.

Warning to future nursing students: someday Moogie the Grammar Freak may be grading your care plans so make sure your spelling and punctuation are correct! ;)

Moogie

I think we have found a new part time gig for you. Go into business writing reference letters for people. You could produce rough drafts based upon input from the person for a reasonable fee, then the draft could be edited by the persons involved. I bet you could make some bucks doing this, and I am serious as well as joking! :idea:

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2,227 Posts; 19,964 Profile Views

Ask one of the RNs that you work with.

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3 Followers; 36,937 Posts; 98,010 Profile Views

This is so true. When I graduated from nursing school last May, I asked one of my clinical instructors for a letter of recommendation. It took several months and a few reminders before I was able to get a letter from her. When I finally got it, she had put my name in the first paragraph and another student's name in the second paragraph. I pointed it out to her and asked as politely as possible if she could rewrite it with just my name in it. Finally, a few weeks later, she gave me another recommendation letter, but that one looked like a middle school student had written it. There were multiple spelling and grammar mistakes, so I never used the letter. I would have been too embarrassed to give it to anyone. Needless to say, I gave up on getting a letter from her. Other students who requested a letter of recommendation from her found themselves in the same boat. Sad, sad, sad!

It would be better just to decline stating, "Sorry, but I do not furnish reference letters", instead of doing this to students.

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Lovelymo79 has 4 years experience and specializes in CTICU/CVICU.

908 Posts; 14,713 Profile Views

Ask one of the RNs that you work with.

I was actually JUST thinking about that. I love working as a nursing assistant and have a great relationship with all of the nurses on my floor. I just don't think I'll have the time to ask them and get it back in time for the interview on Monday.

So, maybe I'll just have them write it for the program at the hospital and email my former boss to write a recommendation letter for the interview on Monday. I would prefer my non-clinical instructor but I don't know why she hasn't responded yet. If anyone else gives me a letter, I'll just have it in the bank.

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Moogie specializes in Gerontology, nursing education.

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It would be better just to decline stating, "Sorry, but I do not furnish reference letters", instead of doing this to students.

One of my former professors turned down my request for a reference letter; I don't know if she did so because she felt she didn't know me well enough or if it was her policy. At the time it was frustrating because I needed a third letter, but it was much better that she was upfront about denying my request rather than play a passive-aggressive game and say she'd do it but not.

Caliotter, seriously, I think there are form letters that one can download or follow for references. Some places don't even require letters but have the person writing the recommendation fill out a form.

There are some schools that have policies that determine what sorts of recommendations instructors can write about current or former students; some of these require that students sign release forms giving the instructors permission to write letters of reference (or fill out the forms.) It does not sound like this is the case, though, for the OP.

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