How do I start my career

Nurses General Nursing


I graduated with an associates in nursing and passed boards in 2001. This was to be a second career for me. Never got a chance to "start my career". Right after I graduated my mom was dx with Ca so I cared for her for about a year till she passed on. I then became ill myself and that took about a year or so to remission. I've spent the last year taking courses toward a BSN. I am now 53 years old and want so much to start working in a hospital setting, but I don't know where to begin. I am basically still a new graduate but how can I put that on an application when I graduated in 2001. I have kept up with the latest nsg procedures by reading every book there is. Hope someone can help with some suggestions. Would really appreciate it.


Specializes in Pediatrics.

i think you're off to a good start by continuing your education. unfortunately, what they teach you in rn to bsn school doesn't really help you clinically as a 'new grad'.

i had a similar situation when i graduated- i wasn't able to start working right away (failed the boards, and my brother died in the same week). after i passed again, i couldn't get a hospital job. i worked in a home care setting, and practically lost all my skills (it wasn't skilled nursing visits!!).

i finally got a med/surg job, 4 yrs after i graduated, and it was like starting from scratch.

my advice to you- find a rn refresher course. if you are in or near a major city, you shouldn't have a problem. they offer them at a lot of the colleges now. i think it's worth the money. they take you to clinical settings, which may help you connect with a job.

also, depending on the hospitals near you, you may be eligible for a nurse internship (that is usually offered to new grads). if you haven't worked at all, you are in the same boat as a new grad. i would just be honest with any potential employer, as they often expect you to explain any gaps in employment.

don't give up. and don't settle for a non-hospital job (unless you really want one). i wouldn't advise it anyway, because you really need to build your skill level.

good luck in your quest. :)

llg, PhD, RN

13,469 Posts

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development.

I agree with the above post. Look for a refresher course. That might be your best option. Also, look for for a hospital with a strong orientation program for new grads. Also, I would look to work in an area that has a lot of experience hiring new grads. You may need a little extra time to ease into nursing again -- especially if you don't take a refresher course. Then be honest with them about why there was such a long time between graduation and employment.

Good luck,



14 Posts

I am in sort of the same boat. I graduated and took a year off and now I 'm looking for a job and haven't landed on yet. I agree with taking a refresher course. Also try talking to nursing professors, career advisors from school or other nurses, they may have some good advice...that's what I did.

Good luck to you.


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