How valuable is my externship experience when I graduate?

Nurses New Nurse


Question for new graduates - did you complete an externship when you were a student, and if so, how has that impacted your Job Search upon graduation? I know the job market is awful for everyone now, and new grad RN's are having a hard time all over the country. I keep hearing that having an externship will put you at the "front of the line" for a new grad position, but I'd like to hear what everyone's personal experience has been on the matter.

I'm currently in my senior year of a two year hybrid diploma/ADN program in the NYC area, and will graduate in May 2011. I have a Bachelor's degree in an unrelated field (nursing is a 2nd career), and plan to enroll in an RN-BSN bridge program no later than fall 2012. I completed a wonderful med-surg externship in NYC this summer that gave me amazingly valuable insight and experience. I've also done very well in school so far, 4.0 GPA with an A average. My goal is to find a job when I graduate and be able to practice nursing, which I love so much. Of course everybody is panicked about the lack of GN jobs - will having that externship be a huge boost to me, or is there anything else I should be doing right now to give myself the best possible chance of landing a job when I graduate?

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