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I'm a ship RN, help finding PRN/Per Diem jobs stateside?

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by Xance Xance (Member) Member Nurse

352 Profile Views; 79 Posts

Hi,

     I do have to mention this in the very beginning, my career is definitely non-standard and my situation is vastly different from just about any other RN I have seen yet.  I don't think it is unique, but additional insight would definitely be nice. 

     On to the good bits, so as previously mentioned I am a ship RN working aboard military ships.  My exact job title is medical department representative, however I am my entire department as the medical department consists of only me.  I deliver all medical interventions aboard and my responsibility extends to the health and wellness of all embarked personnel.  What makes this even more unique is that this is my first RN job, I am a new grad and got this job directly out of school.  Context; I was also a US Navy corpsman for 5 years and it was that experience which got me out here but being an RN certainly helped.

     My concern is this; how do I get a PRN/Per Diem job for once I return home?  My ship rotation does not allow a standard RN job as I will be leaving relatively often to work aboard military ships as a civilian and employers desire someone who will actually be around more than I.  However my job aboard the ship usually does not involve skills I would routinely use in a hospital.  For example; urinary catheters are something that is extremely rare to perform out on a ship but very common in hospitals and I fear my skills will degrade if I do not seek employment at a hospital during the time that I am home.

     As I am a new-grad, hospitals will treat me as if I am useless and probably will not accommodate one bit.  Even tho my ship job has me working as a pseudo NP hospitals care not as I am not licensed to do that type of work anywhere except aboard ships, but I have an RN license in Texas.  Does anyone have any suggestions as to how I may acquire PRN/Per Diem work in Texas, specifically San Antonio, TX as I have a non-standard job and it may be difficult to explain my situation to potential employers and I fear they will not hire me given my circumstances.

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nurse2033 is a MSN, RN and specializes in ER, ICU.

3 Articles; 2,122 Posts; 28,473 Profile Views

If you are a sole provider I wouldn't call yourself a new grad anymore, unless it's only been a few months. Your experience would be valued by someone willing to listen. I would apply for agency or traveler work if you will have enough experience. They value people who can think on their feet and adapt quickly. Home care might be an area that would fit your experience. Good luck.

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79 Posts; 352 Profile Views

That is the problem; no one will listen.  I tell them what my responsibilities are out on the ship and once I mention I have less than a year of experience I can almost see the interest leaving their eyes.  If I'm able to get to an interview I know they will be interested, but the hospital systems I apply to seem to discard my application because all they see is ADN, <1 year experience, not qualified, next.  If I can talk to them and they listen to what I do out here and my experiences as such I'm positive I can talk my way into a hospital PRN/Per Diem job but when I ask to talk directly to recruiters all I get is the generic advice to put in an application.  There are 3 RN residency pathways that I am aware of in San Antonio and I cannot complete any of them due to my ship work.  So if I apply to any of those large hospital networks they will want me in that program that I am unable to complete, and that is my dilemma. 

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Sour Lemon has 9 years experience.

3 Followers; 4,240 Posts; 30,616 Profile Views

If you don't have acute care, RN, hospital experience, you're not going to be a desirable per-diem candidate. Most hospitals seem to want 2-5 years of experience at a minimum.
You might have to leave the ship job to have a realistic shot at getting into acute care as a new graduate.

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79 Posts; 352 Profile Views

That's just the problem, I do have acute care experience.  Almost 6 years of it split between the US Navy and as an EMT-B.  My ship job pays better than any hospital will pay an RN so I won't leave my ship job, but I truly love the field of acute care and expeditionary medicine.  I want to work in a hospital to better my skills as a provider and be able to put my ship experience to good use for my patients in a hospital.  I don't 'need' to work in a hospital for the money, but I choose to in order to better my own skills and to impact a greater amount of people than those I care for on the ship.  Plus being out here being an independent provider has put in my mind the idea of going to school for NP and although NP admission boards will like to see my independent practice on a ship they will also want to see hospital experience.  Which puts my question back to square 1; how would I go about being a PRN/Per Diem RN given my situation?

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yournurse has 2 years experience.

112 Posts; 2,368 Profile Views

You have great leadership experience and hands on. 

Why not do ICU training program for new grads? It's 6 months. And do that for a year! Travel agencies for nurses like AYA healthcare offer PRN jobs if you have 1 year experience at a specialty. 

Gluck!!!

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Pixie.RN has 11 years experience as a MSN, RN, EMT-P and specializes in EMS, ED, Trauma, CNE, CEN, CPEN, TCRN.

7 Followers; 32 Articles; 13,306 Posts; 129,181 Profile Views

Unfortunately non-nursing experience isn't really considered when your acute care experience is being evaluated. I was a paramedic for 5 years prior to becoming an RN, and I was still considered a brand new RN

PRN jobs want someone who does not typically require an extensive orientation. You need to be kind of plug-and-play with minimal fine-tuning, or you won't be as useful to the organization from their perspective. You are in a tough position. 

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jfratian has 7 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in ICU.

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I don't think anybody is going to train you to do a job you've never done if you only want to work 1 day a week or less (my definition of PRN).    No offense, but inpatient nursing is a significant body of knowledge and it takes years to become competent. 

Even if someone was willing to let you do it, you can't effectively learn vasoactive drips, vents, or invasive monitoring a few days a month anyway.  You need a steady stream of experience to build on. 

I'm pretty sure you could apply to many FNP programs without acute care experience anyway.

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Pixie.RN has 11 years experience as a MSN, RN, EMT-P and specializes in EMS, ED, Trauma, CNE, CEN, CPEN, TCRN.

7 Followers; 32 Articles; 13,306 Posts; 129,181 Profile Views

Another thing about PRN jobs is that they typically have minimum shifts required per pay period, like two shifts per month, etc. If you are gone for long stretches, you would likely be terminated for not meeting the terms of your PRN employment. 

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79 Posts; 352 Profile Views

Thank you all for your input, and unfortunately I have come to the same conclusion.  Hospitals just won't hire a 'new-grad' given my situation.  Even with my autonomy granted while at sea they will see it as irrelevant experience and treat it accordingly.  I have come to the conclusion that skipping the hospital as an RN altogether and going straight to NP programs will probably be what I have to do.  Then I can apply to hospitals and suddenly my autonomous shipboard experience matters as it would be relevant in their eyes.

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What about doing OJT at a Naval hospital, get experience, and then apply for  PRN/PD at a local hospital? You can get credentialed through them, track your hours, show full competency, and get to know people who can later become your references? 

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79 Posts; 352 Profile Views

On 2/16/2019 at 5:31 AM, LitlBit said:

What about doing OJT at a Naval hospital, get experience, and then apply for  PRN/PD at a local hospital? You can get credentialed through them, track your hours, show full competency, and get to know people who can later become your references? 

You would think that the military would be the most accommodating to such a ship schedule but they are in fact even less accommodating than private employers.  That surprised me, but when I saw that civilian RN's are considered Federal employees that made any flexibility disappear.  Federal employees do not get long stretches of time off as I would require to go aboard a ship and although a military or VA hospital would value the ship-board experience the most, they would also not want me to be gone 4-8 months out of every year and I would not be able to hold a federal job with this ship job.  It has been a while since I posted but I came up with a solution.  For me to get that vaunted 1 year of experience I extended my ship tour from 4 months to an entire year.  This will put me out at sea for an entire year which is not exactly desirable to do, but will ensure that I have that check in the box for employers once I finally go home to get an RN job. 

 

This would allow me to apply to a hospital and potentially get the job easier.  I also found out about the USERRA law, which states that employers must retain the jobs of military members when they deploy.  While I do work aboard military ships, I am not in the military and 'technically' that law does not apply but I would mention it to HR anyways as I still would be working aboard military ships so I feel as if that law should apply in that instance.  Hopefully that will allow me to hold on to a full-time RN job stateside and not have to do a per diem/PRN RN job at all as I would get the benefit of doing that using that law.  Hopefully it all works out, but if I fail to get that law to apply that is not the end of the world as I will still pursue NP school at some point and it would be then that I have to stop sailing.  I highly doubt I will be able to go to NP school and maintain going out to sea so I'll stop for that and then return to it once I am finished.  Thank you everyone for your suggestions and input, it made me think and research about possible solutions to my problem.

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