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Info, tips, etc. on ER New Grad Programs

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Hello everyone, I will be taking the NCLEX soon, and am hoping to find a position in an ER new grad program after passing it (hopefully the first time). Since my goal for many years has been to become an ER or trauma nurse, I would really rather not start my profession in another department (med-surg, pediatrics, L&D, etc.), but instead directly start in an ER new grad program.
This being said, I'm willing to do most things in my power to accomplish this: move out of state, take relatively low pay, sever a finger (preferably pinky) as an honorary sacrifice to the nursing Gods, etc. I currently live in Oakland, California and would definitely prefer to find a new grad program in the Bay area, but am willing to go anywhere in the country that offers a decent ER new grad program at a, preferably, level 1 or 2 trauma center. I'm wondering if anyone has any information, tips, insights, etc. that might be helpful, any advice would be greatly appreciated, thanks!

TheMurseChronicles, BSN, RN, EMT-I

Specializes in Emergency Nursing/EMS.

Hello! So I just graduated in May, and I start as a new grad ED RN at a level II tomorrow. Getting into the ED as a new grad isn’t as hard as it used to be due to residencies being commonplace. I did have 7 years of prehospital EMS experience though. Join the Emergency Nurses’ Association to show your dedication to the specialty. If you find it hard to stand out from fellow applicants, go on and take ACLS and PALS (even though you would get it as a part of residency later). Having both of these on my resume really helped in my job search. Go on job search websites like Indeed, take note of key characteristics hiring managers are looking for, include those terms in your resume/LinkedIn account. In interviews emphasize your ability to be flexible and multitask. Don’t act like you know everything, if you are asked a clinical question in an interview. Be honest if you don’t know the answer. Explain how you would use your resources to obtain the needed information. As new grads, we aren’t going to be experts, but we need to be able to recognize when we need help. Patient safety is ALWAYS the most important aspect to consider. Apply to multiple places! Use every interview as a learning experience. Follow up with thank you notes and dress for success each time. Don’t give up, if you want it bad enough, you will make it happen. Good luck!

Edited by TheMurseChronicles

That's awesome, CONGRATS, and thank you for the helpful advice. I'm thinking it's a good idea to get my ACLS and PALS, and I'm considering getting the TNCC as well. I was wondering what area you're based in, and was there some sort of resource that you used to find the new grad program that you're in? I also forgot to mention that I have an ADN, but will be signing up for a BSN program soon after getting my license, do you think that will heavily affect my chances at different places?

TheMurseChronicles, BSN, RN, EMT-I

Specializes in Emergency Nursing/EMS.

Thank you! All of those cert classes would be great. I will be working in northern North Carolina, so competition is not as fierce like it is on the west coast. I have known all of the trauma centers in Southern VA and Northern NC to hire ADNs into the ED, with an agreement to get your BSN within 3-5 years, but preference is given to BSNs since they have to maintain certain ratios of BSN nurses for Magnet status. Those aforementioned classes will definitely help set you apart from other candidates! One of my friends got hired at Carilion Clinic (a level I ED) with her ADN, it’s doable!

TheMurseChronicles, BSN, RN, EMT-I

Specializes in Emergency Nursing/EMS.

As far as resources, I mostly just watched the hospitals’ career postings and indeed.com. In my area new grads tend to apply 2-4 months before graduation when residency apps open and start in June or July (Spring graduates). ED, L&D, and ICU spots always fill up quick, so it’s best to apply as soon as the residency application opens. Our smaller community hospitals hire year-round.

Is it worth becoming a CEN?

TheMurseChronicles, BSN, RN, EMT-I

Specializes in Emergency Nursing/EMS.

54 minutes ago, Sammy66 said:

Is it worth becoming a CEN?

I think so. Specialty certification shows your dedication to the profession and by studying for the exam, you will learn a thing or two (or 200 LOL) that could really elevate the level of care you provide your patients. It’s highly recommended to have a couple years of experience in the ED before taking it. I took it as a new grad (which many frown upon) and passed, but I pulled a lot from my EMS and ED Tech experience. It’s been a long term goal of mine, and I figured why not use the time between graduation and starting residency to be productive? It’s definitely not easy. I am aiming for flight nursing, so I knew I’d need it at some point anyway. I’m not sure what your experience level is, but either way, it’s just another test. Don’t let someone else dictate when you are ready for it, only you can know that!

Thank you for the response! I am a new grad trying to use my time effectively while looking for a job. As a new RN in NYC it has been difficult for me to even land an interview. Until the ball gets rolling I'm trying to best prepare myself for my nursing career.

BiscuitStripes, BSN, RN

Specializes in ICU & Emergency Department. Has 1 years experience.

On 7/6/2020 at 12:15 AM, Sammy66 said:

Is it worth becoming a CEN?

This is a very difficulty exam and is recommended to have at least 2 years of ER nursing experience before taking it. It's also expensive if you fail and need to retake.

HiddencatBSN, BSN

Specializes in Peds ED. Has 10 years experience.

Since you're willing to relocate I think you're in a good position to find a new grad ED job. I agree to join the ENA- that's how I got my first job, was joining and going to chapter meetings where I eventually met my future manager.

I'd wait on the CEN- even if you can pass the test, the certification is meant to recognize knowledge and experience and you just won't have that as a new grad. It almost seems presumptuous to me? And I'm not sure that gaining the knowledge to pass the exam in the absence of clinical experience will put you in a position to integrate that knowledge well when you're learning clinical skills. Plus many hospitals will pay/reimburse you to get certification once you're ready.