Jump to content

No medical experience, can't work in NS, will I get a job?!

Posted
mompod mompod (New) New

I am very excited to start upper level classes in my BSN program this fall, but after seeing many comments on here I have become worried about my marketability after graduation. Most of my classmates are already coming from a medical background, and from what I am reading many say that having a CNA certification or prior experience is crucial to getting hired after graduation. Here's my dilemma:

I have no medical background. I am already stretching it time-wise with classes/clinicals 5 days a week and having two younger children at home. Many people plan on working as a CNA or something related to have a "foot in the door" while in the program. I am 31, have a decent resume of managerial and leadership positions from my prior work industry (again, not medical related), but I just cannot work now because of childcare issues and being home for my kids.

I should note that my youngest daughter was diagnosed with neuroblastoma at 15 months (she is now 4) so I have plenty of hospital exposure as well as having to do patient care with her through numerous scans, PICC lines, chemo rounds, hospital stays, and surgeries. However, that is not something you can put on a resume!

So I guess my question is this... Do most nursing students work through their programs? Can I expect to be unable to find employment? I will have a BSN, but I live in Nashville where the market is good and saturated. What can I do to be marketable?

Lauraingalls, BSN, RN

Specializes in OB. Has 4 years experience.

I am curious as well. I also can't really work during nursing school due to kids.

BeachsideRN, ASN

Specializes in NICU. Has 2 years experience.

" However, that is not something you can put on a resume! "

you can put it in a cover letter and even under skills on a resume. "Extensive experience with ..." There is always a way to market your existing skills even your past managerial work. It's all about applying those skills to the new field.

BeachsideRN, ASN

Specializes in NICU. Has 2 years experience.

Volunteer when/if you can. Also I'm sure you have made friends with doctors and nurses through your child's treatments - use those connections.

"Do most nursing students work through their programs?"

I would say at my school it was about 50/50. It was not unusual to work as a tech during nursing school, but it was also not unusual not to work or to have a job outside of the medical field.

"Can I expect to be unable to find employment?"

You'll be a new nurse with a BSN, so you'll have to open your mind to various positions and specialties, but you should definitely maintain the attitude that you WILL find a job! The power of positive thinking is a serious thing.

"I will have a BSN, but I live in Nashville where the market is good and saturated."

I live in Nashville! I work at St. Thomas west. Yes, the market is saturated here, but that doesn't mean hospitals aren't hiring! Do you have any connections in management anywhere? Or even a doctor friend who could put in a good word for you to a unit manager? Networking is key. Also look into the nurse residency/new grad programs here...both Vanderbilt and St. Thomas have very good ones. The HCA hospitals (centennial, southern hills, summit, etc.) are happy to hire new grads as well. Just be open!

"What can I do to be marketable?"

Write a killer cover letter, and personalize it to whatever facility you're applying to. Mention your skills/experience in the hospital both as a student nurse and as a mother. Sometimes the passion does more good as a first impression than a talented skill set would! Also if you do any clinicals in a hospital you'd like to eventually work at, meet everyone there you can and make a great impression on them...then keep in touch until it's time to apply as an RN.

Best of luck!!

I chose not to work during nursing school and had 3 interviews before graduation and was finally hired about 2 weeks after graduation. I'm a new nurse in an ICU at a level I trauma center.

So, is working medical experience necessary to get a job? No. Does it help? Of course.

ixchel

Specializes in critical care.

I was 31 when I started my program, no medical experience and I also have 2 smaller children. I was hired before graduation.

Btw, milk those management and leadership jobs for all they're worth on your resume. There are great buzz words that will make any resume look pretty. Send me a PM if you'd like and I'll c&p parts of my resume to you. A great resume gets interviews!

NurseGirl525, ASN, RN

Specializes in ICU.

A good resume, great cover letter, and awesome interview skills are what you need. I have been a SAHM for 9 years now. Before that, I had 11 years of retail management experience. I have done lots of hard labor, paperwork, hiring and firing, operations, customer service. I have lots of relevant experience. I just need to learn the skills to become a good nurse, thus nursing school. Please don't think your other experience doesn't count, having great people skills is a must in nursing so you can adequately deal with patients and families. I honestly think every person should work in retail for 6 months so they can acquire some people skills.

applesxoranges, BSN, RN

Specializes in ER.

Well, working before nursing school helps a lot. Start getting reference letters before you graduate though. You can also upsell nearly any previous experience too. Customer service is a buzz word due to all the surveys.

It's hard to find a job anywhere. If you are unable to move, it will limit the number of jobs you can get. If you want to specialize in one area, that will further limit your job prospects.

Thank you everyone for your great input! I am less panicked after reading these. Cheers!

Your work at clinicals and during your preceptorship can make a huge impression on nurse managers. They will get to see your work ethic and your skill set. Think of it as a semester long interview:)

SopranoKris, BSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care. Has 5 years experience.

Please bear in mind, many people say they "can't get a job" but what they mean is "can't get a job in the unit I want in the hospital". Many new grads turn their noses up at nursing home, sub-acute rehab or home health nursing work.

I'm NOT saying it's like that in every state. However, I've seen a lot of new grads with the "if I don't get my ideal, then there are 'no' jobs" mentality. Keep your options open when it comes to employment.

Most employers are looking for RN experience, not CNA experience. Being a CNA in a hospital enables you to TRANSFER in to an RN position if one becomes available and another experienced RN doesn't want the position.

It really comes down the job market in your particular area.

LadyFree28, BSN, RN

Specializes in Pediatrics, Rehab, Trauma. Has 10 years experience.

Please bear in mind, many people say they "can't get a job" but what they mean is "can't get a job in the unit I want in the hospital". Many new grads turn their noses up at nursing home, sub-acute rehab or home health nursing work.

I'm NOT saying it's like that in every state. However, I've seen a lot of new grads with the "if I don't get my ideal, then there are 'no' jobs" mentality. Keep your options open when it comes to employment.

Most employers are looking for RN experience, not CNA experience. Being a CNA in a hospital enables you to TRANSFER in to an RN position if one becomes available and another experienced RN doesn't want the position.

It really comes down the job market in your particular area.

This. :yes:

Network, network, network, network during your clinicals; as well as research your market and be open to other specialties as a way to build your experience until you find your niche.

ixchel

Specializes in critical care.

Your work at clinicals and during your preceptorship can make a huge impression on nurse managers. They will get to see your work ethic and your skill set. Think of it as a semester long interview:)

This is how I got hired!