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Notes for new graduates

Posted

Specializes in Pediatric Pulmonology and Allergy. Has 8 years experience.

Here are some notes (to self) on the Job Search process and some thoughts and feelings as a new grad. Please share your own!

1. Get over your anger/frustration/disappointment that the "nursing shortage" turns out to be largely overblown. Accept the fact that nobody owes you a job as a new grad and hospitals are free to set whatever criteria for employment they want. Move on and deal with the job situation as is.

2. Don't compare your situation to others. Don't get too worked up because this one said they got a job in the specialty of their choice even before graduation, and that one said they were looking for a year with no luck. There are so many different variables in play -- their location, experiences, connections, etc. Your only concern is YOUR chances and YOUR situation.

3. Don't let anyone diminish your difficulties and make it sound like if you "just" did this or that you'd find a job easily. "Just move to a different city." "Just have a professional redo your resume." "Just volunteer for a while." "Just be open to different shifts/LTC/SNF" etc. etc. Not to say that you shouldn't take any good suggestion seriously, but face it, the job market is tough and "just" doing this, that or the other is not going to assure you of a job. Don't bother defending yourself to those people -- only you know or need to know what you've done, what you're doing and what you still need to do.

4. Do something job-search related EVERY DAY. Whether it's make calls, fill out online applications, volunteer, go to job fairs -- don't let a single day go by without taking action on your own behalf.

5. Get out of the house. Go to nursing-related events and activities in your area. Maybe there are lectures, CE's, open houses, meetings, even political action. If there is nothing, start something. Call some former classmates or nursing friends and get together. Interacting with other nurses in a professional arena will get you some exposure and connections that may lead to a job. And even if it doesn't... some good might still come out of it.

6. Focus on the good that you CAN do with your nursing license, even if you're not getting paid for it (yet). Think of the difference you dreamed of making some day as an RN, and go out and do it NOW. Don't wait for life to start once you have a job. Your life is now.

7. Keep positive. It's so easy to start to feel down, regret ever going to nursing school, regret being born... well, when you're unemployed, it's unfortunately a short road from negative thoughts to depression and total dysfunctionality. You can't afford to go that route. Yes, you will find a job. Yes, you are talented, intelligent, needed and valuable.

8. As long as you have time on your hands... do fun stuff that you will never have time or energy to do once you're employed as an RN. Not necessarily expensive stuff... but the things you enjoy that you keep pushing off. I started creative writing again, which I did very little of during school.

Jeanette73 I know you're trying to be helpful but this:

1. Get over your anger/frustration/disappointment that the "nursing shortage" turns out to be largely overblown. Accept the fact that nobody owes you a job as a new grad and hospitals are free to set whatever criteria for employment they want. Move on and deal with the job situation as is.

Is just incredibly negative. I mean yes, we can't wallow in what is but I think that there's a much more positive and proactive way to say what I think you're trying to say here. And I don't think that anything is overblown. Nurses with 30 years experience are being let go. It's a very very difficult market out there. I agree that panicking is not productive but the whole "put on your big girl underwear speech" really rubbed me the wrong way.

JeanettePNP, MSN, RN, NP

Specializes in Pediatric Pulmonology and Allergy. Has 8 years experience.

I'm sorry you felt that way. I feel that yes, many of us were misled about the nursing shortage. Some people are angry that there aren't jobs available for them as new grads when we were led to believe that we were doing the world a favor by becoming nurses. And after the long hard road we've traversed to become nurses we didn't expect it to be this difficult. But we can sit there and be angry and rail against the universe or we can move on and do whatever it takes to get a job in THIS economy. Maybe it sounds negative towards new unemployed nurses, but I'm one of them and that's how I feel right now. As I said in the beginning this list is more a "note to self" than anything else.

Also I'm not sure what you mean when you say that the nursing shortage is NOT overblown but experienced nurses are being let go. If there were a true nursing shortage why would hospitals be letting experienced nurses go?

Edited by JeanettePNP

Thanks for posting this! I'm just beginning the whole Job Search thing and am graduating school in December (yay!!). All I hear on this site is how hard it is to get a job and I'm scared to death I will never get a job.. Your post is refreshing to hear among all the negativity. Good luck in your job search and keep the good advice coming! :)

NurseDuCoeur

Specializes in Progressive Care, Telemetry.

Thanks so much for posting this. I have been applying to so many places since August I've lost count. I graduate in December and out of the 35 in our class I think only 3 of us have found positions. Not to mention I will be graduating with an ADN and since there are so many applicants, the internships are more competitive and most positions go to the BSN students from around the area. Just today I put in applications that would require me and my family to relocate 4 maybe even 6 hours away which was not the initial plan, just the boat I'm in now. I recently applied for an internship that would be so ideal for me and my family wouldn't have to relocate. I tried calling the HR department and following up on my application and they redirected me back to the online application website because it shows if the status of my application has changed. All I was trying to inquire about was when I could expect them to start interviewing or make a decision. Any suggestions for this particular situation?

JeanettePNP, MSN, RN, NP

Specializes in Pediatric Pulmonology and Allergy. Has 8 years experience.

madein84, all I can say is that you're way ahead of a lot of grads if you already started applying 3 months before graduation. Good for you! In school we were told not to bother applying until after passing NCLEX, and silly me, I accepted that advice without checking further into it. You're right that having ADN only is a liability in this job market, so start looking into RN-BSN bridge programs now. AS far as moving, that's basically what I'm looking to do. As soon as I can find a job anywhere, that's where I'll go. Yes, I know what it's like when HR won't even take your call or give you any help -- they seem to have the attitude that you're not needed. Well, one day us new grads will have experience and be in the position to choose where we want to work, and we won't forget the hospitals that took a chance on us!!!

madein84, all I can say is that you're way ahead of a lot of grads if you already started applying 3 months before graduation. Good for you! In school we were told not to bother applying until after passing NCLEX, and silly me, I accepted that advice without checking further into it.

Applying before you passed the NCLEX might not have helped you though. I started applying for jobs well before graduation and heard NOTHING from anyone. The only movement I've seen on any of my applications has come after getting licensure, and it's still slow.

Networking and volunteering are GREAT though- keeps you busy and I have a feeling that when I get a job it will be because of the networking I've been doing.

JeanettePNP, MSN, RN, NP

Specializes in Pediatric Pulmonology and Allergy. Has 8 years experience.

A lot of new grad residencies have that 6 month expiration date... and want you to start applying when you're in your last semester of nursing school. I missed a few deadlines for programs that sounded promising.

A lot of new grad residencies have that 6 month expiration date... and want you to start applying when you're in your last semester of nursing school. I missed a few deadlines for programs that sounded promising.

I missed a few program deadlines too, but I would have basically had to have started applying in the second quarter of my accelerated program which seemed way to early- I'd only had one basic clinical at that point and no clue yet what I liked about nursing and was looking for. So I guess....if you're going to look while in school, you want to be looking a good 8-12 months ahead.

NurseDuCoeur

Specializes in Progressive Care, Telemetry.

it's getting so competitive out there, too. like i said, i started applying back in september and most facilities had hardly posted any internships at all, once they did it seemed like they came and went so fast!

I think that it is not a good idea for new grad RN's to only look at new grad hospital programs. There are many LTC/SNF's that will hire new graduates. I graduated in May this year, passed NCLEX in June, and started my job in a nursing home this July. I'm getting lots of experience there. I only applied for about 3 jobs in total after I graduated before I got offered my current position. I think that most new grads can get a job as an RN if they really did want one. Also, don't knock nursing home experience. 1 year as an RN in a LTC facility is better than having 1 year of non-nursing experience post graduation.

JeanettePNP, MSN, RN, NP

Specializes in Pediatric Pulmonology and Allergy. Has 8 years experience.

It really depends on where you're living and like I said in the OP, not everyone has an identical situation and can expect taht what worked for them will work for everyone else and vice versa. Many new grads in certain locales would be quite satisfied working LTC and are having trouble finding even that. And applying to only 3 jobs isn't going to work for most new grads around here, who tend to send out 200+ applications and maybe hear back from one or two. I'm happy that things worked out for you in your situation but that's not the reality for every new grad.

NurseDuCoeur

Specializes in Progressive Care, Telemetry.

the only barrier i'm finding to applying to LTC or nursing homes is that i spoke with a NM at St. Paul and she said that i should try very hard to find a job in a hospital because if i want to apply to another internship that i didn't get into this time around they'll be more likely to hire me if i have hospital experience. definitely not knocking nursing homes or LTC...at this point i'll take whatever i can get!

ICUSkeenRN

Specializes in CCRN, House Sup, CCT, Unit Director, ICU. Has 8 years experience.

Stop wasting your time applying online and start making phone calls! Not to HR, but to Unit Directors directly! Yes, it takes guts but that's how you'll land an interview.

I was a new grad with a high GPA, 2 BA degrees, and 2 externships. I was EKG certified, RN licenses in 2 states, ACLS/PALS/BLS, Wound Care Certified, etc and NEVER GOT ONE CALL BACK from ANY ONLINE APPLICATION. What got me my DREAM JOB IN ICU as a new grad was making phone calls to Unit Directors of hospitals. In fact, the first one I called landed me the interview which got me my 1st job :)

Last but not least, DO NOT give up hope. It will happen! Believe in yourself.

S

Stop wasting your time applying online and start making phone calls! Not to HR, but to Unit Directors directly! Yes, it takes guts but that's how you'll land an interview.

S

As a new grad, I'll do whatever it takes & am open to better ways to get my foot in the door besides just applying online. But honestly, how am I supposed to get ahold of the unit director's number? People keep preaching this, but it's not as easy as it sounds. Most hospitals/HR people will not give out information like that, most of the time it's very difficult to get past HR. I could maybe hunt down the phone number if I knew someone who worked there, but if I knew someone who worked there I probably wouldn't be in this predicament. :) I actually tried to get the email of the manager in the ER at a hospital where I want to work, there was no directory online or anything, so I asked a friend who works in ICU to try & hunt it down. She couldn't even locate in their system & her friends who actually work in the ER wouldn't give it to her.

I know every hospital is different & some might be easier than others, but many hospitals don't want desperate job seekers calling managers & bugging them, so they make efforts to prevent us from being able to. That is my experience anyway.

lkwashington

Specializes in Tele, ICU, ED, Nurse Instructor,. Has 4 years experience.

1. Get over your anger/frustration/disappointment that the "nursing shortage" turns out to be largely overblown.

To all nurses who don't have a job this includes new grads and experience nurses. By being angry, frustrated, and/or disappointed it will slow you down. Get yourself focus enough to get your thoughts together to see what you need to do next. Just don't give up.

lkwashington

Specializes in Tele, ICU, ED, Nurse Instructor,. Has 4 years experience.

What happened to nursing students working as Nurse Techs in the hospitals? This is what helped me land a job. I had my foot in the door.

ICUSkeenRN

Specializes in CCRN, House Sup, CCT, Unit Director, ICU. Has 8 years experience.

As a new grad, I'll do whatever it takes & am open to better ways to get my foot in the door besides just applying online. But honestly, how am I supposed to get ahold of the unit director's number? People keep preaching this, but it's not as easy as it sounds. Most hospitals/HR people will not give out information like that, most of the time it's very difficult to get past HR. I could maybe hunt down the phone number if I knew someone who worked there, but if I knew someone who worked there I probably wouldn't be in this predicament. :) I actually tried to get the email of the manager in the ER at a hospital where I want to work, there was no directory online or anything, so I asked a friend who works in ICU to try & hunt it down. She couldn't even locate in their system & her friends who actually work in the ER wouldn't give it to her.

I know every hospital is different & some might be easier than others, but many hospitals don't want desperate job seekers calling managers & bugging them, so they make efforts to prevent us from being able to. That is my experience anyway.

That's the most ridiculous thing I have heard of. I can't believe you're having a tough time getting in touch with unit directors. Call the main hospital #, press 0 (usually) and ask to speak to (insert unit- ie: med surg, critical care, etc) nurses' station if they won't connect you to the unit director directly. It's usually pretty public information, but if they won't give you the unit director's #, call the nurses' station and ask who their unit director is.