Dear Nurse Beth,
I finished my nursing program in August of 2013. I graduated with my ADN degree in May of 2014. I gave my first NCLEX exam in September of 2014 and failed. Due to some family situations, I made my 2nd attempt to my exam in June of 2017. I failed yet again with 265 questions and near passing in all areas.
Fortunately, I passed in March of 2018 with my third attempt. Now I'm trying to look for work. My question is will it be easy for me to apply and get a job after being out so long? I Don't know where to start. Unfortunately, I don't have any medical experience besides what I learned in nursing school and I have been a stay at home mom mostly.
Most of the jobs want experienced nurses. Where can I start in order to get experience and training? Will they train me anywhere I start working? I would love to do a residency program...am I still eligible to do so after 4 years? Plus I don't have any letter of recommendations for that. I don't know where to start. Please, any advice will be appreciated. Thank you
Dear Where to Start,
Congrats on passing your NCLEX!
You will most likely not qualify for a residency program, having graduated in May of 2014. Generally, facilities hire new grads without experience into their residency programs. Eligibility typically includes having graduated no more than a year prior. Every program is different, though, and some make exceptions to their own rules. It would take both very good luck and your making a stellar impression or knowing someone, but it doesn't hurt to apply.
You are an "in-between" status- neither experienced nor a new grad. Most facilities offer 4-6 weeks orientation for a non-new grad, and that may not be long enough. It is easier to land a job in sub-acute than acute care without experience.
Meanwhile, you should consider a nursing refresher course since you graduated over 4 years ago. It will help you with your skills and boost your resume.
While nursing refresher programs don't offer job placement, it's a good place to start networking, so make the most of the connections you'll be making.
Author, "Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job"...and your next!