Harsh Advice or Helpful?
Dear Nurse Beth, I just passed the NCLEX at the end of June and have been scanning the job boards. I worked as a Medication Aide in assisted living and haven't worked the past year due to concentrating on school. I would like to eventually get into a hospital, but they all want at least a minimum of one year experience. Other things mentioned are specific certifications, such as ACLS and IV therapy.
Right now I have an ADN and am waiting for two schools to go over my transcripts for their BSN programs. I already have a Masters in another field and went for nursing after dealing with numerous layoffs. Got the CNA/CMA after that and then went into nursing school. I have interviews set up but they're not for hospitals. I also think I'm at a disadvantage because I'm older than the typical student.
Will taking a position at a SNF/Rehab center, plus getting the ACLS and IV therapy certifications help my chances of getting a hospital position?
Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
Dear At a Disadvantage,
Congrats on passing your NCLEX!
Landing a job as a new grad requires focus, energy, and perseverance. I'm not sensing that in your letter. "All hospitals" do not require one year experience, and thinking you are at a disadvantage because of your age is giving up before you start.
Actively and purposefully job-seeking is more important than "waiting for schools to go over your transcripts". It is necessary to get your BSN, but once you land a nursing job, you need a full, focused year to learn the job and move from a novice to an advanced beginner clinician.
Apply to positions that specify 'new grads", "no experience needed", and "experience preferred" (not required). If you are able to relocate, it greatly increases your chances.
Depending on how old you are and how old you appear/project, it pays to be aware of ageism and bias in the workplace, but it sounds like you are the one assuming the bias. Somer employers recognize that mature applicants bring life experience and maturity to the role.
Your first choice is to land a residency position. They are competitive and many students apply in their last semester. The minute you graduate, the clock is ticking, but it's not too late by any means. Expand your search and look for hospitals offering new grad residency programs. Again, re-locating opens up opportunities you may not have in your area.
Getting your ACLS and IV therapy certification can help and definitely doesn't hurt. Many hospitals provide (free) ACLS training after hiring to new grads, but it does show initiative on your part.
Working at a SNF/Rehab is the next best option as some of the skill sets you will gain are also used in acute care. Many hospitals do hire nurses from sub-acute settings, so you could work a year or two and then apply to acute care.
There are tons more helpful examples and tips for new job-seekers in my book below.
Author, "Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job"...and your next!
Last edit by tnbutterfly on Jul 19
About Nurse Beth, MSN, RN
Joined: Mar '07; Posts: 1,573; Likes: 4,718
Nursing Professional Development Specialist; from CA , US
Specialty: Med Surg, Tele, ICU, OrthoJul 18From: WA, US ; Joined: Jun '06; Posts: 147; Likes: 103You need to move from "scanning job boards" to actually applying. You are wasting valuable new grad time. I graduated last year as an older grad (think gray hair old) and applied during my last semester to several new grad residencies. I had a job offer in hand 2 weeks after graduation in my specialty of choice. As far as age bias, I got my position because of my age and life experiences. It's all in how you sell and present yourself. Great advice above on how to search for positions by search phrases. Also the hospital website usually has a website specifically for their new grad / residencyrogra. Don't be scared to personally contact recruiters either. Oh, and submit a cover letter specific to the job with your resume, makes a huge difference from what I heard from recruiters.Jul 18Joined: Feb '08; Posts: 5,626; Likes: 15,899You only get one year to qualify for new grad positions in acute care. After that, you are an "old" new grad, competing with those who graduated more recently than you. Translated, this means you are old news. Your odds go way down.
Start applying everywhere. Look for the GN or New Grad internships/residencies. Most hospitals in my area only hire new grads via those openings. You may have already missed the boat for this summer, unfortunately.Last edit by not.done.yet on Jul 18Jul 20Occupation: RN Specialty: 3 year(s) of experience ; Joined: Feb '16; Posts: 98; Likes: 108Just start applying. The worst that can happen is you don't get the job. I'm older and was hired after taking the summer and fall off after graduation. I retired from the military 3 years earlier and had not taken a break. I started CNA school the day I started terminal leave and didn't look back. I followed the advice of my nursing instructors. Take a job...almost any job to just get going. There are 5 nursing schools in my area so no shortage of nurses. Now that I'm more experienced I can start to look around for my more perfect job. Don't sweat ACLS...if you need it your agency will provide it. When I was hired we had to have it done within a year of hiring. I just got ortho certification and finished PALS yesterday. Get those resumes out. I had really nothing on mine that was nursing accomplishments. Everything was military and I was hired at the first place I applied. Oh and I finished my BSN almost a year ago.Jul 20Joined: Aug '14; Posts: 42; Likes: 70I agree she definitely needs to be actively applying but depending on her location she might not be behind. I graduated 3 years ago and none of my classmates looked for jobs until they passed their license. The automatic online applications wouldn't even let you apply without having it because you didn't meet the qualifications.
The applying before graduation is definitely a location specific kind of thing.Jul 22From: WA, US ; Joined: Apr '12; Posts: 8; Likes: 12You should be applying for jobs and not waiting for things to happen. Make your own opportunities! Did you cultivate relationships during your clinical rotations? If you did, his is a good place to start applying for jobs. Perhaps nurses you worked with during clinicals could recommend you.
As for being an older student, use it to your advantage. Highlight your maturity and life experiences as they relate to The jobs you are seeking. YOU CAN DO THIS.
I graduated from an ADN program about 5 weeks ago and had 3 job offers from my primary clinical site prior to graduation. I'm an older student...the grey haired kind with adult children. I started my dream job the day after I passed NCLEX.Jul 24Joined: Sep '13; Posts: 89; Likes: 131I think that if you have a strong resume and interview well, someone will give you a chance. I think hats how I found a job quickly, even though I was a minimally qualified new grad with an associates degree from out of state.
Remember, attitude goes far. Your future employer can train you to do anything. You bring translatable experience and soft skills that other new grads don't have. You just have to put yourself out there in order for someone to give you a chance.Aug 1Joined: Jun '18; Posts: 208; Likes: 310Thank you all for your advice. For some reason I thought I needed my license number to start applying to places. My problem was I needed to get out of my own head. I decided to use my previous experience to my advantage and sell the fact that the skills in my old work life were transferable to nursing. I applied to a dozen jobs in one week. Before the week was over I had received replies to half of them. I interviewed for six different positions, the next two weeks (some of them second and third interviews) and wound up with multiple offers. I weighed the pros and cons of each offer (two came back with a higher offer) and ranked them as to where I saw myself in the future and which had the most potential for advancement and what interested me the most. I signed an offer letter today for a position that I never imagined I would get. I cannot thank you enough for all of your advice. It was all very helpful.
I decided to put the BSN off until early next year as I want to dedicate all my time learning my new position.
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