Dear Nurse Beth,
How are you doing? I am a second year nursing Student studying at a University in Australia. I was wondering, apart from my studies what else can I do to improve my chances of securing a graduate year position.
Dear How to Get Hired,
Congrats on being in your second year and in a beautiful country that I hope to visit one day.
I'm thinking a graduate year position means an entry-level job when you first graduate, what we call "new grad"?
I don't know much about the job market for graduate nurses in Australia, but I do know about strategies to land a job, having landed several myself and having hired hundreds of nurses.
It is important to stand out, especially when you are competing with other applicants. The trick is to stand out when you have no experience.
Networking as a student during clinicals is very important. Think of it as a job audition and purpose to meet the charge nurses and managers. Build a contact list and keep it - your preceptor today may be a manager by next year.
Here's an excerpt from my book:
Work as a Nursing Assistant or PCT
If at all possible, work as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) or patient care technician (PCT). It goes without saying that you have been a reliable, hardworking, team player extraordinaire during your audition, I mean, tenure as a Nursing Assistant.
Nursing students who work as CNAs or PCTs have home-field advantage.
Voila! You have thus made yourself a No Brainer Hire for the nurse manager.
As a matter of fact, they will love you for making their hiring job easier. By hiring you, they have reduced their risk. They already know that you fit in and that you deliver outstanding patient care. It's a beautiful win-win.
Shine During Your Clinical Rotations
Clinical rotations are a job seeker's dream! In what other jobs do you get a chance to see and be seen time and time again before you apply for a job? Meet and impress the nurse managers and/or charge nurse during clinical rotations.
How to do that?! Look for opportunities - they will present themselves.
It doesn't matter that you're not on your Dream Unit. Hate Stepdown? No worries. Later on, when you apply to work in the Emergency Department (ED), Stephanie, the s
tepdown unit manager, will speak favorably of you to her BFF Jessica, the ED unit
manager. Jessica WILL snap you up!
Write a Note to the Manager
Write a note to the nurse manager after your clinical rotation. By write, I mean use a pen, and by note, I mean paper and envelope. Here's an example.
"I learned so much during my clinical rotation on your unit. The staff were all so supportive and helpful, especially Beth Hawkes. This is exactly the kind of nursing team I'd like to be a part of someday. Thank you for the experience."
Or semblance thereof. Sign your name legibly and prominently. Stop by a week later to see if he/she got your note. Wait! there it is! Pinned on the wall above the nurse manager's desk! Because everyone appreciates a personalized, handwritten note!
You have set yourself apart.
Tip: Make sure your name is legible. You want them to remember your name.
Check out my book (link below) to learn how to stand out from the other applicants.
I hope these tips helped you, and best wishes,
Author, "Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job"...and your next!