No Experience but Can't Get into Residency Program

  1. Dear Nurse Beth,

    Good evening, I graduated from an ADN Program in May of 2016 and I passed my boards October 2016. During that time I was still working as
    a LVN, but I was applying to multiple residency programs here in the DFW area. One of my instructors had said that I should have been applying to RN1 positions because of the 14 years of LVN experience that I have. Long story short, I was applying to residency programs and RN1 positions but was either told you have too much experience, when it came to the residency programs or you don't have enough experience for the RN1 positions.

    I have now been an RN for 1 year and I'm still being told that I don't have enough experience. I am currently working as a Case Manager for the Texas Star Kids Medicaid program, but I really want to be in the hospital setting. I am in the process of getting my BSN due to the Magnet Status of our hospitals.

    My question is should I continue trying for a hospital position or just continue doing what I am doing now?

    Dear No Experience,

    You will most likely have to give up hopes of getting into a new grad residency program since you graduated over a year ago. At the same time, you don't have acute care experience, so it's a tough spot to be in. But when there's a will, there's a way.

    It will take persistence and strategy. Activate your network and contact your classmates who landed jobs in acute care. Ask them to put in a good word for you and let you know of any openings. A personal reference and introduction can go far. Likewise, contact your previous nursing instructors because they have ties in the local hospitals.

    I recommend you read my book "Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job"...and your next! because it shows you how to pull out all the stops and stand out in a competitive market.

    You will learn how to effectively cold-call a nursing manager (from my hiring manager experience) and how to compose a resume that targets application tracking software keywords.

    Another strategy for you is start out in sub-acute, where it is easier to land a job. Sub-acute is often seen as a stepping stone to acute.

    Best wishes,

    Nurse Beth

    Author, "Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job"...and your next!
    Last edit by tnbutterfly on Jan 9
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    About Nurse Beth, MSN, RN

    Joined: Mar '07; Posts: 1,442; Likes: 4,314


  3. by   KatieDelarosa
    I was I a similar situation. I also graduated May 2016 and have been working in a community clinic since I passed my NCLEX. I applied to a few new-grad positions and now that I've been working for a year I no longer qualify. I was certain that I had missed the acute-care boat and would not be able to do anything different. A friend of mine works at a local hospital and notified me of a new-to-specialty position so I applied, but was not very hopeful. I got the call this week that I've been selected for a position! Keep your eyes open for these sort of positions. They want nurses who have limited experience but aren't necessarily new grads. Networking is the best way to know when these jobs post and to meet the hiring team. There are jobs out there, you just have to keep looking. Don't get discouraged!