Working as a Vet Tech is Like Working as a Nurse

  1. Dear Nurse Beth,

    I graduated with an ASN in 2015 and enrolled in
    a RN to BSN program after I passed the NCLEX.

    This was a career change for me for I worked as a veterinary technician for years.

    It took me almost a year to find a residency program and I was hired to enter the RN OR residency program. This was exactly what I was looking for, a new grad program.
    Unfortunately, I came down with a medical condition and I had to leave the program. I could not work I had a debilitating chronic condition.

    I started to feel better after 6 mos. and I needed to go back to work. I couldn't go back to the residency program because it was too late and I found out they did not continue with another one. So I went back to my previous job, vet. tech. at the beginning of the year. I will be graduating with my BSN next Spring. SO I am in a tough spot because I want to get my nursing practice going and since graduation, I have only worked 3 mos. and now I am working as a vet. tech.

    My thoughts were to wait until I graduated with my BSN next Spring and get my resume out there as a new grad and
    try to get into a new grad program. At least working as a vet nurse is very similar to human nursing. And I need to be honest and let them know I was sick. Any advice for me? Apologies for the long note. Thank you for your time.

    Dear Working as a Vet Tech is Very Similar to a Human Nurse,

    I'm glad your health is sorted out, and you are ready to work. What you need to do is land a nursing job as soon as possible.

    Right now, your nursing work history reads:

    Graduated as RN in 2015
    New grad residency in 2016, not completed

    So you have three months of nursing experience since graduation, and that was in 2016. When you graduate with your BSN in 2018, the clock does not necessarily start over in terms of landing a job as a new grad. Meaning you may well not be eligible for a new grad residency, but you don't have nursing experience and don't qualify for an experienced position. I wouldn't wait for that to happen.

    You will be asked about the long gap in employment as an RN. Start applying now and be persistent in your efforts. The important thing is to land a job, start practicing nursing, and you can always change specialties from there. You can say that you had medical issues in the past but that they are now resolved.

    While being a vet tech requires compassion and technical skills, there are many differences between working as a vet tech and working as a registered nurse. Don't expect employers to view it as like experience.
    What you can do is highlight any transferable soft skills on your resume, such as customer service.

    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 3
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    About Nurse Beth, MSN, RN

    Joined: Mar '07; Posts: 1,405; Likes: 4,209