Reaching out to potential hospitals while still in school

  1. Hi all,

    I am starting my senior year of my BSN in about 2 weeks. I have had multiple people tell me that I should already be applying for jobs for next year. I know that some hospitals prefer to not hire until the applicant already has the RN certification secured. Is it okay to reach out to nursing recruiters or hiring departments of hospitals that I am interested in to see if they are willing to interview/hire before I actually am an RN? I don't know if this will be seen as too forward, or if they will even respond back.

    Any advice or answers would be super helpful.

    Thank you!
  2. Visit KaylaRM profile page

    About KaylaRM

    Joined: Jun '18; Posts: 10; Likes: 2

    12 Comments

  3. by   Sour Lemon
    I think that's probably way too soon in most cases. Would you want to hire someone who might graduate in a year, might pass boards sometime after that, and might still want the job? I wouldn't.
    You could start looking into which hospitals have programs for new graduates or hire new graduates, though.
  4. by   caliotter3
    A friend stumbled and did not graduate with her class. She had to repeat a course the following term. Had she been on the doorstep of employers, it would have been more than embarrassing at the time. Opportunities would have been ruined.
  5. by   KaylaRM
    Quote from Sour Lemon
    I think that's probably way too soon in most cases. Would you want to hire someone who might graduate in a year, might pass boards sometime after that, and might still want the job? I wouldn't.
    You could start looking into which hospitals have programs for new graduates or hire new graduates, though.
    Quote from Sour Lemon
    I think that's probably way too soon in most cases. Would you want to hire someone who might graduate in a year, might pass boards sometime after that, and might still want the job? I wouldn't.
    You could start looking into which hospitals have programs for new graduates or hire new graduates, though.
    Right, I completely agree. I felt that it was far too early, as there's still experience I want to gain to put on my resume.

    And I have been looking into the new grad programs somewhat, but some do not make it clear whether they have new grad programs (or will hire new grads) or not. That's what I was wondering if I should email about.
  6. by   KaylaRM
    Quote from caliotter3
    A friend stumbled and did not graduate with her class. She had to repeat a course the following term. Had she been on the doorstep of employers, it would have been more than embarrassing at the time. Opportunities would have been ruined.
    Yeah that's a very good point. That would be very hard to come back from.
  7. by   adventure_rn
    It totally depends on the region. I believe that many CA hospitals won't accept applications until after the nurse has passed the NCLEX and has a license in hand (probably in part because the licensing process there takes months, lol); a CA new grad may not even start applying until late summer. In contrast, when I graduated in May on the east coast, new grad applications opened in December and closed in January/February. I had friends who had accepted jobs in March, even though they didn't graduate until May or sit for the NCLEX until June.

    It's almost certainly too early to apply, but it isn't too early to start investigating the application process. Look at the HR websites for some of the hospitals you're interested in; most will have a 'new grad' page that lays out the timeline. As a new grad, you'll also need a ton of additional resources for your application (i.e. specialized paperwork that your references need to fill out). Start figuring out what materials you'll need to either complete or give to your references to complete; be sure to give your references plenty of notice, since they'll be swamped with other graduates asking for references as well! Do your best to impress your clinical instructors in your last semesters (be prepared, be proactive, etc.); many new grad applications require that your references come from either your 'most recent' or 'capstone' clinical instructors.

    I'm also a huge advocate for spending a lot of time crafting a stellar cover letter, which you could totally start right now. IMO, a great cover letter can help you stand out in a sea of new grad applicants. Google 'great cover letter' online and read through sample cover letters (both nursing and non-nursing) to get some ideas. When I graduated, one of my proudest accomplishments was that a huge academic medical center offered me an interview, and they said that of the 800 new grad applications that my cover letter was one of the best the received; I didn't accept the job because I'd already started another job, but when I applied to work at that hospital a few years later as an experienced nurse, HR still had in my file how much they loved my old cover letter. Some hospitals also require 1-2 page personal statements (i.e. essays) in lieu of a cover letter; if you start looking into different hospital requirements now, you could get any necessary personal statements or essays done.
  8. by   Ashley_SF
    [QUOTE=

    It's almost certainly too early to apply, but it isn't too early to start investigating the application process. Look at the HR websites for some of the hospitals you're interested in; most will have a 'new grad' page that lays out the timeline. As a new grad, you'll also need a ton of additional resources for your application (i.e. specialized paperwork that your references need to fill out). Start figuring out what materials you'll need to either complete or give to your references to complete; be sure to give your references plenty of notice, since they'll be swamped with other graduates asking for references as well! Do your best to impress your clinical instructors in your last semesters (be prepared, be proactive, etc.); many new grad applications require that your references come from either your 'most recent' or 'capstone' clinical instructors.

    I'm also a huge advocate for spending a lot of time crafting a stellar cover letter, which you could totally start right now. IMO, a great cover letter can help you stand out in a sea of new grad applicants.[/QUOTE]

    I agree with the above post. I wish I had been more prepared after graduating and passing NCLEX. It's a stressful time and the more prepared you are, the better off you'll be. Like others have posted it also depends on your area. I graduated in San Francisco and job hunting was brutal.
  9. by   LibraSunCNM
    If you're graduating in May, it's too early to apply for jobs now, for sure. I also had a May graduation and around February or March of that year, I started calling around to the nurse recruitment departments of all of the hospitals I was interested in, and asked when they thought I should apply as a new grad planning on taking boards sometime in June. Most were very willing to help and most told me to apply right after graduation but not before. Only one hospital told me to wait until after taking and passing the NCLEX. This may vary depending on your area, but start reaching out a few months before graduation and you should be fine.
  10. by   adventure_rn
    Quote from Ashley_SF
    I agree with the above post. I wish I had been more prepared after graduating and passing NCLEX. It's a stressful time and the more prepared you are, the better off you'll be. Like others have posted it also depends on your area. I graduated in San Francisco and job hunting was brutal.
    Or like me, trying desperately to fill out applications and write my cover letters at the last minute in January while simultaneously studying for my nursing exams and attending clinicals. I wish I'd gotten a head start way earlier than I did, and I definitely encourage current nursing students to learn from my mistakes.

    Quote from LibraSunCNM
    If you're graduating in May, it's too early to apply for jobs now, for sure. I also had a May graduation and around February or March of that year, I started calling around to the nurse recruitment departments of all of the hospitals I was interested in, and asked when they thought I should apply as a new grad planning on taking boards sometime in June. Most were very willing to help and most told me to apply right after graduation but not before. Only one hospital told me to wait until after taking and passing the NCLEX. This may vary depending on your area, but start reaching out a few months before graduation and you should be fine.
    I politely disagree; I actually missed out on applying to a couple of major hospitals that I was very interested in because I didn't realize that their application cycles for May graduates had closed in mid-January, and I was going to have to wait for the next application/graduation cycle to be considered (so with a May graduation I wouldn't be able to start until February with the December graduates). The timelines can vary quite widely by region; it doesn't hurt to start looking into the timelines for your local hospitals now so that you can make an informed decision.

    Also, many hospitals will have a specific timeframe for when their new grad applications are open. Unlike experienced RN jobs, which are often filled on a rolling basis, usually the new grad applications are only open for a specific period of time. Therefore, even if you tried to apply right now you'd probably find that the applications are closed (except to nurses who have already graduated, or are graduating in December).
    Last edit by adventure_rn on Aug 13
  11. by   LibraSunCNM
    Quote from adventure_rn
    Or like me, trying desperately to fill out applications and write my cover letters at the last minute in January while simultaneously studying for my nursing exams and attending clinicals. I wish I'd gotten a head start way earlier than I did, and I definitely encourage current nursing students to learn from my mistakes.



    I politely disagree; I actually missed out on applying to a couple of major hospitals that I was very interested in because I didn't realize that their application cycles for May graduates had closed in mid-January, and I was going to have to wait for the next application/graduation cycle to be considered (so with a May graduation I wouldn't be able to start until February with the December graduates). The timelines can vary quite widely by region; it doesn't hurt to start looking into the timelines for your local hospitals now so that you can make an informed decision.

    Also, many hospitals will have a specific timeframe for when their new grad applications are open. Unlike experienced RN jobs, which are often filled on a rolling basis, usually the new grad applications are only open for a specific period of time. Therefore, even if you tried to apply right now you'd probably find that the applications are closed (except to nurses who have already graduated, or are graduating in December).
    That makes sense. I didn't encounter any new grad programs that required applications so far in advance, but I also graduated 10 years ago . It can't hurt to start calling around now to get the lay of the land.
  12. by   KelRN215
    If you are entering your senior year and graduating in May, now is too soon to begin applying. You should, however, begin the job search process in January. When to apply is highly variable based on your area of the country. In New England, I applied for my new grad position in January, interviewed and was offered a position in March, graduated in May, took and passed NCLEX in June and started work in September (by choice). New grad programs were offered in July, September, November and March. Someone I graduated with waited to apply until after we'd graduated and she didn't get to start until March of the following year. In my area of the country, if you waited until after graduation/NCLEX to apply for new grad jobs, you'd be SOL because all of the new grad jobs would be filled. Nearly everyone I graduated with had jobs secured before we graduated. Some in other parts of the country, too.
  13. by   verene
    It's too early to start applying for jobs if you don't graduate until May. However it is not too early to start thinking about where you might want to work. Looking around now gives you time to start casually networking as well as to see what employers are looking for and start think about how you fit their criteria and can sell yourself to them. It's also not a bad idea to call HR department and ask when their residency applications open/close as some are very early (and some less so) relative to graduation and the window of time they are open may be short.
  14. by   KaylaRM
    Thank you everyone! I appreciate all of the advice. I agree with what everyone says. I think that waiting until closer to January-ish is the better choice. I had a hospital in my hometown that already called me asking to set up a phone interview for a new-grad RN position. I had to politely decline, saying that I felt it was too soon, but that I wanted to keep this as an option and would apply later in the year. They were very nice about it, but I am concerned that I may have burned a bridge with them, but I just do not feel comfortable committing to anything this early.

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