Published May 30, 2009
I am not actually any where near graduating yet but I am already thinking waaaay down the line to that. My program gradution date has me graduating in December of a particular year. Now, assuming I get a job offer say prior to graduation (assuming of course) when do orientations typically begin? Do you take the NCLEX first, do orientations start immediately upon graduation, how does that work? The reason I ask is because with a December graduation date I plan on taking a trip to Europe for a week after Christmas which would put me back in the states and ready for work around the 3rd of January of a particular year (approximately 2.5 weeks after graduation). In this economy (assuming it still not so great down the road) I wouldn't want to pass up job offers because I couldn't attend orientation---so it's best to find out now before I start planning/paying for a big trip because getting a position at a hospital is clearly more important.
The answer to your question will vary depending on whether you are in a state that offers GN ("graduate nurse") status, meaning that you can work as an RN but with additional supervision, after you graduate but before you write the NCLEX. If the answer to that is "no," you won't be able to start work until after you're formally licensed.
If you are in a "GN" state, it is still up to each individual facility whether they choose to employ GNs or not. Some do; some just won't let you start working until after you're licensed.
That's a somewhat lengthy way of saying, "it depends." :)
I accepted a LPN position three weeks before I graduated in May, I started orientation the following Monday after Graduation as a GN, I am not allow any time off for three months, you work when they tell you and you have no control over your schedule, you are required to take the NCLEX within the three month period or orientation. You do earn vacation and sick time, but vacation time can not be used within the orientation period, these were the conditions I was required to accept for me to be hired. I have a wedding I would like to attend during my time of orientation, and I am not scheduled for the day of the wedding but it could change. Once my orientation process if over then I will have a regular shift with more control over my schedule. I feel it's scarafice I have to make to get the job I want. I will continue on next year to get my RN, then I will be able to pick when I work.
I doubt that any facility would start an orientation during the holiday season. You most likely wouldn't start until after the first of the new year. If you are told otherwise, then ask for an adjusted start date. All they can say is no.
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