How to get that magical "first year" of experience?

  1. Hi there,

    I'm Dan and have previously run a small software company for 17 years (I'm 44). The economy has finally shut it down, but it's actually a good thing as I was completely burned out anyway. I have since enrolled at PCC working on pre-reqs for the nursing program. So far I've got a 4.0 GPA and I am so completely excited about the prospect of working in this field. Running a company developing software for faceless corporations has left me unfulfilled and I almost feel a calling to be involved in the process of helping people through nursing. My wife and I have been so positively impacted by wonderful nurses and doctors in the last few years that I feel such a desire in give in ways that they did.

    I know I have about 3 years to go before I will be ready for the work force. It sounds like right now there are no nursing jobs available in Portland, at least for new grads. I have at least 6 nurses in my family (not in Oregon) and I have never heard of any of them without a job for a period longer than a few weeks at the most and they have encouraged me to pursue this. Most recently my niece graduated from Humbolt and had a $42/hour job literally on hold for her at Stanford. I am hoping that the next 2 years or so will show a thawing of this hiring climate that I hear about in Portland.

    One question I have for the experienced nurses here, especially those in the Portland region: when you graduated, how did you get that job that gave you the "first year" of experience that it seems is mandatory for nursing jobs (the usual Catch-22). What kind of jobs work well towards getting that accomplished?

    Secondly, I have a real desire to work in ER/Trauma. Is it feasible to get a job in this area as a new grad or do you need to work your way through many years of other types of nursing?

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    About kmdguy

    Joined: Dec '09; Posts: 46; Likes: 17
    from US


  3. by   Up2nogood RN
    I worked as a CNA in the same hospital for about 10 years, communicated with my nurse manager regarding school status, career goals, and she held a position for me which happened a month before the hiring freeze. I was incredibly lucky but I worked hard for many years to get my RN license which did not go by unnoticed. CNA work was also invaluble experience that has helped me be a beter nurse in my opinion. Keep plugging away, keep the GPA up and hopefully the job market will turn around.
    The best way I see it to get a job as a new grad here in Portland is to get into the Prov Scholars BSN program at UOP.
    Last edit by Up2nogood RN on Dec 15, '09 : Reason: Addendum
  4. by   kamaboko
    Dan, I'm in the same boat. Just finished the pre-reqs at PCC. All A's but one B. In any event, your first year of experience will likely be as a CNA. Moreover, you'll need that experience (as I've been told by many people) to not only "get into" a nursing program, but to also "have an opportunity" to interview for a job when you graduate. My long-term goal is to become a NP. I will make a huge financial sacrifice to work as a CNA for a year to get that bloody (no pun intended) experience. I went to a three-hour informational today for the PCC CNA program. A number of the people that attended are doing the same thing. They have aced or nearly aced their pre-reps, but have nothing on paper to indicate they've worked in the health field. That is the missing link for people like us. No experience, small to little chance of getting accepted into a program, and certainly zippo chance of getting an interview after you graduate.
  5. by   chelynn
    Dan, I got my degree in May 07 and license in Dec 07. I have never worked anywhere but the ER. I did one year at a very small IHS and now am in a larger regional hospital in the ER and doing well. I wish the best to you
  6. by   lilwbprincess
    Dan -
    I graduated in Aug 2006 and was licensed a few weeks later. Started my first job that Nov on a trauma step-down unit. As a student, I spent one clinical rotation there and also my senior practicum rotation there. Throughout that student time, I got to know the staff and understand the patient population and developed a professional relationship with the nurse manager. I let her know my intentions of wanting to work there after grad and exchanged contact info. When I graduated, I let her know; when I passed my boards, I let her know; when I put in my app for the position, I let her know. It sounds annoying, but it seems to be one good way to make sure you are remembered. Well and of course doing well while you are there during your rotation will help a lot The nurses were great at providing references too.
    Good luck!
  7. by   jaqs96

    I am a fairly new nurse that was able to get a job this past year. I contribute that to working externships, student nurse/tech positions throughout school gaining valuable experience... volunteer if you have too. I did an externship during school in the ED, ICU, and Cardiac and was offered a position in all three units. I ended up taking a job in the Cardiac Cath Lab... keep that unit in mind... it's a intense rewarding environment! Good luck!