@ mnf4ever: i got lucky in that the area i want to go into is med-surg, and i chose to do my senior practicum at the same hospital (though not the same exact floor) as the place i was offered a job. i do have cna experience however it was in long-term care, so while this factored in a bit i think it was mostly the fact that i was already familiar with the hospital and had received recommendation from the nurse manager on my unit from clinicals.
i built relationships with every nurse i worked with and always mentioned to them my strong desire to work there after i graduated. they put in a good word for me to my nurse manager, and at the end of my rotation i went to her w/ cover letter, resume, and references in hand and asked if they would be hiring any time soon. (note that i did this while at clinical, in scrubs, it's generally not a great idea to cold-approach a nurse manager and "show up" unexpected). she told me they weren't hiring but would keep my resume and call me if something came up.
so i got my rn, applied to jobs on every other floor at the hospital, and waited. a few days after getting my license i decided to email her and tell her i passed the nclex, got my rn, and would love the opportunity to come back and work for her if she had any openings. i also mentioned that i had applied to a couple other positions on the surgical floor and medical floor at the sister hospital and if she wouldn't mind putting in a good word for me to the other nurse managers. well, a few days later (one week after the job was posted) i got a call to come in for an interview on the surgical floor.
so really a large part of my success probably had to do with making connections at clinicals, and realizing that even though i might not get a job on the floor i did capstone, by spreading the word around and putting that energy out there, i managed to get in to another floor at the same hospital.
however, i did have another interview at a completely different hospital 2 days before this all happened and did not use any connections there. it happens to be a smaller hospital (114 beds) and all nurse managers review every single application (vs. hr at the other hospital goes through and screens before sending to the nurse manager). i will find out on monday if i got a job offer from the small hospital, but i have to say i had a great interview and it sounded promising there as well. so you might try smaller hospitals where it's more likely that an actual nurse manager would be reviewing your application, rather than hr.
don't harrass or call nurse managers/recruiters too frequently. at my interview at the smaller hospital, the nurse manager told me she reviewed all 30 applicants for the job, however one applicant kept calling her every week to see if she received their application, she said after that she threw it out and won't even consider it. so be careful with this. i would recommend having nurses you worked with introduce you to nurse managers, if you haven't already. or find their email somehow. most nurse managers will appreciate email because it doesn't interfere as much with their busy time. however, the nurse manager did tell me that if the applicant had called once, that would have been fine, it was just the repeating calls every week that ruined their shot.
other than that, it sounds like you had a great interview and were probably one of the top choices. i would make sure to ask at the end of each interview (unless they bring it up) "what is the next step in the hiring process" and "when should i expect to hear back from you?" "can i ask how many other qualified applicants you are considering?" this way you can know sort of where you stand. also, i would definitely take elkpark's advice in that even if an interview went well, don't wait 2 weeks to find out if you get the job, keep applying everywhere you can.
also, of course, make sure you have a good list of questions to ask at every interview. what is the nurse/patient ratio, general things about the unit, but also ask about what educational/certification/professional development opportunities there are? are nurses involved in the quality care improvement process, are they encouraged to join committees? asking questions like this will tell the manager you are interested in becoming a part of the team and that you will go above and beyond as an employee.
i never applied to any "new grad program" job, they simply don't have any in my immediate area. in fact, this might be harder to get into as a new grad, because you're competing with others who typically have the same resume as you. everyone has zero nursing experience so you have to find a way to stand out from other new grads. i've noticed that the hospital i got the job at tends to value "fresh blood." so i was competing with others who had way more experience than me, but it's the attitude that counts. if you have a nurse w/ 20 years experience who is burnt-out and wants to only do things their way, would you really choose them over a new nurse who is enthusiastic, excited to learn, and more excited about being a part of a team?
lastly, i would definitely recommend sending a nice thank-you card via mail to the nurse manager / anyone else you interviewed with. not a reiteration of how amazing you are, just a quick little "thank you again for meeting with me on monday. i am very interested in the position and am so excited for the opportunity to join your team on the ___ unit. have a great week and i look forward to hearing from you!"
just keep trying, you will get there! always believe in yourself and never give up. the job application process is a true test of patience and determination. don't take it personally if something doesn't work out, it just means it was not right for you and something bigger and better will come along. try to enjoy the time you can before you start working for the rest of your life, i know it's easier said than done. i wish you the best of luck! :)
@nadz02rn: i got the offer at a local hospital in oregon in a smallish city. i would not even try getting a job in portland right now, there are six nursing schools and very oversaturated market of new grads. i'm lucky that the town i live in only has one nursing school, and i happened to graduate in december whereas they all graduate in june.