Senior in college seeking grad info

by kcfox kcfox (New) New

I am currently a senior in college and will be graduating with my BSN in May 2015. Although i wont be graduating for about another year, im trying to start my research now to hopefully better my chances of finding a job.

I have CNA experience of 4 years and recently went to Australia/New Zealand to voluntarily learn about their health system. I keep hearing word of how hard it is to find a job as a grad. Will my CNA experience help me in the long run even though its not licensed experience?

I currently live in Indiana but am looking for a job absolutely anywhere. I have nothing in Indiana to hold me back so my plan is to definitely get out of the state and explore while I can. My only problem is I dont understand how Im suppose to apply for my boards if im not sure where i will be getting a job? Some places wont even look at the aplication without the person holding a license in that state?

I have been looking into residency programs to help me better transition but they only start a few times a year. I was planning on taking my boards in july but i have no idea what state to apply too or where to begin with my Job Search!

Please Helpppppp!!!!:(


Has 16 years experience.

It might help to try to narrow your focus down a little. Is there a particular specialty or area of the country that you are interested in? You might start researching new grad programs in those areas and communicating with HR about what they are looking for in applicants.

IDK much about the topic but you should look into Nurse Licensure Compact in the NCSBN website about the multistate license. I'm not quite sure how it works but it sounds like something that could be beneficial to you

HouTx, BSN, MSN, EdD

Specializes in Critical Care, Education. Has 35 years experience.

You're correct in assuming that your application will be unlikely to attract potential employers until you are licensed to practice in that state. There are just so many new grads clamoring for jobs - they don't need to take the time to deal with anyone who isn't "good to go". Unfortunately, your state is not a compact state, so you'll have more hoops to jump if you are seeking a job elsewhere.

In my neck of the woods, the formal residency programs accept applications during a very limited period of time. In most instances, all of the slots are filled in a very short time - with students that have had clinical rotations in that facility. These programs only accept the highest performing students, based upon GPA and test results.

It might help to try to narrow your focus down a little. Is there a particular specialty or area of the country that you are interested in? You might start researching new grad programs in those areas and communicating with HR about what they are looking for in applicants.

There isnt isn't a specific field I'm interested in, I was going to be very open about my first job. If I start looking into specific jobs or grad programs would it be best to directly contact someone from the program? I was assuming this is what'd you'd do but I'm new to this Job Search and didn't know how far ppl take it as far as actually contacting the employee. Would I just tell them my situation relating to my boards and see what their options are for employment? I'm just so confused and want to be successful since I'm starting my job search so early before graduation!


Has 16 years experience.


It's been a while since I've had to apply for an RN job, and even longer since I've been a new grad. Hopefully others will be able to post information more specific to your situation.

I would say it would probably be best to start with a general search of different hospitals to see what types of programs they offer for new grads and if they have any information about general qualifications and when to apply posted on their websites. Usually they have an email or phone number you can call for more specific information.

I don't think it would hurt to start contacting a few that look like a good fit. I've heard these programs fill up fast and you'll probably be competing with local graduates who will already be known to people in the hospital either through work or clinicals.

If you're unsure about what hospital systems are located in a particular state, you could try contacting the state nurses association for information about job opportunities in that state.

You'll probably want to take the geographic area into consideration at some point. Cost of living can be a huge factor, availability of housing, crime rates, and climate. Be honest with yourself. Can you stand the isolation of living out in the country or the hustle and bustle of a large city? Can you drive in a blizzard, stand the heat of the southwest, or the humidity of the southeast? Remember most hospitals are going to expect a 2-3 year commitment, but you'll only be spend about 36 hours a week at work. You'll need to be happy living wherever you end up or it'll end up affecting your work and your health.

calivianya, BSN, RN

Specializes in ICU.

Can't agree enough with what sadiemae1123 said - I moved to get experience in my specialty because no one where I lived would offer me, and I hate the place so much I'm leaving after only one year when I signed a contract for two. I hate it, but I really can't tolerate this place anymore. Not just the hospital - the town, the fact that it's in the middle of nowhere, the fact that everyone here is so different from me... I just can't stand it any longer. Don't put yourself in that sort of position just for a job. It's really not worth it.


Specializes in L&D, infusion, urology. Has 2 years experience.

I agree about researching residency programs now. Also, start building your connections. Are you introducing yourself to managers while in clinicals? Have you reached out to anyone you know that's a nurse? Anyone who might have SOME random connection somewhere?

Make a list of residency programs that interest you. These will likely be your best bet for getting a job right out of school (before taking NCLEX even). List the hospital, when the programs start, any contact info you can find, etc...just get all the info you can! I went to nursing school in Dallas, and many of the schools there have residency programs: Parkland, Baylor, UT Southwestern, and Cooks Children's all have great residency/internship programs for new grads. Also, in TX you can work as a graduate nurse (GN) between the time of your graduation and the time you take boards, so that's nice! I would also recommend applying for Vanderbilt and St. Thomas nurse residency programs in Nashville...they're both very good as well, and I think they both have cohorts twice per year.

As far as specialty goes, pick one. You're allowed to be picky! You went to nursing school to learn and grow, and you should be growing into the type of nurse you want to be. If you want L&D, apply for that. If you want telemetry, apply for that. It speaks a lot to your drive and ambition if you have a passion and desire to work in a specific field. But I agree with the previous posters - take location into consideration too! Don't move somewhere dreadful just because they have the ideal job for you. A job is a big part of your life, but it's not your whole life.

Definitely call and/or email anyone that deal with the residency programs you're interested in. It shows initiative, gets your name out there, and they'll likely give you helpful information about their specific program.

Best of luck!