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Suggestions / Advice from seasoned nurses

nnm519 nnm519 (New) New

Has 8 years experience. Specializes in Geriatrics.

What is your advice for developing and maintaining a professional network?

I have had a few jobs as a RN and once I left the company I never remained in contact with anyone I worked with. I also did not remain in contact with anyone from my 2 colleges. The BSN program I went to was local but all online. So keeping in contact with them really would be difficult as I never met my professors except for a couple at graduation. Now that I am looking into applying to graduate school I need references and I don't have a professional network and am scraping the bottom of the barrel for references.

All this got me to thinking how important a network can be not only in the case of school but for career advancement.

I know that I can not go back and undo what has been done. So what is your best advice for developing and maintaining a professional network? Is your network all co-workers or do you keep in contact with former bosses, teachers, any potential future reference? I know some people become friends with co-workers and keep in contact for that reason but what about when you leave a job where you didn't have friendships outside of work? Do you contact these people prior to leaving a job or school and ask them if they would be willing to be a future reference? I want to grow in my field and develop an excellent professional reputation as I advance my education and career.

So any tips or advice on what you do would be great!

I like LinkedIn. Facebook is fun, but that can be dangerous. Some say don't friend coworkers on FB. But it does help keep connections.

I am not a nurse yet, but in regards to networking, I like to avoid burning the bridges if I can. I've developed good rapport with my previous employers and coworkers, as well as with a good majority of my professors in school. I keep in contact and text them every now and then to see how they're doing. They serve as solid references for potential jobs.

As PP stated, LinkedIn is great! It's a good way to "showcase" yourself to potential employers should they choose to search for your name throughout the interview process (which they probably will).

I also like to be involved in alumni events. I graduated from a large, reknown university for my previous Bachelor's, so our alumni network is huge. I would look to see if there are any opportunities like that in your area.

Rose_Queen, BSN, MSN, RN

Has 15 years experience. Specializes in OR, education.

Don't forget about professional organizations- that can help you network well outside of just your own employer and collaborate with nurses within your specialty from your area, state, and wider!

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