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Trouble getting hospital job with no acute care experience

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Specializes in BSN, RN. Has 4 years experience.

Hello all! I need some advice on how to proceed in my current situation. I graduated with a BSN in 2017 and started my career in nursing with Nurse Family Partnership. My position is considered public health, I do home visits with first time, low income mothers. Lots of education involved (especially about pregnancy, breastfeeding, and newborn and infant care). However clinical duties are very minimal, I do manual blood pressures, infant measurements, health histories, and bit of "triage" when a client calls and ask what to do about a sick baby. I took this job because my son was just beginning preschool and with very little family support (single mom) this job fit perfectly with his schedule and gave me tons of flexibility.

I am staring a women's health DNP program this fall and have been applying to hospital jobs for 3 months now with no responses. I was advised that a hospital schedule (12 hours shifts) is easier to keep full time vs my current 9 to 5. I also want to get more clinical experience before I finish the program in 4 years. My son is older now and I have a great partner and working 12 hours shifts is finally a possibility for me. I have been exclusively applying to postpartum and antepartum jobs. I have applied to L&D but I know those are even harder to get. I have revised my resume countless of times, personalized all my cover letters to fit the hospital values, etc, and still nothing. I have probably put in over 40 applications to 6 different hospitals in at least 3 different health systems. It seems that my non acute RN experience is hindering me.

What else can I do? I would appreciate any advice. Thanks!

LibraNurse27, BSN, RN

Specializes in Community Health, Med/Surg, ICU Stepdown. Has 8 years experience.

A lot of nurses I started out with on Med/Surg were able to get into postpartum or L&D after working on the floor for 1-2 years. Med/Surg gets you experience with the hands-on skills you use in L&D and PP like assessments, catheters, IVs, etc. Of course it teaches you lots of skills that you may not be interested in and are not applicable to PP, and it's a pretty tough specialty.

I noticed our L&D/PP manager liked hiring transfers from the Med/Surg floors because she didn't have to train them on basic nursing skills as well as specialty specific skills. Not sure if it's easier to get into Med/Surg in your area or if it's something you're interested in/willing to do, but it's something I've seen work.

Also, what are you planning to do with your Women's Health DNP? Just wondering if hospital L&D/PP is applicable to your end goal, as in are you planning to also become an NP and see pts/deliver babies? Or more like research/clinic work? Just curious! 😃

Sour Lemon

Has 9 years experience.

It's not a great time to be looking, even for someone who does have experience. Other areas of healthcare are slow, which will push nursing staff to available positions. There may also be "part time" nurses working more hours to make up for unemployed spouses or other family members.

Being able to move "anywhere" would probably help, but I assume that's not possible for you right now. I'm not sure med/surg or telemetry would benefit you considering the work you hope to do in the future, but those areas might be easier to break into right now ...especially telemetry, since that's where all the non-ICU covid patients go, at least in my hospital.

What is your end goal - - what will you do with your DNP?

2 hours ago, RUNBNursing said:

I was advised that a hospital schedule (12 hours shifts) is easier to keep full time vs my current 9 to 5.

^ This is a matter of opinion and personal preference for the most part. Also consider that there are plenty of variables that go into whether something is harder or easier. Such as work atmosphere. 🤨

I think I would carry on with life as is...keep your apps out there and if someone calls you then you can investigate.

RNNPICU, BSN, RN

Specializes in PICU. Has 13 years experience.

21 hours ago, RUNBNursing said:

. I was advised that a hospital schedule (12 hours shifts) is easier to keep full time vs my current 9 to 5. I also want to get more clinical experience before I finish the program in 4 years.

When does your program start? When do your clinicals start. Something to consider is that not all work places will accomodate your school schedule, especially if you are new.

Do know that those 12 hours are both day and night shift. As someone new to the hospital you will rotate. Most hospitals do not have strictly day or nights. You would need to get comfortable rotating days and nights (7a-7p and 7p - 7a) Depending on the rigor of your program, working 3- 12hour shifts will become exhausting, especially when you come off nights. Also, you don't want to work for three months and then decide that the three days a week is too much. You definitely do not want to start and then realize you want part-time.

I think it is a tough time to try and get a job right now, especially with out-patient experience. While you do have good assessment skills, it is just a different environment.

RUNBNursing, BSN

Specializes in BSN, RN. Has 4 years experience.

20 hours ago, LibraNurse27 said:

A lot of nurses I started out with on Med/Surg were able to get into postpartum or L&D after working on the floor for 1-2 years. Med/Surg gets you experience with the hands-on skills you use in L&D and PP like assessments, catheters, IVs, etc. Of course it teaches you lots of skills that you may not be interested in and are not applicable to PP, and it's a pretty tough specialty.

I noticed our L&D/PP manager liked hiring transfers from the Med/Surg floors because she didn't have to train them on basic nursing skills as well as specialty specific skills. Not sure if it's easier to get into Med/Surg in your area or if it's something you're interested in/willing to do, but it's something I've seen work.

Also, what are you planning to do with your Women's Health DNP? Just wondering if hospital L&D/PP is applicable to your end goal, as in are you planning to also become an NP and see pts/deliver babies? Or more like research/clinic work? Just curious! 😃

My program is the primary health track, so I plan to eventually work in primary or prenatal care. I will definitely not be doing any deliveries 😅. Clinic would definitely be more applicable to my future goals but the hours are not conducive to the program because clinical hours are usually done during the week at 9-5ish clinics and primary care centers.

I have thought about the medsurg route but have not decided if it's worth it for me. I have worked as a tech in medsurg/tele and I very much did not enjoy it, but I understand beggers can't be choosers.

RUNBNursing, BSN

Specializes in BSN, RN. Has 4 years experience.

20 hours ago, Sour Lemon said:

It's not a great time to be looking, even for someone who does have experience. Other areas of healthcare are slow, which will push nursing staff to available positions. There may also be "part time" nurses working more hours to make up for unemployed spouses or other family members.

Being able to move "anywhere" would probably help, but I assume that's not possible for you right now. I'm not sure med/surg or telemetry would benefit you considering the work you hope to do in the future, but those areas might be easier to break into right now ...especially telemetry, since that's where all the non-ICU covid patients go, at least in my hospital.

I think you're probably right, I live in Central Jersey and moving out of state is not an option.

I have been going back and forth about doing medsurg but the specialty director of my program has told my my experience in my current job is more valuable, but the problem is I won't be able to keep this job when clinicals begin due to the hours so I might just have to start applying to non maternity positions.

RUNBNursing, BSN

Specializes in BSN, RN. Has 4 years experience.

19 hours ago, JKL33 said:

What is your end goal - - what will you do with your DNP?

^ This is a matter of opinion and personal preference for the most part. Also consider that there are plenty of variables that go into whether something is harder or easier. Such as work atmosphere. 🤨

I think I would carry on with life as is...keep your apps out there and if someone calls you then you can investigate.

My end goal is to work in primary health and/or prenatal clinic.

I do believe a hospital job would be more stressful than my current job, but eventually my 9-5 hours will simply not work with clinical hours for school as they will be in outpatient settings.

Try and find a part-time clinic? Honestly? If you are not looking for midwifery the clinic and your experience is probably more useful in many ways than a L&D job.

A good program and preceptors should be able to train you with no regard to your experience.

LibraNurse27, BSN, RN

Specializes in Community Health, Med/Surg, ICU Stepdown. Has 8 years experience.

Or maybe another specialty that you could tolerate better than med/surg that offers the schedule you're looking for? Do you need benefits or could you do per diem? I'm not sure if it's hard to find a job in any specialty you don't have experience in, or only certain schedules. I've seen some postings for 10/12 hr shifts for outpatient surgery, dialysis, and a few other things. Totally understand trying to stick with jobs that relate to your specialty though =(

RUNBNursing, BSN

Specializes in BSN, RN. Has 4 years experience.

3 hours ago, RNNPICU said:

When does your program start? When do your clinicals start. Something to consider is that not all work places will accomodate your school schedule, especially if you are new.

Do know that those 12 hours are both day and night shift. As someone new to the hospital you will rotate. Most hospitals do not have strictly day or nights. You would need to get comfortable rotating days and nights (7a-7p and 7p - 7a) Depending on the rigor of your program, working 3- 12hour shifts will become exhausting, especially when you come off nights. Also, you don't want to work for three months and then decide that the three days a week is too much. You definitely do not want to start and then realize you want part-time.

I think it is a tough time to try and get a job right now, especially with out-patient experience. While you do have good assessment skills, it is just a different environment.

My program starts in 2 weeks, its a part time program and I will begin the clinical portion in 2 years, right now the program is an asynchronous online model due to COVID, but even before COVID, in person classes would be once or twice a week in the evenings. I would like to start a hoapital job ASAP so that when clinicals begin, I would be there long enough to be able to have some flexibility with my schedule.

I have worked in the hospital before as a tech and did many doubles during nursing school, I am confident I can take it. But you're right, its a completely different environment, thank you for your insight, definitely gave me lots to think about.

RUNBNursing, BSN

Specializes in BSN, RN. Has 4 years experience.

15 minutes ago, ApplePineApple said:

Try and find a part-time clinic? Honestly? If you are not looking for midwifery the clinic and your experience is probably more useful in many ways than a L&D job.

A good program and preceptors should be able to train you with no regard to your experience.

I think you're right, a clinic job would probably be the most beneficial, but I really need to work full time, which is why I chose the part time track.

I'm attending Rutgers and I've heard many good things about their program and clinical placement, I'm hopeful that if I were to switch to postpartum, their training will be sufficient.

RUNBNursing, BSN

Specializes in BSN, RN. Has 4 years experience.

7 minutes ago, LibraNurse27 said:

Or maybe another specialty that you could tolerate better than med/surg that offers the schedule you're looking for? Do you need benefits or could you do per diem? I'm not sure if it's hard to find a job in any specialty you don't have experience in, or only certain schedules. I've seen some postings for 10/12 hr shifts for outpatient surgery, dialysis, and a few other things. Totally understand trying to stick with jobs that relate to your specialty though =(

I have definitely considered branching out to other specialties that are "easier" to get into. I definitely need benefits for myself and my son. I've looked into outpatient surgery but those positions seem to be even harder to get into than hospitals. I think working full time is more important to me than sticking to my specialty (need to pay rent and bills!) So I think branching out to other areas is definitely something I want to consider. Thanks 😊

Hi there! 

I hope you found another job and your journey is going well!  I was wondering if I could ask you some questions about NFP!  I'm a new grad and super interested in applying. 

RUNBNursing, BSN

Specializes in BSN, RN. Has 4 years experience.

1 hour ago, Jamb5280 said:

Hi there! 

I hope you found another job and your journey is going well!  I was wondering if I could ask you some questions about NFP!  I'm a new grad and super interested in applying. 

Hi!

Yes, I was able to get a job in mother/baby in a large hospital, I think my NFP experience helped me! I left NFP in October. Ask me anything!

That's amazing! Congrats!  I'm new to allnurses so I'm unsure if I can message you.  I will just ask you stuff here! (this may be a long post) LOL 

I'm a new grad and really love the idea of doing NFP!  I was offered a job on an L&D unit at an amazing Hospital but I just hate the idea of working nights for a few years with my small children.  I guess I'm just curious what your schedule was like doing NFP.  You had mentioned it worked better when your son was younger but how if it was 5 days a week?  If it's 9-5 Monday-Friday are you in client's homes the whole day? Or is it flexible like you can do stuff in between work?  Also, was the pay similar to bedside nursing?  We're the benefits good?  Do you like doing bedside more?  

Thank you so much for answering my questions! <3 

 

RUNBNursing, BSN

Specializes in BSN, RN. Has 4 years experience.

1 hour ago, Jamb5280 said:

That's amazing! Congrats!  I'm new to allnurses so I'm unsure if I can message you.  I will just ask you stuff here! (this may be a long post) LOL 

I'm a new grad and really love the idea of doing NFP!  I was offered a job on an L&D unit at an amazing Hospital but I just hate the idea of working nights for a few years with my small children.  I guess I'm just curious what your schedule was like doing NFP.  You had mentioned it worked better when your son was younger but how if it was 5 days a week?  If it's 9-5 Monday-Friday are you in client's homes the whole day? Or is it flexible like you can do stuff in between work?  Also, was the pay similar to bedside nursing?  We're the benefits good?  Do you like doing bedside more?  

Thank you so much for answering my questions! ❤️

 

My son was 3 years old when I started with NFP so he was in preschool (free where I live). I could drop him off before work and for a time he stayed in an afternoon program and I picked him up at 5:30 but eventually I could schedule my visits so that I could pick him up at 3 and drop him off with family if I had more visits or go home and chart. It is very flexible and the way our program did it, there was no micromanagement as long as you got the work done and your visits in. I would do 2 to 4 visits a day (lasting 1hr to 1.5hrs) and would chart afterwards at home or would try to dedicate one day a week to charting. It really depends on your area. I speak Spanish so I would get a lot of the Spanish patients who also worked so they would need late visits (4, 5, even 6pm), eventually I started limiting the amount of patients a took that needed late visits. I would work 9 to 5 most days and one day a week 11 to 7 or something similar. Some days I would have my visits in the morning then go home for the rest of the day and chart, or go into the office in the morning and have visits later in the day, it was very flexible. With covid everything was virtual and to be honest, it bored me a lot and I hated being at home 24/7 which contributed to me leaving. 

Pay and benefits highly depend on your area. I heard that if the program is through the health department, pay is not great. Our program was through a home visiting agency so the pay was decent (almost the same to what I am making now as a bedside nurse). 

There are always pros and cons. I miss living a normal schedule and not working weekends and holidays and nights, but I like the actual work that I'm doing now better. This is very temporary for me while I'm in school. I plan to eventually work in primary care when I graduate which I feel is a middle ground between the two. Good luck!