Working as a CNA and my own hospital won't hire me as new RN

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Working as a CNA and my own hospital won't hire me as new RN

Hi Nurse Beth

So I'm currently a CNA at a hospital. During nursing school my classmates asked me what's it like and where do I work. After school ended, a few applied to be nurses on my floor and have already received offer letters and orientation spots. 

I have filled out an internal job app couple months before school ended, I tried calling texting and emailed my boss about wanting to work as a RN on my current floor and I haven't received any communication back. 

Im feeling a bit angry as they have no xp or any history with this hospital and they're ahead of me in terms of onboarding. 

What should I do? I have half a mind to resign and finish my last 30 days as a CNA at a different hospital. 

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Career Columnist / Author

Nurse Beth, MSN

157 Articles; 3,316 Posts

Specializes in Tele, ICU, Staff Development.

Dear Feeling Angry,

I can understand why you might feel frustrated and disappointed that you were not allowed to transition to an RN role on your own unit. It can be discouraging to see your classmates being selected instead, especially when they are external hires.

Here are a few suggestions for you:

Follow up with your boss:

If you haven't already, try reaching out to your boss again to inquire about your internal job application status. You have nothing to lose. It's possible that there was a miscommunication or oversight, and a direct face-to-face conversation may help clarify the situation. Clearly express your interest and enthusiasm for the RN position on your floor.

Seek clarification from HR or the nurse manager.

If your boss continues to be unresponsive, consider reaching out to the human resources department. Explain your situation, express your desire to work as an RN on your current floor, and inquire about your next steps. They may be able to provide guidance or shed light on the hiring process.

Explore other opportunities within the hospital.

While you set your sights on working as an RN on your existing floor, consider exploring other RN positions within the hospital. Look for job openings in different departments or units where your skills and experience as a CNA could be valued. Working on a different floor as an internal hire can be an advantage. This can be a way to gain experience as an RN and potentially transfer to your desired floor in the future.

Consider external opportunities. 

Apply elsewhere. Many new grads make multiple applications before landing their first job. If your career growth is limited despite trying all options within your current hospital, consider exploring opportunities at other healthcare facilities or hospitals.

Look for positions that align with your career goals and aspirations. Sometimes a fresh start in a new environment can provide new opportunities for growth and advancement.

Reflect on your long-term career goals. 

Take some time to reflect on your long-term career goals and whether staying at this particular hospital is still aligned with those goals. Consider the overall work environment, growth potential, and opportunities for professional development. Sometimes a change of scenery can be beneficial for career advancement.

In the end, hiring the right candidate for the unit lies with the nurse manager. It's important not to take it personally if you're not selected and recognize that working as a CNA on the unit doesn't guarantee a job as an RN.

Finding your first nursing job can be difficult as most schools don't equip their students with the necessary job-seeking skills to excel. I wrote my book Your Last Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job...and your next! with new grads just like you in mind, with insider tips from a nurse manager's point of view.

I wish you the best in your Job Search,

Nurse Beth


2,790 Posts

Specializes in oncology.

I have seen this problem with CNAs who called in more than the nurse manager (NM) thought should be happening and the NM thinking a better choice was someone that did not have that history. 

Home Health Columnist / Guide


11 Articles; 18,135 Posts

Specializes in Vents, Telemetry, Home Care, Home infusion.

 As former manager, I always tried to have my CNA's/clerical staff graduating from nursing school stay on as RN -- many were successful.  There were a few times I had no open budgeted positions, so unable to accommodate a newly minted RN.   A few of my Manager colleagues had different experiences as  new RN unsuccessful due to changing role --too overwhelmed, unsupportive colleagues, hated RN role, etc.   Hiring took 3-4 months too despite being an internal employee at times.

Try to schedule a face to face meeting with your manager -- invoke HR if one more outreach doesn't work.  Start searching other jobs NOW so if current facility doesn't work out, you have a shot at getting a position YOU want.

Best wishes slaying NCLEX and starting a successful career.

Specializes in Hospice.

Could it be that your supervisor is concerned about losing you from that role and that impact to the unit? There may also be other considerations you are not aware of. 

Something to think about is that if you are not getting communication responses in your current role, think about this related to a new role. Is your current unit the best environment to facilitate professional growth?

I agree with the recommendations of the above posters. Best of luck to you!

Specializes in Emergency and Critical Care.

As stated earlier there are many reasons why hiring you into an RN position on your unit may not be able to happen. As a previous manager I can also offer an opinion. Sometimes staying on the same unit when moving up can be more difficult because peers may still see you as a CNA and call on you often for that roll instead of allowing you and supporting you in your new roll. Definitely speak directly to your manager to find out what the situation is, and then go to HR to apply and look into other options that can afford you the opportunity for growth. You may find yourself to be happy you tried something new even if it may be a bit more frightening. 

araew2129, ADN

351 Posts

Specializes in MSICU.

Did you apply through the hospitals New Grad RN position posting? A lot of times these applications are handled differently and are prioritized together so the cohort starts timely and together. 

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