Nursing school certainly could never be described as a “walk in the park”. All-nighters studying for test, upon test, memorizing meds for pharmacology, understanding the pathophysiology of countless diseases, and preparing for the NCLEX really take a toll. You’ve gained so much knowledge, along with a deep appreciation for coffee, and the toughest part of becoming a nurse is behind you, right? Well, hopefully. But, now it’s time to graduate and get a nursing job.
Everything you’ve done to this point has prepared you to get a nursing job, but many new nurses find it overwhelming when the time arrives to actually pursue that well-won career. Fear not, there really are no worries. Nurses are in high demand, as you know, and once you’ve passed your NCLEX and obtained your license, you’re ready to take on that all important task, and get a nursing job.
Tips to Get a Nursing Job
If you haven’t graduated yet, it’s still possible for you to take steps to get a nursing job after graduation. In fact, it’s to your advantage. If you already have your nursing license in hand, take a deep breath and follow these tips to get a nursing job and start the path to a long and fulfilling career.
Be the Nurse You Want to Be
From the very start, view your clinicals as an audition for that first nursing job. The staff you work with each day is helping to shape you, but they’re also watching you and evaluating you on your skills, patient compassion, and those values which make you at quality nurse. Show the people you work with during your clinicals an eager student, ready to learn new skills, and take on responsibilities. The powers-that-be may come to you when it comes time to get a nursing job.
Work as an Assistant While You’re Still in School
Hospitals, just like many large businesses, prefer to hire from within. Working in a hospital, or medical facility, as an assistant or nurse tech will allow you to get a foot in the door. Even if you don’t get a nursing job at that particular hospital, you will have gained a wealth of experience.
Take Advantage of Your School’s Resource Center
Many new nurses get a nursing job by reviewing postings through their school’s career resource center. If your school has a resource center, hey may offer assistance in preparing your nursing portfolio, as well as your resume. Take advantage of this immensely useful resource.
If your school does not have such a service, contact your local professional nursing organizations to get some help with your resume and portfolio.
Attend Job Fairs
Many large hospitals and medical centers will host job fairs. Make sure you attend. This will alert you to possible opportunities to get a nursing job, as well as allow you to meet many individuals already working in the medical field. Job fairs are the perfect way to begin networking and forging relationships with other nurses.
Immediately Take Your Boards
You can’t submit an application for a nursing job until you have a license to practice. Schedule your licensure exam as soon as possible after graduation. With license-in-hand you can begin applying for available positions.
Those nurses working in desirable specialties, such as certain pediatric units, labor and delivery, and intensive care, are seasoned and experienced. Such demanding units are difficult when you’re just entering into your career. That doesn’t mean you can’t aspire to those areas of medicine. As you move forward, gaining knowledge and experience, you can return to those specialties, armed with the expertise you’ve gathered.
Prepare for Your Interviews
make sure you have interview-worthy clothes. Wear your conservative best. Men should wear a suit and tie, women a skirt and blazer. Make sure your “interview outfit” is clean, pressed, and ready to go.
Prepare answers ahead of time and do some research on the facility to which you’ve applied. Be ready to talk about yourself. For some people this can be one of the most difficult parts of the interview process. This is no time to be humble! Discuss your accomplishments, what you hope for your future, career-wise, and the attributes you can bring to the job. Practice your answers. Bring copies of your resume and any portion of your portfolio that’s relevant.
Just the Beginning
Trying to get a nursing job after graduation, or beginning to put your feelers out just prior to, can be stressful. The best way to approach your job search is by following these tips and beginning the process. Your nursing career promises to be rich and rewarding. It all begins with that first nursing job.