New nurses are reporting difficulty finding employment despite the nursing shortage. The future need for nurses is unquestioned however budgetary concerns are causing health care facilities to fill fewer positions. Often, employers want to hire experienced nurses. What can a new graduate do to optimize the likelihood of obtaining employment?
It is essential to prepare while in nursing school. Here are some ways to do that:
- If you have the opportunity to choose your internship, select carefully. Try to gain experience in a nursing field which offers the most future job options. An internship which offers you to gain experience caring for a diverse patient population will help you develop skills which will serve you well in multiple branches of nursing. During your internship, do your very best. Become part of the team. Do not use your internship just a place to learn, but give back. Show your commitment to the vision of the unit or agency. Let team members and professionals who are involved in hiring know when you will be graduating and that you will be seeking employment.
- Consider being a volunteer in a nursing field which you are interested in. Besides getting an inside view of an agency or facility, you will gain experience and form relationships.
- Obtain employment as an ancillary staff member of a health care facility or agency. Working as a nurse’s aid or in another capacity provides you hands on experience. You will learn how to care for patients and gain time management skills. Employers prefer to hire from within.
If you are graduating soon or have all ready graduated, consider these ideas to boost your chances of success.
- Explore nontraditional work settings. Employment opportunities exist at mental health agencies, summer camps, and a variety of other community settings. You may find that you enjoy working with people with special needs or as part of a team doing community health screenings.
- Be flexible! Take a per diem or part time position even if you would prefer full time employment. Be open to temporary jobs. Accept that you will probably need to work nights in facilities. Be open to taking jobs that are not related to your ideal career. All nursing jobs offer you opportunities to develop skills in multiple nursing areas.
- If you are interested in a specialty area, obtain certifications even if you are working in a different area. Employers are more likely to hire you if you possess specialty certifications in the field they are hiring for. Examples of available certifications include: Trauma Nurse Certification, Advanced Cardiac Life Support, and Pediatric Advanced Life Support.
- Be a professional when applying for employment. Have a top notch resume prepared. Do your homework prior to interviewing. Find out as much you can about potential employers. Learn what their goals for the future are. Show them how you can help them achieve their mission. Dress professionally. Be honest during interviews. If you do not know something, say so. Include a personal cover letter with your application. Follow up with a thank you call or note to interviewers.
Do not get discouraged. The need for more nurses is very real. It may take longer than usual to land your perfect job, but it will come in time. Be sure to take time to enjoy the success that you have achieved in graduating from nursing school. That took time and perseverance. Reward yourself for a job well done. Pretty soon, you will be on the next phase of your nursing path.