The field of nursing is a lucrative and fulfilling career path. But despite the high and ever-increasing demand for nurses, the relatively increasing competition in the job market has made it difficult for newcomers to find stable work. And with the student loans and cost of living expenses creeping up, you can't really afford to wait for work to come to you. Fortunately, there are ways to help you get your first nursing job without getting stressed out. Here's five of them:
Figure Out Where You Best Fit
Companies don't just hire based on a candidate's technical background. Core competency is important in the workplace, especially if lives depend on it, but employers are also looking for nurses who fit the workplace culture. Increase your chances of getting the job you applied for by doing some background research about your prospects first. List down the places where there's an employment opportunity for nurses, such as area hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and local government agencies. Figuring out where you best fit can also serve as invaluable data to present to employers during an interview. It'll be easier for them to decide if you give them data about your potential value in the workplace.
Know Where to Look For Work
Job postings are everywhere, from bulletin boards at vocational schools to job-posting websites. While there's no noticeable difference between the different job postings available, there are sources that will yield better results. Sites, like Indeed, tend to have a very extensive list of jobs, but platforms like Onward Healthcare and Towne Nursing feature job postings that specifically target nurses and healthcare-related professions. Another option is recruitment agencies. Working with these agencies often yield to faster job placement, but keep in mind that they don't always find the best-paying or most suitable work conditions for you.
Prioritize Experience Before Salary
When you're starting out, experience is a more valuable commodity compared to income. Remember, as with any profession, the expected salary is commensurate with professional experience. The more experience you get, the easier it will be to find future work and command a higher income. There are many ways to gain field experience as a fresh college graduate. For instance, some nursing schools have a career center that are in contact with local healthcare facilities including primary hospitals and family-owned and -run clinics. Talking with them can give you some good leads to pursue. You can also search out elderly patients who are in need of a healthcare professional to help them do basic tasks, such as feeding and grooming.
Apply For Internships
There's a lot of paid internships for nursing students. Interning or shadowing veteran nurses in the field can look nice on your resume. It shows prospective employers that you are driven and passionate about being a nurse. Internship programs are great for people who don't want to commit a protracted period of time to any one workplace, such as those who are planning to move to a different state after their technical training is finished. While you might feel overqualified to even take any of these internship positions, it's a good way for newcomers to get their name out there and start building professional networks that you can later use to your advantage.
AddTo Your Existing Credentials
Every year, there are hundreds of thousands of newly licensed registered nurses churned out by nursing schools that it becomes seemingly impossible to distinguish yourself from the rest of the herd. Adding new skills and certifications to your resume can lead to more and better job offers. For instance, an ACLS program that certifies you in advanced cardiac life support will make you a stronger job applicant compared to those who don't have it. Other credentials you can pursue include pediatric advanced life support and basic life support.
Getting your first nursing job is just half the battle; the other side of it is staying happy and satisfied with your professional life. Prepare for the real work environment by reading about the typical work day in a nurse's life. Knowing what to expect will avoid any surprises when you start working at your first nursing job.