My Job Search Journey as a NYU New Grad Nurse

The media has portrayed the hospitals and healthcare systems hiring nurses all the time. Unfortunately, I have not found this to be the case in NYC. Or for many of my classmates.

I am writing my journey and struggles because so far, I haven’t found anything like it on the net, and I know that I wanted to know about this information myself when I first started even thinking about nursing school.

Most people are not willing to write about their struggles through life, especially posted on the internet for the world to read. In some ways, it shows that they are weak. And for me, I personally don’t feel comfortable posting this journey until I have reached some success. It’s interesting that we don’t reveal our struggles because that is what ultimately makes a movie, a story, a journey so much more amazing.

But, what happens if we continue to fail and never reach that point where we’ve created a lightbulb? Anyway, I feel some sort of obligation to write down what I have done so far in hopes of beginning my nursing career.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

During my job search so far, I’ve learn some things along the way. There are some people in my class who already have jobs. However, the majority of my class (including me) do not have nursing jobs yet. What went wrong? Aren’t we all capable, intelligent, hardworking individuals with a RN and BSN? I would say “yes” — my classmates are great.

Unfortunately, most of our applications are sitting in a resume pile that is the size of two med-surg textbooks. It probably explains why it typically takes 1-3 months to hear back from the NYC hospitals after you apply when you don’t have any direct relationships with the hospital (especially the nurse managers who make the final hiring decision). Even if you walk to the hospital and visit the nurse recruiter to hand in your resume in your polished suit, it does not mean that you will get a job any sooner. From what I have seen so far, several hospitals’ Nurse Recruitment do not actively hire New Grads. Instead, they depend on nurse managers to pick your individual application for them to take the next step. Now that is a hard job for the nurse manager, especially if she or he has never met you before.

Friday, September 28, 2012

I received my first pre-screening call ever!!!! It happened at 3:30pm today from Kisha at a Brooklyn hospital about an opening for radiation oncology. Although there are no guarantees, I feel just one step closer! :) This is what I did: I called the nurse recruiter on September 12 and then e-mailed them right away with a personal thank you to the one who picked up the call along with my cover letter and resume.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

I received the call from the nurse manager from the cancer center today at 11am. We’re meeting tomorrow at 3pm. I can’t wait! At this hospital, it looks like the Nurse Recruitment does go through all of the resumes and gives it to the appropriate nurse manager who is looking for a position to fill. That is a good sign! Now it is time for me to learn even more about them and get ready for the interview tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The interview. She asked about my clinical experience, my favorite clinical, how comfortable I was with using Mandarin and assessments, my experience with cancer patients, if I had any difficulty with patients, my career goals (basically, they want to see if you are treating nursing as a profession or as a ‘job’). The Director also sat in on the interview.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

I wrote thank you letters (e-mail and handwritten).

Friday, October 5, 2012

I went out to my friend’s place in Jersey City and enjoyed spending time together with other recent nursing grads.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

I have to keep working, otherwise I will probably go crazy. I enjoy teaching and coaching swimming so I went to the orientation today that lasted all day. This will be my first time teaching the Department of Education program for second graders in NYC as well as the afterschool program. I start on Friday, October 12, 2012 in the afternoon to help people register to Learn to Swim for free. YES IT IS FREE.

Afterwards, a group of us went out to Olive Garden in Times Square. We were there for 4 hours. I can’t believe it.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Happy Columbus Day! On this day, I got my laundry done, and finally cooked two dishes out of the cookbook. I am so proud of myself.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Instead of being super motivated about finding a job, I have been a little anxious about the interview. I know that the nurse manager said that she will interview other nurses too so it is a little nerve-wrecking. If I don’t get it, then I have to really go forward and keep trying at other hospitals. Perhaps go onto the floors and speak to the nurse managers, and try applying elsewhere. And attending career fairs and trying to network a little bit more.

However, if I do get the job, then I will do the following:

  • Learn Chinese like crazy
  • Brush up on medications with a focus on oncology medications
  • Review nursing diagnoses and care plans
  • Buy the Radiation Oncology Nursing textbook and know it inside out

Friday, October 12, 2012

I called at 9:33am and left a voicemail with the nurse manager. I’ll call again at 11:10am.

I called at 11:30am and 2:30pm and got to the voicemail. Instead of leaving a message, I wrote a short email to ask what was going on.

Monday, October 15, 2012

The nurse manager called me back today at 5:21pm. She said that she got my follow up e-mail from Friday and that she enjoyed the interview. And even though I met all of the requirements, there were several other candidates as well and that it was a difficult decision to make but decided on someone else.

I did ask that if she hears of another position that she would refer me and she said that she would.

Oh well — at least I tried. I just have to stay positive and keep trying!

Today, I did my application for a new graduate program. It was actually nice because the short answer questions were similar to what the nurse manager was asking and in this case, I really got to really think about my answers with my own resources in front of me. Now I have to think about these questions and answers and work it so I feel comfortable saying it.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

I’ve decided to think about personal branding. I attended a seminar through the Wasserman Center called Creating and Building Your Personal Brand with the speaker Pamela Weinberg. Her major points included the following:

  • Develop Personal Mission Statement
  • Build personal brand by reading articles
  • Social Media
  • Monitoring Brand
  • Be persistent and “be” consistent

Friday, October 19, 2012

I applied to a hospital in Houston. According to my nursing buddies, they were at the nursing career fair at the Javitts Center this past Tuesday, and they were the most enthusiastic about new graduates. Yes, yes, you may wonder — are you sure you want to move to another state? My answer is Yes! I love traveling and getting to learn more about different areas and culture. Especially when it comes to food.

Monday, October 22, 2012

About two years ago, I became interested in life insurance, mostly because I think that it is an important topic! I learned about a man named Tom Hopkins, who is supposed to be the king of selling. Since I am on the topic of ‘selling’ who I am, I decided to pick up the book called How to Master the Art of Selling by Tom Hopkins. What I learned is that there are specific words that turn people off and as equally, on. I think this book applies to more than selling physical products but also provides a way to show others who you are and the services you provide.

Here, I also learned that there are motivators and demotivators.


  1. Money
  2. Security
  3. Achievement
  4. Recognition
  5. Acceptance by others
  6. Self-acceptance
  7. Love of family


  1. Fear of losing security
  2. Fear of failure
  3. Self-doubt
  4. Pain of change

What can be focused on is what you did right rather than what you did wrong. I think that is helpful in staying positive and pushing yourself to move forward.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

There are five characteristics that important!!!

  1. Ambition
  2. Ongoing education
  3. Responsibility
  4. Humility
  5. Perseverance

I think the last one is the one I need the most right now to push me to get a job.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

I’ve taught three classes with autistic children. In swimming. This challenge showed me not only the importance of patience, but also the ability to get inside someone else’s head. The children are really inside their own world and are happy to be there. I feel that the key to teaching them learn to swim is to listen to them and see what they are doing to clue you into their thoughts. After that, some creativity is necessary to put yourself into their world and find ways for them to perform swimming skills at the same time.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

I love Amazon Prime. I got the following books in the mail:

  1. Rapid Interpretation of EKGs — While I learned how to read EKGs in my adult and elder II class and more in depth in the Critical Care class, I want to brush up and be ready for it.
  2. AHA Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support — unfortunately, it’s the 2006 version. But since it was only $4 on Amazon, I decided to search the net for any updates for the 2010 version. Fortunately, I found one. Time to take notes.
  3. A cook book — during this time in my life, I feel that I shouldn’t feel down about my job search. Instead, I should take it as a chance to grow as a person and expand my interests. I decided to cook. Mmmm, delicious!

Thanks to the New York Public Library, two books I reserved arrived.

  1. Logo Design Love by David Airey — I’ve been wanting to read this book for over a year now and I now have it in my possession for 3 weeks! Whoo hoo.
  2. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky — Emma Watson plays in the film and there are currently 1,700 reviews on Amazon at an average of 4.5 out of 5 stars. It’s gotta be good.

Sunday, October 28, 2012 to Friday, November 2, 2012

Hurricane Sandy. It knocked out NYU Langone Medical Center and Bellevue. The former is still closed as of today (Nov 19) and Bellevue is only open for limited treatment. It knocked out electricity from 40th Street down on the east side of Manhattan. But I was thankful that the water was still running and the gas was still running. Freezing showers and not being about to see without a flashlight after 6pm — it was nothing compared to the devastation that has happened to those in Lower Manhattan, the Far Rockaways, Red Hook, and Staten Island.

I took the free bus up past 40th Street (or just walked up) to charge up my phone (sometimes at Barnes and Nobles) and for food. I was glad that no other damage was done.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

I went to John Jay College to volunteer as a part of the Medical Reserve Corps. 8am-8pm. The patients stories and the people I met there — I think it’ll be unforgettable. The two families I remembered the most:

  1. A daughter needed her mom to stay there because even though they could stay at a friend’s apartment, the mom figured out how to unlock all the locks and wandered off. Dementia. At the shelter, the mom and the aide were allowed to freely wander around. This was a lot better.
  2. A sister came back from the hospital next door to arrange a ride home for her sister. It should’ve taken at most 5 minutes to get home with the ride. But the chaotic fashion of ambulettes and Access-A-Ride caused them to nearly wait the entire shift I was there to get a ride home. Even though they did get to enjoy the hot meals provide, it just goes to show that some things that should take a short amount of time to accomplish can take forever long.

AmeriCorps were there from St Louis and Seattle. DMAT from Arkansas and Florida. NYC HHC always had a physician present. Local volunteers who just stopped by were there. Donations continuously came in. I won’t forget it.

Sunday, November 4, 2012 – Saturday, November 10, 2012

A nursing career fair was canceled. Yes, it is appropriate — working nurses should keep working. Not going to job fairs. And the NYC Marathon was canceled. So in this week, work was resumed. It brought some sort of normalcy back to my life but at the same time, I know that I have to get back to job searching.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

My sister’s birthday. My dad said to my sister that I shouldn’t celebrate my birthday in a month because I was having some really bad luck with my job search. I had to turn it around. I turned to finally take my parents’ advice and visit nurse managers and nursing homes throughout the week.

Friday, November 16, 2012

I got a call!!!

Monday, November 19, 2012

I interviewed with a truly understanding Director of Nursing at a nursing home and was offered the job. She said that she would normally tell new graduates to work in a hospital first and then come back, but hospitals are not hiring new grads as readily and with Sandy, most hospitals will want to employ displaced nurses first.

I think that it will be a great place to start and I am so ready to be an awesome nurse!! It starts next Monday.

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