I recently received an email from a prospective nursing student and thought that it was worth posting my answers.
I came across to your blog while searching for NYU’s accelerated nursing program. Reading your blog has been very helpful. Congrats on becoming a nurse. Currently I have my undergrad in a business discipline and I am really considering a nursing career instead. I just have some questions regarding nursing, it would be great to get your feedback. Thanks so much if you have the time to answer any of these questions!
1. Does it matter whether you take your pre-reqs at a community college or 4-yr college when applying to NYU? Do pre-req grades matter? Will there be a higher chance if acceptance if pre-reqs are taken in NYU?
You can take your pre-reqs at a community college or a 4 year college. Pre-req grades matter a lot. Definitely do well on these. I don’t believe there’s a higher chance of acceptance of the pre-reqs are taken at NYU. Majority of students take pre-reqs at a community college or a 4 year college.
2. What were your credentials when you applied to NYU (eg. GPA, experience)? And did you find NYU to be worth it after working in the field? Is there any other nursing programs you would recommend in NY?
My GPA was 3.84. As for experience, I volunteered at a hospital when I was applying. It’s important to highlight your feelings towards nursing especially after speaking to them and seeing what they do.
NYU is a great school and I’m glad I attended the school. The professors are top-notch and the students are helpful. There’s an interdisciplinary program so med students and nursing students learn about working together and each other’s roles. It is one of the top research institutions as well especially in elder care (NICHE Program http://www.nicheprogram.org). However, it is a really expensive program so I don’t recommend it to everyone.
The other nursing schools in New York / Long Island that I hear good things from include Hunter, Columbia, Stony Brook, Adelphi, Molloy and Pace.
3. Difficulty finding a job? Did you work part-time while studying in the program?
After I passed the NCLEX, it took about 6 months to find a nursing position. A couple of problems I ran into included not knowing how to interview (because this is a skill you need to practice). I didn’t start my search until after I passed. Some students connected with nurse managers during clinical and were able to secure a position shortly after graduation.
I did work once a week as a swim instructor during school to help supplement the costs. Some students didn’t work at all while others worked 36 hours a week (a full-time job!!). The first and second semester are the toughest so give more time devoted to school before deciding to work.
4. Do grades matter a lot to employers? Do I need to get straight A’s or can I afford to have a few B’s or even a C?
Some employers require a minimum GPA (3.4, 3.5) before they even look at your application. Some don’t. It’s how you present yourself and your mannerism that matter and whether you retained information from school and can apply it.
5. What is the starting salary like and is it worth being a nurse practitioner? What kind of nurse do you think is best to become/specialize in if any?
Starting salary differs from location to location, ranging from $40-80k. In NYC, it starts around $70-80k if you’re working at a private hospital.
Becoming a NP is dependent on the person. While I’ve heard that becoming an NP is the greatest thing in the world (I hear a lot of positive feedback), there are still a few who are discontent with the position, as there is more responsibility that comes with the position. Some people don’t want to deal with the higher stress and responsibility but wanted to go back to school and ended up hating being an NP. This requires a lot of self-reflection. What do you think would suit you and are you ready for it?
Personally, I’ve explored many advanced nursing professions. Not only should you look at your duties but also the lifestyle. Where would you want to work, what would you do, when would you want to work, what income would you make, what mobility is there? The best advanced nursing profession depends on the individual and what they want out of life. I picked Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist. I like the one-on-one direct patient care aspect requiring a high level of critical thinking and autonomy and teamwork.
6. What’s life as a nurse? What are the difficulties and good parts of being a nurse? Expectations in the work force?
Life as a nurse differs between the environment that you work in. I work at the hospital where there’s 12 hour shifts (7-7:30am and pm), 3 days a week (for full time) and you can choose your schedule (with some limitations such as having to choose at least 3 weekend days, 2 Fridays, etc). Some people choose to do 3 in a row each week and have 4 days off. Other hospitals have it so you work 3 12-hour shifts plus 1 additional day every 4 weeks. Some units, especially in CTICU, PACU and ER, have other shifts from 11am to 11pm or 2pm to 2am.
It’s great having 4 days off because you definitely need it to recuperate and you’ll have time to do something else if you’d like.
Some places have day (7a -3p), evening (3p-11p), and night shift (11p-7a), especially in rehab and nursing homes, and require you work 5 days a week.
At work, you often need to have handoff communication about the patients. Then you assess the patient and pass out medications. You make nursing diagnoses about each patient and use critical thinking. You think to yourself: What’s the goal for the patient today? And then make it happen. You’ll speak to various disciplines to coordinate the care.
There’s a couple of tough parts about being a nurse.
1) Families – Some follow the unit policies and others do whatever they want. Communication is sometimes hard but trying to understand where they are coming from helps.
2) Physicians, MLP – your input is often crucial to the patient’s outcome but sometimes the provider will disagree with you.
3) Patients – some are nice and others are crazy, confused and not so nice.
4) Self- being able to let go everyday of the outcome is tough. At the end of the time, you have to set 1 small goal for the patient and as long as they meet that, you have to be satisfied with the care you provided. Nurses tend to be overachievers and want to always give more but with the number of things that must be done, it’s impossible to do everything you had in mind. You have to remember that nursing is a 24/7 job.
The good parts about being a nurse is knowing that you’ve made a difference is someone’s life. You get to think about an active problem and you get to take yourself and solve that problem. You get to hold someone’s hand and reassure them. It’s an amazing privilege to have to save a life, to have a better life, or to let someone die with dignity.
As for expectations in the workforce, there are several different angles you can discuss but I’ll discuss about your own expectations. There’s a nursing theorist named Patricia Benner who stated that the nursing career is based on the nursing model-
You really do start not knowing a lot, just the basics. You focus a lot on technical skills because it’s something you have to work on. Then as you progress, you build more confidence. Soon you’ll start to see areas in nursing where care can be streamlined or have protocols to standardize care. You’ll be in charge, take on harder assignments, be a preceptor, etc.
7. Any general suggestions on what I should focus on or do to become a nurse/get into NYU program?
Do well on your pre-reqs, volunteer or work in healthcare, and get to know a few professors who will write a letter of recommendation for you. And write a killer personal statement answering every question asked.
For a number of reasons, we travel to a new state, such as Michigan, after we’ve already obtain our first nursing license. Since I plan on working in Michigan, I have to get my Michigan Nursing License first. Here’s how I’m doing it and the related costs.
Ease – Easy Time to Invest – 2 days Time to Completion – from 1 to 3 months Total Cost Minimum / Maximum – $146.50 / $181.75
This does not include the cost of an envelope and stamp to mail. If possible, use credit or check to pay. Otherwise getting a money order may cost more.
Step 2 Decide if you will get your fingerprints done in Michigan or Out of State. If done in Michigan, go to www.identogo.com. Pick a location, book an appointment (date and time — it’s suggested to schedule your fingerprints 7-10 days AFTER you’ve submitted the RN by Endorsement Application), fill out your information, and submit $62.50 with credit or pay at the site with a check. After your fingerprinting appointment, keep the Livescan Fingerprint Request Form and receipt as it will contain the TCN Number.
If done Out of State, go to your local police state, get a hard stock fingerprint card (in New York State, it’s $25), and mail in the fingerprint card WITH the Livescan Fingerprint Request Form (page 11) and check of $62.75.
Step 3 Have your nursing license verified through www.nursys.com. They will send the verification for you for $30.
Step 4 Wait for the State of Michigan to process your application. After about 3 weeks, you should receive a Application Confirmation containing your customer number, which you can use to check your status online at www.michigan.gov/appstatus. According to others on allnurses.com, if it’s been over 8 weeks, contact your local rep or senate with your complaint. Typically, they find that the application is completed shortly after that.
Step 5 If after 8 weeks, you can call them (I waited 25 minutes!) or email firstname.lastname@example.org with your TCN number that is found on it Livescan Fingerprint Request Form, and your customer ID number. They emailed me 2 days after stating that they found my fingerprint and they will forward it to the processor. 2 days after that, I got my license. I hope your experience is smooth.
We live in a world where money is king. We go to work to make money. Once we have money, we spend it on things that we need and want. Unfortunately, the US school system doesn’t teach us “Money 101.” Most Americans spend more than they make and owe credit card companies money. This is a problem!!!
Whenever I bring up topics about IRAs, 401k, stocks and taxes, my friends are often surprised by how much more I know about it than them. Wanting to help, I looked all over Google for the perfect step-by-step guide. I couldn’t find one. I’ve been thinking about creating one for the longest time now, so that they don’t have to keep saying, “Hey Jessica, can you go over that again?”
This guide is written in the order that I was exposed to them starting from when I was young to now.
My Money Story
Majority of what I learned about money is through my dad. As a 5-year-old kid browsing through the candy bars at the checkout lane, I asked my dad, “Dad, will you buy Twix for me?”
He replied, “No, but you can buy it with your own money. Did you bring your own money?”
Sad, I looked down and whispered, “No…” After I got into the car, I realized that it was just something I wanted, not needed to have. And that things cost money.
Just a couple of weeks prior, he opened up a savings account for me and gave me a weekly allowance of $5 (a dollar amount that matched my age so you can imagine my excitement each year on my birthday). He told me to save half in the bank and the other half in the cash box. In the first year at age 6, I had $120!
At age 10, my dad helped me buy a I Bond to save money at a higher interest rate (currently about 1.35%) compared to the bank’s saving interest rates (0.01%). Right now, there are 2 major types of Treasury Bonds – I Bonds and EE Bonds. Starting at $25, you can buy a Bond from the US Government online for yourself, as a gift, or for a child younger than 18. A ‘Bond’ is essentially lending the government money. In return, your money will go up at the rate of inflation plus a fixed rate that’s determined every 6 months. The purpose is to save for the long-term for up to 30 years. You can pull it out starting at 1 year but anything earlier than 5 years will have a penalty of 3 months of interest. Therefore, you would only ‘cash’ in the bond after 5 years.
Also at age 10, my sister bought a CD, or a Certificate of Deposit, which is another way to save at a higher rate (about 0.9%) but typically for a shorter period of time of about 1 year to 5 years. In case you anticipate to buy a large purchase down the road but you want to save as much as possible now, a CD is a good choice. However, personally I have never had a CD. You want to look for one that gives you the highest rate possible with no fees.
Most banks offer free checking accounts for kids age 13-18. I got my first one in middle school. This became my primary account where money flowed into and out.
Income: I got a job!
At age 15, I started to work part time (less than 10 hours/week). I got to deposit my paycheck into my checking account every 2 weeks. My dad’s word of wisdom is to ALWAYS deposit any check or cash you receive ASAP because you can easily lose it. It also creates a permanent record in your monthly bank statements. If possible, get direct deposit.
Sometimes you will get cash payments. You might think, “Oh great I have cash now, I don’t have to go to the bank.” It’s convenient! However, you need to have a record of how much you earned. Always deposit first before withdrawing it. The bank is your friend.
From the money standpoint, it’s important to have a working income because you need it to get a credit card, have a credit score, IRA, a car, rent, and really anything that you may need or want.
From a personal point-of-view, it builds character, teaches you how to interact with others, and gives you a head-start on your resume.
At age 16, I got my driver’s license and started to drive to school. Sometimes I needed to get gas. My dad got me an additional credit card under his name (with a very low limit of $300). This way I got to practice using credit cards. Here were the rules and the reasoning.
#1 Always pay with credit cards. Why: To have a record of your purchases. Also, most credit cards have purchase protection and warranty extension in case you don’t like your new product and cannot get a full refund. You’ll have less cash you carry. And if anyone steals your credit card, you can always cancel it and not pay for any items that you didn’t buy. With stolen cash, you’re left with nothing.
#2 Always pay in full. Why: Leaving any balance on your credit card means you will have a high interest rate (usually more than 10%) and pay much more. Why would you ever want to give someone more money than they should??! If you currently have any balance on your credit card statements, you have credit card debt. This is considered bad debt. Pay this off immediately.
#3 Always pay on time (or a couple days early if your credit card and bank are two different institutions to make sure you are not late with any payments). Why: Any late payments will result in a ‘late fee’ of typically $35 and decrease your credit score. One way to avoid this problem is to set to ‘automatic’ payments online. You just have to make sure there’s enough funds in your account before the due date each month.
You will probably see a couple of other things associated with credit cards.
Cash back, Miles, Etc
I personally like cash back. For every $100 you spend, you get $1 back (or more!) if it’s 1% cash back. Some have higher cash back percentages. Some cards give you miles. Just remember that you pay in full each month and don’t buy more than you need. This is just a bonus, not a way to make money.
0% Intro APR for Purchases for the first 15 months
This means that you can buy stuff and pay the minimum balance for 15 months. You are borrowing the money. You must pay off the entire balance before the end of the trial period otherwise you’ll get slapped with a APR that is usually more than 20%. That means for every $100 you owe, you’ll owe an additional $20 each year. Holy crap.
0% APR for Balance Transfers until Month/Year
This offer can happen when you first open up a credit card or in a form of a check that credit card companies religiously send to you several times a month (arg they are killing trees and it’s driving me crazy!!!). This offer is helpful if you have something else that you owe at a high interest rate (such as a student loan). Here’s how you evaluate if it’s a good deal.
It will always have a fee and a minimum shown like this: 3% fee with a minimum of $10. The minimum doesn’t matter unless you plan on using the check for small dollar amount. The only time I will consider the deal is if the fee is 1%. That means if I write a check for $5000, I will get charged $50.
The only time I used it was to pay off my student loan, which was charging me 7% interest rate. However, by using this balance transfer check, I paid only 1% on the $5000. That means I only pay $50 to pay back the balance in one year when the 0% APR expires. If I had left the $5000 student loan in the 7% account and paid off the account in one year, I would’ve had to pay $350. I saved $300 by using the balance transfer.
As you get older, try to keep the oldest credit card you have as that increases the length of your credit history. The longer your credit history, the better your credit score.
Free Online Money Management Service
At age 17, I had a checking account and a credit card with two different companies. To keep track of my spending and income, I used a free online money management service. I used Yodlee but now I recommend mint.com. You don’t have to use any of their recommended things. Basically you enter your account information and the service imports the rest of the transactions for you. They even have iPhone, iPad, and Android apps so you can keep track of your spending everyday.
IRAs (Individual Retirement Accounts)
The day I turned 18, my dad took me to Fidelity to open a IRA. “Dad, why do I need a IRA? I just turned 18!! I’m not retiring anytime soon!!!”
He replied, “Yes, but you will retire sometime. And time is the most important factor to make sure you’ll have enough when you retire.” And my, how true that is! You will always have more at the end if you put in (less) money early than (more) money later. Don’t put it off any longer.. get one today!!
To have a IRA, you must have income. For 2013, if you made less than $5500, the max you can put in is your total income. If you made more than $5500, then you can put up to $5500. Fidelity has a great program for people who are just starting out but don’t have that much. I put in $200/month into a Roth IRA through an auto-deduction with my checking account.
There are 2 types of IRAs: Roth IRA vs Traditional IRA. With Roth, your dollar gets taxed now (your paycheck is typically already taxed [net income]. That’s why you only see about 2/3 of what you actually made [gross income]). With Traditional, your dollar gets taxed later.
When you’re younger and not making as much money, put your money into a Roth IRA. This means that your income is already taxed and when you’re 65, the money you pull out will be tax free. If you desired, this account may be passed down from generation to generation.
If you’re making over $100,000, it may be wise to put money into a Traditional IRA, as it will act as a deduction to your gross income and thereby lowering your tax bracket for the year that you put your money in. However, at age 65, you must begin to take out money.
After choosing which IRA you want to put your money in, you have two more decisions.
1. Primary and Secondary Beneficiaries – Who will owe the account in the event that you pass away? You must pick these people and have their social security numbers ready.
2. Which fund? – I recommend putting it into the Fidelity Freedom Fund with the year closest to when you’ll retire. If you don’t pick Fidelity as your investment bank, there are other similar accounts. The Fund will change the percentage of bonds and stocks it holds based on how close you are to retiring. Typically, when you’re younger, the account will be more ‘risky’ and hold more stocks than bonds. Bonds are more ‘stable’ but also have less interest. It’s called a Freedom Fund because it doesn’t require you to do anything and it’ll do the work for you. This leads us to the next topic…
Stocks, Bonds, Mutual Funds, ETFs
I’ve spent over 5 years figuring out the best thing to do with my money by reading books, online material, and doing it with my own money. Here’s what I figured out. For you and me, keep it simple and forget about it. This applies to both IRAs and regular investment accounts.
After picking an institution (listed below), you must pick where to put your money. You can put them into stocks and bonds. You can buy them as an individual stock or bond (for example, if you like Apple and think it’ll grow, then you can buy their stock). Or you can buy them as a big group through mutual funds and ETFs. The good thing about mutual funds and ETFs is that it is already diversified, which means it has many different companies or bonds in that one mutual fund or ETF.
Technically, you should read about each company and you ought you come up with your own feeling about the direction of that company, whether or not it will continue to make profit. Then buy the stock based on that.
You may see in the news that the stock market goes up and down. It does that based on people’s emotions. However, over time the stock market increases, even after the depression. Companies will tend to make more money, as long as it has a sound philosophy and you believe in it.
Anyway, you may have heard to ‘diversify your portfolio.’ Your portfolio is what you own in terms of stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and ETFs. I am a big fan of ETFs because it diversifies for you. Why not mutual funds? Because PEOPLE are managing mutual funds and thus take a bigger cut from you each year (2-3%) whereas ETFs have COMPUTERS managing essentially the same exact thing but for much cheaper (0.05-0.3%).
What’s the difference between Mutual Funds and ETFs?
What is it?
many stocks into one ‘fund’
many stocks into one ‘fund’
Who controls it?
A broker (real person)
How much does it cost?
of the entire investment account
0.05-0.3% annually of the entire investment account
Costs a lot more over time
Free ETFs!! MarketRiders help you pick ones best suited for your situation
In general, you will make 8-10% annually with ETFs. And the best part is there are free ETFs where you don’t have to pay anything to ‘buy it’. Stocks, bonds, and mutual funds all cost a commission ranging from $2.50-$10 per transaction depending on the broker. So what are you waiting for???
The question becomes, which ETFs should I buy?
Here’s the best solution that I’ve come up with and currently use myself: use MarketRiders.
It is an online ETF portfolio manager. It has a 30 day free trial. After that it costs $120/year. It creates your own portfolio based on your needs. Use the free ETFs available through each broker (you can customize in MarketRiders). As of March 28th, if you try it by clicking here, you’ll also get a $25 Visa gift card. Not bad! Here are some choices for brokers.
I got one because I wanted to have some money that I can have easy access to and that wouldn’t have a penalty if I took the money out. Pick one that you trust, has a high interest rate, no minimum, easy to transfer money in and out. Then pick a set amount each month that you want to transfer so that you start to build your emergency fund of $1000.
Free Credit Score — Anytime!
It used to be difficult to find out your credit score. However, now more than ever, your credit score tells others your credibility and ability to pay on time each other. It is essential to know your credit score. You can get it free anytime at Credit Karma (www.creditkarma.com). It even tells you how you got your score, how to improve it, and has personalized scenarios of how the score can be impacted based on your actions.
401k and 403b
After college, I started to work for a company that has a 403b. What is a 401k or 403b? It is another retirement account that is only available through your employer. 401k are available for private companies whereas 403b are available for nonprofit organizations. Some companies will match a certain dollar amount up to a certain dollar. Other companies will simply have it available.
You want to take advantage of this program. You can put in a max of $17,500 in 2013. Personally, I put in $500 each paycheck. It will deduct your income pre-tax so that you will have a lower tax bracket. Also, you would think that taking out that additional $500 would leave you with a paycheck of $500 less. It’s actually only $300 less because it is now taxed at a lower rate. Totally worth it.
Please feel free to share. Let me know if there’s anything you’d like to know more in depth via email or through the comments below. Thanks!
This was one of the first questions that I asked my mom who used to work nights as a RN. I also got some advice from a coworker who’s been working nights for a year and half and so far, it’s worked out. I followed their recommendations and I made it through my first three 12-hour night shifts in a row without being overly tired. I thought this was pretty helpful so here it goes.
There are three scenarios.
1) The Night Before the First Night Shift
Sleep in to about 9am-11am. Eat lunch, run some errands. About 3-4 hours before you plan on leaving home to go to work, take a nap. Get up about 1 hour prior to eat, get food ready, and change to go to work.
2) You Have a Back-to-Back Night Shift
This one is easy. Some people like to eat when they arrive home. I personally don’t. I come home, shower (to wash off all of the bacteria from the day — I don’t want to bring MRSA into my bed!!), set up my uniform and food for the next day, and sleep for 8 hours. I need 8 hours. Otherwise, I am a tired mess. But some seasoned nurses (such as my preceptor who is awesome btw) sleep for 5 hours so they can do other things. I wake up about an hour before I leave my home to eat my ‘breakfast’***.
***I thought about the definition of breakfast. Technically, after I wake up from an 8-hour sleep, I have to ‘break my fast’ by eating breakfast. But my sister claims that breakfast, lunch, dinner is defined by time of day. For example, if you sleep in until 10am and then you eat, then that is considered brunch (although my sister claims that brunch only exists on weekends. But how can that be??). I guess when I go on break, I’m either eating a 2am meal or a ‘lunch’. What do you think?***
3) The Day After The Last Night Shift
Sleep until noon (more or less). Try to stay up until 8pm-10pm. Get some errands done or just relax or go work or go to school or whatever you want to do. Then go back to sleep.
I hoped that helped. Besides sleep, probably the next important thing is what to eat. You have to fuel yourself with good energy so you can take care of others!
Updated 11/21/12: I wrote a short piece on how current new graduate searching for a job can find one. Scroll down.
Updated 9/15/14: Courtney, RN from www.fromnewtoicu.com volunteered first before she got her first paying job. Learn more by reading her guest post and checking out her website.
I am writing this for current NYU Nursing Students because I wished I had an adviser who told me what I should have done to start my career right away. In hindsight, I see that if you really want a job in a NYC/Long Island/Westchester hospital right after nursing school (and not 6-8 months after graduation), it starts DURING NURSING SCHOOL. Now that I am learning from my mistake, I hope that you won’t make the same mistake. Here are some tips.
1. During your clinical rotation, meet the nurse manager. Get her business card. E-mail her and let her know your interest. Once you graduate, e-mail her and let her know that. Once you pass your NCLEX, let her know that you have your license. Keep in touch. This is how you keep a relationship alive — through frequent contact!
2. Volunteer where you are interested in working. Yes, you are volunteering to help people, but you are also volunteering to meet the nurses on the unit to show them that you are awesome and you work well with them. Keep talking. Here is your timeline:
1st and 2nd semester: Study hard and do well in school!
3rd semester: Apply for a volunteer position. It typically takes 1 month to 2 months to be proceed, go to orientation, and begin volunteering.
4th semester: Keep volunteering and definitely let the nurse manager know that you are a nursing student. Tell them about your career goals or what you hope you can learn and do. Some of my classmates volunteered 4-8 hours on their days off and it paid off!
3. If you’re interested in working at New York Presbyterian, I recommend that you become a nurse companion (~$9/hour). Majority of my classmates who worked there as a nurse companion either have a job or in the process of getting a job. Here is the timeline:
~1st semester: Study hard and do well!
~2nd semester: Study hard and do well! After you take your last final of 2nd semester, apply for the nurse companion. Check on their website at nyp.org and click on careers. Type in nurse companion. If you don’t see it, then just check everyday.
~3rd semester: Chances are, you will wait 3 months before you’re called.
~4th semester: You’ll get a call for a phone interview. You may wait another week or two before you’re called again to go in for an interview. Once you’re in, you will choose one or two days to do 4 or 8 hour shifts. From what I’ve heard, you will be on one-on-one duty. That means you stay next to the patient’s side to talk to him and help him in any way possible.
4. Get to know your professors and ask them for help. There is a large group of NYU Nursing students (~300) so it is not the easy for each person to get to know the professors. It makes sense, right? The more people, the less personal each class becomes. However, if you can, your professor should be a good resource.
Remember, the whole purpose of nursing school is to:
Pass the NCLEX to get your RN
Begin to work
At least in the beginning, that is your goal.
Yes, during nursing school, you will learn a lot about research and evidence-based practice, NP, DNP, PhD, and everything about how to elevate the profession of nursing. And yes, these are all topics that I personally enjoy (which explains why I interned at the NYU CSAAH B Free CEED: New York University Medical School – Center for the Study of Asian American Health – National Center of Excellence in the Elimination of Hepatitis B Disparities — it’s all about implementing research and public health). However, in the end, the biggest hurdle is school, NCLEX, and the first job.
For now, my focus is on obtaining my first job.
Please feel free to comment below to let me know if this was helpful. Thanks for reading!
Updated on Wednesday, November 21, 2012 — after securing my first job offer
Perhaps right now, NYC is not in a nursing shortage. So hospitals more than ever are dragging their feet when it comes to hiring new graduates. Some say that it is because the hospitals are out of money. Others say that the training for current nurses on the new computer system is more important than hiring new nurses. Whatever the reason, new grad nurses may not be high demand in hospitals but there are ways to get hired as a new graduate.
In hindsight, I say that it’s better to go out and visit the places where you’d like to work instead of spending majority of your job searching time online. Even though some people will say, “it’s all online now– just apply online,” others will be gracious and accept your resume and give you more appropriate directions on what to do next. Even if the website says that there aren’t any positions available, it is still worth a try by going there. You are a new graduate — someone fresh from school with the latest knowledge base and someone who can be molded. And someone who is excited to be a nurse!
Face to face contact is still the best way to make a connection with someone, especially one with hiring power. They can see that you are eager and read your body language. And if you were in their shoes and you met someone who told you that she was a new graduate looking for a job, wouldn’t you want to try to help her? In general, nurses are nice people, otherwise they wouldn’t be in the profession.
So what do you have to lose? If nothing happens, then you’re still back to square 1 – a new grad without a job. If a person likes you there, then you have a lead and something to go on!
Here is a step-by-step process on how to visit places.
1. Make a list of the places you want to visit (it is possible to visit all of floors of a hospital… The staff there probably won’t talk about you to each other. Or you can visit private offices. Or nursing homes.). Do this the night before you head out.
2. Dress business casual.
3. Make copies of your resume (I usually ask the Staples guy for resume paper and I make my own copies. With tax, it comes out to 11 cents a page. That’s still less than buying your own resume paper, which comes out to 13-17 cents a page depending on the number of resume paper you buy. Plus, that way you only buy when you need! If you have them do it for you exclusively though, it’ll come out to 22 cents a page. So if it’s your first time, just ask for help. Remember how they did it and you’ll be an independent copy machine person from then on!).
4. Hit the pavement! Try going there between 10-11am and after lunch 1:45-4pm. This is usually when they are least busy and have some time to talk to you.
Each organization is different, but I found a couple of similarities in ways to get hired:
1) You must know the nurse manager and appeal to her. If she is happy with you (determined through an interview that you got through persistent calls and emails to her), then she will tell the nurse recruitment your name for them to pull your online application that you put together after you’ve already spoken with the nurse manager. Nurse recruitment will then interview you to mostly make sure that you are a good person.
The best way to know that this is how a particular hospital does this is by the online application process. If you are a new grad and you have to apply to several different positions (and not one position that is actually specifically for new grads), then chances are, your application will sit in the company’s computer. It will likely never be seen if you do apply online.
Let’s say that you applied online. Then my best advice to you is not to see nurse recruitment or Human Resources. It is to see the nurse manager on that unit. Find out where she might be and go say hi!
2) You email your information to the nurse recruitment and the staff there actively look through the resumes and cover letters to place you in a unit. If you are called up, then you will interview with the nurse manager. If she’s happy with you, then several follow up interviews will follow with the head nurse and possibly Human Resources.
Good luck! Stay positive. Find out your old hobbies or discover new ones. I did that to stay sane during my search from July to November. You can do it! 🙂