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How do I get into a clinical position, being a new grad without experience?

Wednesday August 8, 2012
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Dear Donna,

After graduating with my ADN, I could not find a job and got stuck in case management. I completed my BSN and desperately want to do clinical work. How do I get into a clinical position, being a new grad without experience?

Seeking Clinical Experience

Dear Donna replies:

Dear Seeking Clinical Experience,

Even though you're not really a new grad, read the article: “New nurse, new job strategies” (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Strategies).

As the article suggests, start volunteering, as a nurse if possible, in a clinical setting such as a free clinic, hospice, disaster program for American Red Cross, etc. Volunteering is a great way to gain recent experience, hone old skills and learn new ones, expand your professional network and get a foot in the door. Volunteering often leads to paid employment.

Also, it is vital that you join and get active in (attend meetings, get on a committee) your state chapter of the American Nurses Association (www.nursingworld.org). Networking is well known to be a great way to find a job, especially when you have obstacles to overcome.

Don't set your sights exclusively on hospital clinical experience either. As the article indicates, care is shifting out of the hospital and into the ambulatory care setting, the home, the community and alternative care settings.

Persistence and determination always will win out.

Best wishes,

Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, well-known career guru, is Nurse.com’s “Dear Donna” and author of “Your First Year as a Nurse: Making the Transition from Total Novice to Successful Professional” and “The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses: Practical Advice for Thriving at Every Stage of Your Career.” Information about the books is available at www.Nurse.com/CE/7010 and www.Nurse.com/CE/7250, respectively. To ask Donna your question, go to www.Nurse.com/Asktheexperts/Deardonna. Find a “Dear Donna” seminar near you: Call 800-866-0919 or visit http://Events.nursingspectrum.com/Seminar.