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Will taking an RN refresher course help me get a job?

Thursday September 6, 2012
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QUESTION:

Dear Donna,

I am an RN, and I graduated in 2009. Unfortunately, I could not start working as a nurse because of a personal situation. Do you think taking an RN refresher course will help me get a job? I know it will help my skills, but is it something hiring managers really look at?

Delayed Start

Dear Donna replies:

Dear Delayed Start,

Although a refresher course certainly will help you get up to date with knowledge and skills, it is not likely hospital hiring managers will give much weight to it. That is because most hospitals are hiring only nurses with recent experience. However, the refresher course may give you a competitive edge outside of the hospital. But, of course, every employer or hiring manager is different. Read “New nurse, new job strategies” (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Strategies).

As the article indicates, the job market for nurses is shifting. Acute care hospitals are not necessarily the best or only place for new nurses to start. I suggest you explore other areas of interest including alternative care settings, such as rehab hospitals, long-term care facilities and subacute care. Also consider outpatient dialysis, surgi-centers and other outpatient or ambulatory care settings.

Because you are unemployed, I suggest you start volunteering (as a nurse if possible) in a healthcare setting. Consider a free clinic, hospice, cancer care center or blood bank. Also contact the American Red Cross, American Heart Association and your local public health department. Volunteering is a great way to gain recent relevant experience, build confidence and expand your professional network. And it’s a way to get your foot in the door, because it often leads to paid employment.

If you attend nursing career fairs, you can speak directly to recruiters and hiring managers and ask them whether taking a refresher course would improve your chances of being hired. Career fairs also are a good place to hone your self-marketing and networking skills.

See what’s coming up at www.Nurse.com/Events/Career-fairs. Read “How to get the most out of attending a career fair” (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Careerfair).

Best wishes,
Donna


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.