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Can a nurse who works in the mental health field eventually transition to become an OR nurse?

Monday September 17, 2012
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Dear Donna,

Can a nurse who works in the mental health field eventually transition to become an OR nurse? Due to the lack of job prospects many new grads are forced to settle for certain positions in order to gain experience. What would help with transitioning from one field to another without being boxed in?

New Nurse

Dear Donna replies:

Dear New Nurse,

It is possible that in the near future you will be able to transition into the OR after working in psych. What is important right now is that you get a nursing job and not stay unemployed. But while working in another specialty, continue to pursue what you're passionate about.

Now and in the immediate future, start doing informational interviewing (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Interviewing) with OR nurses. Attend local chapter meetings of the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (www.aorn.org) as a guest. Have business cards made and carry them with you for professional networking. When there's something you want to do it makes sense to rub elbows with those already doing it.

Look into taking a perioperative training course on your own, since this will boost your marketability in that specialty.

I wanted to work in the ED when I got out of school and no jobs were available. I took a job in psych because I also loved that. Six months later I started working in the ED when a position became available. I always stayed in touch with the ED nurses and let them know I really wanted to work there. And, for the record, the psych experience was invaluable to me throughout my career.

Please read “New nurse, new job strategies” (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Strategies).

Persistence and determination will always 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.