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What is another career path nurses can take to serve and fulfill the lives of others?

Monday October 1, 2012
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Dear Donna,

I am a new grad without the prospect of finding a clinical acute care position anytime soon. What is another career path nurses can take to serve and fulfill the lives of others?

New Grad Without Prospects

Dear Donna replies:

Dear New Grad Without Prospects,

The good news is care is shifting out of the hospital into the community, alternative inpatient care settings and the home. So by looking for work beyond the hospital, you'll be ahead of the curve. Read “New nurse, new job strategies” (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Strategies).

There have been many nurses over the years, even before this job crunch, that never worked in the hospital and have built their nursing career in public health, home care, rehabilitation, hospice, school nursing, psychiatric nursing, outpatient surgical centers or hemodialysis. In addition to all of those options (that's only a few), there are more and more community clinics opening up, many of them run by nurses. Nurses are taking the lead in this setting, managing chronic illness, doing wellness teaching, screenings and more.

As the above article suggests, start volunteering in a healthcare setting while you continue to look for paid employment. This is a great way to get your foot in the door somewhere, gain recent experience, try out a specialty or setting, build confidence and expand your professional network. Volunteering often leads to paid employment.

Also join and participate in your state chapter of the American Nurses Association (www.nursingworld.org). As a new nurse, it is imperative that you immerse yourself in the community of nursing for many reasons, not the least of which is making valuable contacts and connections. Networking is well known to be a great way to find a job.

So broaden your view and your reach and create a new vision of what your nursing career can and will be.

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.