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Do you think it will be difficult for me to find a job in an inpatient unit if I only have nondirect patient care experience at a clinic?

Tuesday December 4, 2012
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Question:

Dear Donna,

I am a new graduate RN and got a contract position at a clinic. The hours are great, but I do not see myself advancing into the specialty I want to get into — PACU or ICU. Do you think it will be difficult for me to find a job in an inpatient unit after my contract ends because of having only nondirect patient care experience at the clinic?

Wants Critical Care

Dear Donna replies:

Dear Wants Critical Care,

Many, if not most, hospitals primarily are hiring experienced nurses (instead of new nurses) with acute care hospital experience. That may change in the next few years, so it is hard to predict. The job market in nursing is cyclical. The longer you stay away from acute care as a new nurse, the harder it will be to get started there later. The good news is critical care is where many of the jobs do exist for new nurses.

You don't mention how long your contract is, but I would advise you to keep your CPR certification current and consider working on your ACLS and IV certifications. Also, you should attend local chapter meetings of the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (www.aacn.org) and/or the American Society of PeriAnesthesia Nurses (www.aspan.org). Also, do some informational interviewing (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Interviewing) with members and officers. When there's something you want to do, it makes sense to rub elbows with those already doing it. Networking is well known to be a very effective way to find a job under any circumstances. It's never too soon to start looking for your next job. Plus, it's best to stay connected to the acute care world if that's what interests you.

Here's an article you may find helpful: “New nurse, new job strategies” (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Strategies).

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.