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I have past disciplines on my license and I'm trying to find a job, but have not had any success. Any suggestions?

Thursday January 3, 2013
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Dear Donna,

I have been an RN for 31 years. I have past disciplines on my license and I'm trying to find a job, but have not had any success. My last probation ended in 2008 and I have a current active license. Any suggestions?

Trying to Find a Job

Dear Donna replies:

Dear Trying to Find a Job,

You don't mention what the disciplines were for and that can make a difference. Start by reading “Picking up the pieces of your career” (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Pieces).

When what you're doing isn't working, it's time to try a new approach. Focus your job finding efforts more on word of mouth or networking. That involves contacting everyone you know in and out of healthcare and letting them know what you're looking for. Mention what happened in the past (if they don't already know) and let them know you are ready for a new start. Networking is a great way to find a job under any circumstances, but especially when you have obstacles to overcome. In this type of situation, people are more inclined to hire someone when they have been referred or recommended by someone they know.

Since face-to-face networking is the most effective of all, be sure to attend local meetings of the American Nurses Association (www.ana.org) and/or any specialty associations that interest you. An example would be The American Association of Occupational Health Nurses (www.aaohn.org). You can attend any meeting as a guest if you are not a member.

You should start volunteering in a healthcare setting, as a nurse if possible, while you continue to look for paid employment. Volunteering is a good way to get your foot in the door and expand your professional network. It also gives you something to account for the time, on a resume and in an interview, while you are out of work. You can learn new skills and hone old ones while building confidence and work stamina. Volunteering often leads to paid employment. When you can't get in the front door, try the back. Consider contacting your local public health department, hospice, a free clinic and the American Red Cross.

Look for part-time and temporary work while you seek full-time employment. Contact some nursing agencies and look for things like flu shot clinics, substitute school nursing, etc.

Also, you don't mention what type of employment you are looking for. If you are seeking a hospital position, those positions are hard to come by these days for most nurses, but especially if you don't have current hospital experience. You'll have to explore your options and look into nontraditional areas such as insurance nursing, nursing informatics, healthcare sales and marketing. Consider attending my Career Alternatives for Nurses seminar to fully explore your options and fine-tune your self-marketing skills. See where I'll be at www.Nurse.com/Events/CE-seminars/.

You also may want to seek out the services of a nurse career coach (as opposed to a non-nurse career coach) for additional help and support. Find them by doing an Internet search, asking around or though your state chapter of the American Nurses Association.

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.