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Is there a nursing job for a hardworking, caring and passionate person who prefers to work with the disadvantaged, underserved or poor population?

Thursday January 3, 2013
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Question:

Dear Donna,

Is there a nursing job for a hardworking, caring and passionate person with a BSN and nearly 30 years experience, and who prefers to work with the disadvantaged, underserved or poor population?

When the home care agency I worked for closed its doors last year, my job was eliminated. It was an opportunity to take stock of my career priorities and set new goals. I am grateful for the many blessings in my life, so I decided to focus my new job search exclusively on positions that serve those most in need. I have interviewed with public health departments, social service agencies, state government, nonprofit organizations, county medical facilities and public school districts — but I have not been offered any positions.

I was offered a position with a private agency providing care for abused children, but the offer was revoked two days after I toured the facility with the nurse I would be replacing. This summer, I was hired to teach in a RN program at a state technical college that primarily serves low-income English as a second language students. The dean stated she was impressed with my passion for teaching, and the students were so pleased they requested I be given more classes to teach. The rest of the long-term faculty was less than receptive however, and my contract was not renewed after the fall term. Both the students and I were heartbroken.

I now find myself in the same position I was in last year when I was laid off. I have so much to give to others, but I cannot find anyone who wants it. I could give up my goal and simply volunteer my time helping others, but I think I can be more successful working within the nursing profession.

Do you have any suggestions or advice?

Ready to Give Up

Dear Donna replies:

Dear Ready to Give Up,

The fact that you're getting interviews is excellent. But if they are not resulting in job offers, then you have to take a hard look at your interview and self-marketing skills including your demeanor, energy level, and overall appearance (e.g. is it professional and up-to-date in terms of style, etc.). Another possible concern is your references or past employer checks. Might there be a problem there?

I could give you links to several articles related to interviewing and self-presentation, but you might be better off reading “The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses: Practical Advice for Thriving at Every Stage of Your Career” (www.nurse.com/ce/7250). It covers everything, including how to answer usual questions, follow-up and so much more. Again, if you're getting interviews but no offers, there are some problems in the interview or follow-up phase of the process.

Use volunteering now as a career management tool. It's a good way to get your foot in the door and account for the time that you are unemployed. Also, it is a good way to expand your professional network. Everything happens through networking and volunteering often leads to paid employment.

Your other option is 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 (nursingworld.org), whether or not you are a member.

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.