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I have sent out more than 100 applications all over the country and I am feeling discouraged. Do you have any advice for me?

Monday January 21, 2013
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Dear Donna,

I am a new RN graduate with a BSN. I graduated with a 3.7 GPA and multiple certifications. The jobs I had prior to graduation included working as a tutoring/teaching assistant and an anesthesia technician. I have sent out more than 100 applications all over the country. I am feeling discouraged, because this is such a passion for me and I feel lost not being able to help people with my nursing skills. Do you have any advice for me?

Feeling Lost

Dear Donna replies:

Dear Feeling Lost,

Your story is a common one for new nurses. Part of the reason is that the job market for nurses is shifting out of the hospital into alternative care areas and the outpatient/ambulatory area. Also, the market has become more competitive. Sending out online resumes is not enough — you need to be much more proactive. You need to look in new directions for employment and use new methods to find those jobs. Read “New nurse, new job strategies” (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Strategies).

If you want to consider OR nursing moving forward, because of your background as an anesthesia technician, start focusing your efforts in that specialty by doing informational interviewing (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Interviewing) with nurses currently working in the OR. Attend local chapter meetings of the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (www.aorn.org), even as a guest for now. When there's something you want to do, it makes sense to rub elbows with those already doing it.

In the interim, use volunteering to help people while honing your current skills and learning new ones. Volunteering is a great way to get your foot in the door, make valuable professional contacts and build your confidence. Volunteering often leads to paid employment. Look for opportunities in your local public health department, a free clinic, the American Red Cross or any other place that interests you. Be sure to have nursing liability insurance even for volunteer work.

When what you're doing isn't working, it's time to try a new approach. Use the strategies above, as well as those in the referenced articles and create new momentum. Persistence and determination will always win.

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.