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I am an RN and BSN bilingual graduate. I really want to find a position in a hospital, but am having a lot of difficulty doing this. What else can I do?

Wednesday January 23, 2013
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Dear Donna,

I am an RN and BSN bilingual graduate. While I was in school I worked as a child development associate for children with disabilities. After graduation I continued to work and volunteered on a maternity unit at a hospital where I earned multiple certifications. Five months after graduation I accepted a job as a case management RN at a pediatric outpatient clinic, since it was the only job offer I received. I assist the doctors in the clinic and do physical assessments in patient’s homes.

I’m seeking a hospital RN position so I can learn clinical skills. My job is very limited as to what we can do. With more than six months of this RN experience and my previous experience, I still cannot get a hospital position. I had three interviews for hospital pediatric units in the past three months. The managers said they loved me and what I had to offer. I followed up with thank-you cards, emails and phone calls but got the same message — they were still interviewing other candidates. I found out, after two months had passed with no response, that other people had been hired. The new hires were recent grads also, with nothing more than clinical rotations on their resume. I have been applying to hospitals in other states, but receive nothing but rejection emails. I’ve had my resume and interview skills critiqued and a career center professional said she has no idea why I have been unable to get a hospital position. I am frustrated and feel that I have tried everything. I have a lot to offer, yet no hospital will give me a chance. What can I do?

Qualified But No One Wants Me

Dear Donna replies:

Dear Qualified But No One Wants Me,

The fact that you are getting interviews is good. If other new nurses are getting hired at those facilities and you are not, something must be happening during or after the interview process that is diminishing your chances, especially since you state it has happened on several occasions.

Of course it is difficult for me to address possible self-marketing issues from afar. Even though you checked with the career center professional, you may want to consult a nurse career coach for further help and support.

You say you've tried everything, but I would suggest you do more face-to-face networking. Attend local chapter meetings of the Society of Pediatric Nurses (www.pedsnurses.org), as a guest for now. 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 known to be a very effective way to find a job. When what you're doing isn't working, it's time to try a new approach.

Be sure you have an up-to-date LinkedIn profile and are actively networking on this and other social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook. 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.