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How can I get a hospital to give me a job opportunity? I’ve applied everywhere and still can’t find anything.

Wednesday February 27, 2013
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Dear Donna,

How can I get a hospital to give me a job opportunity? I’ve applied everywhere and still can’t find anything. I’m losing hope. After all these years in nursing school, it’s still so hard to get a job even though I have the experience. Maybe its time for a career change?


Dear Donna replies:

Dear Lost,

The hospital job market for all nurses is very tight right now. It also is important to know that every nursing career doesn't have to start there, despite what you may have been led to believe. Care is shifting out of the hospital and into alternative care settings such as the home, community and alternative inpatient settings (rehab, long-term acute care, subcaute, long term care, etc.). Jobs are permanently shifting to those areas too. Based on all of the above, you will need to look in new directions for employment and need new skills and strategies to find and get those jobs. Read “New Nurse, New Job Strategies” at www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Strategies.

While you continue to look for paid employment, it is important that you do not sit idle. You should at least do volunteer work as a nurse. Consider volunteering for the American Red Cross, a hospice, free clinic, blood bank or local public health department. Volunteering gives you recent relevant experience to put on your resume and discuss during an interview, helps to build confidence and expands your professional network. It also is a good way to get your foot in the door and volunteering often leads to paid employment.

As the above article suggests, be sure you are networking actively both in person and online. This means you should go to local chapter meetings of the American Nurses Association and any specialty association that interests you (For example, the Emergency Nurses Association). You can attend as a guest if you are not a member. Networking is a very effective way to find and obtain a job.

Because social media is becoming a major force in the employment world, be sure you have a LinkedIn profile set up and be active on Twitter and Facebook in a professional manner. You'd be surprised at all the job connections that can be made and all the leads generated.

You also might consider attending one of my Career Alternatives for Nurses seminars to learn more about what types of employment are available to nurses beyond the hospital bedside and how to navigate the new and changing healthcare job market for nurses. See where I'll be at www.nurse.com/events/ce-seminars. The program also is available in a home study version http://ce.nurse.com/Professional-Development.

When what you're doing isn't working, it's time to try a new approach, not change occupations. Although your career may not start where or how you had envisioned it, you may be surprised to discover the bigger world of nursing offers many different ways and places to put your nursing knowledge and skills to work and have a positive impact.

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.