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Can you recommend any websites that assist or prepare newly licensed nurses for work and provide support groups?

Tuesday March 5, 2013
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Dear Donna,

I have been in healthcare in Maryland for nine years. I worked my way from certified nursing assistant/geriatric nursing assistant to a patient care technician to a practical nurse and now am a newly licensed RN with an associate degree. I have been searching for employment for a year and having difficulty. This disturbs me because I trusted that my license and previous healthcare experience would be enough to find employment. I am a nurse, but I feel like an alien to the nursing world of experienced RN and BSN nurses because the majority of nursing career websites seem to cater to those groups. I would like to interact with individuals who are experiencing the same thing I am. Can you recommend any websites that assist or prepare newly licensed nurses for work and provide support groups?

Feel Like an Alien

Dear Donna replies:

Dear Feel Like an Alien,

Your experience is a common one for a new nurse these days. For starters, read “New nurse, new job strategies” (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Strategies).

Join and participate in your state chapter of the American Nurses Association (www.nursingworld.org) to mix and mingle with nurses at all levels of experience and practice. This is important for so many reasons, not the least of which are the networking opportunities. Networking is known to be a great way to find a job under any circumstances. You also will find support and camaraderie there. As a new RN, you must immerse yourself in the community of nursing.

If you are holding out for a hospital job, you need to look in new directions for employment. This is simply the nature of the current and future job market. Staying unemployed any longer will do further damage to your resume, your confidence and your psyche.

Because you are unemployed, it is vital that you at least do volunteer work as a nurse while you continue to look for paid employment. Contact your local public health department, a hospice, a blood bank, the American Red Cross or a free clinic. This is a way to gain recent experience, build confidence, expand your professional network and get a foot in the door. Plus, volunteering often leads to paid employment.

Contact nursing agencies about doing nonhospital work. You might be able to find paid part-time or temporary nontraditional work while you look for regular employment. Since care is permanently shifting out of the hospital and into outpatient settings, look into anything in ambulatory care and you'll be ahead of the game.

Attend my Career Alternatives for Nurses seminar on March 11 in Atlantic City. Many nurses in your situation have been attending to learn of the shifting job market in nursing, alternative nursing employment opportunities, and top-notch self-marketing strategies. It's a small investment to make to get your career launched. Find out more at Nursing-CE-career-alt-mar-11-nj.eventbrite.com/#

Enroll in a BSN program as soon as possible. This is something that you will need and it will afford you more opportunities in the future.

When what you're doing isn't working, it's time to try a new approach. Your RN career may not start out where and how you planned, but you do need to get it started. Use the advice above, including what's contained in the referenced article, and move in a new direction.

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.