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Do you have any advice for a "new graduate" with a lot of experience but no actual nursing experience?

Wednesday March 13, 2013
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Dear Donna,

I graduated from a nursing program in January 2008, but did not receive my license until November 2012, so I am considered a new graduate. For those years in between, I worked for a primary care physician. I have a lot of experience but no actual nursing experience. I have been applying for jobs for a few months and have yet to find a position. I applied to a hospital that had a posting for a new graduate RN, but they said they are considering other applicants with more qualifications. I am becoming very frustrated. Do you have any advice for me?

Frustrated New Graduate

Dear Donna replies:

Dear Frustrated New Graduate,

The hospital job market for new nurses is very tight and competitive right now, as you have discovered. The fact that you graduated from your nursing program more than three years ago is likely working against you. Even experienced nurses without very recent hospital experience are being turned away.

If you are determined to try to find hospital work or work within another inpatient setting, you likely will need to take an RN refresher course even to be considered. Understand that even that is no guarantee a hospital will consider you.

You may have to look in other directions for nursing employment. Read the article “New nurse, new job strategies” (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Strategies). As the article indicates, you have to be much more proactive in your job search today, compared with in the past — and this includes broadening your search and your vision beyond the hospital.

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.