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How does an LVN grad, with no direct hospital experience, get a foot in the door when he/she has not worked in the field for a couple of years?

Thursday August 1, 2013
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Question:

Dear Donna,

I am a new/old LVN. I graduated in 2011 and made a poor decision to move out of state right after. I had difficulty finding a job as an LVN or LPN, so I took a position in customer service. I moved back to the state where I obtained my license and have been applying for jobs. I worked briefly at a long-term care facility, but I am not sure that is for me — I feel lost. I really wanted to work in a hospital, but it seems like you need an RN degree. I don't know if there is a point to going back to school now, because I feel I need to use my LVN degree first then, if I love it, continue to my RN. I have been away from all of it for so long I fear I have lost all my skills and critical thinking. I question whether or not nursing is for me, yet it bothers me that I do not have a job and have grown stagnant. Please give me some advice.

New/Old LVN

Dear Donna replies:

Dear New/Old LVN,

The hospital job market for all nurses, even RNs, is very tight right now. Many other nurses are in the very same situation and feeling as you do. Please read “New nurse, new job strategies” (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Strategies) to better understand what is happening and why and how to work around it.

Because you are unemployed, it is important for you to volunteer as a nurse while you continue to look for paid employment. Consider your local public health department, hospice or the American Red Cross. Volunteering helps to hone old skills, learn new ones, build confidence and expand your network. Everything happens through networking and volunteering often leads to paid employment. Volunteering as a nurse also can pull you out of your rut and allow you to feel less stagnant.

Also, it is vital you immerse yourself in the community of nursing through nursing professional associations. Find a chapter of the National Federation of Licensed Practical Nurses (www.nflpn.org) in your area. Some state chapters of the American Nurses Association have a group for LPNs and LVNs. Attend local meetings, even as a guest if not a member just yet. Read “Lean on me” (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Lean-on-Me).

I can understand why you are feeling confused and discouraged, and even questioning your career choice. By taking the advice above, including that in the referenced articles, you'll pump new life and energy into your career path, your job search and your outlook, and be able to get some positive momentum going.

Best wishes,
Donna


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.