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Do you have any suggestions to help me, a seasoned RN, find a job in a specialty where I will feel I've made a difference?

Tuesday November 26, 2013
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Question:

Dear Donna,

I am a seasoned RN who would like to find a job in managed care, home health, hospice or something where I’ll be able to say I have made a difference.

I would like to be out of the OR where I have worked for many years. Within the last 10 years, I have worked in med/surg, inpatient and outpatient OR. I have about five years to work before I can retire, and this may be why it has been difficult for me to break into a new or different field. Do you have any suggestions to help me find a new career this late in my career?

Seasoned Nurse

Dear Donna replies:

Dear Seasoned Nurse,

You have great experience and will be able to find something. But it’s important to understand the job market for nurses has changed quite a bit in the last five years. It is more competitive than ever so nurses need to learn and use new job-search methods to find a job.

I doubt your age, as you imply, has anything to do with your current challenges because most of the nursing workforce is over 50. You don’t mention how you are trying to find and apply for jobs.

I will say you cannot rely exclusively on classified ads, either in print or online, and filling out online applications. You have to do some old-fashioned person-to-person networking, which includes attending professional association meetings (even as a guest if not a member), career fairs, and nursing conferences and conventions.

Have business cards made, wear a business suit, shake some hands and talk to people to make new contacts. When at these healthcare-related career fairs and conferences, find those people and companies doing the types of work you are most interested in doing. Networking is an effective way to find and get a job.

You also should start doing some informational interviewing with nurses already working in the specialties that interest you. Learn more about informational interviewing, (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Interviewing). The benefits to this approach are an insider’s perspective on the specialty and insight into industry trends, which will help you decide if it’s something you really want to do. It also expands your network and provides additional contacts and resources.

Find these people by asking around and by attending related professional association meetings/events such as the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association (www.hpna.org) and the American Association of Managed Care Nurses (www.aamcn.org). If they don’t have meetings in your area, use the phone to contact some of the officers and other members in your area. You also should attend local meetings of the American Nurses Association (www.ana.org), which is another place you can attend as a guest if not a member.

Additionally, you can call companies directly and ask to speak to their nurse recruiter or someone in human resources. Sometimes openings exist that are not publicly advertised. Find these companies (managed care, home health, hospice) by doing an Internet search or by asking around.

Another good resource would be to read, “How to change specialties” (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Change-Specialties).

Use the above-mentioned strategies to your advantage, including those in the referenced articles, to move toward your goal.

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://www. Nurse.com/Events.