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Is it crazy for an experienced RN to apply for positions for new grads to get my foot in the door in new areas?

Wednesday June 18, 2014
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Dear Donna,

I am an experienced RN and am graduating with my BSN in August. I have been working in the pharmaceutical industry for four years, but want to get back to the bedside and possibly change areas as I had worked adult oncology. Is it crazy to apply for positions for new grads to get my foot in the door?I have no problem taking a step back or making less money to get experience.

Willing to Take a Step Back

Dear Donna replies:

Dear Willing to Take a Step Back,

As an experienced nurse, regardless of what you've done in recent years, hospitals (or other facilities) will not hire you as a new grad so it would not be appropriate to apply for those positions.

The nursing job market has changed quite a bit in the last four years. As care shifts out of the hospital and into alternate inpatient settings, the home, the community and so on, so too are jobs shifting. Because of the shrinking hospital job market, most hospitals are hiring nurses only with very current hospital experience (within the last six months). So while you may not be a candidate for a hospital position right now, there are plenty of other opportunities for you.

Even though you're not a new nurse, read “New nurse, new job strategies’ (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Strategies) to understand what is required to market yourself in a new healthcare arena.

Because of your oncology background, and even though you're considering other specialties, you might look for positions in cancer care centers or out-patient chemo units. You also can go after out-patient hemodialysis (they will train nurses new to the specialty) and any ambulatory/
out-patient setting.

What's most important is you expand your nursing/healthcare network and get more closely connected to your profession, especially the segment you want to work in. This includes going to local chapter meetings of the American Nurses Association (www.nursingworld.org)
even as a guest if you are not a member or to any other nursing specialty association you might be interested in, including the American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nurses.

You also should attend area career fairs. See what's coming up in your area (http://www.nurse.com/events/career-fairs). Read “How to get the most out of attending a career fair” (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Career-fair).

The get a better view of the big picture of nursing, read “Nursing-A new paradigm” (www.nurse.com/Cardillo/Nursing-A-New-Paradigm).

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://www. Nurse.com/Events.