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I am 60 years old and have many years of experience. I want to look for a new job but am unsure of where to start.

Tuesday October 25, 2011
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Dear Donna,

I am 60 years old but unsure when I'll retire. As long as I really enjoy my job, I'll keep working. My current part-time position is in a neurodevelopmental medicine (outpatient setting). While I enjoy the actual nursing part of my job, it is the administration/management that conflicts with my nursing philosophy. I want to look for a new job but unsure of where to start. I have 38 years of nursing experience, and I really don't want to return to working shifts in a hospital setting. While I would like part-time work, I'd consider full time if a position really interested me. I recently joined LinkedIn but don't feel that will do much for me. Maybe I need coaching to analyze my nursing skills and what I have to offer.


Dear Donna replies:

Dear Unsure,

I suggest that you start testing the waters by getting out to nursing career fairs in your area. It’s always good to see what else is out there and connect with prospective employers. This also is a good way and place to practice your networking and self-marketing skills. See what's coming up at http://www.nurse.com/CareerFairs/. While many hospitals may be exhibiting, there are usually several nontraditional employers as well, not to mention the agencies some of which have non-traditional opportunities.

Regarding LinkedIn, prospective employers often check it before interviewing or hiring someone, so it is important to have a professional presence there, whether or not you think it will help you. It also is a good way/place to network by inviting key people to connect.

To determine where you might go from here, read, “How to Find Your Forte” (http://www.dcardillo.com/articles/forte.html) and “Ten Steps to a Successful Job Search” (http://www.dcardillo.com/articles/tensteps.html). It's also good to get out to local chapter meetings of nursing professional associations, even as a guest. Networking is a great way to explore options and find and get a job. You never know where the spark, idea, information, contact or opportunity will come from.

Working with a nurse career coach might help. Find one by getting a referral from your state chapter of the American Nurses Association (whether or not you are a member), by asking around or doing an Internet search for "RN career coach." Additionally, consider attending one of my upcoming Career Alternatives for Nurses seminars. See where I'll be at http://www.nurse.com/CEseminars/.

My best wishes,

Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, well-known career guru, is Nursing Spectrum/NurseWeek’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.