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I am a recent graduate having trouble finding work. Would you advise pursuing any position in a hospital, just to get my foot in the door?

Wednesday April 18, 2012
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Dear Donna,

I am a 47-year-old recent RN graduate with an associate’s degree and am having a hard time finding work. I know you suggested doing volunteer work and attending American Nurses Association meetings. I do not have any healthcare experience. Would you advise pursuing a patient-care tech position or any position in the hospital to get my foot in the door, gain healthcare experience and network?


Dear Donna replies:

Dear John,

It is not advisable to pursue a position that is lower than your current level of licensure. Most healthcare facilities wouldn't hire you at a lower level anyway. There are liability issues for you and for them, because you would legally be held responsible to your highest level of licensure, regardless of your job title.

I do recommend that you start doing some informational interviewing (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Interviewing) with OR nurses, especially OR managers and supervisors. Attend local chapter meetings of AORN (www.aorn.org), talk to people and make connections. Check with local AORN officers to see if there are any perioperative nursing courses you can enroll in. These are sometimes offered through area community colleges. In other words, target your networking and continuing education efforts to the perioperative specialty.

At some point you need to pursue positions outside the hospital. Consider outpatient surgicenters, surgical clinics, etc.

Where there is a will there is always a way. Persistence and determination will always win out.

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.