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I completed my BSN in 2000, but didn't get my RN license till this past year. Could this be why I am having a hard time finding a job?

Wednesday November 14, 2012
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Dear Donna,

I graduated in 2000 with a BSN. However, due to some personal concerns, I did not get my RN license till this past year. Do you think this could be one reason I am having a hard time getting a job as an RN? I now work at a pediatrician’s office. Can you give me some advice on what I should do?

Delayed Start

Dear Donna replies:

Dear Delayed Start,

When you say you are having a hard time getting a job as an RN, I am assuming you are looking for a hospital job, since you state that you currently have a job. That you graduated so many years ago and are just starting to practice would absolutely be a challenge in getting hired in many clinical settings. The hospital job market (and many other inpatient direct care settings, if that is what you are looking for) is very tight right now. Often, that means they are hiring nurses only with very current experience.

Read the article “New nurse, new job strategy” (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Strategies) for additional insight into this situation, as well as additional tips and advice.

I recommend you join and participate in your state chapter of the American Nurses Association (www.nursingworld.org) and/or a specialty association that interests you, such as the American Association of Ambulatory Care Nurses (www.aaacn.org).

You should try to volunteer as a nurse in a setting that interests you, such as a local public health department, hospice, school for the developmentally disabled or the American Red Cross. Volunteering gives you additional recent, relevant experience to put on your resume and often leads to paid employment.

If you are determined to work in a direct inpatient care setting, such as home care or long-term care, you should consider taking an RN refresher course and getting CPR and IV certification. Although that will not guarantee you get hired in an inpatient setting in the current job market, if you also take the other steps mentioned above including those in the referenced article, you'll be moving in the right direction.

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://Events.nursingspectrum.com/Seminar.