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I'm a 63-year-old med/surg RN who has tried to get into the ED, without success. Should I forget about it or what should I do?

Friday February 8, 2013
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Dear Donna,

I'm a 63-year-old med/surg RN with 10 years of experience. I realize I am a late bloomer. I have tried to get into the emergency department twice and was told I needed pediatric and critical care experience, which I do not have. I met a nurse who came from a part-time position in our urgent care facility to a full-time position in the ED — a position that was not posted. I have a good rapport with the ED staff and charge RN, so it seems to be upper management that's holding me back. Should I just forget about it or what should I do?

Late Bloomer

Dear Donna replies:

Dear Late Bloomer,

No, do not forget about it — keep at it. Being rejected a few times is not a reason to quit. I'm not sure why you think upper management is holding you back, but there are a few additional things you can do.

Attend local chapter meetings of the Emergency Nurses Association (www.ena.org). Attend as a guest for now, or you can ask one of the ER nurses or the charge RN in your facility if you can tag along with them. Do some informational interviewing
(www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Interviewing) with other ED nurses there or though other networking channels. Bring business cards and your resume when making contacts. When there's something you want to do, it makes sense to rub elbows with those already doing it. Networking is known to be the most effective way to find a job.

Use social media sites, such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook to do some professional networking. Contact people and let them know what you're looking for — ask for help in getting introductions interviews, recommendations and leads. Another resource for help with networking and other aspects of self-marketing is “The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses: Practical Advice for Thriving at Every Stage of Your Career” (www.Nurse.com/CE/7250).

If you are really determined to do this, consider applying to other hospitals. Read “How to change specialties” (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Change-Specialties).

When what you're doing isn't working, it's time to try a new approach. Persistence and determination will always win.

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.