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How can a new nurse, with a BSN and four months experience in long-term care, find a full-time job using her clincal skills?



Hi Donna,

I graduated one year ago with my BSN. I am a new nurse at 43 years old. After applying for more than 200 nursing jobs, I got one interview. I took my first job offer, on the skilled unit of a long-term care facility as an RN supervisor. I was there for four months.

I am now a private duty nurse for the state, and I am enjoying the flexibility and freedom this job offers. However, I am not using my clinical skills, and I have no health insurance. I really need a position using my clinical skills, with health insurance benefits. With the job market so tough, I haven’t found anything. Do you have any ideas?

Needs More Work

Dear Donna replies:

Dear Needs More Work,

In a changing and highly competitive job market, you have to be both proactive and creative in your job search. Filling out online applications alone, especially as a new nurse, will not get you very far as you already have discovered. Please read my article, “New nurse, new job strategies” ( This article offers insight on networking, making online and in-person contacts to find a job you want and using a volunteer position as a way to get a foot in the door somewhere.

Contact nursing agencies, those placing nurses in nontraditional positions. Stay open to accepting part-time and temporary positions to supplement what you’re doing while you continue to look for something that better suits your needs. Part-time and temporary positions also are great ways to gain more experience and make contacts, and both often turn into regular full-time employment
with benefits.

It is very important to immerse yourself in the community of nursing for many reasons, but the primary reason is it affords an opportunity to make contacts and network. You cannot stay isolated in nursing and be successful. You especially need the support as a new nurse. Networking also is known to be a very effective way to find a job and get hired. Attend local chapter meetings of the American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nurses ( and/or the American Nurses Association ( While you can attend as a guest for now, I encourage you to join these organizations.

You need to look in new directions for employment and learn and use new skills to find and get those jobs. To give yourself a truly competitive edge, read my book, “The Ultimate Career Guide for Nurses.” It is available where books are sold.

Best wishes,


About Author

Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, well-known career guru, is’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 and, respectively. To ask Donna your question, go to Find a “Dear Donna” seminar near you: Call 800-866-0919 or visit http://www.

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