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Here are 10 tips from an insider to get the job you want, even as a new grad, and even in acute care.
In today’s job market, you need all the help you can get AND a Hiring Plan.
Someone will be chosen for the job and it can be you. IF you know how it works from the inside!
Getting hired is just another challenge for you on your nursing journey, much like passing organic chemistry was a challenge. Here’s 10 tips and a plan to master that challenge.
Everyone’s bright, Everyone’s above average, and Everyone’s hungry.
So You have to Set Yourself Apart. Here’s how:
1. Mindset of a Successful RN
Right now, chances are you see yourself as a student or desperate new grad. Wait. Take a step backwards… and look forward.
Visualize yourself as a working RN and a sought after commodity! This gives you the confidence and initiative to launch your Hiring Plan.
Reframing your thinking and following the next nine steps will bring you opportunity.
2. Start Your Hiring Plan Early
Strategizing starts now. Preferably first semester. It is never too soon to start planning. Your study partner may only see as far as the next care plan or maybe upcoming Neuro test. Diagnosis: Tunnel Vision.
Unlike your peers, you must never lose sight of the ultimate end goal here, that is…to be a practicing RN. Oh, yes, which requires getting hired. Back full circle. Early Strategizing.
3. Know Who Holds the Hiring Power
Know who holds the hiring power. Nurse Managers. That’s who. Not Human Resources and not Nurse Recruiters, although they are both involved in the process. The Nurse Manager has the final say.
It’s easy for a student on a nursing unit to be completely unaware of Who’s Who, organization-wise. Everyone looks the same in their lab coats or business attire, right?
Besides, you’re not an employee, you’re a student. You’re not motivated to learn the org chart, you’ve never even seen it, and the primary authority figure on your radar is your Clinical Instructor.
But as a job seeker, you need to learn who the Nurse Managers are by their names and their departments. Think of it as homework.
Keep in mind that Nurse Managers are busy people and seek the counsel of (informal) “Advisory Councils” when making hiring decisions.
“Advisory Councils” are comprised of Charge Nurses, select trusted nursing staff (which includes Nursing Assistants as well as RNs) and other Nurse Managers.
All of which means that you have plenty of people to impress and lots of opportunity to do it.
4. Work as a Nursing Assistant
Work as a Nursing Assistant if at all possible. Many hospitals will accept a first yr nursing student in lieu of a Nursing Assistant certification. Work summers, school breaks, holidays. This is GOLD. You will be GOLDEN. Nursing students who work as Nursing Assistants have home field advantage.
Nurse Managers will know you, staff will have your back, and it’s all around fabulosity. It goes without saying that you have been a reliable, hardworking, team player extraordinaire during your
audition, I mean, tenure as a Nursing Assistant. Voila! You have thus made yourself a No Brainer Hire for the Nurse Manager.
They will love you for making their hiring job easier.
They already know that you fit in and that you deliver outstanding patient care. It’s a beautiful win-win.
5. Optimize Your Clinical Rotations
Clinical rotations are a job seeker’s dream! It’s the next best thing to 4. In what other jobs do you get a chance to see and be seen? Impress the Nurse Manager and/or Charge Nurse during clinical rotations. How to do that? I know you’ll figure out a way. You’re smart!
It doesn’t matter that you’re not on your Dream Unit. Hate Stepdown? No worries. Later on, when you apply to work in the Emergency Department (ED), Stephanie, Stepdown Unit Manager, will speak favorably of you to her BFF Jessica, ED Manager. Jessica WILL snap you up!
6. Write a Note to the Manager
Write a note to the Nurse Manager after your clinical rotation. By write, I mean use a pen, and by note, I mean paper and envelope. Do it.
“I learned so much during my clinical rotation on your unit. The nurses were so supportive and helpful, especially Beth Hawkes. This is exactly the kind of nursing team I’d like to be a part of someday. Thank you for the experience.”
Or semblance thereof. Sign your name legibly. Stop by a week later to see if he/she got your note. Wait! there it is! Pinned above the Nurse Manager’s desk!
Because we LOVE handwritten notes!
Get invloved in community health events. This is a must. Some nursing programs have their students take blood pressures at the county fair. Pursue opportunities to volunteer. Attend church camp and shadow the camp nurse. Go online to be aware of community events and opportunities.
When job candidates are running neck in neck, the tie breaker may come down to points awarded for community involvement. I’ve seen this happen. Did I say points? Yes. Resumes are often graded on a point system.
Network, network! All things being equal, the person who is known will get the job over the person who is unknown. There is no bad networking except for no networking. Go to local conferences/CE events.
Are there RNs at your church, PTA, gym? Yes, there are, find them! Chances are you know somebody who knows somebody whose kid goes to grade school with the Nurse Recruiter’s daughter.
9. Contact Working RNs
Open your phone contact list and make a list of nurses you know. For example, contact an RN (let’s say, Ashley), who graduated a class or two ahead of you and who works in the hospital you want to work in. Ask Ashley if she will mentor you on your job quest. After all, Ashley was successful, right?
Ashley has insider credibility, and can put in a good word for you. You know RNs- we love to help! You have just enlisted one of the best allies known to job seekers. An insider.
Come to find out, Ashley knows of a job opening that is coming up but not yet posted because Ashley’s friend’s husband got a job out west.
10. Ask Your Clinical Instructors for Job Seeking Advice
Ask a Clinical Instructor what they recommend as far as landing a job. Who doesn’t love to help and give advice when asked? It’s best to make an appointment for a meeting rather than trying to catch them on the fly. Asking to make an appointment conveys your thoughtfulness for their schedule, and the importance of their opinions to you.
Clinical Instructors have close ties to community hospitals and most likely have worked as staff in at least one of them. Nursing is a small community. Trust me, Nurse Managers will be calling your Clinical Instructors to get the lowdown on you.
Every single semester, I called my Clinical Instructor friends to make sure I was getting first dibs on hiring the best and brightest students.
A sincere Good Luck in securing your dream job! Congrats to the lucky hospital that gets you!
Leave a reply and let me know which of these tips you find helpful, or share your own!
Until next time friend,