How to get ready for your first nursing job during your nursing school

The start of the summer is a time for the end of nursing school, which means new graduate RNs will be looking for that first nursing job.

Despite the ongoing nursing shortage nationwide, there are areas where jobs are more limited, and many of the available jobs are in areas like critical care, which means experience may be required.

Your preparation for that first job should begin early.

Do Start Early

Your last year (or at least the last semester) of nursing school is a time to give careful consideration to the job hunt.

Perhaps it’s easy, because you did a summer internship at the organization of your choice and you’re already on their candidate list.

If not, check around. Determine what your options are; although most nurses still work in hospitals, there are plenty of other work settings.

Consider relocating if necessary; sometimes you just have to go where the jobs are.

Cast A Wide Net

Don’t limit yourself to a single site. Even if there’s only one hospital in town, there may be skilled nursing facilities, doctor’s offices or outpatient care centers.

Ask to tour the facilities you’ve chosen, and speak to the managers.

It’s also important to consider all areas.

You might think your heart is on the surgical floor, but a tour of the outpatient oncology area could change your mind.

Prepare Yourself for Success

Present yourself well. Go to a tour as you would to an interview: dress professionally.

It should go without saying that you won’t be late, and that you will be polite and respectful to everyone you meet.

For all you know, that meek little secretary in the nursing office may be providing feedback on your behavior.

Take a copy of your resume, but don’t provide it unless the individual asks for it — you want to seem prepared, not pushy.

Honesty counts. If you don’t have experience with a particular procedure or area, say so, and then express your willingness to learn.

Network, Network, Network

Nursing, like any other profession, is sometimes a matter of who you know.

Join local professional organizations and attend meetings. Start making connections with staff nurses and managers if you haven’t already.

If they know your face, they’re a lot more likely to think of or recommend you for a job opening.

Ask your nursing instructors for names of possible mentors; the mentor doesn’t have to be someone in the place you plan to work.

It may take a little while to find your dream job.

Don’t forget that anything valuable takes time to build. Do your best at each position and learn everything you can; in the long run, it will all be helpful.


Written by 3rd independent party

2016-24137  Exp. 6/18