Once students have earned their nursing degrees and passed the licensing examination, obtaining your first nursing job can be fairly easy, if you know what to do. Employers typically go to nursing schools to hold career fairs and actively look for ways to attract students to work at their facilities. While all this attention can be attractive, it is important that students are not distracted from their personal career path by flashy job perks.
First Nursing Job – Know What You Want
Students are advised decide what they want in a job before talking with nursing recruiters. They may want to check the one of the many online nursing career websites to explore the availability of jobs in their chosen field. Discussing job options with other nurses and checking out salary guides are other useful ways to prepare for the job search.
How to Find the Right Working Environment
Prospective nurses can schedule time at the health care facility they would like to work at to “shadow” a nurse on his or her daily rounds. By observing a nurse on the job, students can learn quite a bit about how a unit functions and whether or not they would feel comfortable joining the staff there. Students must be flexible and persistent when looking for their first nursing job. It may be the case that they want a specific position in a hospital, but that job is not immediately available. In this situation, a student may take another position at the hospital and work into the desired job over time.
Setup Your Career Path
It's best to have a long-term plan, especially if the goal is hospital management or another supervisory nurse position. A current nursing job will present opportunities for meeting key people and networking with them to further a nursing career. Nurses should always be assessing their skills and experience, acknowledging that improvements in skill level or experience can mean better pay and ultimately getting their “dream job.” Some nurses move from one job to another without a clear plan, and this hampers their career advancement.
Leverage Your Good Standing and Value as a Nurse
New nurses who have passed the NCLEX exam and have good standing with their state boards are valuable resources, and they should use this fact to their advantage. They should present a positive attitude when meeting with job recruiters and understand that while a particular job may not be available at the moment, the ebb and flow of nursing recruitment often means that the position may open up in the near future. Keeping in touch with nursing school classmates offers an excellent way to learn about potential first nursing job opportunities as well.
First Nursing Job Resources
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