1. Write your own mission statement; Not all recruiters require this, however a written objective for you personally may help keep you focused on what you are aspiring to do. E.g.,for a recent nurse graduate; “To work within an acute care setting, that encourages communication and fosters learning, while working as part of a collaborative team member that seeks to advance quality of care.”
2. Research; Write out a list of hospitals, clinics, and disciplines you are interested in. Research each of them well: if it’s a hospital, is it a teaching facility? Is it a trauma center? What level of trauma? Is it a magnet status hospital? Consider location - is it accessible if you live in an area that has the potential for difficulty to travel (I.e., snow). Read patient/doctor satisfaction reviews, see if there are consistent comments about services that may be warning/good signs. What are the prerequisites for particular units? Eg., ICU, it may put you a few steps ahead by obtaining the necessary certifications, such as Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS).
3. Join professional organizations; Valuable info on education, practice advancements, job advertisements, credentialing, policy, advocacy, ethics, journals, and health and safety for nurses;
American Nurses Association (ANA) http://www.nursingworld.org
American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC)
(And) Nurse Zone, website that additionally provides links to the varied specialty organizations.
4. Attend conferences; A great way to network, and keep up with evolving practice.
Pest Health Care have year round courses on subjects ranging legal documentation, through infection control and critical care boot camp. Also, consider looking at specific hospital websites - some have open registration, with some fantastic classes taught by current practicing doctors and nurses. An insider’s look at the advancements that may be happening in that current field, institution, and another potential for networking.
5. Invest in professional journals; They contain a lot of information on travel nursing, job advertisements, and will keep you current on practice, while you await job securement.
6. Education; Consider enhancing your learning while you are searching. Non-employee continuing education in hospitals, online programs and personal research into pathology, pharmacology, and refresh anatomy and physiology. Keep your goals in mind, and focus on learning that will keep you abreast of what’s happening, particular to the discipline you are interested in.
7. Explore Other options; If you are already working in a hospital, and perhaps unhappy on your unit, consider floating/overtime to other units, to spark a new interest, as well as gain an idea of what else is available to you. If it is an environment you would consider working, what is the staffing like? Is the nurse manager approachable? Is it work you enjoy doing? Look into travel nursing, or per diem work at other institutions to gain insight into the workings of the hospital, prior to transferring.
8. Questions to ask in an interview; Do they honor shared governance? (Teamwork/accountability/equity/productivity/staff satisfaction/effective problem solving/patient outcomes).Are they a unionized/non-unionized hospital? (Benefits/Health Care). What are the orientation/mentoring/preceptorship timelines? (Learner readiness - some hospitals are cutting back on education, and may cut orientation once new staff are needed). What is the nurse:staff ratio on the unit you are working? (Safety). What opportunities for further education are available? (Long term goals). When you visit the floor, observe the interactions, it gives you an idea of the environment you will be working in, keeping in mind the chaos that may be prevalent in an unpredictable profession.
9. Questions they may ask you; What is your five year plan? What are your professional goals? Describe a conflict you had with a doctor/colleague and what you did to resolve it. Describe a situation where you felt patient care was compromised, and what you did to intervene.
10. Questions to ask your current Nurse Manager (or Nurse Educator, if New Graduate); What do you believe my strengths/weaknesses to be? What specific areas do you think I may improve upon? They may differ from your own view. Be open to constructive criticism.
10.25. Write a follow up email to the recruiter/nurse manager; Keep it light, short, thanking them for their time, with details outlining how they may contact you.
10.5 Feedback; You may encounter a lot of closed doors, a repetition of “No New Graduates.” You may find you interviewed well, and still knocked back. You may find other colleagues moving way ahead of you, that’s ok, it’s not your journey, (even if it’s frustrating), You may discover you need to make one stepping stone, (or many), in order to get to your goal. Timing, and patience are important, as is the belief that you will get there, eventually.