You have graduated from nursing school … now what?
Earning a nursing degree isn’t easy. It requires several years of college as well as passing a state board examination. Upon earning your nursing diploma and certification, you are ready to begin your career. The best way to do that appeals differently to individuals. The best part is knowing you have numerous choices that will let you do work you find meaningful while building a successful career.
Interview experienced nurses
After completing your theoretical and practical training, spend some time talking to nursing professionals. On-the-job experts can explain the day-to-day tasks associated with actual nursing positions. You can learn more about nurse jobs in a variety of settings, such as nursing homes, hospitals, doctor’s offices, rehab centers, and private duty nursing. Talking to an individual in a specific nursing field cannot provide a complete picture of what it’s like to hold a nursing position in that specialized area. But you can begin to connect the dots toward a broader understanding of certain nursing jobs that may be of interest while weeding out those you won’t want to do. You can contact nurses you know or request an informal interview with nurses at local medical facilities for one-to-one discussions about the profession.
Find a mentor
If you don’t already have a mentor, find one to answer your questions and offer job search tips. A mentor could be a nursing instructor, a family friend, or someone you meet through professional networking. You don’t have to meet face-to-face with the mentor if the person is not located nearby. Establish an email connection or facetime meetings to address questions and issues related to your quest for the right nursing job. Be sure to thank your mentor and occasionally send a small gift of appreciation for the person’s time and effort on your behalf.
Connect on social media and online
In your online social media accounts, you may know someone who is a nurse that posts comments and insights from the job front. You can learn much from the person’s comments and concerns, and you might be able to post comments or questions to learn more. In addition, you can find and possibly join online organizations dedicated to nursing development and community. For example, the National Student Nurses’ Association helps to prepare students for licensure requirements and can pair students with mentors. This group also shares information about the ethics and standards expected in the nursing field. State nurses’ associations provide valuable information about state and regional policies and procedures that new nurses need to know.
Consult your academic adviser
Your nursing school adviser can provide direction and job tips as you start thinking about a nursing job. The adviser may have contacts with local medical facilities like hospitals and nursing homes, which might lead to tips for internships and job openings. Your adviser can possibly connect you to a local nurse group that can provide collegial connections and an informal approach to learning more about the nursing field. An adviser may also connect you to other new graduates or recent nursing hires so that you can help each other in preparing for a job search.
Consider a temporary position
It is natural to feel unsure about the permanent nursing job that might be best for you. In fact, there is a good chance your lifestyle and goals will change over the next few years, which might require a shift in job availability and career goals. To launch your nursing career, consider contacting agencies for travel nursing to find out more about this exciting job opportunity. You could register with a travel nurse agency to select from various assignments while deciding if and when to settle into a permanent position.
Travel nurses can pick the locations and type of positions they want whenever they want. There is no obligation to accept any assignment, so the nurse can take off time when needed to do other things. Pay rates tend to be competitive with higher rates for overtime, weekend, and holiday shifts. Certain kinds of benefits may be available. Many nurses love the convenience of choosing when and where they work and for how long before deciding whether to accept a full-time job. You can meet new people, explore new places, and try a variety of nursing duties to decide which suit your interests best. The agencies for travel nursing can answer your questions and explain the type of jobs they can offer. You can then decide if this temporary job route will work with your lifestyle and career goals.
Take a year off
Like some college graduates, nursing students often choose to take some time off before settling into a permanent nursing job. The year can be spent traveling to other parts of the world or around the country. Some graduates take a year off from study and work to meet other objectives like get married or have a baby. A year to think about the type of nursing you want to do alleviates the pressure of making a quick, permanent job decision right away. A year doing something else can help to confirm your professional interests as you plan for subsequent nursing employment.
Continue postgrad education
After receiving a bachelor of nursing degree, some students decide to continue their education and work toward a master’s degree. Graduate work often focuses on a specialized and sometimes more advanced level of nursing, such as nurse management or administration. Others might go into related fields like becoming a nurse anesthetist. Earning a graduate degree could lead to a higher-paying position with more extensive responsibilities, but you will need to decide whether to keep going to school or take time off to explore the job field for a while.
Nursing is an honorable profession that you can be proud to join. When preparing to choose the area of practice that will be most meaningful and satisfying to your personal interests, consider tips like these to help you make relevant nursing career decisions both now and in the future