How Can I Get Hired as a New Nurse?

Finding a job can be complicated, even for a nurse. The last thing students want is to pass all the difficult nursing classes only to find themselves unemployed. Getting that first nursing job takes the right combination of qualifications, experience, luck, and a successful interview. Even if you are avoiding the most common mistakes of job hunters, there may be some things you are overlooking that are causing you to be rejected time and time again. Check to see if you are making these mistakes. If so, correct them, and you could finally land the job you have always wanted.

Use the Right Words

Even if your resume is sleek and free of spelling and grammar errors, you can lose an employer by using the wrong wording. Make sure to fill your nursing resume with powerful keywords that imply action and that show your experiences, achievements, and accomplishments in the best possible light. Using the best healthcare buzzwords and terms can put your resume at the front of the hiring manager’s mind.

Read the Job Description

Make sure you meet or exceed every listed requirement for the position before applying. Hiring managers will not even consider an application that does not meet the listed requirements, and you are wasting your time by trying. If you find that you are missing out on job after job due to the same missing skill or experience, consider taking a course or other training to meet the need and to qualify you for more positions. As a bonus, pursuing additional training shows potential employers that you are dedicated and driven and will make you a more desirable candidate.

Refine Your Tactics

Social networking is more important to job seekers now than ever before. Use Monster and similar sites to find jobs in your area. Set up an account and post your resume online. In addition, use NursingLink and LinkedIn to find and maintain valuable connections in the industry. The more you make yourself known and respected, the better your chances of getting the job you want.

Work on Your Presentation

Make sure you are dressing professionally at interviews and that your appearance is clean, neat, and worthy of a nursing position. Be polite and confident during the interview and be prepared to answer questions succinctly. Do not be afraid to tell what you can bring to the hospital or organization, just make sure not to be arrogant or boastful. End the interview with a polite thank you and the satisfaction of knowing you put your best foot forward.

Have Realistic Expectations

If you are just out of nursing school, you may have to set your sights a bit lower than your ultimate dream job. Be realistic about career, salary, and benefits that are possible with your level of experience and go for those positions. You can always work your way up to your dream job as you gain experience and build your professional reputation.

Looking for your first nursing job can be frustrating. Follow these tips to ensure that you are giving the job search your all and you may find yourself working sooner than you ever thought possible.

Building Yourself as a Professional Nurse

Being a professional nurse involves so much more than simply going to work every day and taking care of patients. Nursing is a career that requires constant participation and improvement to be truly successful and marketable. If you want to establish yourself as a true professional, remember these keys to building yourself as a fully skilled professional:

Never Stop Learning

The more education you have, the more professional positions you will be qualified for. Check into master’s, PhD, or certification programs that will give you an advantage in your field. Participating in higher education and training will provide you with enhanced education and will also allow you to interact with and learn from others in the nursing field. When you commit to furthering your education, you are showing that you take yourself and your career seriously. You can further your potential by taking classes outside your industry, such as foreign language or computer technology courses. This diversifies your skill set and provides you with confidence.

Be Seen

Find an experienced nurse who will be your mentor. Working with an experienced professional will provide you with valuable insight and knowledge and will get you noticed by others in the workplace as someone who takes the job seriously. It is also a good idea to contribute useful ideas to the workplace and to be helpful to others. Show your knowledge, skills, and confidence without being arrogant or pushy and you will get noticed in all the right ways.

Take on Responsibilities

Asking for more responsibility demonstrates that you are actively trying to improve the hospital as well as yourself. It makes your supervisor look good and takes some of the workload from others. Just be careful not to take on more responsibility than you can handle, because nothing makes you look worse than not charting on time or backing out of responsibilities you asked for.

Publish Your Writing

Get a feel for editorial content and tone and pitch some ideas to a few reputable trade journals and magazines. Submit ideas and articles until you get one (or more) published. Being published is an amazing detail to add to your resume and establishes you as an expert nurse.

Blog

Start a blog through WordPress, Blogspot, or a similar platform and start blogging regularly on a subject in which you are experienced. Write positive, current, informative content and watch your following grow. This is an excellent way to establish yourself as a professional and is also a good way to advance your own learning and thought processes.

In short, your nursing career and reputation is in your hands alone. Take responsibility, demonstrate initiative, and be innovative in your thoughts and methods. By being confident and active, you will get the notice and acknowledgement you need to make sure you develop a strong personal reputation.

Easy Ways to Keep Your Career Rolling

At some point in your career, you are likely to find yourself making a change. Whether you are the victim of a layoff, move to another location, or simply want to spread your wings and try something new, making a change can be scary. The truth is that it can be difficult to find a new job, especially if you are not currently working. Here are some simple tips to make sure your career keeps rolling and that you don’t find yourself stalled:

Keep a Positive Attitude

If you focus on negative possibilities, you will likely find them coming true. Instead, keep a positive outlook by believing that you are skilled, confident, and marketable. Take steps to ensure that this is true. Stay up-to-date on new advances and technology and always strive to build on your knowledge and skills by trying new things and reading professional journals.

Focus on the Future

Regardless of how happy and stable you feel in your current position, make sure to follow trends and train yourself in those areas so you will be prepared to take another position if the need arises. This will help make you resistant to layoffs and downsizing and will also prepare you for a wider range of jobs if the worst does happen. The worst thing any employee can do in the current job environment is to become stale. Stale equals expendable.

Keep Your Resume Updated

Knowing that your resume is current and ready to wow employers gives you a sense of confidence. Even if you are not currently looking for a job, updating your resume reminds you of your skills and accomplishments and motivates you to keep bettering yourself. A quality, current resume is one of the most valuable tools in your arsenal.

Build Your Network

Networking should be a regular part of your professional life. Instead of looking for valuable contacts when you need them, keep building and maintaining a network so you will have it at the ready when you need a job or other assistance. Build good relationships within your workplace and within your industry and you will have a much better chance of keeping your career on the right path.

Stay Alert

Pay careful attention to what your peers are doing that you aren’t. Make every effort to stay as vital, if not more so, than your colleagues. It is all about creating your own opportunities. Even if you stay with your current employer, you are likely to want a promotion at some point. You may also want to switch to a different department or change employers altogether. The more current and varied your knowledge and skill set, the more likely that your career will follow your ideal path.

The future of your career is in your hands. You can keep it going the direction you choose by taking an active role in self-improvement and other career advancement techniques. By following these simple steps, you can make sure your career keeps going and that you enjoy your job until retirement.

 

Earning Respect in Your First Nursing Job

Graduating from nursing school and getting that first job takes a lot of hard work. When you manage to do it, the last possible thing you want to do is to mess up. Unfortunately, many new nurses do just that. In the majority of such cases, the problem does not lie with poor technical skills or insufficient knowledge. Instead, it is typically attitude and personality that sinks budding new nursing careers. It is extremely easy to make a negative first impression on your new coworkers, and first impressions are everything. If you start out on the wrong foot, it can be difficult if not impossible to salvage your professional reputation. If you are ready to enter your new job on the right foot, follow these four tips:

#1 – Don’t Be a Know-It-All

Regardless of how smart you are or how many ideas you have for revolutionizing the workplace, tread lightly. Quell the urge to take charge in everything and to tell others how they could be doing things better. Even if your ideas are valid, more experienced coworkers will see you as arrogant and will dismiss your ideas, regardless of how solid they are. Be humble and willing to learn from others. If you have an idea, gently bring it up and be prepared to listen to why it may not work.

#2 – Be Grateful and Sincere

Everyone likes to hear a little “thank you” now and then. Whenever you receive help, guidance, or advice from a boss or a coworker, genuinely thank them for the consideration and for taking the trouble to help you. This will help you to be seen as a genuine, caring person who appreciates others. It can also go a long way toward building positive feelings about yourself with your peers.

#3 – Give It Your All

Odds are that you will be shocked at how many of your coworkers watch the clock and are unwilling to do one thing above and beyond what is required. Offer to take on extra responsibilities and to occasionally put in extra time when needed. You chose nursing as your career, so you should give it everything you have. Not only will your positive attitude make your job more enjoyable, it will also build your reputation at work when peers and bosses see how seriously you take your job. Who knows? Your positive, “can do” attitude may even spread to others around you.

#4 – Be a Good Listener

Too many new nurses are gung-ho to prove how much they know and try to always be the one talking. Take the time to stop and listen first. You’ll be surprised at how much you will learn. You will also avoid getting a reputation as an annoying know-it-all who thinks she knows more than her experienced coworkers. Listen actively and ask questions when you need to and you will soon develop the skills, knowledge, AND reputation you want in your new career.

Your first months on the job are your only chance to develop a good impression with others in the organization. Follow these four steps to ensure that you are seen as a professional and a colleague with whom others are happy to work.

Potential Career Changes for Experienced Nurses

Health care is making an increasing shift from hospitals to communities and technology is becoming more important to every aspect of the field. These changes are opening up a world of new opportunities for experienced nurses and provide excellent options for those craving a career change. If you are an experienced nurse who is ready to try something a bit different, these career options may be just what the doctor ordered:

Healthcare IT

There are many opportunities for nurses to switch from clinical to business positions, especially if they are comfortable with handling technology. There is a high demand for healthcare IT professionals, and these positions are ideal for experienced nurses who understand the clinical processes. Nurses who succeed in this career shift can easily climb the corporate ladder while focusing on patient outcomes and clinical indicators. Currently, around 70% of nonmilitary hospitals in the United States are connected electronically. This has created a high demand for nurses in the healthcare IT field, and this demand is guaranteed to grow as more hospitals come onboard.

Tele-nursing

Experienced nurses with technology savvy and critical care experience can find extremely rewarding careers working in tele-ICU positions. These positions allow nurses to remotely monitor patients and to use their clinical experience to mentor nurses who operate directly with the patients. These positions require a vast, all-encompassing knowledge of nursing as well as excellent collaboration and communication skills. The most successful tele-ICU nurses face a unique challenges , but this job is still among the most rewarding for those who choose it.

Call Centers

Call center nursing is another great choice for experienced nurses with strong communication and technological skills. While these nurses never see patients face-to-face, they must use the same knowledge, abilities, and compassion as they would in a personal setting.

Travel Nursing

Many experienced nurses choose to enjoy seeing the country by becoming travel nurses. In this career, nurses can choose where and when to work. They can travel the entire country or stay relatively close to home. Nurses who choose this career work with a recruiter who helps place them in temporary positions, usually lasting up to 13 weeks. This career provides numerous advantages to nurses, including paid moving costs and travel expenses, the chance to experience life in many locations, and an excellent salary. Travel nursing is an excellent choice for those who are transitioning from full-time work to full retirement.

There are many career options for nurses who are ready to make a meaningful change. These nurses can use their experience and knowledge to further the healthcare field without continuing direct patient care. If you are ready to make a change, these career options are ideal for you.

Could You Be a School Nurse?

School nursing is a complex and varied specialty that allows those who choose it to work independently. School nurses must be ready to respond safely and effectively to many health issues, including injuries, the management of acute and chronic diseases, and communicable disease outbreaks. In addition, school nurses must be able to provide education to faculty, staff members, students, and family members. Many times, the school nurse is the sole healthcare professional in a building, sometimes in a complete school district.

The Need for School Nurses

As medical care has advanced, children who would have died in infancy in the past are now growing up and attending public schools. These children require the presence of a skilled nurse to provide care. According to the National Association of School Nurses, school nursing is much more than treating minor wounds and taking temperatures. Modern school nurses manage a variety of ongoing medical conditions in students.

Are You Right for School Nursing?

Have you ever considered entering a position as a school nurse? If so, it is important to take the time to be sure that you are right for the job. Before changing to this career, ask yourself if you are confident working without the support of another healthcare provider and in making immediate, independent decisions regarding student care. Also consider if you enjoy working with children and a multitude of other people. Finally, decide if you are confident in your ability to provide education to students, teachers, parents, and others. While school nurses do not have to be certified as teachers, they do provide a great deal of health education regarding medical tasks and the proper response to student symptoms.

If you do decide to become a school nurse, it is helpful to get certified through the National Board for Certification of School Nurses. This will help ensure that you have the proper training and education to be effective in your job.

School nurses are a vital part of any educational setting and will only become more important as future generations of children enter the educational system with a variety of medical conditions. If you are considering becoming a school nurse, speak with others in the profession to get a true view of the job and to find out what you can do to be well-prepared for this new chapter in your life.

During your nursing career, you may find that getting respect is not always as easy as it should be? Unfortunately, there are many doctors who seem to get a perverse thrill from berating nurses. So how can you win over these difficult doctors and get the professional respect you really deserve? Try following these effective steps to ensure that you are treated as the professional you are:

Get It Together

Often, physicians get easily irritated with nurses who contact them unnecessarily, or with incomplete information. If you are going to call to alert a doctor of a change in the patient’s condition, make sure you have all vitals, lab work, and other information at hand before making the call. Be prepared to answer any questions the doctor has and he or she will see you as a competent professional. Furthermore, if there is a physician with whom you constantly have problems, sit down with him or her and ask exactly how he or she wants things done in the future to save further problems.

Be a Confident, Effective Communicator

You are a professional. Remember that when you are communicating with a physician. Be open and honest. Stand up and make yourself an effective part of the team, a member that contributes to the patient’s treatment instead of passively waiting for directions. Physicians have the highest respect for nurses who show confidence in their knowledge, skills, and abilities. Competent nurses are always ready to make suggestions in addition to simply taking orders. They are also ready and willing to do more than they are expected to do for their patients, their team, and their department. While there are sure to be some physicians who seem impossible to please, taking a more confident, professional approach to your interactions with doctors will go a long way toward earning respectful treatment. Remember that while the physician is the head of the care team, nurses are vital, contributing members as well.

5 Handy Tools to Help You Get Through Nursing School

Nursing students have a lot to remember. You can read all of your chapters and course outlines, but studying can still be confusing. What do you study? How can you remember it all? If you need help and you need it now, there are many excellent tools and resources that can make nursing school a little easier. If you are trying to get the most of your studies, these 5 handy tools can help you remember things more easily and can help you clarify difficult concepts:

Mnemonics

Mnemonics have long been one of the most useful study aids in almost any field. These easy memorization techniques make it easy to enhance your memorization and to keep that valuable information in your brain for quick reference. Mnemonics are especially useful in remembering lists of facts, like those required of nursing students. There is a fantastic database of medical mnemonics available that can help you study and remember even the most difficult concepts at http://www.medicalmnemonics.com/.

Arterial Blood Gases

An important part of nursing education is the evaluation of arterial blood gases. This involves identifying the levels of carbon dioxide and oxygen in blood and also the blood acidity when it exits the heart. To help you learn to assess lung oxygen capacity, respiratory adequacy, acid-base balance, and oxygen pressure in the blood stream, you can brush up on your facts at http://www.uihealthcare.com/topics/index.html.

Cardiac and Respiratory Sounds

Do you need practice in identifying and deciphering normal and abnormal respiratory and cardiac sounds? You can use the virtual stethoscope at http://www.smm.org/heart/heart/steth-f.htm.

Reading EKGs

There are so many types of cardiac arrhythmias that it can be difficult to interpret EKG or ECG rhythms. If you want to brush up and strengthen your skills, you can do so at http://bioscience.org/atlases/heart/index.htm. This site has a massive variety of EKGs and heart sounds to help you get the hang of identification.

Drug Dosage Calculator

While your instructors will want you to calculate dosages and drug conversions with pencil and paper, calculators can be highly valuable to help you check your calculations. All drug calculations should be confirmed before use and clinical judgment always overrides calculations. You can access some useful calculators at http://manuelsweb.com/nrs_calculators.htm.

While nothing will make nursing school easy, tools like these can definitely help. Use these to help you improve your skills and knowledge and to make sure you are getting the maximum effort from your studying efforts.

5 Technology Must-Haves for Student Nurses

Technology can be a student’s best friend and it is no different for nursing students. The right technology can make studying and keeping track of materials much easier. If you are in nursing school, here are 5 must-haves that will change your life for the better.

List Manager

With so many assignment due dates, clinical assignments, and other things to keep track of, it can be easy to forget something important. As such, a list manager is a necessity. Services such as Remember the Milk and Wunderlist can help you easily keep track of your important lists and you can even access them on your mobile device.

Back Up Storage

Whether you choose a virtual drive or an external drive, it is important to back up your important documents in case you have a computer failure. If you want to use a virtual drive, iCloud, Google Drive, and Dropbox are all good choices. Alternatively, you can purchase an external hard drive to back up your entire computer system regularly. While this may not seem necessary, a computer crash will make you glad you took this step.

Web Clipping Tool

Web clippers are browser tools that allow you to save entire web pages that you need to view or reference later. There are plenty of services available, so you can find one that perfectly fits your needs. Web clipping tools are especially useful when you are doing research for a project, exam, or paper. Some of the more popular web clipping options are Evernote, SpringPad, Pocket, and Instaper. What makes them even better is that you can also view your saved pages on a mobile device.

Bookmarking Service

There will likely be many sites that you will want to visit regularly. You will need an easy way to collect and organize these bookmarks so you can find what you need quickly and easily. Delicious, PortaPortal, Google Bookmarks, Diigo, and Xmarks are all good choices that allow you to keep your favorite sites organized in one easy location. Most of them also allow you to share and collaborate your bookmarking efforts with others.

Note Taking Software

As a nursing student, you will take many, many notes. While you can take notes in MS word and other word processing programs, you can make your notes even better by using an app that will let you sync notes among all your devices and share with others in your classes. Springpad, Evernote, and other apps will let you review your notes from anywhere and can make your studying much more efficient.

School is serious business. Nursing students have to remember a great deal of information. These technology must-haves will make it easier for you to keep track of important material and to save time and effort.

Getting Employers to Look Past Your Age

Nursing can be one of the worst careers for getting judged based on your appearance. While it may not be a surprise that older women just entering nursing may face some age bias, things can be just as difficult for a young woman just out of nursing school. Regardless of what stage of your life you are in, here is what you can do to get employers to look past your age and to see the value you bring to the profession:

Early to Mid 20s

This early in your life, and fresh out of school, you can easily overcome age bias by continuing your education. Take some extra courses, such as those toward a bachelor’s degree or those that will allow you to work in phlebotomy or IVs. Having these extra skills shows that you are truly interested in your profession and that you are willing to keep learning and improving your skills. At this age, dress to impress by going strictly business. Wear a dress that is not very short or tight in basic colors and wear pantyhose and nice dress shoes. Cover any tattoos and take out all piercings except ears. Keep makeup and jewelry toned down and slick. Nails should be short and clean.

Mid 30s to Mid 40s

Keep your clothing and hair age-appropriate. If your hair is graying, color it a shade lighter than your natural color. Stick to soft makeup and colors and get plenty of sleep to reduce puffiness around your eyes. If your skin looks dull, get a facial to restore a look of radiance and health. Choose attire that is fashionable while still being professional and appropriate for your age.

Mid 40s and Older

At this age, it can be very difficult to start a new career. Use your experience to build an impressive resume. In addition, do not apply for jobs that may be too hard for you. Look at the position and ask yourself if you will still be able to perform it at 65 or older. If not, look for a different position. It is also a good idea to take some extra courses for certifications that will make you a more desirable employee. If you still have difficulty and can prove you have been a victim of age discrimination, get in touch with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Regardless of your age, never compare yourself to others of a different age and don’t volunteer to tell how old you are. Your employer should be interested in your knowledge and experience. Dress professionally and in a style that is age appropriate. Avoid excess jewelry, heavy makeup, long nails, and heavy perfume. Above all, keep a positive attitude. People of all ages often have to undergo many interviews before landing a job they want. Keep a confident attitude and don’t give up. You will eventually get the job you want.