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A Guide To The Nursing Job Market for New Grads

Many new and upcoming nursing graduates are eager to know how they can land a coveted hospital position immediately after exams. However, it’s rare to land these types of positions without experience. Instead, new registered nurses and nurse practitioners should utilize the time right after attaining their degree to gain experience, keep their clinical skills sharp, and explore other facilities and specialties—all of which will lend to the experience necessary to securing a job in a leading hospital.

But how can you, as a recent nursing graduate with a brand new license, accomplish this? By taking on temporary work. According to Amanda Cruse, a Managing Director within The Execu|Search Group’s Health Services division, new grads typically have the most success landing short-term assignments. These can be not only a great foot in the door, but a pathway to a longer-term opportunity and, ultimately, a career.

Beginning Your Career With Temporary Assignments

By taking on temporary assignments, nursing graduates can utilize their license and the skills they learned in school while earning hands-on experience. This is imperative to landing a full-time position and kicking off a successful career; employers want to see that you’ve kept your clinical skills sharp, and should you hold out on your job search for a hospital job, you’ll be letting those skills stagnate in the interim. Graduating and using your skills immediately, however, makes you more marketable and shows employers that you’re dedicated to the field.

Furthermore, temporary work gives you the opportunity to explore different specialties. You never know if a specialty will truly work for you until you try it; likewise, if you’re unsure of what specialty you’d like to pursue, temporary assignments give you the opportunity to acquaint yourself with them without long-term commitment. When you know what specialty is right for you, pursuing temporary roles within that scope will help you build experience with that target population.

Lastly, temporary roles also give you access to a regular paycheck—which many graduates with school loans can definitely use during the long-term job search.

Where To Look

When you’re ready to embark on a temporary assignment, it’s important to know where to look. Having a Bachelor’s Degree can help you get into a hospital, but in most cases, you’ll still need experience for those positions. In the meantime, Amanda has found that new grads often have success finding opportunities in:

  • Offices for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDDs)
  • Psychiatric centers
  • Foster care
  • Schools
  • Facilities administering seasonal flu shots

Securing Your First Opportunity

Once you’ve targeted some facilities you’d like to work for, it’s time to gather your documents and reach out to a recruiter. In most cases, it’s best to do so directly after passing your exams, as temporary positions do not stay on the market long.

“Be ready to go with your credentials before you get into the thick of your job search,” Amanda says. “While some staffing firms like The Execu|Search Group offer credentialing services, not all do.” In addition, if you choose to look for a job independently, many facilities prefer to see that you’ve acquired the necessary documentation on your own and can begin working immediately. These documents include:

  • CPR certification from the American Red Cross or American Red Heart
  • Malpractice insurance
  • Proof of a physical in the past year
  • PPD
  • Flu shot
  • 3 professional references from schools, mentors, internships, etc.
  • An updated resume
  • Licensure & registration

Finally, be flexible. “Your first job may not be glamorous, but you will get the experience you need,” says Amanda. “Our recruiters have had great success with flexible new grads and many of those grads have gone on to successful and meaningful careers.”

 

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