How to Land a High-Paying Job as a Recent RN Grad

gradulate nurse career tips

It’s best to start thinking about your future career while you're still in nursing school. There you hone the traits that healthcare employers are looking for: enthusiasm, professionalism and a passionate interest in what you do. Good jobs are yours for the taking with a little bit of finesse. But before diving into your job search, consider changes in the healthcare landscape.

The old model of treating illnesses is shifting to a new one of prevention and maintenance. This requires nurses to be savvy communicators, educating patients and their families, and may be why past advice to get no less than 2 years-experience in med/surg is no longer as critical for new nurses. Many healthcare employers see value the experience gained while working in an alternative inpatient setting; think long-term care, assisted living, psychiatric nursing, home care, public health and more.

A first step in getting this experience is to volunteer. Make sure you have professional liability insurance before you do so. Scan campus message boards for opportunities, like helping to give free health screenings or participating in medical initiatives sponsored by your community. You can also get connected by seeking out memberships; for instance, if you’re studying to be an operating room or med/surg nurse, register with AORN and AMSN.

Travel Nursing is an Excellent Way to Expand Your Skill Set

If you are fresh out of nursing school, you will need to get some experience in a hospital staff position before you can travel. You need a minimum of 12 months of acute care clinical experience to qualify. Once you have that experience, you'll find traveling to be a wonderful way to sample different practices in diverse healthcare settings.

Because they are exposed to a wide variety of healthcare systems, travelers may have an edge in impressing potential employers with their knowledge of technologies, like EMR (Electronic Medical Record Systems) and familiarity with Nursing Informatics —a high paying specialty.

Many travel positions offer RNs the opportunity to float to other units, where they can become familiar with a variety of clinical procedures. Some of the most sought-after specialties have six-figure earning potential, such as the CVICU, Emergency Room, NICU, and Cath Lab jobs. Free and unlimited CEUs help travel nurses achieve certifications like these:

  • American Heart Association Stroke Certification
  • Gerontological Nurse (GNC)
  • ACLS
  • Pediatrics (PALS)

From your 'home office', you can take your job search even further by creating membership status with these invaluable sites for both future and current registered nurses.

  • American Nurses Association (ANA): Find your state chapter here; some chapters offer new graduates reduced membership dues. As a nurse, joining your state chapter helps you make connections, learn about opportunities and find mentors.
  • This is an excellent source for finding a career fair near you! Wear your most professional attire, bring an updated resume and prepare to talk with healthcare employers as well as recruiters from experienced nurse staffing agencies.
  • LinkedIn and other Social Media: Set up an account, as well as check out the social media platforms of healthcare employers that interest you. Peruse 50 States Staffing’s SM sites, like Facebook and Twitter!
  • Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program: breaking free of debt lets future nurses concentrate on prospering on the nursing career path; this program pays up to 60% off of student loan debt within 2 years!
  • National Student Nurse Association: join your school’s chapter and attend the National Convention where the networking opportunities are endless!

Here’s How to Find Your Dream Nursing Job Now

The healthcare landscape is changing because of an aging populace, new medical technology, and changes in the insurance structures. As new graduates, you’ll want to be ready! Call 1-800-996-2206 or apply online today for expert career guidance!

Footnote: Advice in this article was gleaned from the following sources: How to get a job as a new grad nurse; Tips for new nurse grads and Travel nursing tips for new grads.