Tips for Nursing Graduates

It’s best to start thinking about your upcoming job search in nursing school. Focus on developing the traits that healthcare employers are looking for: enthusiasm, professionalism and a passionate interest in what you do. A first time nursing jobs is absolutely out there for you. But before diving into your job search, consider changes in the healthcare landscape.

Guidelines for Landing High Paying and Rewarding RN Jobs

The old model of treating illnesses is shifting to a 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 two years-experience in med/surg is no longer as critical for new nurses. Now, there is a commensurate value to working in an alternative inpatient setting as a first nursing job; 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.

Specialty Certifications and Technical Exposure are Easy to Get in Travel Nursing Jobs

Many recent graduates are interested in traveling. We're always glad to hear that! Traveling is an awesome option and an excellent way to sample different facilities, areas, and clinical models before you settle into a single career path. You probably know that most travel nurse employers require at least one year of experience in a hospital setting. Consider registering with a travel nursing agency to stay up-to-date with industry trends, and you'll be ready to start traveling as soon as possible.

Because they have traveled the country’s healthcare system extensively, travel nurses may have an edge in impressing potential employers with their knowledge of technologies, like EMR (Electronic Medical Record Systems) and familiarity with Nursing Informatics —an extremely high paying and highly skilled nursing career that has emerged with healthcare reform; however, before graduate nurses can get started on the travel nursing career path, there are criteria that must be met. You need a minimum of 12 months of acute care clinical experience to qualify for RN travel nurse jobs.

With this experience, your career opportunities will include the option of choosing travel nursing - considered one of the most lucrative, fulfilling, and professionally rewarding jobs in nursing. Several travel nursing specialties have six-figure earning potential such as the CVICU, Operating Room, NICU, Cath Lab jobs and more. 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!