I graduated two years ago, but haven’t worked in the field yet, due to having a baby and not being able to find a position without any experience. I’d prefer to work in ambulatory care, but most facilities require two years of experience. Should I take a refresher course, even though I have no desire to work in a hospital?
Dear Donna replies:
You don’t necessarily need to take a refresher course if you don’t want to work in an inpatient setting. However, you do need to ease your way into the workforce, and volunteering is the perfect way to do that while you continue to look for paid employment.
Since you’re interested in ambulatory care, contact a free clinic, local public health department, blood bank or local chapter of the American Red Cross. Offer to volunteer as many days and hours as you can handle. This is a great way to gain recent experience to put on your resume, hone old skills and learn new ones. It also will help you to build confidence and a professional network. Volunteering often leads to paid employment. If you can’t get in the front door, try the back.
You also should attend local chapter meetings of the American Nurses Association (nursingworld.org) and the American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nursing (aaacn.org). This will get you reconnected to your profession and further expand your network. At least attend local meetings as a guest for now. You have to immerse yourself in the community of nursing. Networking is well known as a very effective way to find a job.
Don’t rely exclusively on classified ads, print or online, for job openings. You have to focus most of your efforts on face-to-face, telephone and Internet networking. Set up a LinkedIn account, if you don’t already have one.
When what you’re doing isn’t working it’s time to try a new approach. Start volunteering, attend nursing association meetings and use all of your contacts to find what you want or at least a starter job. Stay positive and focused. Persistence and determination will always win out.