I graduated five years ago, but have no hospital experience. How do I get started on my career?

By | 2022-02-15T17:56:19-05:00 March 27th, 2012|1 Comment


Dear Donna,

I really need a career mentor because I’m so confused right now. I graduated in 2007 and worked as a company nurse for a year. I got married and now am taking care of our baby. I want to work in a hospital, but don’t know where to start. Should I take a refresher course? Should I apply for new grad programs hospitals offer? I would like to work in labor and delivery. Please help me get started on my career. As of now I don’t have any hospital experience.


Dear Donna replies:

Dear Bev,

To get a hospital job, you definitely will need to take an RN refresher course. Hospitals will not even consider you without one at this point. And regardless of your lack of hospital experience, once you are out of nursing school for a year or two, you are no longer eligible for a new grad orientation program. A few hospitals may make an exception, but I have not heard of any doing that.

It is very important to note the hospital job market for new nurses is very tight in most parts of the country right now. In fact, the job market for all nurses is permanently shifting. That means there will be fewer hospital jobs for all nurses in the future. So even if you take the steps above, there is no guarantee that you’ll be hired by a hospital. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. You just need to know what you’re up against.

In the meantime you should start volunteering somewhere healthcare-related, while you seek paid employment. Since you have an interest in L&D, consider a local Planned Parenthood Clinic, birthing center or OB clinic. Volunteering gives you recent experience to put on your resume, builds your confidence, expands your professional network, helps you to hone old skills and learn new ones. Volunteering often leads to paid employment.

Additionally, you should join and get active in your state chapter of the American Nurses Association (www.nursingworld.org). This is a great way to get reconnected to the nursing profession, further expand your network, and get up to date on information, issues and trends. You should do the same with the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (www.awhonn.org/). You can even attend meetings of either association as a guest, if you don’t join right away. Networking is one of the most effective ways to find a job. And when there’s something you want to do it makes sense to rub elbows with those already doing it. This also is a good way to find mentors. You must immerse yourself in the community of nursing.

Start doing some informational interviewing with nurses working in any specialty you’re interested in. Learn the how’s and why’s of this at www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Interviewing.

Transitioning back to nursing is a process, so be patient with yourself and the process. Take the steps described above, including those in the referenced article and move in a positive forward direction. Persistence and determination always will win out.

Best wishes,


Nurse.com Job Seeker

Discover how Nurse.com can help you find your next dream job.
Just sign up and wait to be paired with your perfect match.

About the Author:


One Comment

  1. Avatar
    Yeong Heui Kim April 17, 2020 at 8:41 am - Reply

    How r u?
    I did my nursing career for 4 yrs as RN and resigned Aug 2011.
    Now I am holding non practicing ahpra registration.

    I want to re enter to the workforce. What should I do? Australian college of nursing has refresher course but it is written for those have 3 month experience in last five yrs.
    Then, can’t I do refresher course??
    What do I need to do to re enter the work force?

Leave A Comment