I am unemployed RN with a BSN and four years of experience in long-term care. It was not a good environment for me. I would like to move into home care or ambulatory care. How can I best prepare for a new area of nursing? I am taking courses in expert assessment skills and managing nursing emergencies. I would like to continue my CEU studies in med/surg coursework to understand more about clinical emergencies and time management. Do you have any suggestion?
Dear Donna replies:
Dear New Nurse,
I’m a bit confused because you say you have four years of long-term care experience yet you sign your post new nurse. I don’t know if you worked in LTC in some other capacity, or if you just feel inexperienced. There is a big difference. I also don’t know how long you have been unemployed, which can make a difference.
Both ambulatory care and home care are good directions for you to go. You can study all you want (http://ce.nurse.com/) but it’s more important for you to start actively seeking employment. Don’t get caught in the trap of over-preparation. There’s no substitute for experience. You have to dive in.
Start attending local chapter meetings of the American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nursing (www.aaacn.org) as a guest. When there’s something you want to do, it makes sense to rub elbows with those already doing it. Informational interviewing with members and officers of AAACN or any nurses you know or meet who work in any ambulatory setting and/or home care would be beneficial for you. Read my article The scoop on information interviewing (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Interviewing) to get the most out of the experience. Informational interviewing is a great way to learn more about the specialties, get career advice and sometimes get job leads and introductions.
Since you are unemployed, look for volunteer work as a nurse while you continue to seek paid employment. Check with free clinic in your area, such as local public health department, cancer care center and so on. Volunteering is a great way to gain confidence and gives you recent relevant experience to put on your resume. You also will make valuable professional contacts. It is a way to get your foot in the door somewhere and often turns into paid employment.
You might find these articles helpful How to change specialties (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Change-Specialties) and Ten steps to a successful job search (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Ten-Steps).