I graduated last year with a bachelors degree in nursing. I passed the boards. I play professional soccer three to six months of the year, and I want to continue to play overseas for as long as I can. The only problem with that is I’m not using my nursing degree, and I don’t want it to be held against me when I do want to work as a nurse. Is there any job that will take me for the time I am home?
Dear Donna replies:
Dear Soccer Nurse,
With the type of schedule you describe, you have a few options. You could, when you’re not playing soccer, work for a nursing agency and do per diem, part-time or contract work. Some agencies are general while others are specific to a specialty such as correctional nursing or occupational health nursing positions.
Depending on what time of year you are in the U.S., you could also look for seasonal work. For example, some sports arenas and amusement parks have first-aid stations or occupational health departments on-site in season. In the summertime, there are also positions as camp nurses.
My concern is that you don’t mention any work in nursing that you have done since you graduated. It is very important to get some experience under your belt now before too much time passes since graduation. If you don’t, it will be even harder to find something, even part-time, when you are ready. You also may start to lose confidence and focus if you indefinitely delay working as a nurse.
All nurses, both new and experienced, do not need to work in a hospital, so you can contact some agencies now if you are available for nonhospital work. Nurse staffing and employment agencies generally won’t place new nurses in hospital bedside positions without at least a year or two of hospital work experience under their belts. Many of them do have nontraditional opportunities even for
You should also join the national America Nurses Association (www.ana.org) and your local chapter. This will give you a foothold in your new profession and will also keep you connected to it during your soccer-playing times and throughout the year.
If you are not working and not playing soccer, then at least look for volunteer work as a nurse to gain some experience and put everything into practice that you learned in nursing school. Working as a student is very different from working as a licensed professional nurse. Look for these opportunities through your local public health department, a blood bank, the American Red Cross, hospice, a cancer care center or a free clinic. If you are going to do anything hands on, such as give vaccinations, flu shots, change dressings or dispense medication, you should have professional liability insurance.