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What advice do you have for a new nurse who cannot find a job after applying ‘everywhere?’


Dear Donna,

I am a new nurse graduate and am 49 years old. My husband died five years ago, and I have been back to school since 2010. I am a homeschooling mom so I continued that while in nursing school to honor my husband and our agreement of providing home schooling. My youngest son is in his senior year. Long story short, I have my ADN, I am newly licensed as an RN and the only experience I have is 900+ hours of clinical, which doesn’t seem to mean anything.

I have applied everywhere.I have been proactive by taking resumes in person, etc. I just can’t find a job. I got my license in September, and I am scared at this point. Can you offer advice on what angle to take? How can I gain experience if no one will hire me? Would relocating help?

Needs to Support Her Family

Dear Donna replies:

Dear Needs to Support Her Family,

It sounds like you have a lot of your plate. Read the article “New nurse, new job strategies” ( Heed the advice in it: volunteer as a nurse while you continue to look for paid employment, join and become active in nursing professional associations, use your network and look in new directions — beyond the hospital — for employment.

When I talk about being proactive in your job search, I am talking about the above tips as described in the referenced article, not showing up in person at a hospital’s human resource department to deliver your resume. Some employers might consider that annoying and inappropriate. What you describe also does not constitute networking. To better understand the how, where and why of networking, listen to the following free webinar, “Networking for nurses: Is it important?” (

Don’t take the current hospital employment situation personally. As the above-referenced article indicates, many hospitals simply aren’t hiring new nurses right now. So there’s no point in beating your head against the wall and waiting for something to open up there. Hospitals are not now, and never have been, the only places for new nurses to work. You have to go where the opportunities are located. Your career may not start where or how you envisioned it would, but you have to start somewhere.

Please see my recent response to another new nurse for more specifics: ( You’ll find additional detailed job finding advice in my book The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses (

When what you’re doing isn’t working, it’s time to try a new approach. We sometimes convince ourselves we are doing everything possible when in fact we just keep doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. Every nurse — whether new or experienced — needs to look in new directions for employment and needs new skills to find and get a job. Take time to read/listen to the above articles, books and webinars and move in a positive forward direction with your career.

Best wishes,

By | 2014-10-29T00:00:00-04:00 October 29th, 2014|Categories: Blogs, Nursing Careers and Jobs|0 Comments

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