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What advice do you have for a seasoned nurse who experienced her first-ever layoff and doesn’t know where to begin searching for a job?


Dear Donna,

After working at an outpatient surgical center for three years, I have been laid off. I am devastated and embarrassed. This has never happened to me in 30 years in nursing. I don’t know where to even begin looking for another position.

Don’t Know Where to Begin

Dear Donna replies:

Dear Don’t Know Where to Begin,

Layoffs are a way of life in today’s workplace, even in healthcare. So, while you feel devastated, your situation is not unusual nor is your job irreplaceable. There also is no need to be embarrassed as this is more common than you might imagine. Read “How to handle layoffs” (

As the article suggests, take a little time to step back and regroup before plunging back into the job market. Catch up on some things in your personal life that need tending to, get a massage, visit some friends or do something else you don’t usually have time for while employed. In other words, use this opportunity to recharge your batteries and refocus for the future. It’s scary to be unemployed for even a week, but sometimes a brief break from work, regardless of the circumstances, has hidden benefits.

Start contacting similar facilities to your last employer in your local area if you wish to remain in the same type of specialty or practice setting. Ask to speak to the office manager when you call. Let them know you are an experienced surgi-center nurse, recently laid off from such and such practice and would love to learn about opportunities there. If they have no current openings, send them a follow-up note with your business card or contact information so they’ll be able to reach you if something does open up.

Get on the telephone and contact everyone you know, both in and out of healthcare. Let them know about your employment situation and what type of job you want. The power of networking is far-reaching. That’s how you get the word out.

Attend career fairs and professional association meetings, even as a guest for now. If you wish to continue in perioperative or perianesthesia nursing, attend meetings of the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses ( and/or the American Society of PeriAnesthesia Nurses ( When there’s something you want to do it makes sense to rub elbows with those already doing it. And networking is known to be a very effective way to find a job. Read “Ten steps to a successful job search” (

You also can contact some nursing/healthcare staffing agencies that do non-hospital placement for interim work while you seek regular employment. Some agencies even do regular (what we used to call permanent) placement.

Change is never easy — especially forced change. But sometimes things happen for a reason, even if the reason is not immediately evident, and even bigger and better things can happen. As Helen Keller once said, “When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened to us.” Shift your focus, and move forward. There are plenty of great opportunities to jump into for a bright new future.

Best wishes,


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By | 2014-10-31T00:00:00-04:00 October 31st, 2014|Categories: Blogs, Nursing Careers and Jobs|0 Comments

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